If you want to run a prosperous business, then you need leads—lots of leads—and you need to keep ‘em coming. Everything you’re working towards comes to a grinding halt without leads. No more sales. No more sign-ups. No more revenue. Nada. Zilch.
And while lead-generation may feel like a tedious, hit-or-miss process, it doesn’t have to be. One of the most effective ways to generate high quality leads for your business is to have a highly targeted, well-optimized, customer-centric landing page.
According to Sherice Jacob of iElectrify, “Your leads are only as good as the website that produces them.”
Therefore, you need to create a landing page that implements proven lead-generating enhancements in order to boost not only your site’s conversions but also its credibility and authority, which, of course, begs the question how?
Create a Customer-Centric Landing Page
To create a customer-centric landing page, there are several key questions that you need to address pertaining to the following categories:
1. Trust and Relevance
How trustworthy does your overall page design feel, and is it relevant to your audience? In a matter of seconds, your visitors will judge whether your site is worth their time or not. Therefore, you need to make sure that all of the elements on your landing page are as authentic and up-to-date as possible.
“Every single landing page element has to be created with your ‘ideal customer’ in mind.”
Avoid “spammy-sounding” copy, excessive jargon, and phrases that are nothing but fluff. Connie Sung Moyle of Vertical Response sites the following eight words as the most overused “fluff” words in marketing and PR:
- Bleeding edge
“The biggest thing in regards to a customer-centric landing page is to constantly try to solve [customers’] problems. Don’t clutter the page with industry slang or features on how great your product is. All your visitors care about is how the product will impact and benefit them,” advises Justin Christianson, co-founder of Conversion Fanatics.
You also want to avoid using the word “spam,” especially in the vicinity of your call-to-action button. Even if you’re saying, “We promise NOT to spam you!” simply mentioning the word “spam” instills a negative psychological vibe in people, making them wary and less likely to convert.
Michael Aagaard of ContentVerve shares the following insight: “I’ve run a lot of tests on this, and every time you put ‘spam’ next to an email field, it makes people think: ‘Whoa, are they going to spam me?’”
Furthermore, make sure that any guarantees or promises you make are realistic—this includes the benefits you highlight about your product or service. If your offer sounds too good to be true, your visitors will be skeptical and less likely to take action.
For example, say you have a weight loss product and you make the following claim: “Lose up to 30 pounds a week when you follow my program!!!” Your visitors are going to roll their eyes and move on—the same way they would if they came across the website in the image below, which promises to make you a millionaire at no cost:
2. Risk Elimination
Any time there’s an exchange of goods or services, there’s a certain degree of inherent risk, which typically falls mostly on the buyer’s shoulders. If the risk seems too great, however, visitors won’t take action.
Therefore, consider what apprehensions your visitors may have about taking action and then eliminate or decrease any of their perceived risks by offering guarantees, such as warranties or having X-amount of days to return a product and receive a full refund, no questions asked.
(Note: a 30-day money-back guarantee is the standard so you don’t want to offer anything less; you should aim for better.)
Peep Laja of Conversion XL: “Here are some examples of great guarantees:
- Hyundai and America’s Best Warranty. Hyundai struggled [for] years with a reputation that it makes crappy cars that break down fast. So they initiated a 10-year warranty—basically saying that ‘how can it be a bad car if we’re giving it such a long warranty?’ Now Hyundai is considered the new Lexus.
- The Punctual Plumber. Plumbers are renown[ed] for being late. To combat this prejudice, they branded themselves as ‘The Punctual Plumber’ and will pay you for every minute they’re late. If they’re willing to do it, they probably won’t be late, will they? Guarantee removes risk.
- Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free. If you’re ordering pizza, the delivery time is a concern. With a guarantee like that, this fear is eliminated.
- Not only will we give your money back, but also compensate [for] your pain. This is the most powerful kind of guarantee—a pain compensation guarantee.”
3. Clear Communication and Motivation
From your headlines to your images, you need to ask whether these elements effectively communicate your brand or offer and whether they motivate your visitors to take action. Since people tend to remember visual information more easily than textual information (picture superiority effect), you need to pay particular attention to the message your images convey and whether or not it resonates with your target audience.
