There is quite a bit of confusion about the difference between a landing page and a lead capture page. A lead capture page is NOT the same as a landing page. For the sake of this article I will be talking about lead capture pages, NOT longer form copy for micro sites and landing pages that sell a product. Why?
Why A Lead Capture Page Is Important
For most websites the lead capture page is the starting point, or at least it should be. You send prospects to a lead capture page, from any and all forms of traffic building: Articles, pay per click ads, SEO links, etc. You should always send them to a lead capture page first, to make it easy for them to respond. If you try to send them to a long form sales letter page before they have responded you will get much lower response. The lead capture page is designed to do ONE thing. Capture a lead. That's all. If you try to make a sale at the same point, you will likely lose the lead. They won't enter their contact information.
What You Need For An Effective Lead Capture Page
In order to effectively capture the lead a few things need to happen: Make sure that the first part of the copy on your landing page exactly matches the promise from the source that drove them to that page. For example, if the link in your article promises a free report titled XYZ - make sure that the landing page matches that. You would be surprised how often marketers describe and offér something specific and then have it lead to a landing page that's slightly different. This causes the reader to disconnect, making it less likely for them to enter their information.
The value exchange must be crystal clear to the prospect. What exactly will they be getting in exchange for providing their contact information? Even if you are giving them free content, you must still sell them on the value of the content. You must clearly express privacy issues. Let them know they won't get bombarded with a zillion emails from you. And then keep your promise. Nothing is worse than signing up to get a free report, and then getting an email every single day that's pure selling and zero content.
Be concise. This is not the place to get into long-winded copy. Prospects are busy. It's so easy to click off the page, without entering the required information. So stay on point. Say exactly what you need to say to get them to respond. Nothing more. Nothing less. Don't ask for too much information. Keep it simple. Name and email address. I've seen lead capture pages that ask for seven different pieces of information. The more you ask of them, the less likely they will fill the form out. Once you lose them, you've probably lost them forever.
How To Build A Relationship With Your Prospect
Use a lead capture page to start to build a relationship with the prospect. Let them know what they are in for with you. Tell them how often they will hear from you. Tell them what additional type of content they will be receiving. If they are receiving a specific 7-day course, tell them that. If it is a sporadically published ezine, tell them that. If it's just a free report, with no followup (bad idea) tell them that.
Write To Sell, DON'T Write For The Search Engines
Focus on copywriting that sells, NOT on SEO keyword copy. Use sales structure like AIDA: Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. This is NOT the place to worry about using the correct keywords. That is irrelevant. You aren't looking for SEO placement. This is all about sales. You are looking for one person at a time to respond to your ad.
A headline that captures the essence of your proposal, some benefit driven bullets, and maybe a few paragraphs of compelling reasons why they made the right choice signing up. Probably less is more. Most important is to reassure them they've made the right decision by choosing to trust you.
What Elements To Test With Lead Capture Pages
Testing is important as with any marketing. Perhaps the most important variable to test is the title of the free thing you are giving them to sign up. Test different titles/headlines and test different content topics/themes. You'll probably find that one specific combination resonates much better with your target market.
With lead capture pages it's not so much about doing something to persuade them to act, it's more about NOT saying something that will cause them to flee. If you've done your job with your traffic generation, you've already pre-sold them either via your content, your ads, or some other way. Although, you can use the page as a mechanism to screen out those who you DON'T want to sign up. Include specific language to attract your target market, and specific language to repel those who you don't want. Then you'll get the most targeted, qualified, leads.
Having A Good Call To Action Is Critical
Most important of all is the call to action. Your lead capture page must ask for the reader to take a specific action. Don't assume they will automatically fill the form out, just because they clicked there. Tell them exactly what to do to get what you promised them.
The better you are at writing effective lead capture pages the more leads you will capture. And the more leads you get the more you can ultimately convert to sales. If you follow these simple guidelines your lead capture page will get more qualified leads to sign up - and ultimately purchase more from you.