19 Ways to Add Urgency to Your Landing Pages (with Examples)

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

As the online consumer journey continues to get longer for most purchases, it’s increasingly difficult to get quick conversions. People do a lot of research before buying these days and the list of competitors fighting for their attention only grows.

Which means we have to work harder to instil that sense of urgency in people; something that gives them the itch to convert now, rather than walk away and reconsider things.

So today we’re looking at 19 examples of how you can add urgency to your landing pages and make it difficult for users to put the purchase off any longer.

#1: The countdown

Instapage comes with a countdown timer feature

The countdown is a classic urgency tactic – one that’s not always used to the best effect on landing pages. Essentially, there are two approaches to using a countdown timer. The first tells users they only have a certain amount of time to take action. Eg: Telling users they only have x-amount of time to sign up for your webinar.

The other approach is to countdown the start of something desirable, like an event or product launch. More on that second approach later.

#2: Scarcity

People don’t like missing out and this anxiety intensifies the desire to buy before it’s too late. So, if time itself isn’t running out, then limited stock can be the ideal way to push interested buyers over the edge.

Whether it’s limited stock, limited tickets or whatever else, the fear of missing out drives people to buy now rather than risk waiting. This works particularly well for events or seasonal promotions where there’s a fixed date coming up (essentially a time limit) and scarcity to double up on the dose of urgency.

#3: Temporary deals

If consumers hate missing out, there’s nothing that bugs them more than missing out on a good deal. Supermarkets make an absolute mockery of us by selling us things we don’t need – and all it takes is a special offer deal.

This tactic is great for purchases that involve a lot of thinking – eg: consumer electronics. The hesitation of buying the wrong phone, laptop or TV quickly disappears when a temporary deal comes along.

The same thing goes for things we buy regularly, like clothes, wine and accessories for other products (eg: camera lenses, car parts, etc.).

#4: Timing words

A more subtle way to create a sense of urgency is to use timing words in your CTA copy.

The obvious format is CTA + now/today but there are plenty of other approaches. In fact, our last example also uses timing words to reinforce the notion of a temporary deal: “Offers Ending Soon“.

#5: Temporary free access

I’m not talking about free trials that users can sign up to at any time here. I’m talking about a set window where people get free access to your product/service. Like the free weekends Sky TV occasionally offers or this free week from Findmypast.co.uk.

The urgency comes from knowing this might be the only chance for users to try something out before potentially buying it. This is ideal for brands who don’t generally offer a free trial.

#6: Promise quick results

Another subtle way to add urgency to your landing pages is to promise quick results. By making it clear things will quickly improve by using your product, you’re making it equally clear that the sooner they sign up the sooner things will change.

This is particularly effective for platforms designed to improve business performance – like the Crazy Egg example above. Just make sure you can live up to your promise, or you’ll have a bunch of unhappy customers and negative feedback on your hands.

#7: Coming soon

Every major game release, new iPhone, relentless Marvel sequel and countless other products hit the market to huge demand. The coming soon phenomenon one that leaves consumers more agitated than anything, literally counting down the days until they can click that buy button.

If you can command that kind of anticipation before releasing a new product, use it to your full advantage.

#8: Reservations, pre-orders

When you’ve got a product that drives people crazy with anticipation, offering reservations and pre-orders can keep everyone happy. You get a bunch of conversions piling up before your product even hits the shelves (so to speak) and consumers feel reassured there’ll be one with their name on it when it finally does get released.

There’s nothing worse than waiting for that all-important release date, only to find out the stocks run dry in minutes or the website crashes. Consumers won’t want to take this risk and pre-orders will be hard to resist in the build-up. This is especially true if you’re the retailer of a product rather than the manufacturer.

#9: Booking phases

When you’re selling tickets for a major event, putting all your tickets up for grabs at the same time seems like the obvious choice. But Glastonbury used to sell tickets in phases and FIFA still does the same for the World Cup and other global football events.

Splitting sales into different windows does two things. First, it means there are fewer tickets on sale for each window, which means buyers feel the urge to secure one as quickly as possible. And then you have multiple rounds of that anticipation working in your favour as well.

#10: Use the calendar

 

It’s amazing how much the calendar influences our buying decisions. We buy new clothes as the seasons change, pay double for chocolates and roses on Valentine’s Day and lose all sense completely at Christmas.

Calendar events are one of your best weapons when it comes to creating a sense of urgency with consumers. We see this in summer sales, back-to-school promotions, Black Friday and all manner of calendar events encouraging us to buy before it’s too late.

#11: Show delivery estimates

The worst thing about buying products online is having to wait for them to arrive in the post. Showing users you’re working hard to reduce the waiting time as much as possible is a big deal when it comes to choosing who to buy from.

Be as specific as you possibly can with your delivery time estimates – and make sure you live up to them. GiffGaff tells customers ordering a new phone from its website that they’ll be holding their new handset the very next day, as long as they place their order before 10pm Mon-Sat and 7pm on Sundays.

Not only is that about as good as you can expect from a delivery service (it’s also free) but it tells users they only need to click that button NOW to get that new phone in their hands the following day.

#12: Loss aversion

Loss aversion is a psychological phenomenon where the fear of losing something is greater than the sense of gaining something of the same value. Essentially, loss aversion is why we’ll act desperately to avoid losing £10 but act with far less intent to gain £10.

Which means, by giving something to users for nothing, the prospect of losing it makes them more likely to convert. It could be a free bet, a discount coupon or a free product if they place their order now. That “if” creates the sense of urgency by making it clear that not converting now means they’ll lose their freebie, even though they never really had it.

#13: Offer protection

Everything we value in life and business is constantly under threat. Our health is at risk from the latest cancer-causing foods, our jobs are under threat from artificial intelligence and our businesses are never far from being outdone by our closest rivals.

In a similar vein to loss aversion, we naturally want to protect the things we already value. We hate the idea of Google algorithm updates hurting our current rate of traffic or the notion of losing customers to a rival business. And we’ll take action to protect the things we hold dear from the things we fear most.

#14: Stop what you’re doing

Human nature is a funny thing. No matter good or bad things are going for us we always crave for more. Even the most successful business owners want their empires to grow bigger and dominate their respective market. Even the most strict dieters kick themselves when they discover their favourite fruit is packed with the wrong kind of sugar.

There’s nothing worse than finding out we’ve been doing something wrong all these years without even knowing it. Worse still, can be knowing we’re doing something wrong and having no clue how to put it right.

This is where the Stop what you’re doing approach works so well. Essentially, you tell users to get their act together, stop hurting their own interests and provide the solution in one powerful CTA. Where’s the urgency? Well, the sooner they “stop” and convert, the sooner they’ll put an end to the harm they’re causing themselves or their business.

