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Gateway or roadblock: Are your landing pages killing your conversion rates?

Gateway or roadblock: Are your landing pages killing your conversion rates?

A gateway is an invitation to another place. It can guard a great secret, mystery, or if things are really getting weird, an awesome power or beast. At the risk of sounding like Barbara Cartland, gateways are a lure to a promise, a desire, fulfillment.

Even though the above sounds so florid it should be attired in velvet pantaloons and sent to a summer-time pony party, its core truth should not be dismissed. A gateway’s purpose is to attract people to what lies beyond it.

In b2b inbound marketing our gateways come in the shape of our landing pages. We want to entice prospective customers to go through to get the treasures beyond… for a tiny exchange, usually some information about themselves and in rarer instances THEIR VOICE. (Or maybe I’m thinking of The Little Mermaid.)

Creating great content that meets the needs of your ideal buyer is of course the most important step to driving conversion. But it doesn’t stop there. Many businesses are killing their conversion rates through dud landing pages. In this blog post, we look at 3 very common mistakes businesses make on their landing pages and how you can avoid them.

1) Your landing page form is asking for a whole lot

B2b marketing works on a classical rule:

The sum of the content offering is no greater than the sum of the requested information.

Or, in plain English, your offer needs to be proportionate to what you’re asking of a customer.

What kind of leads are you hoping to generate? If you are offering an ebook geared to raise awareness for your brand or product, you should opt for a less is more approach to the form fields. The main objective at this stage should be to generate relevant new leads that you can nurture through the buying stages. A first name and an email address is all you’ll need at this stage.

However if you want to strengthen the quality of your leads, then you may consider a more valuable piece of information, such as an in-depth case study, something that is integral to your website visitor’s ultimate decision-making process. At that stage you can consider more fields.

Unbounce.com has a great guide to how many form fields you should be including on your landing pages:

unbounce.com landing page form fields

However, while this guide is useful, there is no one hard-and-fast-rule for every company. If you think that requesting a telephone number might be harming your conversions, test it first before you remove the field. As unbounce.com suggests, don’t just test the amount of information you are requesting but also the order of the information you’re asking for and what you are asking for in the first place.

Knowing this will help you to constantly adjust and tweak your forms so that the questions don’t seem too overwhelming or too intrusive.

2) Coco Chanel was correct: Less is more

Or in other words: You are overloading your visitor with too much information. The copy and the visuals on your landing pages  should achieve one goal: to help your prospective customer fill it in a form quickly and easily. Yes, you want it to look inviting and fun, but there’s a fine line between ‘fun’ and ‘chaos’. It’s like Coco Chanel said: ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.’

It’s the same with your landing page - it’s better to err on the side of elegant understatement.

And there are so many ways businesses overwhelm their poor customers. How many social media buttons do you have? While it is a fantastic idea to encourage content sharing, it may distract your page visitors from submitting the form. In fact, your thank you page is a much better place to ask people to share your content offer. Not only will visitors have converted at that stage, they will also have actually had the chance to glimpse at the content piece you’re asking them to share.

HubSpot suggests that landing page design choices need to be made to let the visitor quickly grasp:

  • The nature of the offer
  • The CTA
  • Your company

HubSpot also estimates that on average 55% of customers spend only 15 seconds on your site, so you need to make sure that they quickly understand whether your offering meets their needs.

3) Your copy ain’t great

The other element that can add to a feeling of chaos and incohesion is your copy. Given that you have only those 15 seconds to make your point, your copy needs to be slicker than a greased-up water eel.  A few easy rules to live by:

Make sure your header grabs the reader
This could be because you know how to use a pun to devastating effect, but hopefully it’s because it addresses the problem your ideal customer is having (and how you solve it). Your header needs to get to the heart of the issue quickly.

Short is sweet
And it’s not just the headline that should be short, your copy needs to be concise. Firstly because the page looks cluttered with all that text (remember your visitors are after a snapshot of how your content will solve their problem, not a Russian novel). How do you know if your copy is too long? If your customer has to scroll to get the benefits, it’s too much.

Grammar good
As Eminem says:

Look
If you had
One shot
To seize everything you ever wanted
In one moment
Would you capture it
Or just let it slip?

THIS IS YOUR MOMENT. You have 15 seconds. Do not let a dodgy typo or some poor grammar jeopardise your chances for conversion. Poor grammar makes your landing pages look like amateur hour at the clown club. It’s a credibility killer. As Eminem also says: ‘don’t lose your shot!’

Killing your conversion (in a good way)

We hope that the above wisdom will lead you down the path to landing page best practice, which is the first step to lead your customers on the path to you. Want more more inspiration on how to improve your marketing results? Check out our quick-start guide to inbound marketing for technology companies today.

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