15 min read
Lead generation landing pages are the superstar sales team for your online business.
Even while you're sleeping, they're out there beating the pavement 24/7, drumming up leads and growing your audience.
It isn't an easy job, either. Your landing page has to effectively perform the entire sales process in only a few seconds, grabbing visitors' attention and convincing them to sign up for your offer.
That's a lot to ask of one little web page.
Lead generation landing pages are easy to attempt but difficult to perfect. Pouring all your creative energy into crafting a superb landing page, only to watch your hard-earned visitors leave without signing up, can be pretty demoralizing.
Success requires walking a fine line between getting the information you need and overwhelming potential leads. Every element needs to work seamlessly to convert visitors into subscribers.
Fortunately, improving your lead generation landing pages and optimizing your conversion rate isn't difficult. Let's take a look at some simple conversion rate tips we've found that can help you create better landing pages and boost your conversions.
Landing pages tend to come in two primary flavors:
Click-through landing pages are designed to “warm-up” or qualify visitors before they buy a product or subscribe to a service. Click-through landing pages come in all shapes and sizes. Blog posts, white papers, product descriptions, and case studies all work well as click-through landing pages.
Lead generation landing pages, on the other hand, are single-purpose pages where you give something valuable away for free—like an ebook, newsletter, email course, or worksheet—in exchange for visitors' contact information.
The point of your lead generation landing pages isn't to close any deals.
That'd be like me asking for your hand in marriage 10 minutes into the first date. Thanks, but no thanks.
You might not be asking visitors to pull out their wallets quite yet, but you are asking them to make a “transaction.” But instead of trading money for products, they're swapping their valuable contact details (and permission to follow up later) for the information you're offering.
That initial “transaction” is a vital part of the sales process for many businesses. For consultants, coaches, course creators, and other high-value products and services, generating and nurturing leads is a crucial part of the sales process.
No leads, no sales.
Now that you know why lead generation landing pages are so important, let's dive into some practical tips for boosting your conversion rates.
No matter what kind of online business you run, the core elements of every landing page are the same. Here’s what landing page wizard and VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective Aaron Orendorff has to say:
The industry doesn’t really matter. What matters is that your landing page is written directly to real people with real problems in search of real solutions.
At the end of the day, people are people. We all have universal desires as well as universal fears. It’s always about finding the pain — the hell — your audience is experiencing (right now). Leaning into that pain. Bringing it to life. And then delivering your solution as the answer — the heaven.
So being real with your target audience is the key to unlocking more conversions. What does that look like in practice?
You should design every landing page with a single goal in mind. The goal you choose is crucial—it should be the smallest possible step that visitors could take down the path to becoming a customer or client.
Some common goals you might choose for your landing page:
Every single element on the page should have a role to play in moving visitors closer to achieving that goal. That means removing any potential distractions, alternate paths, and secondary CTAs.
Navigation and outside links should all be left off your landing pages. These options all give users an easy chance to leave your landing page without converting, so they should be left off your landing pages.
Heat mapping software Crazy Egg's landing page does a great job of guiding visitors toward their goal of creating their first heat map. Visitors have only one option, and that's to enter their website URL to generate their first heat map and create their account.
Apart from creating their first heatmap (and perhaps enjoying the delightful illustrations), there's nothing else visitors can do on the landing page. Simplicity is the key to improving conversions.
Once someone hits your landing page, you have only about 15 seconds to grab their attention and let them know whether you're offering what they need. Your landing page headline needs to let readers know how your offer will benefit them immediately.
While writing attention-grabbing headlines might sound painful, it's not all that difficult. Landing page headlines tend to work best when you follow one of three principles:
Let's say you're a freelancer creating a landing page for a free email course that teaches other freelancers how to grow their client base. Based on our three headline principles, you might choose headlines like:
Each of these headlines would work well for the same product—pick your favorite one and try it out.
Check out our headline on the ConvertKit home page—it explains the benefits that customers get from the platform—growing their audience—without getting lost in the details of email marketing.
SEO tool Moz is another excellent example of a landing page headline, challenging visitors to up their SEO game by signing up for their software.
Great visuals instantly express what you're all about and build trust with visitors. It takes 2.6 seconds for a user's eyes to land on the area of a website that most influences their first impression. But, users spend an average of 5.94 seconds looking at a website's main image.
It's why so many online creators start their landing pages with high-quality, relevant visuals or photos. People buy from people, not companies. Starting your landing pages with a photo lets visitors put a face to your name, and makes them more likely to convert.
It's why Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income includes his photo and signature right in the middle of his home page.
Most landing page visitors won't give up their precious email address unless you're offering something of value in return. Offering a free lead magnet, like an email course, downloadable guide, or recorded webinar can help build trust with your visitors and increase conversion rates. Once they've signed up, you can then nurture subscribers and provide more value through your email sequences.
To choose a valuable lead magnet, start by doing some research to find out something people in your audience want or need. Start small—readers should be able to put your free information into action straight away. If you can't think of a topic idea, we have a whole collection of lead magnet ideas you can choose from. You can even create multiple lead magnets and test to see which is the most popular.
You can use ConvertKit to upload your lead magnet files and connect the corresponding email sequence to your landing page. That way, people who sign up on your landing page will automatically receive your lead magnet the minute they sign up, like this landing page from managed WordPress host Flywheel.