#15: The bandwagon effect

Not long ago we ran an article looking at how you can use the bandwagon effect to boost conversion rates. The bandwagon effect is where we make decisions based on the actions of others. For example, when you hear about the leading brands in your industry all making success of a new technology trend, it’s hard to resist following in their footsteps.

Last year’s chatbot rush was a perfect example of this in action.

The same thing happens when a new investment opportunity arises. Investors want to get in quick and see the best return on their investment before everyone else jumps on the bandwagon.

For more info on how to use the bandwagon effect to boost conversions, check out these 7 ways to use the technique (with examples).

#16: Exclusivity

Exclusivity is a powerful thing when status counts or special benefits are up for grabs. You’ll often find business owners want the enterprise version of your software, even if a cheaper package is enough for them -purely because they think their business should be using top of the line software.

As for VIP accounts, don’t just reward members with benefits; reward them with prestige. Put a VIP icon on thier profile pictures for everyone to see. Those who don’t have one will feel the constant itch to upgrade their accounts – not only for the better features but also the status.

It might be superficial but it works.

#17: Visual urgency

Using visual elements to create a sense of urgency brings us deep into the psychological side of web design. I don’t want to go too far into this because obsessing over the psychological impact of colours and font choices will be counterproductive.

Your visuals should at least reinforce the urgency your copy is trying to create, though. Now TV promises to give users access to all of the TV shows they want and nothing else, so they never miss out on their favourite shows again. The visual content reinforces this by assigning bold colours to different types of TV and piling up the free passes that are only a click away.

Do you want to keep missing out or click for instant access right now?

#18: Personalisation

Personalisation uses everything we know about a user to help us deliver a message that resonates with their needs/wants. For example, Airbnb features homes, experiences and recommended destinations based on your previous activity.

When it comes to landing pages, we aim to deliver a message that’s as relevant as possible to the ad a user clicks – which is why every campaign should have its own unique landing page.

However, the latest suite of personalisation tools allows us to deliver different messages to audience segments. For example, you can offer repeat visitors a one-off discount to make the final commitment. Or, you can create a custom message for users based on the query they typed into search. So, let’s say someone types in, “most reliable web hosting provider”, you can make reliability and customer care the focus on your message.

For this kind of personalisation, check out VWO, Adobe Target, Optimizely and similar tools.

#19: Be problematic

One of the most fundamental techniques in landing page messaging is to focus on the problem rather than your product. Much like the Stop what you’re doing approach, this plants the seed in people’s minds that something isn’t right.

And when there’s a problem, we tend to want to fix it.

If I tell you Leadformly builds intelligent and interactive forms, you’re not really going to care. If I tell you this will generate more leads then maybe you might start paying attention. But if I ask whether you’re “Not getting enough qualified leads from your website?” then you’re automatically questioning the issue yourself.

Chances are you’re not getting enough qualified needs and you certainly wouldn’t turn down the chance of getting more. Suddenly the notion of intelligent and interactive forms that generate more leads is much harder to resist.

Walk away now and you’re missing out

This is the message you want to leave in people’s minds when you use the techniques we’ve looked at in this article. You already know these users are interested in what you’ve got to offer but the aim is to get them converting now, rather than walking away and potentially choosing one of your competitors.

Most landing pages and calls to action will use a combination of these techniques to tell users now is the time to act. Try not to be too aggressive with your approach but feel free to make it clear to people that they’ll be missing out on a one-off discount or some other kind of incentive if they don’t commit right now.

You’ll be amazed by the results this can have.

15 Landing Page Form Best Practices & Examples

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

A good landing page has two jobs. First, it should inspire visitors to convert on the spot. And, failing that, it needs to generate some kind of secondary lead you can nurture further along the buying process.

When a landing page does none of the above, it has failed to do its job.

Sadly, one of the biggest barriers to conversions on landing pages is those pesky forms. Master the art of landing page form design and you’ll see an instant uplift in conversions. And, to help you make this happen, we’ve got 15 landinage page form best practices and examples to learn from today.

#1: Multi-step forms outperform single-step forms

We see multi-step forms outperform single-step versions time and again. We’ve tested this across various industries and forms for different conversion types. The numbers tell us that people find multi-step forms less intimidation, which increases the number of users who start filling them out and the number of those who complete them.

We’re not the only ones who have seen this kind of results. The UK Government’s Digital Service (among others) has also found multi-step forms provide the best experience and highest conversion rates. And, after seeing similar results in the vast majority of our own tests, we figured it was time to build a platform that makes multi-step form design straightforward.

This is where the concept for Leadformly came from.

#2: Short forms for secondary conversions

As a general rule, you should stick to short forms for secondary conversions. Basic actions like email signups, general enquiries and searches want to be as quick and easy as possible for users.

In the example above, you can see ActiveCampaign sticks to a two-field form design for its free trial CTA. Users are then taken straight to the dashboard to get started with their free trial – no messing around.

#3: Longer forms for primary conversions

Once users are more committed to your offer, they’ll be willing to work harder for conversions. In fact, they’ll often expect and want to provide more information on your forms.

Bluehost goes for a familiar form design for users who have decided to sign up with a domain name they already own.

For example, ActiveCampaign users understand they’ll have to provide payment details to start using the full version of the tool. Likewise, Holiday goers expect to fill out all the essential info when they reserve something. They want it in their name, fully reserved without any mistakes.

Once again, use multi-step forms to make the process more intuitive and implement a progress bar to show users how they’re getting on.

#4: Hide hero forms behind CTA buttons

Don’t bombard users with a form as soon as they land on your page. Let your primary call-t0-action work its magic uninterrupted and hide your hero forms behind that CTA button.

#5: Use a form analytics tool

The only way to know your landing page forms are performing is with data. With Google Analytics you can see how many people fail to complete your forms but you can’t find out why. So get yourself a dedicated form analytics tool that shows you which fields people are having problems with and what needs fixing.

Leadformly comes with a built-in form analytics tool and you can check out our other favourite form analytics tools for more recommendations.

#6: Redesign before removing important fields

One of the most important principles in form design is to remove every unnecessary field. But what happens when users have problems with a field that provides important data for your lead nurturing process?

 

In these cases, try to redesign your form before you start pulling out important fields. You may find simply rewording your labels or switching to a multi-step format solves the problem. In the example above, the shorter form actually performed worse than the original version, but tweaking the field labels improved conversions by almost 20%.

#7: Create incentive

The longer your forms are, the more incentive it’ll take for users to complete them. This is where your landing page copy needs to shine and inspire users to take action. No matter how good your form designs may be, zero incentive means users have little reason to start filling them out – let alone complete them.

