Lee Odden

Ten Tips for Lead Generation Landing Pages

Editor’s Note: The next in our series of guest posts from SEM professionals comes from Jon Miller, VP of Marketing at Marketo. Marketo is a client of TopRank Online Marketing and provides B2B marketing automation software in the form of pay per click management, landing page optimization and integration with salesforce.com.

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With Jon’s B2B software marketing expertise, excellent work both on his blog Modern B2B Marketing and as a contributor on Search Engine Land, I asked if he could write up a guide for search marketers that would provide actionable advice for readers on the topic of landing pages.

Perhaps the largest difference between business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) pay-per-click is that the post-click goal for most B2B marketers is to capture a lead, not make a sale. This means that B2B companies must focus on converting clicks into leads as much as they focus on getting clicks in the first place.

Landing pages are critical to making this happen. From the prospect’s perspective, clicking on your link is easy and doesn’t cost (them) anything. In contrast, converting and becoming a lead requires them to invest their time and energy to understand your offer and fill out your form — not to mention risk unwanted marketing since you require they share their contact information.

According to Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook, improving your landing pages can increase your conversions by 40% or more. In our experience at Marketo, optimized landing pages work even better — as high as 200% improvements in conversion rates.

So how do you do it? Here are ten tested and proven tips you can use to improve and optimize your landing pages.

1. First Impressions Matter

When a prospect scans your landing page, they decide in just a few seconds whether to bail or stick around. When making this decision, they consider two things: “Does this page look hard or complicated?” and (2) “Is this page relevant to my search query?”. Design, copy, font size, and form length all influence the former. To influence the latter, make sure your page (especially the headline) directly connects to the search term. This means having dozens or hundreds of landing pages — at least one per ad group and ideally one for your each of your top keywords.

2. Have an Offer

Your landing page doesn’t need to sell your product, service, or company. It just needs to sell your offer. Focus your page around a single call to action, such as a free whitepaper or demo. Avoid the temptation to include extraneous company information.

3. Remove The Navigation

This isn’t your home page, so remove your main navigation. Simpler pages almost always work better for lead generation. In eye tracking studies, the navigation draws attention away from your offer and conversion action. Worse, each link is an invitation for the visitor (which you paid for) to click away instead of converting. As Marketing Sherpa points out, it’s tempting to leave those links just in case the visitor wants to dig through your site and learn more. Drop this fantasy. Your goal is to sell your offer, and the only thing those links can do is reduce your conversions. You can always share additional information after they convert, on the thank you page or via your lead nurturing. (Note: You can make your logo link to your home page, and you can include your footer navigation since it draws the eye less than your main navigation. These links help the page appear to visitors and to Google as part of a larger site.)

4. Use Graphics Wisely

Graphics are the #1 thing that draws the eye. Use them carefully since the wrong graphic can distract from the offer and conversion. Include a hero shot, e.g. a mock up of the white paper cover with the title blown up to be readable. Two other tips: Let people click the graphics to get more info (visitors often click on graphics) and be sure to have a caption (besides the headline, captions are the most read copy on the page).

5. Make Your Content Scan-able

People don’t read landing pages, they scan them. Write in bullets, if you can. Be sure your copy sells your offer when someone scans just the first three words of each bullet or paragraph. Bold key words. Consider using interactive elements, such as an audio clip or short video / demo, on your landing page. This can engage buyers who want more info without making the page look overwhelming.

6. Only Ask What You Really Need

If you met someone interesting at a bar, you wouldn’t ask for a ton of information like their annual income —you’d simply get his or her contact information so you could build the relationship over time. The same is true for landing pages. Every field you ask reduces your conversion rate, so collect as little information as you really need to route the lead and stay in touch. You can always collect more during your nurturing process.

7. Capture Implicit Information

Use hidden fields to capture additional information about your leads, such as the keyword used, the search engine they came from, and the ad they clicked. You can also use “click paths” to capture implicit information. For example, if you want to know the prospect’s industry, add some navigation on the left that lists your top industries. This is different than your site navigation. Prospects are likely to click on the link for their industry, so take them to an even more targeted landing page —and capture their industry as a hidden field.

8. Have Reasons to Give Valid Info

After conversion, don’t just hand the offer to the prospect – email it to them. This is a great trick to ensure that you get a valid email address. Also, be sure to place a link to your privacy statement near to where you ask for their info.

9. Say Thank You

After a customer converts, take them to a thank you page. This is important to track the conversion. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to deepen the relationship by making another offer, promoting your blog, asking for feedback, or running a poll. Up to 40% of prospects say they are willing to share additional information after they convert.

