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Instead, follow these 15 steps and create a high performance landing page designed specifically for gathering leads. Read on and learn how to build the ultimate lead capture form, an example of which will be uncovered right at the end. Prospects: This is the purest form of lead capture, where you are chasing entirely new prospects through the use of content marketing.
Lead form tip: If you are marketing to customers or leads, pre-populate as many of your lead capture landing page form fields as you can, to reduce the friction involved in filling out the form, and to create a sense of personalization.
Having established your target audience, you need to figure out what to offer them in order to get their important personal or business data. There is a ton of digital content you can give away, first we’ll list them, then explain how they should be used differently for prospects, leads and customers.
Crucial to your success with lead gen is to balance the reward (the size of the prize) with the friction involved in getting it. Note, you could ask for a lot more if you want to, but realistically, an email is all you really need for most things.
Form tip: Scale how much information you ask from prospect, lead, customer (prospect being the least, and customer the most).
Message match is the term used to describe the connection between the call-to-action (CTA) of an advertisement and the headline of the destination page.
The human factor: When someone clicks a CTA they have a level of intent that must be matched when they arrive at their destination.
Here’s an example from an Unbounce banner CTA that sits at the end of our blog posts. Always pay close attention to your message and you’ll increase your conversion rates by virtue of more people staying on a page they asked to visit. Trust is key to making people believe you won’t be spamming them after getting your email. Registrant count: If you are running a webinar, list the number of registrants to encourage a herd mentality (if that many people are going, it must be good). Share count: Showing the social share numbers shows how many people find your content valuable enough to tell others about it. Testimonials: Customer testimonials show that others have made the effort to report back on the quality of your content. Customer logos: If you have an impressive client list, take advantage of this by prominently showing them on your page. Past content examples: If you are asking someone to sign up for a newsletter, show them an archived example so they know what they are signing up for.
Your opening paragraph should be a short and succinct extension of your headline, which serves as an introduction to some bullet points (coming up next) describing the product or service you’re promoting. Join us at 2pm EST for a special webinar about lead gen landing pages, featuring [insert star name], hosted by [insert another star name]. The star power and time limited component give it a persuasive edge, while the details and bullet points give it the descriptive clarity it needs to answer your questions and convince you of the benefits of attending. Following directly from the last point (no pun intended), given how little time most people spend on most pages – you have maybe 5 seconds to garner their interest. Ecourse: A personal video describing what the course is about is typical, and most likely the most persuasive method. Slide presentation: An embedded Slideshare or lightbox gallery presentation with a sample of the full version is a great idea here.
Online product demo: A video showing the context of use (the product in action) is the best way to showcase a product. Notice how each of the examples uses only the required information in the form, uses a short intro paragraph, bullet points and relevant images.
To make it more actionable, use persuasive copy, that has some urgency or benefit statements in it.
The key to creating a sense of urgency is to create the illusion of a pain point in the mind of the visitor to your page. Amazon preys on the fear of not getting Christmas presents delivered on time (who wants crying kids on Christmas morning?) They do this by helpfully telling you the last day that you should order to guarantee delivery by the date in question. I have no idea if there is actually one seat left, or if this is just a ply to encourage bookings.
If you are running a webinar, you can increase both the urgency and exclusivity of the session by stating how many virtual seats are still available.
Essentially, anything you can do to create a scenario of urgency through utilizing a pain point, you’ll increase your lead gen form conversions. CCD is a discipline targeted specifically at achieving the goals of a business, from the standpoint that the primary purpose of any page is to guide the visitor toward one specific action.
In the examples following, we take a basic lead capture landing page, and transform it using 3 of the core principles of CCD: encapsulation, color contrast, and directional cues.
Using encapsulation: Notice how the form stands out more in the version on the right, due to the use of an encapsulation container. Here the ad that was clicked should be a very close match to the headline as discussed in step #5. The form area shows all of the conversion centered design principles describe in the last step.
