Landing Page Marketing - Page and Webform Design
In B2B marketing, the primary method of collecting inquiries and new leads today is the dedicated landing page and web form. It is used primarily for collection of contact information. The prospect/buyer completes the form to receive some information, usually a white paper, or to have someone from the company contact them. The response form is the #1 device for collecting this data. To be successful in landing page and form design, there are certain conventions and practices that you must follow. You need to devote resources to design, copywriting, offer development, testing, and metrics.
Whether they are self-directed or directed by an email or other form of advertisement, the goal in most B2B marketing today is to drive them, the prospect, to a form which is used to develop leads or provide the initial qualification of the prospect based on the information requested on the form.
Before designing this form, you as the marketer need to decide what you're trying to accomplish. Do you want lots of inquiries so you can add them up and tell the world how successful you are? "We have over 2,000,000 followers." Might be the right idea for a B2B web publisher or blogger that wants to sell a lot of ad space, get invited to speak at conferences, and possibly generate income renting those names and the data collected on them. Or do you want highly qualified inquiries that are your definite target audience and potential buyers that meet all of your buyer qualification characteristics? You need to decide what information you absolutely need to collect to achieve that goal, whatever it is. Remember, the more information you ask for the lower the response rate will be. But, it's also true that the more information you ask for, the more likely you are going to get a legitimate and better quality inquiry.
Creating the Effective Landing Page
A “landing page” is a specialized page that visitors are directed to once they've clicked on a link in an email, advertisement, SMS text message, or on another web page. They can even be directed to this link via non digital media such as broadcast and print media. The page is usually tightly focused on a particular product or service with the aim of getting the visitor to buy or take some form of action rapidly that will ultimately lead to a sale.
Many landing page strategies are relevant to all pages of your site and are worthwhile considering in general page writing and development. You can also consider every page of your website a “landing page” or “home page.” Readers who use search engines do not land at your “home page” for the most part. The search term they enter may take them to number of pages on your site based on the term they entered.
There are two schools of thought when creating a landing page. You can either have the landing page dedicated to one offer and nothing else, or you use the landing page as a gateway to access other areas on your website in case the reader isn’t interested in the primary offer. You should determine the best way to go through experimentation and testing. But if you’re using your email message, blog post, or PPC advertising to drive readers to a specific offer, then creating a dedicated page with little mention of anything else is the best strategy. Email and PPC ads are usually very targeted, so traffic from these sources will be quite focused.
There a few questions that you need to ask yourself when creating a landing page:
- What are you offering?
- Who do you wish to appeal to?
- Why would they be interested in your offer?
- What do they need to do to participate/purchase?
The landing page should summarize your offer and all of the content relative to the product/service you are offering. The goal of the landing page is to get the visitor to do something. You want to have them take some sort of action rapidly so you can follow up with them later and continue and expand the engagement process. Your landing page will require a “call to action.” A “call to action” tells the visitor what they need to do next to receive whatever it is you’re offering. It may be a "download now!”, purchase today!", "buy now, limited offer!" or "subscribe now!" The “call to action” should be repeated throughout the landing page and easy viewable by the reader. Your “call to action” can be linked to a form on the page, to another page, or to an order page.
You have several types of forms that you can use on a landing page:
- The limited information form (e.g., email address)
- The complete information form(e.g., all contact and company information)
- The form that is linked to immediate gratification – a download
- The form that requires a valid email address for the download link to be sent to the prospect
- The form that requires the prospects phone number
How many form fields should you have? Have as many as you need to get the quality of inquiries that you want for your campaign. Remember the issue is not quantity, the issue is quality.
Validating Form Data
“Garbage in, is garbage out,” (the oldest axiom in the data business). Trying to get valid information on a form is one of the hardest things to do in marketing today. How do you guard against this bad data without demanding so much information on the form that you end up cutting responses and cutting out potential legitimate leads? Requiring a certain amount of information on a form eliminates non qualified prospects. But, if too much information is requested and required on the form, the prospect, even a qualified one may chose not to complete the form.
When validating the information on the form, you have three choices – 1) non validation 2) validation via email, and 3) validation via phone.
Do you validate the information or not before you respond to the inquiry? An example of this would be sending an email to validate the requestor’s email address, with a link to a download URL for the requested information embedded in the message. This kind of validation will also impact and reduce your response rates. But, it won’t completely eliminate unqualified responders. Non validated forms have the potential to generate a lot of garbage information; even validated forms don’t guarantee the information provided on the forms.
If the form / landing page is directly tied to another promotion such as an outbound email campaign, then validating the respondent that enters your data base is usually not a problem. If the respondent is self-directed and found your landing page / form as a result of a search or just browsing, or saw you offer on FB, validation of prospect information becomes a real problem. Forms that are open to the world in general should request additional contact and qualification information.
Offering multiple forms and offers as entrances to your buyer qualification process really complicates the process of acquiring and qualifying leads. As part of your strategy, you offer multiple downloads – via multiple forms and landing pages.
- You can complicate the process by requiring different levels of qualification on different forms to receive different offers. On one form, you may require name, address and phone number and on another form just name and email address.
- The information the respondent provides on these forms can also complicate the qualification process. For example on one form, the respondent may use a first initial with their last name. On another they may enter their full name. How do you the marketer know that these forms have been filled out by the same person? You don’t unless you do outbound calling to verify information on the form.
So what do you ask for on the form? You should ask for enough information to eliminate any requestor who is not involved in directly influencing or participating in the buying process and those that are not interested in your product at all. You need to keep in mind that even doing this will not remove all non influencers or non buyers. People will provide false information to get access to content that requires filling out a form. You don’t want your sales team calling Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse or real people who don’t really have a need or an interest in your product. It makes for unhappy sales personnel that start cherry picking leads and eventually stop working any marketing generated leads.
As a rule, remember that the more information you ask for about the buyer and their organization on the form, the lower your response rate will be. A lower response rate may mean that you get better qualified leads based on the fact that they have provided more information about themselves and their organization, but there is no guarantee.
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