With landing page forms, the calls to action surrounding them are probably the most important part of this. However, the rest of your landing page copy becomes increasingly important as users scroll further down the page.

For tips on how to create landing page copy, head over to our 101 Landing Page Optimisation Tips article. First, though, it’s time to talk about those calls to action.

#8: CTAs – ‘I want to…’

Our next tip was originally posted in this article by Marcus, but it’s well worth repeating. If you want an easy template to creating CTAs that convert, ask yourself what your audience really wants and finish the sentence “I want to…”.

In the example above, Unbounce has decided its target customers want to build landing pages quickly and increase conversions. From there the landing page copy pretty much writes itself and Unbounce has only tweaked the same message over recent years.

#9: Stick to single column layouts

Single column layouts are important for a number of reasons. Above all, they’re easier for users to quickly interpret and they look less intimidating. Even though neither form design looks appealing, you can see how the first example above is far more user-friendly than the second.

Aside from visual layout, single column designs are much easier to make mobile-friendly. Which brings us on to our next point.

#10: Design for mobile first

There’s far more to designing forms for mobile than making them responsive (although this is a good place to start).

First, use the correct HTML5 markup so user keyboards popup in the correct format for typing phone numbers, email addresses and other input types. Also, make the most of mobile features like cameras, geolocation and touch screens.

For example, asking users to take a photo of their card rather than type their details out can drastically reduce friction.

#11: Use contrast to full effect

Something most form designs fail to do is make the most of contrast. Aside from helping users to navigate their way through a form, good use of contrast can reduce potential distractions from other elements on the page.

The bold blue and white design of Salesforce’s free trial signup isn’t the prettiest form you’ll ever see, but it doesn’t let anything else hog the limelight.

Contrast is also another important factor in optimising forms for mobile. Remember people could be outside or in brightly lit places that make low-contrast designs almost impossible to use.

#12: Reduce typing

One of the most important factors in form optimisation is reducing the need for users to type. Image buttons, sliders and other touch elements make the form filling out process much easier for users – especially for those on mobile, once again.

Avoid asking people to retype their passwords, email addresses or other information. Also, enable browser auto-fill so users don;t need to retype the same old information out every time they use a form.

#13: Go easy on the validation

Form validation is a tricky thing. It’s great to have it if it helps users fill out your forms correctly the first time; not so great if it makes it harder to submit than necessary.

First of all, you will need to use validation to prevent server attacks and malicious code. You can do all that in the background, though, far out of users’ sight.

If you use validation to help users submit forms successfully, make sure it’s inline and provides feedback as they type. Also, don’t make it too strict so that typing +44 instead of 0 for phone numbers causes problems.

Remember, the aim isn’t to prevent form submissions; it’s to help users complete them successfully the first time around.

#14: Forget CAPTCHAs, there are better approaches

One thing I hate to see still being used as spam prevention is CAPTCHAs. It’s not your users’ fault if you can’t come up with a better system for preventing spam – so don’t punish them with these horrible things.

Like I say, you can use validation behind the scenes to rule out spam. A common trick is the use hidden fields that spam bots will fill out (but users won’t) and then block submission with your hidden field completed.

Not a CAPTCHA in sight.

#15: Know where to send users next

One of the most common form design mistakes I see is a lack of thought regarding where to send users next. It’s fine if your form uses AJAX to popup and disappear after submission but do you really want users to stay on the same page?

If you do, that’s great – job done.

Otherwise, you’ll want to be a bit more strategic about where you send them next. Do you need users to confirm their account signup, get started with their free demo or try to move them on to the next conversion as soon as possible?

Choose wisely and maintain a good user experience.

Build better forms today

If you want to increase conversions from your own landing pages forms, check out some Leadformly templates. They’re built from the ground up using form best practices and user testing results. Otherwise, you can check out another article of ours offering even more form design best practices and UX tips.

Do Exit-Intent Popups Actually Increase Conversions?

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

Love them or hate them, exit-intent popups are a favourite lead generation strategy. They’re not without controversy though. We’re talking about one of the most divisive topics in the industry: a clash between conversion optimisation and the impact on user experience.

On the side of exit popups, there are plenty of case studies promising big conversion rate increases. However, the other camp will tell you these studies exaggerate the positive impact they have and overlook the implications they come with.

As with most things in this business, there is no single correct answer. So, today we’re going to address these issues to help understand what they mean for your marketing efforts. We’ll be looking at the following points in this article:

  • Implementing exit-intent popups
  • How they impact conversion rates
  • Why you shouldn’t rely on them too much
  • The declining performance of exit popups
  • Some alternatives you can use, in place or alongside them

By the end of this article, you’ll have a much better understanding of the pros and cons of exit-intent popups as a conversion tool.

Implementation is crucial

Let’s be realistic: slapping a bunch of popups over your site and hoping for the best doesn’t count as a conversion strategy. There’s a little more to it than that. Above all, it depends on the offer you present and whether it justifies stopping users on their way out of your website.

The exit popups used on VentureHarbour hits users with an offer no marketer or businesses owner can ignore.

Let’s imagine a user who’s found nothing interesting on your homepage and decided to leave. If you expect them to suddenly sign up to your newsletter because you make it unnecessarily difficult for them to leave, prepare to be disappointed.

Now, let’s imagine a different user. This one clicked through to a blog post of yours via social media, meaning they’ve shown a specific interest in a topic. And, once they’re done reading, there’s a good chance their next action will be leaving – unless you provide them with a reason to stick around. In this case, a targeted exit popup that offers a free download or promotion related to your article makes sense.

These are the kind of strategies you need to come up with.

Exit-intent strategy examples

Here are some other strategy examples to give you a few ideas:

  • On product pages: Stop users leaving after viewing a product by sweetening the deal somehow (eg: coupon code).
  • Cart abandonment: Reduce cart abandonment with a last minute offer or ask people to save their shopping list.
  • Landing pages: When your landing page message doesn’t quite work, exit popups provide one last chance to make an offer.
  • Running discounts: People might be more willing to hand over their email address for a special offer that lasts a week, rather than forcing them to buy now.
  • Price/availability alerts: When prices or availability often change (flights, properties, job positions, etc.), offering alerts is a great way to get people involved with your brand.

Each of these exit popup strategies has two things common. First, they target the interest users have already shown by landing on your page. And then they turn this interest into a relevant offer that might prevent this person from leaving if something else doesn’t keep them on your site. The challenge is coming up with an offer that’s unique from everything on your page and more convincing – because those offers clearly haven’t worked once a user decides to leave.

What about the conversion rates?

We’ve all seen blog posts boasting 300% conversion increases from using exit popups, but how truthful are these? Well, in most cases, you’ll actually be looking at an average of 5-10% increase in conversions with a targeted popup strategy – a far cry from the big figures you might be used to.

