Landing Page Optimization: 4 Basic Principles

Landing page optimization is a hot topic these days; indeed, whole companies have been built (and are thriving) on nothing but ensuring your landing pages generate the most registrations possible. Still, as I wrote in this previous post, most B2B marketers are still treating landing pages as an afterthought. For those companies, improving landing page conversions doesn’t require fine-tuning. It’s simply a matter of following a few, basic principles.

Case in point: in the course of discussing an upcoming campaign, a prospective client asked us recently for comments on their landing pages. I responded by telling them that I believed they could easily double their current conversion (click to lead) rate, and in the process increase the number of leads those forms generate by more than 100 percent, all by implementing some basic changes. Here’s what I told them:.

To be effective, a landing page needs to:

* Sell the offer and reinforce the prospect’s decision to respond
* Offer a clear, unambiguous path to completing registration
* Present a clear, single call to action with no options, alternatives or distractions
* Require the prospect provide only the minimum amount of information

With those principles in mind, here’s where we recommended this particular company’s landing pages could be improved:

1. In most cases, getting to the registration form was a two-step process (Welcome Page, then Landing Page). I questioned why the registration form couldn’t appear on the first page. Reason: requiring any additional steps on the part of the prospect, particularly when the Welcome Page included links to elsewhere on the client’s site (see #3, below), would inevitably lose a subset of those who would otherwise register. Plus, having a registration form on the very first page serves as an effective “call to action.”

2. The amount of selling copy on the Welcome Page and Landing Page was inconsistent (and – for the most part – inadequate.) Ideally, that selling copy (including 3-4 bullet points describing key learning benefits the reader will gain by downloading the white paper) would appear on one single Welcome/Landing page, but if the 2-page structure needed to remain, it should go on the Welcome Page. A professionally rendered image of the white paper or content was a must also.

3. Both the Welcome Page and Landing Page utilized the corporate Web design template, which means they included both the main navigation bar at top, and links in a sidebar at left. These extraneous links were causing the company to lose a large number of prospects who would otherwise complete the form but were instead distracted by the alternatives and go off to explore the Website. We strongly recommended designing all landing pages to a template that mimicked the main site but which didn’t include any links to elsewhere on that site.

4. Where the company was losing most potential conversions was on the registration form itself. The number of required fields (including street address and two qualifying questions) was onerous in the extreme; simply asking for mailing address probably reduced the conversion rate by 50 percent alone. We strongly recommended reducing the number of required field to the bare essentials: name, company, title, e-mail and phone number (and perhaps zip code if needed for territory assignment). This change alone would dramatically increase the number of leads generated.

Anticipating that the amount of information required on each form was being demanded by the company’s sales management, we recommended a couple of potential solutions that would mitigate this:

* Pre-populate registration forms (for repeat visitors.) If a prospect sees most of his/her contact information already completed, he/she is more likely to provide additional information such as answers to qualifying questions.

* Implement a systematic, automated lead nurturing program that generates a sequence of personalized, relevant, rules-based e-mails to each new lead, responses to which would capture additional information that wasn’t captured on the initial registration form

If even one of these four issues sounds all too familiar to you, chances are you can make a dramatic impact on your company’s conversion rates by making the necessary change.

One thought on “Landing Page Optimization: 4 Basic Principles

  1. Jame

    Good comments. There isn’t enough info on best practices for landing pages or even a clear definition of a landing page.


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