Here’s a good example of an ebook download landing page with some of these principles in action. Despite having a well targeted and relevant reward on your page, you could be generating more paying customers from your prospects – and I’m going to show you how. It’s important to think about what will happen after you generate a new lead, and what you want them to do now that you have their attention. The lead generation confirmation page could be considered the digital equivalent of a supermarket candy shelf. Social: Ask them to follow you on a social media network (Twitter, Facebook) – or share your page.
Invite them to a webinar: Make sure the subject matter is closely related to the goals of the leads you’re capturing – and of the landing page they were just on.
Ask them to subscribe to a newsletter: Newsletters (or a drip campaign if you want to push them through a progressive story arc) are a powerful permission marketing tool that keeps you in your leads stream of consciousness for an extended period of time.
Before you start designing your page, you should grab a marker and use a whiteboard to lay out a wireframe for your page. Before you run the tests I’ll mention below, make sure your wireframe is quite detailed and includes some real copy and some CCD elements such as color and contrast etc.
This is a fun one to do with a whiteboard (or piece of paper hanging on the wall if you decided to sketch it that way or printed out a page from a wireframing tool like Balsamiq. For this one, you need to stand 6ft away from the sketch and see what the most dominant areas on the page are. Before you know why you are going to run a test, you need to get some actionable insight into what could make your test effective.
Use services like Qualaroo to add a survey to your pages to ask people questions about their experience. Using live chat on your pages so that you can talk to people at the point of conversion and figure out why they are sitting on the fence, or what they need to become a converted customer.
Connect heatmap software like Crazy Egg to your page to see where the most clicked and focused areas of the page are. The statistical significance of the experiment should be over 95% to remove the potential that your results are based on chance. There are a lot of feedback mechanisms listed above – all of which are effective, but armed with the data from these techniques, you will be tempted to go it alone and try to figure out how to implement change.
Draw a giant version of your landing page on a whiteboard (or just print it out as big as you can). Write down a list of the primary page elements that could be tested to start the process with. Once you have exhausted all of the ideas, have everyone come and vote (by checking a stickie) on their top 3 ideas.
As a result of a session like this, imagine our example from earlier, modified based on the principles we’ve learned along the way and the ideas gathered from a group brainstorm. I love these posts which point out the elements which help CRO, plus the diagrams giving an insight into where they should be positioned.
This is 10 teeny tiny thumbnails of the soon to be heretofore thought of as the greatest landing pages ever seen on November 23rd, 2010.
And that’s exactly what your visitors do when your design sucks, you have a video auto-playing with no mute button, there are no indicators of trust or security, the form has a million fields and the testimonials look like you wrote them yourself.
Soooooooo, today we’re going to take a trip down to the Top-Notch Landing Page Store and see if we can rustle up something to inspire your next design. Each of the following pages exhibits excellent qualities of conversion centered design, but most of them also do a couple of things wrong.
Even with a clean and conversion oriented design, many pages still commit the cardinal sin of providing outbound links that aren’t part of the conversion funnel.
The links at the bottom of the page still go to external microsites (click the image to see the full screenshot). Social proof in the context of landing pages refers to the idea that your visitors will be influenced positively (although there can be negative effects) by showing evidence of others participating in the use of your product or service.


I was a little underwhelmed when the next page was a blog, rather than a continuation of a marketing experience, so I’d do something more engaging at that point. They have used geo-targeted segmentation to set up my location, and are presenting a big bold value proposition statement (50%-90% off) to get me interested. Simple forms: In step 2 (the lead gen portion), they ask for your email address only, reducing the barrier to entry to a bare minimum. It pains me to repeat the same thing over and over, but the call to action on your buttons is REALLY IMPORTANT. It tells a simple story: As a click through page, it provides enough information and interest to warm up visitors and encourage them to continue down the intended conversion path. This is the modern apple-esque equivalent of the old-school long sales letter landing page. The price and call to action to buy the app are nicely positioned above the fold, leaving you to explore the page knowing how to interact when you are ready. Proof of concept: The photo gallery at the end caps it off nicely by showing that you can take great photos with this app.