Don’t get me wrong, it is possible to get figures like this but it suggests something is wrong with the test. First of all, this result doesn’t tell us what kind of conversions suddenly skyrocketed. More worrying, though, is why this page/website is leaking enough traffic to see a 300% hike in any kind of conversion from exit-intent popups.

‘Conversions’ can be a misleading word

Conversions is a blanket term that can mean anything from signing up for a newsletter to buying a product and anything in between. Go back to the short list of popup strategies we ran through above and you’ll see clear goals for each of them: decrease cart abandonment, increase product sales, target email subscribers, etc. These specific conversion goals are the kind of things you need to be targeting – not blanket terms.

Yes, this drastically reduces the percentage of your conversion increase, but it’s a targeted increase and a higher quality of lead. It’s better to work with 100,000 high-quality leads than a million duds.

Exit popups are the last resort

You also need to remember that exit popups are a backup to your web pages. As soon as a user sees these things, your page – and the sales funnel surrounding it – has failed. You want the vast majority of visitors to never even see your exit-intent popup because your site is so well optimised for conversions that most people never make it that far.

Note: You should also disable exit popups for users who have already completed your conversion goal.

It’s not unusual to slap an exit popup over a site that’s leaking traffic and see a spike in conversion rates – especially for generic conversion goals. But this says more about the failings of the site itself than the popups that prevented people from leaving it.

The decline of exit-intent popups?

Something we’re also starting to see is signs of an overall decrease in the average increase of conversions by using exit popups. It’s not a major drop but one that’s worth keeping an eye on over the next couple of years.

There are a lot of potential reasons for this:

  • As we optimise sites, the need for exit popups decreases
  • Users could be getting too used to them
  • Increased use lowering the overall quality of strategy and offers
  • Google penalising popups on mobile
  • New alternatives to exit popups

Now, it would be great to believe that, as we continue to optimise our sites for better performance, the need for exit popups reduces. However, there are too many other variables for us to know for sure.

Exit-intent popup alternatives

One of these variables includes a number of exit-popup alternatives that have cropped up in recent years. Each one comes with their own pros and cons, of course, but we’ve got more options than ever when it comes to maximising leads – and this can only be a good thing.

Notifications

Yes, these notification requests seem to be everywhere right now, prompting users to opt in for push notifications even after they’ve left a site. The technology works on mobile and desktop alike and you can use this to update users about new content, offers, shopping cart reminders and all kinds of other notifications as they continue to browse the web.

In theory, these things are incredible. In practice, though, they can be annoying as hell because legally you have to ask users to opt-in and this brings us back to intrusive popups.

Live chat

Live chat is finally in the big leagues of design/marketing trends, offering up a kind of alternative to popups and web forms in one solution. Again, the theory sounds compelling, but the widespread use of live chat on homepages, landing pages and other key parts of your website brings up a number of implications, which I covered in a recent article on the VH blog.

As always, it’s a question of how you implement the technology and whether it actually improves the experience, rather than complicating it further.

Multi-step forms

Thankfully, there are some non-intrusive alternatives out there and multi-step forms are leading the way. Multi-step forms reduce friction in a number of ways, starting with the fact they don’t look anything much like forms at all. This instantly removes the psychological resistance people have when it comes to filling out forms. Crucially, they also slot into your web pages, making them a part of the experience, rather than interrupting it (a novel concept these days).

Calls-to-action (remember those?)

Here’s a crazy idea for you. If users are getting to the bottom of your blog posts and leaving (or giving up halfway through) why not give them a reason to stick around before they lose interest. The same thing goes for homepages, landing pages and your other key lead generation tools. Break them up with strategic, relevant CTAs that tap into the interest they’ve already shown by landing on your page.

Back in the old days, this was known as call-to-action design and you didn’t need any fancy javascript popups to make it work.

Should I use exit-intent popups?

The worst thing you can do as a marketer is get caught up in chasing new solutions, instead of actually fixing problems. After all, it’s easier to chuck popups all over your site than try to get to the bottom of an issue yourself – especially when companies selling popups software promise it’s going to transform your business.

If you’re strategic about using exit-intent popups as a safety net to reduce the number of leads slipping away, then you’re approaching things from the right angle. If you’re using them to make up for the failings of your website, then you’re doing yourself an injustice. Your priority should always be getting the best from your page designs, web forms and CTAs first, because these are the non-intrusive elements that build the online experience for your users.

Once you have these things in order, you’ll get an accurate idea of what additional technologies like exit popups and live chat can bring to your brand. Otherwise, you’re simply painting over cracks.

Does Live Chat Actually Increase Conversions?

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

Last year, all we seemed to hear about was the chatbot takeover but the technology hasn’t lived up to the hype so far. I’ve said before that chatbots have all the potential to change how brands and consumers interact, but this won’t happen until developers stop worrying about the latest marketing gimmick and get back to solving user problems.

With the chatbot revolution on pause – at least for now – brands are getting their fix from one of its closest relatives: live chat. This typically involves adding a widget to your pages, prompting users to engage in conversation. The aim is to generate leads, of course, and these things are cropping up all over the web – but do they actually increase conversions?

When did live chat become a lead generation strategy?

Live chat has been around for years but now it’s come back with a facelift and renewed excitement, thanks to the chatbot hype. Which means you’ll see something like this on a lot of sites out there:

Source: Elegant Themes

In this case, Elegant Themes’ live chat widget pops up, asking users if it has any questions about its popular Divi theme. These popup-style widgets have become popular over the last year or so and you’ll often find them on homepages and landing pages.

This implementation is designed to generate leads – unlike the kind of live chat you get on contact or support pages, where the goal is customer service. The question is: does it really boost conversions?

You’ll find plenty of articles answering this question with a resounding yes. Live chat is a big trend right now and a lot of people are keen to hype it up. Before we answer this question for ourselves, though, let’s look at what live chat brings to the table.

Why is live chat so popular at the moment?

There are a few key UX points with live chat that make it an interesting conversion tool:

  • Live chat reaches out to people: It actually prompts users to engage by starting the conversation.
  • It provides an instant response: Users don’t (always) need to wait for brands to get in touch.
  • They can make it easier to find information: If users can’t find the information they need, many live chat widgets can help them out.
  • They offer an engaging alternative to web forms: We know users don’t like filling out forms and live chat creates an alternative.

And, of course, you have to credit some of the live chat popularity to the stuttering chatbot trend. Last year, everyone was going nuts about bots and then live chat – which has been around for years – suddenly starts trending.