Offering multiple lead magnets can be a great option, but each landing page should offer just one incentive. Multiple offers on your landing page could decrease conversions by 266%, so remember: one landing page, one offer.
The debate about whether long landing pages are better than short pages has been raging for years.
There's no point in saying “long copy always beats short copy”… or “long copy doesn't work on me”… or “web users will only tolerate short copy”…
Rather, your page needs to be as long as is necessary to make the argument that will address the prospect in their state of awareness. If you don't know how aware they are, you need to find out in order to shape your argument.
Your body copy should talk directly to your ideal customer:
Time tracking app Noko's (formerly Freckle's) landing page has some killer copy. The headline speaks directly to their customers' biggest pain point—finding a time tracking app people want to use. The body copy speaks directly to their audience, explaining the problem (and the benefits customers see after solving that problem) before selling the software itself.
Check out Noko founder Amy Hoy's case study on how she improved conversions by 240% just by improving her landing page copy.
Just like your landing page copy, the signup form you use should depend on the goal of your landing page. Both long and short forms can perform equally well. The form length you choose should depend on whether you're looking to generate lots of potentially less-qualified leads, like for an email newsletter, or a small number of highly-qualified leads, such as webinar viewers or coaching calls.
Either way, avoid discouraging them from completing your form by only asking for the bare minimum information you need. Use dropdowns and checkboxes where you can, and make form fields optional to give visitors flexibility. Your form also needs to stand out from the rest of your design—use bold colors and contrast to make sure visitors don't ignore or miss your form.
Design tool InVision has an excellent form flow for their training webinars. Visitors first choose a date and time for the webinar they'd like to attend. Visitors are only shown the registration form after they select a time. The registration form is simple, consisting of three required fields for first and last names and email, as well as a handful of optional fields.
It's an elegant form, designed to maximize conversions.
Since online businesses often aren't able to interact with customers and clients in person, building strong relationships with your audience is hugely important. After all, trust means conversions, and conversions mean customers.
There are a few different tactics you can use to build trust on your lead generating landing pages. Social proof goes a long way—testimonials from audience members can help strengthen your messaging and prove your worth to new visitors. Adding a friendly photo thumbnail and name to the testimonial can also boost conversions, like these testimonials from customers of event planning service Bizzabo.
The language you use on your call-to-action button has a surprising effect (both good and bad) on your conversions. Your CTA button copy should relate to your audience—think about what your prospective leads would say or think, and use language they'll connect with. Try to avoid generic words like “Submit” or “Sign up”–instead, use trigger words like “you” or “my” to help increase conversions.
Expert copywriter and founder of CopyHackers, Joanna Wiebe, recommends thinking of CTAs not as a call to action, but instead as a call to value. While calls to action amplify the action of moving forward, calls to value emphasize the value a visitor will see by moving forward.
A call to value is best for people before they’ve decided to buy; it reinforces the value of the offering and works toward convincing the prospect.
A call to action is best for people once they’ve decided to buy; they already understand the value, so it’s time to stop selling and just make it as frictionless as possible for them to give you their email addy or credit card deets.
The action you offer on your CTA button might be “Download my free conversion guide,” but the value you’re offering to visitors is to “triple your subscribers with these free conversion rate tips,” so the CTA copy you test might read “Start growing your subscribers.”
Check out this landing page from online training site Treehouse. Their CTA button, “Claim Your Free Trial,” ticks all the right boxes. It's reader-focused, direct, and the word claim creates a sense of urgency.
Remember, your landing page is only the first step in your sales funnel. Once visitors sign up, make sure you're maximizing your conversions by nurturing leads through your email marketing.
For each new landing page you launch, it's worth taking a quick look at your marketing funnels. Check whether your emails are up to date, and make sure new subscribers are following the correct automation sequences.
Luckily, ConvertKit's landing page builder makes this step easy.
New landing page subscribers are seamlessly added to your mailing list. You can automatically tag and segment new subscribers entirely on autopilot. It's easy to add an incentive for new subscribers and connect it to your landing page or set up advanced visual automations to ensure new subscribers always get the right emails at precisely the right time.
Even the best copywriters and designers don't get their landing pages right the first time. And since you can't improve what you aren't measuring—every landing page should be set up to track conversions.
There are tons of different analytics tools out there you could choose from, but Google Analytics is the best choice for most online creators. Google Analytics is a powerful tool, and it's relatively easy to set up on your site. And if you're using our landing page builder, you can set up conversion tracking on your landing pages in only a few clicks.
Remember, analytics are only valuable if they help you make better decisions and improve your conversions. Tools like Optimizely, VWO or Google Optimize make it easy to split test (or A/B test) different variations of your landing page. You can change headlines, imagery, long versus short copy, and calls-to-action to see which combinations bring the most conversions.
Your lead generation landing pages might be superstar salespeople who work without rest, but improving their performance still isn't the easiest thing to do. It takes research, time, and experimentation (and sometimes a little luck) to create a lead generation landing page that converts.
But if you're patient and persistent the results are worth the effort. If you're looking to create better landing pages and convert more leads, ConvertKit's landing page builder is a great place to get started. And it's free!