The reviews beneath the phone are highlighted in red, making them the most important visual aspect of the first screen. Despite how much this looks like a standalone landing page, it’s actually their main pricing page. Trust and credibility: The Verisign symbol is placed next to the purchase button and the grouping of worldwide brand names directly below helps to reinforce the value of the product.
Attention to different reading styles: There is a nice mix of bullet points, coupled with detailed descriptions for those who need to dig deeper. Would love to know how this converts in comparison to a similar page that had the regular global navigation and footer distractions. As one of the world’s biggest newspapers, they clearly need to keep up with the times when it comes to marketing. It’s a great video that really demonstrates the power that video has to tell a story.
Like I said at the start, I don’t want to link to the campaign page, to prevent skewing the stats just for editorial purposes. If you have other great examples of landing pages or have any questions, please jump into the comments.
I just thought Group On page was very generic and can?t convert well depending on the users intents when landing there. It does give you a complete registration form at the 3rd step so they do lose a bit of their street cred for simplicity. I think the Theme Forest ones (and the ones we provide) are a great way to get started when you don’t have a designer. The Theme Forest ones are nice, and if you biught one of them, you could re-create the page inside Unbounce (either by chopping up the PSD) or getting an HTML version that has pre-chopped images and just importing them and laying it out in Unbounce.
Do you think they started off from scratch, or have they bought any of the templates that you can buy? I think most of them will have internal design teams or design agencies that they pay to do this kind of thing.
If you are working on a smaller scale (most of our customers are SMB) – then starting with one of our templates is an easy way to get going. I notice that all the links in your nice piece here open external sites in the same tab, thus removing viewers from your page.
If this were a promotion specific landing page I would open them in lightbox modal windows most likely.
Here the links are more there as a thank you to the owners of the content rather than a place to drive readers as they go to their main homepages (for the most part) rather than the landing page in question (to protect their conversion stats). I prefer opening a link in a new tab because that way when a person ventures off down the internet rabbit hole and gets distracted, they don’t lose the original place they started from which can happen when you have tons of tabs open and click through many links in one session.
The biggest turn off to building your own landing page is the time it takes, but mostly because so many people don’t know how, or even where to start. This post will be the first of many, and will provide you with many different ways that you can start creating landing pages without having to stress out and master the arts of web design. You can click here to read the landing page post, or simply follow along with the screenshots below. The first screenshot we have below is the simple landing page I created, which is one of the files included in the download. After taking some time to select an offer you would like to promote, then filling in the landing page template with your desired information, you may end up with something like the result below. Please feel free to leave any comments or recommendations for other landing page design work in the comments section below.
They tested different types of media in the main content area of the page and found that all of the videos did worse than all of the images. Well, if you assume this improvement stayed roughly consistent through the rest of the campaign, then we can look at the total numbers at the end of the campaign and determine the difference this one experiment had. Sending email to people who signed up on our splash page and asking them to volunteer typically converted 10% of them into volunteers. Each email address that was submitted through our splash page ended up donating an average of $21 during the length of the campaign. Ross is a UX and interaction designer, product leader, and expert at drinking cervezas and lifting heavy objects. Designed and coded with my own two hands, lots of heart, some Woodchuck apple cider, Wordpress, the lovely Raleway font, and the 1140 grid. Sometimes a customer is inactive so your goal is reengagement, through exposure to new content or product demos that may turn them from a fence sitter back into a real customer.
Perhaps you get them to register for an e-course using autoresponders to drip content into their inboxes, slowly building a rapport that eventually moves from a soft sell content marketing strategy, to a request to sign up (potentially with a special offer). They need a softer sell, usually educational material that doesn’t push your product, like an ebook. Your goals here are to keep active customers happy with instructional material that makes their life easier, and then re-engage your inactive customers with special offers, and updates on new features that could reactivate them. List each session as beginner, intermediate or advance – much like you would with a yoga calendar.