Source: BI Intelligence

Last year, it was highly publicised that people now use messaging apps more than social media – a large argument for the chatbot revolution. It seems marketers are determined to turn the rise of messaging apps into conversions, whether it’s through chatbots or not.

Is live chat up to the hype?

In some cases, I think live chat can have a place in lead generation for certain brands. However, like most new trends in marketing, it’s being overhyped and overused in most of the situations I come across. Here are some common problems I’m constantly seeing with live chat on websites.

Live chat interrupts the user experience

The use of live chat widgets on homepages and landing pages interrupts the user experience, much in the same way popups do. It’s certainly not as intrusive as full-screen popups, but they’re blocking the view of content and they can take up a large amount of screen space on mobile.

It distracts attention from page content

Your pages have content for a reason: because you have a message to get across and you’ve invested good time and money into designing each page. So it’s a bit counterintuitive to slap a widget over the top of them which steals user attention a matter of seconds after they’ve landed on the page.

Again, this isn’t so different to popups that trigger upon page load and those things hardly have a good UX reputation.

If users can’t find the info they’re after, your design has failed

This is my main concern with how live chat is being implemented on sites at the moment. The reason we have things like information architecture, web design and UX design is because it’s our responsibility to deliver information in a discoverable and engaging way.

If users can’t find what they need, without the help of a live chat widget, then there’s something wrong with your design approach – and you need to fix it, not chuck another design trend on top of it.

Live chat can look untrustworthy

As I say, live chat has been around for years. Remember those horrendous widgets on insurance websites and sketchy IT firms? I certainly do and I also remember hitting the back button at the slightest hint of live chat. It reminds of cold calling, unsolicited emails, popups and other tricks used by brands that don’t have enough confidence in their own products or services to let users make their own decision.

Admittedly, the fresh design of live chat widgets looks a lot more trustworthy and the fact we’re so used to messaging apps now could change all this.

Too many brands use live chat because their forms suck

This is another big concern. One of the most common arguments I hear for using live chat is that it’s “better” than web forms. Again, if this is true, then there’s something seriously wrong with your form designs and you’ll be better off fixing this before adding anything else to your site.

Live chat vs web forms

Considering how poorly the average web form performs, it’s no surprise brands are screaming out for a better lead generation alternative. But most of the live chat implementations I come across try to cover up a crappy web form experience with an equally crappy chat experience.

Here’s an idea: why not try sorting out your forms before adding further barriers to the conversion process? I’m not saying live chat doesn’t have its merits, but using it to replace forms because your form designs are sub-par doesn’t make much sense.

It’s crazy how many forms I see that still don’t get the basics right:

  • Use form elements correctly
  • Remove unnecessary fields
  • Remove unnecessary clicks
  • Improve mobile performance
  • Stop using CAPTCHAs
  • Take it easy on validation
  • Stick to single columns

I could keep going, but the point is there are probably plenty of ways to improve your forms. Check out this article from Marcus for 58 ideas on how to improve your forms.

One not-so-generic piece of advice is to use multi-step forms if you need a lot of info from users. Despite popular belief, various studies show that shorter forms don’t always result in higher conversion rates. However, the more you demand from users, the more friction you’re adding – there’s no getting away from this.

Leadformly‘s multi-step forms make longer forms more engaging

Multi-step forms look considerably less demanding because users don’t really know how much info you’re asking for. Better yet, you can design your multistep forms reduce the number of interactions that require typing – the best way you can improve the experience for mobile, among other things.

These are the kinds of improvements you should be looking to make before you slap a live chat widget over the top of your website, hoping to increase conversion rates. Live chat is great for customer service but interrupting the user experience in the way so many live chat widgets are starting to do is crazy.

5 Studies on How Form Length Impacts Conversion Rates

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

The golden rule of web form optimisation is simple: shorter forms mean higher conversions. But is this really the case? Yes, shorter forms generally require less work from users and logic suggest fewer form fields reduce friction. Generally speaking, this is a good design principle to start from.

However, like many best practices, this theory doesn’t always pan out. In many cases, we see reducing the number of fields in tests can actually reduce conversion rates – so what’s going on here?

Form length is important – nobody is disputing that – but it’s not always a simple question of fewer fields leading to more conversions. To help illustrate this, I’ve got five case studies for you today that illustrate form length really impacts conversion rates.

Examples of longer forms

Before we get into the case studies, let’s take a look at some form designs that go for the longer approach. First up is Salesforce, which goes for six custom fields, three dropdown lists and three tick boxes:

Salesforce form

Next up we have WhatIsMyComfortZone.com, which asks 30+ questions from users over different sections:

What is my comfort zone form

That’s basically wiping your backside with the UX rulebook on form design, yet this site brags an incredible 50%+ conversion rate.

Case study #1: The expected result

Our first case study comes from MarketingExperiements and it offers up the kind of test we would normally expect in this scenario. Marketo reduced the number of fields on its signup form and progressively increased conversions.

Marketo experiment

This was all the way back in 2011 and it was studies like this one that led to the best practices we accept today. Design guidelines tell us to stick to five fields or fewer in order to reduce friction and, in theory, increase conversions.

However, nothing is ever quite so straightforward in marketing.

Case study #2: The unpopular result

This one comes courtesy of ConversionXL, which brings up recent research from Unbounce conversion optimiser Michael Aagaard. Testing field length with one of his clients revealed the exact opposite result to our first case study.

Michael Aagaard case study

Reducing the number of fields resulted in a 14% drop in conversions. This wasn’t the result Michael was expecting, of course, and he was determined to figure out what happened. He stumbled across a simple, easy-to-make but important mistake:

“I removed all the fields that people actually want to interact with and only left the crappy ones they don’t want to interact with. Kinda stupid.” – Michael Aagaard, speaking at CTA Conference

By putting these fields back in and testing variations of field labels instead, Michael was able to reach a 19.21% increase in conversions.

Michael Aagaard results

The key takeaway is that sometimes users want and expect more fields. Consider someone looking for an estimate on the value of their house, for example. They understand it’s going to take more than a name and an email address to get their answer.

Context is very important here.

Case study #3: Conversion rates and lead quality

This video case study from MarketingExperiments isn’t the most enjoyable watch, but its findings are interesting and detailed. In this case, a form with 11 fields was tested with two variations: one with 15 fields and one with 10 (plus some other variations).

Marketing Experiments

The form with 15 fields resulted in a 109% uplift in conversions and the form with 10 saw an 87% increase. By applying the insights from this test to a membership form, conversions were then increased by 226% from asking more questions.

Except the goal isn’t purely increasing conversions in this case study. The goal is to also increase the quality of leads coming in by collecting enough data to validate each lead. This data tells you how to engage with the people who fill out your forms in the future – you need to decide when and how to get that information.