Accordingly, using stock photography is not recommended, as stock images won’t be as adept at communicating the specific resonance of your brand or offer as an original photo would be of, say, a satisfied customer actually engaging with your product or service.
A good rule of thumb is to ask, “If I were to delete all of the copy from my landing page, would I still be able to understand what my landing page is about and what my company has to offer based solely on my images?”
If there’s any doubt, you should probably reconsider the photos you’re using.
Headlines are also crucial when it comes to clearly communicating your offer and motivating people to take action. Your landing page’s headline will likely be the first thing prospects notice when they visit your site.
Therefore, your headline needs to be clear and consistent with your brand; it needs to spotlight your unique value proposition; and lastly, it needs to entice.
Below, you can see an example of a landing page headline that is not only lackluster but also kind of confusing:
“High Protein Pancakes?”
…I don’t know. Are they? And if not, what kind of mysterious flapjack concoction is this company trying to peddle? The ambiguous headline does little in the way of motivating prospects to read the rest of the copy, and it certainly doesn’t leave you reaching for your griddle.
Robin Johnson of Optimizely offers the following advice for optimizing your headline:
- “Experiment with making your headline as specific as possible. Chances are, when users know what they’re going to get, they’ll be more likely to convert.
- Test the tone you take with your headline messaging. Try emphasizing benefits versus loss versus a question to visitors to see which drives more conversions.”
Additionally, your visitors need context—that is, plenty of clear communication and explanations from you to let them know exactly what they are purchasing or signing up for. And this extends beyond your images and headline to also apply to your calls-to-action and sign-up forms.
For instance, if you have a sign-up form on your landing page inviting people to get a free consultation, you need to explain precisely what people should expect, such as how long the consultation will take, how it will occur (over the phone, Skype), and what kind of commitment will be asked.
Derek Moryson says, “There are so many questions your prospects could be asking when they land on your page—to manage their doubt, you need to dig as deep as you can and provide as much context as possible.”
Treat your landing page as a two-way dialogue in which you strive to manage and match your prospects’ expectations.
It isn’t enough to merely tout the benefits of your product, brand, or service. Your visitors also need to know how you stand apart from your competitors. What makes you different, why should visitors buy from you and not someone else?
Lewis Howes, lifestyle entrepreneur, coach, and advisor, reports the following on Entrepreneur.com:
Lewis Howes: “Every competing company has weak points—places where your brand can outperform. Things like domestic customer service or extended guarantees on a product can go a long way if done right.
Your job is to find these points and exploit them in your marketing and presentations. Let your prospective customers know why these selling points are important and why it makes your brand a better choice.”
You can match your competitors’ offer on every aspect of value except for one. You need to outshine your competition in at least one key aspect of value and that is the aspect you need to stress.
Furthermore, don’t bury your unique value proposition or what makes your company stand apart somewhere in the middle of your copy. This information needs to be showcased in its full glory, front and center.
5. Simplicity and Ease
When visitors arrive at your landing page, they aren’t looking for a challenge. Therefore, you want to make the process of converting feel like a walk in the park, not a Herculean task. Make sure the design and user-flow of your site facilitate easy navigability and limit the number of actions your visitors have to take to convert.
For example, your CTA button and lead generation form need to be displayed prominently so they catch your visitors’ attention; don’t make people have to hunt for how to take action.
You also need to ask yourself if there’s anything on your landing page that’s distracting, such as unnecessary product options, links, sidebars, big headers, or irrelevant stock photography. And if you do find something, you need to remove or minimize those elements; every element of your landing page should serve a purpose: facilitating conversions.
Additionally, visitors should be able to input their sign-up information with ease. Don’t make people feel like they’re jumping through hoops with lengthy questionnaires.
Robin Johnson shares the following insights about how to create an effective lead generation form:
Robin Johnson: “Focus on making each element of your form as eye-catching as possible…and keep it simple. Your team may want to collect as much information as possible, but since information gathering comes at a cost, it may not be worth it. Take Expedia as an example: The company found that removing just one form field (an address confirmation field) from their purchase form increased annual profit by $12 million dollars.