Ideally, you would test this to find out what number of fields converts the best, while still getting the data you need to successfully segment and re-market to them in the future. For example if they clicked on an ad for used pickup trucks, and they arrived at the homepage of a used car business where there was no direct mention of pickup trucks. If you are doing paid advertising such as Google AdWords, there is a bot that reads your target page to see if there is a connection to the keywords in the ad. Read the text on the button, as this will be the last thing in the mind of a visitor when they click it. The best place to put this is on your confirmation page when they’ve already expressed interest. The best kind are video testimonials, followed by written ones with a photo and official title. Most of this is done via your headline grabbing their attention, but assuming this has already happened, you need to dig into some simple benefit statements rather than ramble on in a long paragraph like this one.
To understand how this works, let’s first look at a couple of examples from the world of ecommerce. Looking at the best flight for your journey and seeing that there are only 2 seats left is a great way to add urgency to the booking process. This will increase the number of downloads before the date you choose – which of course can be continuously extended. It’s an approach that uses persuasion and psychological devices to convince a visitor to convert.
This is most often done simply by placing the form in a containing box to provide a contrasting background. By taking the previous version and adding some extra visual persuasion to the form, the first arrow brings your attention from the introductory copy to the form header (which as described above, should contain the description of the purpose of your form) and a second arrow from the form header down to the CTA. It’s a concept based on the primary elements a successful lead gen page requires to be effective.
A good addition to this would be a preview of the ebook to let the visitor know what they are going to download. You want to take advantage of that magic moment directly after the customer says “Yes, I like you” to keep them in your sphere of influence while they’re “in the mood”. Admit it, you’ve fallen victim to those shelves of sweet goodness stacked by the checkout as you wait in line – aimlessly throwing crap you don’t need into your basket. The confirmation page is a good time to ask if someone would like to participate if you can automatically transfer their details to the new newsletter email list without asking for more data.
There are a couple of reasons for this: it saves you design time, by getting the layout right before you start building a page you might need to deconstruct and re-build, it also allows you to run a few initial tests using your sketch. Get a lineup of people who’ve not seen the page before, and one at a time, position them right in front of the page with their eyes closed. If the CTA doesn’t stand out enough, you should consider adding more contrast, size and some whitespace around it.
But first you need to publish it and start driving traffic to it (from PPC, social, email, display etc.).


This is where a test hypothesis comes in – a statement of what you are going to test and your theory behind why it will be a success. This is a measure of confidence that your experiment is valid and can be ended, knowing that the results are trustworthy. This will work most of the time, but having more than one opinion is a great way to establish new ideas and priorities. For each idea, they must write it down on a stickie and verbalize the idea as it’s passed to you (as the facilitator) and stuck on the page in the relevant position. Rather, I’m going to cling to the assumption that it sucks simply because most of them do. If you’re looking anywhere for design inspiration for lead capture forms, this is a good place to start. To get around this they’ve placed a directional cue (arrow) at the top of the form to point the way to the action area below.
This keeps visitors on the landing page instead of wandering off onto another page – and away from your conversion goal. This can be presented via counters showing your social followers (Twitter, Facebook etc.), and testimonials that describe the emotional reaction to your offering from real world customers. Instead of showing people following or registered for the conference, they are showing the photos and names of a huge collection of famous players in the marketing industry.
Here, they’ve added a Twitter sharing button to help visitors spread the word on their behalf.
But there’s no denying that the click through rate of this landing page would be very high. The progress indicator below the form lets you know that there are 3 steps and where you are in the process. The imagery indicates alcohol which might be why I agreed to enter my email, but some qualification of the offer details would be good. The branding is so powerful in this case that it can be safely relegated to the bottom of the page. Any doubt in the visitors mind as to what will happen can lead to little leaks in confidence.
You’ve probably seen the less trustworthy ones before, where the writer uses reams of ultra persuasive copy to convince you that, despite being an average Joe, they have managed to build an online internet business that prints money. The target customer already has an iPhone, so they are used to seeing beautiful design with apps placed in context with their intended use. Professional photographers that just want a cool app for their phone will find this convincing. While I would normally recommend the CTA get this level of attention, it really pushes you towards what is often the swing vote in a purchase – what other people say.