Case study #4: Moving beyond form length

The reason I want to point out this case study is to show that form length is by no means the only factor you have to consider when designing forms for conversions. This test from non-profit organisation DTS aimed to find out whether copy on its donation page would encourage more people to donate.

DTS case study

In terms of form length, nothing was changed at all. However, the addition of copy above the form reduced conversions by 28%. It turned out placing copy above DTS’ donation form got in the way of people who were already motivated to convert.

The point is, form length isn’t necessarily the biggest factor in form conversion rates. Imagine this test in reverse, if the original version had copy at the top of the page. Placing too much attention on the number of fields would make you blind to one simple change that results in a significant conversion increase.

Case study #5: The multi-step alternative

Finally, one of our own case studies brings us back to the WhatIsMyComfortZone.com example from before. In this case, formatting 30+ questions in a four-step form resulted in an incredible 53% conversion rate. In this case study, Venture Harbour CEO Marcus Taylor takes us through other examples where multi-step forms increased conversions by 35% for BrokerNotes, 59% for Vendio and 214% for an astroturf company.

Multi-step forms allowed these brands to significantly increase the number of fields without negatively impacting user experience. In fact, many designs psychologically reduce friction because users don’t know exactly how many questions they’ll be asked. The sight of multistep forms is less intimidating, despite the fact they require more from users.

You can also start with less-demanding questions and finish with things like email addresses, once users have already invested time and feel more reluctant to quit the session.

So longer forms convert better than shorter forms?

No, not necessarily. There are too many factors involved in form design to simply turn around and say shorter or longer forms are more effective. Certainly, you want to ask the least number of questions possible to reach your targets, but there are various things to consider:

  • The type of conversion: Email signups and account creations demand very different forms.
  • User expectations: If users see value in filling out a field, they’ll be happy to do so.
  • Incentive: With this in mind, can you create incentive to reduce friction?
  • How much info you need: Sometimes adding friction is the price you pay for quality leads over quantity.
  • Formatting: Multi-step forms create space for much longer forms, formatted in a design that reduces friction.
  • Best practices: These are guidelines, not rules. Accepted design trends don’t always work out.

The fact remains that the harder you make it for people to fill out your forms, the less likely they are to do so. In most cases, longer forms only add to the difficulty of completion but there’s one other key factor to consider, which we touched on above.

Applying BJ Fogg’s behaviour model to form design

BJ Fogg’s behaviour model illustrates the key elements behind users taking action: Motivators, Ability, and triggers. In simple terms, the more motivation you give people and the easier you make it for them to take action, the more likely they are to do so.

BMAT

Credit: Kristen SundeSlideshare

As for triggers, these are the interactions you place between users and the desired action: copy, form fields, CTAs, etc. And the sweeter you hit that balance between high motivation and ease-to-do, the better your chances of getting the action you want.

Fogg behaviour model

Credit: Kristen SundeSlideshare

This helps explain why longer forms can actually increase conversions. If you create enough motivation to complete your forms, the relative ease (eg: number of fields) becomes less important. Not unimportant, but less important. So, in the case of promising a faster response via phone if people enter their number, for example, adding this field could potentially encourage people to complete your form.

Make no assumptions

The biggest thing you learn from conversion optimisation is that you can’t afford to make assumptions. All logic suggests shorter forms should perform and there are plenty of case studies to back this theory up. The fact remains that short forms often beat their longer counterparts.

However, this isn’t always the case and we’re seeing more studies reveal cases where longer forms increase conversion rates. More importantly, form length isn’t the only factor you need to think about. How you format these forms to reduce friction and create user incentive to reach the finish line are absolutely paramount. The number of form fields you choose to go with is simply one of many factors to consider in this process.

10 Landing Page Copywriting Best Practices That Are Borderline Magic

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

With landing page builders like Unbounce and Instapage so readily available – not to mention years worth of best practices to fall back on – the visual side of landing page design isn’t the challenge it once was.

Unfortunately, none of this helps you when it comes to crafting landing page copy that convinces people to convert. Behind all the design tricks, this is the core ingredient that really inspires action and there are no templates or formulas for guaranteed success.

Creating landing page copy that captivates people is a real art form – so here are ten examples that get it spot on.

#1: CrazyEgg

CrazyEgg jumps right in with the burning question people have in mind when they land on the page. It then backs this up with a demo where users can type in their URL to get their first heatmap. That’s a pretty difficult proposition to turn down for any website owner.

#2: Unbounce

Unbounce takes a different approach by telling users what they’ll be doing by using its product. It’s literally telling users to “build landing pages fast and get more conversions” by signing up to the Unbounce platform. Essentially, this implies they’re wasting their time and not getting the conversions they could by not using Unbounce.

This use of imperative sentence structure is the most common approach to CTA copy you’ll find.

#3: ActiveCampaign

If you’ve got a lot of information to get across, it can be hard to organise everything into a visually compelling format. ActiveCampaign‘s landing page uses clickable icons to break up its content into email marketing, site messaging and SMS categories. This gives users an overview of what information is available and all they need to do is click an icon to get more information.

Here’s what users get when they click the email marketing icon:

Information overload is something you want to avoid with landing page design but, like many enterprise software platforms, ActiveCampaign has a lot of stuff to get across. I personally prefer a more minimal approach but check out the ActiveCampaign page if you’re going for a content-heavy design.

#4: Asana

The landing page for Asana’s free trial campaign shows how minimal SaaS landing pages can be. The copy is stripped down to the bare minimum of key benefits and calls to action:

This is no accident either. One of Asana’s key selling points is “from chaos to clarity” and the tech company stays true to its brand image across all of its landing pages. Of course, this wouldn’t work if Asana didn’t have such a strong grasp of writing great copy.

It’s easy to say “less is more” when it comes to landing page copy, this only applies when you make the most of every word you write.

#5: IFTTT

IFTTT is another SaaS platform but this fits into a very different category than ActiveCampaign and Asana. IFTTT is a lightweight app that links other platforms together, meaning it doesn’t have a tonne of features to plug, unlike our previous two examples. So, while Asana has a real decision to make regarding how much copy it fills its landing pages with, it only makes sense for IFTTT to take the minimal approach – and this is precisely what it does.

Once again, there’s short, punchy copy that tells users what they’re missing out on by not using IFTTT and what they have to gain by signing up.

And, of course, it wouldn’t be right to get through a landing page copy article without mentioning the classic benefits vs features best practice:

IFTTT doesn’t have the largest collection of landing pages but it certainly knows how to pen some good copy.

