Don't Be Cheap With Your Landing Pages: Three Contrarian Ways to Improve Them

Reams of articles and blog posts have been written about how to create the perfect landing page. Is there anything more to say? Absolutely! Would you tell Stephen King that enough horror stories have been written already? No, you wouldn’t.

So until the Perfect Landing Page is created—an imaginary creature, no doubt—we will continue tweaking and testing, sharing and arguing the merits and faults of every element of the landing page.

In that spirit, here are three ways you can improve landing pages.

1. Start nurturing right away in the ‘thank you’ screen

We’ll begin at the end. You’ve created a fantastic landing page: The copy is spot on, the image is compelling, and your offer is hard to resist. The visitor clicks on the CTA button and fills out the form, giving you her contact and other information.

Then what happens? The usually trivial “thank you” page appears. It thanks the visitor for completing the form, promises to be in touch shortly, and maybe repeats the brand’s catchphrase, just as a reminder, in case the visitor forgot it.

That’s it? Well, that’s a missed opportunity. You got a lead right in your hands (a freshly harvested lead), and it’s your opportunity to maximize the benefit of the interaction; it’s time to make the most of the sunk cost that got the prospect to your landing page.

You should start engaging your lead right away. Interest has already been established, so c’mon Seymour, feed them. Your goal is to make the lead feel invested in the interaction, to make him think of his own sunk cost here. You can offer a link to a specific page in your website, an e-book download, or a video. You can offer all the above.

The most important thing is to take advantage when a lead is listening. Don’t hang up on them.

2. Links in a landing page? It’s a matter of trust

Best-practices say that no outbound links should be included in a landing page. The logic is simple: Give the visitor one option and one option only—to fill out the form. More than that would be a distraction and would undermine your effort to get the info you want from the visitor.

Although the logic sounds solid, our experience begs to differ here. We have been known to include links to our website in landing pages, and we can report that it’s not a horrible disaster.

Visitors who chose to “exit” the landing page to go to our main website, and converted, there have proven to be higher-quality leads than those who converted on the landing page itself.

From a content-conversion perspective, that makes a lot of sense. Because conversion isn’t the result of LPDSP (Landing Page Dime Store Psychology) but rather the result of arousing interest, piquing curiosity, and establishing a desire to connect.

A visitor who invested time engaging with a website, clicked here and there, read a piece of content or two, and reached an educated decision to leave his details with the brand… will indeed be a different lead than one who scanned a headline in a millisecond and decided to “oh, what the heck” leave his details in the landing page, and then bounce.

So linking your landing page to your website isn’t such a big no-no. If you are truly after quality leads (no judgment if not; some of us are in the numbers game) and you know that your product or service isn’t mass-market oriented, then trust your audience more; they can handle more than one choice, and you will benefit from that trust.

3. Don’t be afraid of the scroll

We can’t escape the feeling that marketers are being cheap with their landing pages. And not cheap out of inherent thriftiness but out of years of being told over and over again to “tighten” and “focus” their landing pages, “deliver one message and one message only.”

No wonder marketers are terrified of landing pages… It can be quite intimidating to be scolded like that.

The most secured border in the world is the landing page scroll-line: Allowing visitors to scroll a landing page is equivalent to parachuting your platoon behind enemy lines; the chances of their returning home are miniscule.

We want to suggest a different border metaphor. From now on, think of the scroll-line as the France-Spain border—a relaxed, easygoing border. You drive with the windows down, the wind ruffles your hair, and whoopsy… you crossed it without even noticing it. You can make a U-turn and cross it again, just for the fun of it.

So. Treat the above-the-scroll as you normally would. Informative and relevant content, an image to reinforce your message, and a form. All good. But, below the fold, allow yourself to be more generous with your content. Delve a bit deeper, provide peripheral information that answers potential questions that might arise after reading the tight content at the top of the page. Interested prospects will be appreciative you did so.

Google AdWords will be, too. It’ll reward you and your landing page with a higher quality score for being super-extra relevant to your ad. And you know what it means when Google is happy: You pay less for the click.

Basically, there’s no reason in the world to not elaborate in your landing page. People love a choice, and you should provide one. If they want a quick in-and-out, they will scan the above-the-fold info and make a decision whether to become a lead or not. If you managed to pique their curiosity, they will want to hear more, at which point they—lo and behold—will scroll down.

Again, prospects who convert after spending a longer time interacting with you tend to be of much higher quality.

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The bottom line is the headline: Don’t be cheap with your landing page. Don’t be cheap with your engagement interactions, don’t be cheap with your links, and don’t be cheap with your content. Anonymous visitors, prospects, and leads will appreciate it.

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