They’ve taken conversion design principles and applied them directly to the most important page on the site. Coupled with the name and company name, you’d be able to verify that these are real business people quite easily. However, the video from this landing page is freely available on YouTube, which as I mentioned earlier, is a great re-use of campaign content to help your organic rankings. If you see it in action its quite nice too as the forms for each stage just scroll in from the side. I’m actually about to release a product in the next few months and need to create a solid landing page. Yeah, it’s hard work finding the good ones, but when you do it can make everything very clear for people.
I like UPS lander, but instead of the text I would place opt-in box next to the video player, and not bottom left. Obviously it’s a random sample but it will be an interesting ration to keep tabs on to see if it climbs as awareness of video effectiveness grows. Just going to prove that what we learn each day is that we’ll never know it all, but instead can find satisfaction in our attempts. Most of these would have been designed and put online by marketing professionals, so do you have any hints and tips for those of us who doing this for ourselves rather than a big multinational? Then if you want to step it up a bit, I’d recommend 99designs to get a really great design for your page. Some like external links to open in a new tab, some in the same (so that they can go back rather than close). So many affiliates will want to direct link campaigns, just because it is easier and saves time, but in the end, creating a landing page allows you to target any niche audience and pre-sell them before hitting your actual offer. Over the next several weeks, I will be creating a series of landing page template related posts which will review different ways for you to build your own landing pages. Everything is already laid out for you and you just need to put in the necessary text and content to match any ad campaign. Sometimes the best looking landing pages will bomb, while ugly pages turn in the best profit.
We used Google Website Optimizer and ran this as a full-factorial multivariate test which is just a fancy way of saying we tested all the combinations of buttons and media against each other at the same time. That means an additional 2,880,000 email addresses translated into 288,000 more volunteers. The additional 2,880,000 email addresses on our email list translated into an additional $60 million in donations. Typically the very minimum a prospect, lead or customer will have to part with is an email address (covered in step #3). As such they should be receiving content with signup CTAs and links to register for product demos. And remember to inform people on your landing pages that they will receive a recording of the webinar the next day if they are unable to attend – this will increase registration significantly. Immediately the message match has been broken and they will feel like they have made a bad click. In the previous example, you’d get a lower Google Quality Score for your ad, and consequently a higher price for your ad. If you’ve been lucky enough to have been mentioned in big publications or on TV, make sure to show off. If you can turn your text into about 3-5 bullet points each explaining why they should fill in your form, then your lead gen page will be more effective.
We just talked about message match, so you should understand the importance of a descriptive CTA.
Note that they only do this when there are a couple of seats left – not when there are 200 left.
Landing pages sit at the heart of CCD, used to focus the attention of a prospect toward a single objective or conversion goal. Essentially, it acts like a checklist of the important elements already discussed, as a reminder that to be really conversion focused, you need to create a page with all of these aspects working in concert together.
You can do this by focussing their attention on the first thing they see after submitting your lead gen form – the confirmation page. Use only a single link for this and send them to a “Greatest Hits” or “Top 10” list page that shows off the very best content and information you have to offer. Similarly, if the headline is buried, apply the same concepts to make it more easily readable. Sorry Webtrends, as much as I love you, this is a rookie mistake that should never be repeated.
You can see what I’m talking about on one of the Unbounce contest landing pages (click the contest rules link near the bottom to see the modal window). Best of all, this was all done through a simple HTML editor, no need for photoshop or programmer skills.
Since we had four buttons and six different media that meant we had 24 (4 x 6) total combinations to test. If we hadn’t run this experiment and just stuck with the original page that number would be closer to 7,120,000 signups.
The end result of this is that they either get lost trying to find what they came for, or ,ore likely they just hit the back button and leave. The header should contain pertinent information that describes what you are getting by submitting the form, and the benefit of doing so. It’s becoming increasingly common (for good reason) to include testimonials on pricing pages.
Every visitor to the splash page was randomly shown one of these combinations and we tracked whether they signed up or not.
Video marketing specialists Turn Here highlight good conversion improvement numbers and the side benefit that properly optimized video can be 53 times more likely to reach the front page of Google search results.



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