#6: Hootsuite

While I’m not the biggest fan of Hootsuite page designs, this established name in social media management has been writing great copy for years. When it comes to any automation tool, there is one key selling point: convenience. Hootsuite sets itself us as the most convenient of automation tools by billing itself as “the easiest way to schedule posts on social media.

This point is reinforced throughout Hootsuite’s free trial landing page, with a full section dedicated to explaining the various ways its platform saves you time.

#7: Shopify

Shopify gives us another example of minimal copy, despite being a platform with a lot to say. I’ve seen a lot of Shopify landing pages over the years and they get lighter on the copy front as time goes by. Once again, though, it’s long descriptions replaced by punchy, compelling language that highlights the key benefits of using the platform.

The point is, you don’t need to say everything on your landing page. The goal is to capture people’s interest and encourage them to convert – or, failing that, lead them to another part of your site where you can capture them as a different kind of lead.

#8: Leadformly

Leadformly hits users with the big promise as soon as they land on the page. Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to capture and convert up to 300% more leads? This theme continues nicely as users scroll down the page when they come across the key question:

Of course they’re not getting enough qualified leads – this is precisely why users landed on this page in the first place. By echoing user concerns in its copy, Leadformly tells them it can deliver precisely what they’re looking for and, once again, this is backed up by another promise: capturing 2-3X more leads.

It’s powerful, confident copy that leaves little doubt in visitors’ minds. And, before we move on, there’s one more snippet I want to talk about:

Finally, Leadformly sets itself apart from other form builders by explaining the science behind its product and the years of experience that went into creating it. For a tool that makes big promises, it’s important that Leadformly is able to convince visitors that it has a history of getting proven results.

#9: Infusionsoft

Infusionsoft is another big name in the automation game, this time providing a sales and lead nurturing platform for brands that need to streamline customer interactions. Much like Hootsuite earlier, Infusionsoft knows what its selling point is and the core benefit its product provides.

Automation, simplicity and speed are how Infusionsoft helps you maximise revenue and not a single word is wasted on saying anything else.

The tone implies businesses that aren’t using Infusionsoft are unorganised, underperforming in the sales department and wasting time while they’re at it.

#10: Pocket

Much like IFTTT, Pocket is a relatively simple productivity app that serves a single, but powerful function. It starts by highlighting a common user problem: discovering interesting content you’re not ready to read right now. Is this enough to get people signing up, though?

Pocket takes users through the actions they can take using the app, recreating the experience of browsing the web with Pocket on their devices.

Pocket has the exact opposite problem most SaaS companies experience when it comes to landing page copy. Instead of having a tonne of information to condense down, it had to come up with a way to turn a basic function into something exciting – and it does a great job.

Give landing page copy the attention it deserves

Most brands are slowly coming round to the idea that design and visual elements are incredibly important with landing pages. When it comes to crafting powerful landing page copy, though, there’s a lot of work still to be done. All of the examples we’ve looked at today showcase concise copy that packs a punch with careful wording and short snippets of text.

Not only that but they highlight the key benefits of each product and hint at what users are missing out on by not taking action. And, of course, they all point towards a nearby call to action that makes it difficult for users to resist clicking the all-important button.

9 Biggest Landing Page Mistakes & How to Avoid Them

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

Landing pages are one of your most important lead generation tools, but the majority of examples you’ll come across are uninspiring, to say the least. Despite all the design guidelines and best practices available these days, I see far too many brands make the same mistakes time and again wth their landing pages.

Today I’m going to lay it out straight: don’t make these mistakes with your own landing page designs because you’ll only be wasting time and money on getting poor results.

#1: Not having enough landing pages

All the way back in 2011, studies were showing that the more landing pages businesses had, the better results they were getting. Why? Because these businesses are creating landing pages to highly specific buyer needs rather than trying to appeal to everyone with the same few pages. Trying to do too much with any one landing page sets you up for failure before you’ve even started.

How to avoid this landing page mistake

Destinology.co.uk targets honeymooners specifically with this landing page

Create separate landing pages for different conversion goals, buyer personas, each stage of the consumer journey – not just your products/services. For example, if on of your conversion goals is to generate signups to a free trial for your SaaS product, create specific landing pages to target IT pros, marketing managers, sales teams or whatever your target audiences may be.

#2: Beating around the bush

With a specific goal and message in mind, you now have to get this across in a compelling way – and you’ve got a matter of seconds to do this. All the way back in 2006, studies found users make up their minds about a website “in the blink of an eye” – or 50 milliseconds to be precise.

Which means, if your message doesn’t get right to the point and convince visitors you have something valuable to offer, you’ve got a problem.

How to avoid this landing page mistake

Strip down your marketing message to the core value proposition you’re offering. Tell people what problem you’re solving, how you’re improving their daily lives or whatever benefit is key to your offer. For PPC landing pages try to match the headline in your page with the headline of your ad. None of this should be difficult if you’re creating enough landing pages, each with their own relevant message.

#3: Creating distractions

When your aim is a concise message, the last thing you want to do is create unnecessary distractions. This is an important part of getting your message across quickly (as mentioned above), but it applies to every other part of your landing page, too.

Distractions take user attention away from the core benefit your offer provides. They can also confuse visitors about which action to take and choice fatigue is always a danger if you provided too many options – none of which is good for conversions.

How to avoid this landing page mistake

Infusionsoft ditches the header and all other distraction on this landing page for its free demo

Remove any element from your landing pages that doesn’t reinforce the main message of your offer. Ditch the header navigation to remove choice fatigue and keep users focused on the task at hand, making it absolutely clear what action they should be taking. If you have a secondary conversion (and it’s fine if you do), make sure it’s 100% obvious that it’s not the main action you expect users to take.

#4: Adding friction

With distraction-free landing page designs, there’s nothing getting in the way of your message and its intended audience. As for conversions, though, there’s still the matter of minimising friction to think about. Any unnecessary barrier you place between users and taking action is one extra reason for them to quit the session without converting.

How to avoid this landing page mistake

Put yourself in the shoes of your target audience and look for excuses they might find to avoid converting. Stay away from obvious UX mistakes like popups and scroll hijacking, paying special attention to your CTAs and the steps users actually have to take to convert – eg: which form fields they have to fill out and whether they add any friction.

#5: Not optimising your forms for conversions

One of the biggest friction points on any landing page is web forms. There’s no easy way to approach this topic but the best place to start is designing forms with conversions in mind from the beginning. From here you have the task of optimising your forms over time to remove problematic fields and other design issues preventing conversions.

How to avoid this landing page mistake

Leadformly: Conversion optimised multi-step forms that don’t look anything like forms

First, get yourself a good form optimisation tool that helps you track performance and easily edit your forms to make improvements. Best practices used to tell us that shorter forms outperform their longer cousins, but recent studies have shown this isn’t always the case. Multi-step forms are a relatively new trend that’s generating some incredible conversion rates – especially those designed so they don’t actually look like forms at all.

