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Building Landing Pages that Convert

By Ryan Nicholson

Apr 27, 2015

About 7 minutes

Landing Page Offers They Can't Refuse

Mafia Type Fellow who people don't say no toAlright, you’re probably thinking that your inbound marketing is nothing like the Corleone crime family made famous in The Godfather. Your inbound marketing likely doesn’t rely on extortion, bribery, or shady transactions. But optimizing landing page for lead generation starts with the form you put in front of customers and prospects because it's making an implicit offer, a quid pro quo of sorts. They enter in their contact information and in exchange, they get something of value.

When someone encounters these pages, they’re weighing all of these value factors almost without even thinking.

  • Time and Value: How long is this form?
  • Trust: Who am I giving my contact information to and what are they going to do with it? 
  • Availability: Is this information I can get somewhere else for free?
  • Content Value: What am I trading my contact information for?

Forms with great conversion rates make us consider this transaction with as little thought as possible. When there is content or offers that we desire, we'll gladly make this trade and we'll do it almost impulsively. While all of your visitors may not act on impulse and all of your content may not be highly compelling, the goal is to make the experience of that transaction as frictionless as possible.

Form Length:

Leave the contact information. Take the Content.

Form length matters to the site visitor. This is their trade to make and you've made your end of the deal obvious. If your form has 12 fields, your audience will experience much more friction and you can forget about an impulse conversion. Not only are you now making this potential future customer think about the time it takes to fill out your form, but they may also be weighing the value of the content compared to the time it takes to fill out the form AND the amount of information you’re asking for.


“It’s not personal, it’s strictly business.”

If you're an established brand and people know and trust you, it might be easier to get people to fill out forms. If you're unknown – especially if you're marketing to a new audience – then your page has to exude trust. Individuals are looking for signs from your page that you're trustworthy. Here are a few tips for conveying to your audience that they can trust their information with you:

  • Make sure that the path toward the content is in alignment. This means that the ad, email, social media copy, or the landing page and the content are closely connected. 
  • Pulling a bait-and-switch here can cost you the trust of the visitor.
  • Don’t cut corners here with spelling and grammar. Make sure you've done a proper QA of your pages and content.
  • Have a well-designed page. Your landing page that looks like you had your cousin's friend's sister design using tripod in 1998 won't cut it.


“Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.”

A keen understanding of your competition and their content offerings is one of the keys in establishing your content strategy and making sound decisions about how to distribute your content. If the information, answers, and offers you’re promoting can be easily acquired somewhere else with less friction than your current landing page, you need to call into question your need for the form at all. If your 30 minute consultation costs a visitor 5 minutes to fill out a form, but your competitor’s only costs them 30 seconds, then you’ve set yourself up for a loss. If your industry best practice tip sheet is behind a form on your site but is freely available on a competitor’s blog, then a savvy internet visitor will bypass the labor-intensive route for a much smoother one that doesn’t require their contact information.

Content Value:

“They Talk When They Should Listen”

Are you putting valuable content in front of your audience that you want them to read or are you giving your visitors information they want to see? Have you asked your prospects lately what kind of content they’re consuming in their buyer’s journey?

We all weigh the value of these transactions differently, but if your goal is to disseminate information and get someone to download content, you’ve got to make sure that that content provides valuable information or addresses a question that the visitor has been looking to solve. Entice your landing page visitors with unique content that is packaged nicely and provides them with something of value.

Consider your own experience with a form. You've been drawn into a landing page only to find that they're asking you to fill out a two page survey to receive the offer or content. You may be willing to do this if it involves an enticement or offer where you get something very direct in return (think $5 Starbucks card or a sleeve of your favorite brand of golf balls). However, you may not likely make the tradeoff if all they get after filling out your survey is information or follow up sales call!

Reflect on Your Landing Page

As a marketer who has put time and effort into creating the content and associated landing page, you'll need to remember these considerations on your end of the transaction:

  • How many fields do I require in exchange for this content?
  • What kind of people are coming to my page and where are they coming from?
  • How valuable is my content?
  • Can they get this information or offer somewhere else for less of a cost?

When Michael Corleone met with the fictional Senator Pat Geary in The Godfather II, the meeting ends contentiously with Michael famously telling the bribe soliciting Senator, "You can have my answer now if you'd like. My offer is this: nothing." Geary walks out of the meeting and is clearly amused by Michael's implication. There was no trade off, no deal was made.

Don’t let your hard-earned (and paid) traffic walk away from your landing pages just as easily. Give them avenues to convert and become leads. Make them offers they can’t refuse. Well-crafted landing pages and great content will go a long way in helping to turn site visitors into leads.

Fore more information on this topic check out my blog on how to drive traffic to your landing pages using Social Media.

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Tags: content marketing, Landing Page, web design