A few ways to optimize your lead generation form include:
- Experiment with different imagery. Adding images (in particular those of people) will help evoke an emotional response from users and make them more likely to pay attention to that area of the page.
- Try increasing the size of your form fields. Often times, larger form fields are more likely to catch a reader’s eye.
- Keep it simple. Experiment with removing all unnecessary form fields to increase your overall completion rate. You can always follow-up with engaged users to progressively build on the information you already have.
- To collect accurate information, make sure visitors know with certainty what information you’re asking them to submit. Experiment with auto-complete options or different labels for each form field.”
As another suggestion to make your form fields easier to use, provide visitors with the option to sign-up using either their Facebook or Google accounts and don’t ask for any information that isn’t absolutely essential to fulfill an order.
6. Target Audience
The root of creating a customer-centric landing page is having a precise understanding of who your ideal customer is and what makes him or her tick. To resonate with your audience, you need to conduct qualitative research and get to know your prospects so well that you can provide answers to their questions before they ever have a chance to ask them.
As reported by Derek Moryson on Unbounce, here are five suggestions for performing qualitative research to better understand your target audience.
Derek Moryson: “Some quick tips about [how] you can get to know your customers better so you can start running A/B tests to optimize your landing pages for conversion:
- Have users interact with your site and call out what they’re doing with user testing
- Use onsite surveys like Qualaroo to ask, ‘What’s holding you back from completing this call to action?’
- Use post-conversion surveys to ask newly-converted customers what reservations they had and why they decided to go ahead and purchase
- Conduct basic phone interviews to dig deep into your prospects’ minds
- Leverage services such as UsabilityHub that allow you to submit your landing page for critique to get unbiased feedback about how effective your images, copy, and overall site is to the average user.”
Generate Leads from Your Landing Page
So far, we’ve covered six essential tips for how to make the overall vibe of your landing page as customer-centric as possible. But what are some additional things you can do or add to really supercharge conversions on your landing page?
Offer Coupons and Other Discounts
A fantastic deal will attract hungry buyers like moths to a flame. Entice new and repeat customers and generate targeted leads by offering coupons related to your offers through your landing page.
Use a sign-up form and email autoresponder, such as GetResponse or Aweber, to have interested customers fill in their contact information to stay connected and receive additional coupon codes or a heads-up about upcoming sales and exclusive offers.
Set Up a Referral Program
Speaking of discounts, as a spin-off suggestion, entice your customers to spread the word about you and your company by creating a referral program and offering discounts or reward points to anyone who brings in additional customers.
Provide a Free Trial
Free trials are great because they help to eliminate some of the perceived risks that customers may feel, as free trials allow customers to take your offer for a test-drive for a set period of time to see if it’s a good fit.
Of course, not all products and services lend themselves to offering trial usage. But if yours does, set a finite amount of time for the trial and use it as a method of collecting targeted leads, with whom you can maintain ongoing communication by checking in to see how people are enjoying the product so far.
Steven McDonald of Tribes.no recommends deploying an email as soon as customers opt-in for the free trial, which is what GetResponse did in the image below:
Steven also suggests personalizing your messages and providing people with clear instructions about how to get started, as doing so will make free-trial users more likely to convert into paying customers.
Host a Webinar
Hosting a webinar is a beneficial strategy for generating leads from your landing page for multiple reasons. You can attract customers who are genuinely interested in your industry. You can demonstrate your knowledge and enthusiasm for your products or services, thus fostering credibility and trust for your company. And especially if the webinar is live, you can engage with people and build relationships.
Plus, anytime you host a live webinar, you should record it and provide the recording as a free resource for your customers.
As previously mentioned, the essence of an effective customer-centric landing page is constantly trying to solve your customers’ problems. Every element of your landing page should reflect that goal and strive to foster the following traits and objectives: trust and relevance, risk elimination, clear communication and motivation, differentiation, simplicity and ease, and above all, a solid understanding of your target audience.
All of these elements add up to creating a landing page for your business that will make your prospects more likely to convert into long-term, paying customers.
Your work as a marketer is never done, however. You need to continually A/B test new strategies and add-ons to your landing page, such as coupons, free-trials, webinars, eBooks, sweepstakes, and crowdsourcing, to fine-tune your page and garner more targeted leads.
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