Online lead generation is one of those things that is easy to do poorly and more complicated to do well. Sure, if you have a very compelling product or service offering and a highly motivated visitor base, collecting leads online is simple (at least, in theory). But most lead generation sites operate in a competitive environment in which website visitors have a lot of choice and probably a healthy dose of skepticism. Nobody wants to be spammed or badgered by relentless sales calls after filling out a form, and this concern makes many people think twice before giving out their contact information to a company they don't know.
With rising concerns about privacy coupled with an ever-increasing competitive environment, the deck is stacked against any company trying to collect valid, qualified leads online. If you're feeling defeated, try these three simple steps for improving the effectiveness of your lead generation landing pages.
Focus on Your Call-to-Action (CTA)
There are three common CTA-related problems that affect lead capture pages: lack of a CTA, unclear CTAs due to lack of visual prioritization, and the main CTA not getting enough attention because of competing CTAs or visual clutter.
Use these tips to overcome these problems and increase the chances of your visitor responding to your call to action:
- Use a simple page layout that places visual importance on the call to action. There should not be any competing graphics on the page unless they directly support your call to action. For example, if your call to action offers an e-book, you could have a picture of the e-book near the form to draw attention toward the call to action.
- Match the headline of the lead capture page to the call to action, creating a one-two messaging punch that leaves no doubt in the visitor's mind as to what the page is offering.
- Remove unnecessary page distractions including the navigation. The worst thing for a call to action is to have to compete with multiple other link options elsewhere on the page. Consider making your CTA the only actionable element on the page.
Affordable-Home-Insurance.org’s CTA button stands out from the rest of the page, and immediately grabs the visitor’s attention.
Remember that pictures of human faces will get attention, but that this could easily work against your call to action. If you must use a picture of a person, be sure the person's eyes are gazing toward your call to action. If the person in the photo is gazing straight out at the visitor, or off the page, the photo will cause a strong visual distraction away from your CTA.
MR Insurance Consultants' photo of a woman gazing toward the form directs the visitor's attention to the CTA area.
Reduce the Amount of Text on the Page
Very few people actually read on the Web. Most people want to arrive at a page and with a quick glimpse be able to tell whether the page is relevant to their needs. So instead of presenting a lot of text in paragraph form (which can be a visual turn-off), rewrite your content using:
- Bullet points
- Bite-size sub-headings that categorize the content
- Clickable areas like buttons and links that users can use to drilldown for deeper information
Cut back on the text by getting rid half of what you originally had and removing adjectives that can’t be substantiated factually. Most readers will disregard those words anyway.
Shorten the Form (or at Least Make It Appear Short)
The first question to ask when creating a form is this: What is the minimum amount of information I need from this visitor in order to know if he/she is an appropriate lead? If you are enticing the form-fill by offering some sort of asset (e.g. a whitepaper or buying guide), the amount of information you ask from the customer should be commensurate to what you’re giving them. Most people will not think it’s worth providing a lot of personal information just to get a whitepaper, but on the other hand if you are offering them home mortgage rates or quotes on health insurance, they will understand the need to provide pretty specific information.
U-HAUL and PODS are both in the moving and storage business, yet the former asks for very little information. U-HAUL’s form looks easier and less invasive by asking only for essential information.
In most cases, if the form is shorter, then the conversion rate is higher. But this isn't always true. If you have enough traffic, you should carefully test the addition of any field before making permanent changes to your form. If adding a field is costing you conversions, you'll need to decide if the trade-off is acceptable to your company. You may be surprised to find that the sales team that simply couldn't survive without certain information will back off from their position when they start getting more leads into their pipeline.
A good rule of thumb when designing your form is to imagine talking to the prospective customer in real life. In the real world, you wouldn’t be comfortable asking for too much information too early in the conversation, so follow that same etiquette online.
If a lot of information is necessary, experiment with staging the form in different ways. Consider dividing the form into separate screens or a lightbox pop-over sequence (e.g. one screen for contact information, another screen for personal information, and so on).
Boring and Short Work in Lead Gen
All these tips follow a single critical theme: less is more. Optimize your lead capture page by simplifying the page headline and text, clarifying and streamlining the call to action (and form), and reducing visual distractions. Remove extraneous words and graphics and focus on what's important - the offer, and the form. It may sound boring, but when it comes to lead capture forms, it works.
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