Striking a balance is a tricky thing. But it’s not just a task for gymnasts and tight-rope walkers to master. No matter your profession, we all make a living of compromise. Your work day might require careful planning in meetings and appointments––while remembering to take a lunch break for personal sanity. Or maybe you act as a liaison for clients, a supervisor, or a team of employees. In any of these situations, you’ll find yourself needing balance.
You know what else could use a test of the scales? Your landing pages.
There’s a definite difference in what many marketers would like to publish as a landing page and what a visitor wants to see. The former wants a landing page design to glean the visitor’s information, SEO-optimized language, and some catchy graphics. But the latter might prefer to receive the landing page's offer without releasing their personal information, everyday wording or abbreviation, and not to click away from the content they’re viewing. Modern marketers are using their metaphorical levels to find that perfect compromise between consumer and company. Here’s how:
Pitfalls of What Marketers Want to Create
Marketers are at the will of the consumer. We must adapt our best practices to meet the needs of our potential, actual, and returning customers. As these practices change (quite quickly), we have to ensure that we don’t create habits simply for the sake of fearing change. These common, outdated landing page design practices may be what you were taught to create years ago, but they won’t serve you well if you want to grab a visitor’s attention:
1. Asking too much, too fast:
This isn’t speed-dating. Some marketers make the mistake of thinking they need to ask as many questions as they can while they have the reader in answering mode. But for an awareness stage offer, you should only be asking for 3 or 4 pieces of required information––maximum. Doing otherwise can look greedy and even a bit exhausting. Leave bonus questions optional.
2. Writing for a search engine:
Rankings, keywords, and metas mean nothing if you’re speaking to the wrong audience. While search engines aim to serve the reader by better organizing and pulling content during a query, some marketers still like their content served stuffed with a side of awkward synonyms.
3. Getting flashy:
We sometimes forget the power of simplicity: its clean, honest way of saying “here’s the offer.” Busy or distracting landing page designs are mistakes made by marketers who sometimes appear to be trying too hard.
Pitfalls of What Customers Want to Experience
If it were up to customers, your brand’s premium content would be just a quick click away. But an instant download just isn’t a fair exchange for a business's expertise and information. If a customer were to create a landing page design to their liking––there may not be a landing page at all. Instead, you might find these:
1. No exchange of information:
Why pay for dinner when your parents already offered, right? That’s the thought behind the consumer’s desire here. If your company has a truly free, desirable offer, they’ll take it. But not entering their name, email, or reason for downloading means your company won’t be able to better serve them in the future through relevant follow-up offers or contact.
2. Too little text for a search engine:
Humans speak quickly with slang words or abbreviations, but even Google’s extremely advanced crawlers are still just technology. While search engines are believed to focus on optimizing for a reader, SEO is still at the will of numbers in a keyword tool. Even if a human visitor might be able to understand what an offer is with just 3 words and no image, a robotic crawler might not idex it the same way.
3. No download-specific place:
While the user came to your site for one piece of content, like a blog post, they’re intrigued by your CTA’s offer. But they don’t want to click away from that blog post to get the offer. This catch-22 means marketers will have to work harder to grab a reader’s attention, automatically open windows in a new tab, and make the landing page concise.
The Compromise/Best Practices
1. Smart form and form fields:
HubSpot’s smart form fields allow you to have a “queue” of questions waiting behind those permanently in the form. For example, you can ask the user 4 specific questions when they fill out a form for the first time. But when that same user returns to download a different offer, HubSpot recognizes the information you already have on them, and it asks new questions to get to know them even better. This ensures that you get all of the information that you need while still being relevant––not repetitive. And with a new “smart form” ability released in May 2015, you can make entire forms even better.
2. Optimize for the reader:
Start your keyword research to find what your audience is searching for, and build your content naturally around that topic. Your target keywords should then feel seamless with your topic, and you know that you’re speaking to the right people in the language they’re really using.
3. In-line forms:
If your CTA conversion rates are low, but your viewership numbers are good, you may need to make a better promise to your readers that they can download they offer without losing their place in the content. An in-line form allows you to exchange information while staying on the same page.
To make a landing page design an effective marketing tool without losing its attraction of viewers, you’ll need to compromise between their differing opinions. You can do so by using smart forms and form fields to reduce repetitiveness in the information you ask for––which will make the user feel like they’re invited to the content, not interrogated for it. Make sure you plan a keyword strategy before you build and promote your offer to ensure it’s a relevant, desired offer free of robotic language. Lastly, try an in-line form to increase conversion rates on offers where you have many viewers, but not so many submissions. Now that’s a balancing act.