10. Test… But Don’t Over Test

Testing lets visitors vote with their actions, removing any debate about what works and what doesn’t. The most valuable things to test are the headline, graphic captions, the submit button, form length, and graphical elements. However, be careful not to over-test. A good rule of thumb is to take the number of conversions you get per day and divide it by 10. Then take your testing period in weeks and divide that by 2. Multiply the two results together to get the number of versions you can confidently test in your testing period.

Landing Pages Don’t Need To Be Hard

Given the dramatic ROI of having multiple targeted landing pages, why do three out of four B2B companies still send clicks to the home page? The main reason is a lack of resources —and getting time from web developers is the most difficult resource to get. As a solution, companies can leverage products like those offered by Marketo that allow marketers to create landing pages with no IT. The Marketo online demo can provide a first hand example.

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.

Comments

  1. Amen brother! #3 especially…probably the most important point and the one that folks least understand.

  2. These are excellent tips for improving your landing pages. I can not emphasize enough how critical it is to ensure that you have a high quality, easily navigated landing page. This provides visitors with their first impressions. I will be the first to admit that if I am directed to a site that does not immediately impress me I won’t even give it a second chance. I feel that most visitors react this way, which should provide everyone with the motivation to create a good landing page, or else what is the point of pay-per-click advertising if your landing page ends up driving potential clients away!

  3. Well done article. Making your landing pages scan-able is one thing, but writing an article like this and making it scan-able is an art in itself. The section headings make a huge difference. I wish all the blogs I read were as focused on scan-ability.

    Thanks for the tips!

  4. Really great list! Call to action is critical especially when a “call” is involved.

  5. Paul O'Brien says:

    Don’t overlook how to deal with the page when finished with the campaign. The most frustrating decision made by marketers or site managers? Turning off the page. Hot promotions and offers such as those created through a lead gen landing page are bound to create links. Deleting the page is the worst thing you could do. Redesign it to promote the next offer or 301 redirect the fact that it is gone.

    HP was (probably still is) notorious for this and I could never get agencies and peers to commit to how important retaining a page could be (it is treated as a non-issue by most). They’d launch a new product through a unique landing page, get tons of high quality links from CNET, TechCrunch, etc. then turn it off 30 days later. What a waste!!

  6. Emerson Hartley says:

    Great article. Those are good ideas. What do you think about using a third party testing provider like Offermatica, Optimost or Memetrics? Our marketing team uses Memetrics to optimize online and offline.

  7. Excellent article–crisply written, concrete, specific, and smart. Bravo.

  8. Awesome article. There’s really nothing to add here. This can be used as a guideline for anyone creating a landing page for their pay-per-click campaign. Thanks for putting it together so succinctly!

  9. Great list! A lot of landing pages could be improved by simply looking at each piece of the page asking, “Is this relevant?” That question encompasses many of the points you covered. In regards to #10, I think there’s a bigger problem of people not testing at all. Try to make the best page possible and then test it against your second best ideas. Not enough people test their pages either through simple A/B testing, Google optimizer or more professional testing platforms like the one my company provides. Honestly, try out Google optimizer at least if you haven’t tested your pages before and then look for good testing techniques like the one mentioned in #10.

  10. Well done on a great list. I have been pushing landing pages to my clients for the last few years… i especially like the comment regarding an offer “single call to action”. Simple marketing principles must apply!

  11. Found this article really helpful. #7 was something i wasn’t aware of.. thank a lot for the information. and about #3 i do agree strongly, i hate those sites where u have to keep clicking on links and u neva find the relevant information..

  12. Thanks to everyone for the kind comments on this article! In response to some of the comments, I’m a big fan of testing tools (which is why Marketo provides landing page testing tools). Just don’t go too crazy tasting so many versions / recipes that you never get to valid results.

  13. Excellent article. I have already forwarded it to my staff and two 3 of my clients. Sometimes people need to hear it from someone else before they’ll believe you. “Ooooh! It’s on the Internet so it must be true.” LOL

  14. This is a great summary of lead gen pages. We have recently been attempting to quantify the conversion difference when you ask for more / less information, then tracking that info through to the sale to determine the optimal approach for a given site. It’s too early to tell what the results will be but I hope to report back on my blog soon.

    Cheers, Will

  15. Thanks for the tips, I am always looking for more ways to generate leads!

  16. Great checklist to go over with clients. Are most of your clients including their “contact us for a quote” conversion with the “whitepaper download” conversion?

    I have had several difficult conversations around clients expecting and only wanting web leads to be HOT…ie call me now I want your solution which in a complex btob sale isnt as often as they like.

  17. Great tips – sometimes it is the simple things that are often overlooked.

  18. oligardner says:

    Excellent post Lee. I particularly like the delineation between B2C and B2B. Recognizing who your target customer is, is of prime importance when designing your landing pages.

  19. oligardner says:

    Excellent post Lee. I particularly like the delineation between B2C and B2B. Recognizing who your target customer is, is of prime importance when designing your landing pages.

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