#6: Neglecting buyer concerns

No matter how good your offer is – or how good your landing page sells it – people will still have doubts about buying into your brand. It’s difficult for people to trust a faceless brand – especially when they’re seeing your landing page/brand for the first time – and neglecting these buyer concerns is a big mistake.

How to avoid this landing page mistake

The most obvious way to tackle this problem is using trust factors like testimonials, customer reviews, industry awards and other forms of third-party feedback that give users their seal of approval. Another tactic is to provide guarantees over common concerns – for example:

  • Money-back guarantee
  • No credit card details required
  • Privacy policy

Identify what concerns each of your target audiences will have with your conversion goals and try to reassure them.

#7: Slow loading times

All your hard work to create landing pages that convert count for nothing if people leave before they finish loading. As the web matures, user expectations on loading times become more demanding and many brands are falling behind. Pages that take longer than 2-3 seconds to load lose more than 50% of visitors, which counts for the vast majority of landing pages. Don’t let yourself fall into this category

How to avoid this landing page mistake

Keeping on top of loading times needs to be one of your priorities and this involves a number of key factors:

  • Use a fast hosting provider
  • Keep your web code clean
  • Minify your website files (HTML, CSS, JS, etc.)
  • Sign up to a content delivery network (CDN)
  • Use web caching
  • Regular speed tests
  • Minimise server requests
  • Image optimisation
  • Minimise page redirects

Loading times are one of those things you have to work at regularly and it’s not only users who demand speedy landing pages. Page speed is a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm and it also plays a role in Ad Rank, which determines whether your PPC ads show and where they appear on the page.

#8: Poor mobile experience

It almost pains me to talk about mobile optimisation in 2017 (I know, old news) but the majority of landing pages fail miserably at providing a decent experience across devices. Loading times are a big part of this, of course, but there are basic design mistakes that crop up constantly. When the majority of searches take place on mobile, failing to provide a consistent experience across devices is crazy.

How to avoid this landing page mistake

If you’re using landing page builders, make sure the code is lightweight and optimised for mobile performance. Stick to single column layouts with plenty of whitespace and full-width sections; these are easy to make responsive across while maintaining a consistent experience. Take a look at this example from Asana that couldn’t be more mobile friendly (this is from my desktop, btw):

Also, avoid using any unnecessary JavaScript that’ll add bloat to your code and loading times (including popups). Optimise your visuals for size and performance and use responsive form designs that adapt to different screen sizes.

#9: Weak calls to action

The whole point of your landing pages is to generate leads and convert people, which means your calls to action are the defining factor in that crucial moment. Weak CTAs kill your conversion opportunity cold dead. You need to grab people’s attention and make your offer hard to refuse – anythings less and your landing pages are underperforming.

How to avoid this landing page landing page mistake:

First of all your CTAs need to stand out, so use good colour contrast and bold elements to make them visually striking. Next, they need to convince people to take action. Reaffirm the core benefit of your offer and spell out the action users should take with your button text (eg: “Create my free account”, “Build your first landing page”, etc.).

Another example from Infusionsoft – simple yet powerful CTA copy

Placement is always important, too, but don’t get caught up in moving your CTA buttons a few pixels in A/B tests, hoping for miraculous results. These kinds of tests are misleading and time-consuming. The same thing goes for button colours, font styles and other minute details. Focus on the things that matter: contrast, copy and a layout that makes for a powerful, convincing CTA.

Landing pages are serious business

All of the mistakes we’ve looked at today can be avoided by taking three things seriously: audience research, relevancy and user experience. Once you know what each of your target users wants, you’re able to create highly specific marketing messages that strike a cord with their desires. Suddenly, your copy sounds more convincing, the benefits of your offer become clear and your calls to action are more difficult to resist.

All that’s left is to package this in a user experience that removes all conversion barriers and your fleet of landing pages is getting serious business results.

9 Lead Capture Quiz & Survey Strategies That Work

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

One lead generation strategy many businesses overlook is using quizzes and surveys to get people involved with brands for the first time. I don’t particularly mind this because most implementations of quizzes and surveys I come across leave a lot to be desired. They tend to expect too much from users while offering little incentive to take part, merely adding unwanted barriers to converting.

You don’t need to worry about this, though, because today I’ve got nine lead capture quiz and survey strategies that’ll get you converting users. By creating quizzes and surveys people actually want to complete (yes, it is possible), all that friction disappears and you’ve got yourself a highly effective lead generation strategy that asks very little from people interacting with your brand.

#1: The attractive offer strategy

Pulse offers people the chance to win John Lewis vouchers in return for filling out a survey.

The challenge with quizzes and surveys is they ask a lot from users. This isn’t like they’re filling out one of your web forms because they want to buy into your services; they’re giving up their valuable time for nothing in return, which means you really have to earn their interest.

The most obvious way to do this is by offering users something in return for taking part. It could be entering into a competition, a free voucher or whatever kind of incentive you think it will take to get people participating.

If you hit people with the offer before they start your quiz or survey then it’ll have to be something pretty special. And there’s nothing wrong with this approach, if you’re confident people will be tempted enough by your offer to take part. However, I tend to see better results from designing quizzes and surveys that are more tempting by their own merit and then hitting users with the offer – after they’ve completed them.

You’ll get a better idea of how this works throughout the article.

#2: The ‘fun’ quiz strategy

The rise of social media and BuzzFeed quizzes has warmed people to the prospect of quizzes as entertainment. The trick here is to really nail your audience research and understand what’s going to peak their interest. For example, if you’re targeting IT professionals with a project management platform, you can play on the typical personality/communication clash that often exists between IT technicians and IT managers. Every industry has these kinds of inside jokes and the more specific to each audience you can be, the better.

At some point, you’ll want to tie this into what you’re selling (eg: your project management tool breaking down the language barrier between IT techies and managers). But all you need to do at this stage is get each audience engaging with your lead capture quiz.

#3: Play on industry developments to generate interest

Painfully dull topics suddenly become interesting when there’s money on the line. (Source: Zanebenefits.com)

Nothing stays the same for long in business these days and there are constant industry developments we all have to keep up with. You can use this to make your quizzes and surveys more appealing by promising to help your prospects prepare for upcoming changes.

This can be especially effective when there are changes to government regulations that affect business operation. For example, last year’s changes to workplace pensions in the UK or the ACA Employer Mandate in 2015 for businesses in the US. If you can make these changes relevant to your brand and help your target audiences deal with them, you’ve got a strong incentive to work with.

Likewise, for those of us in digital industries, any major change to Google’s search algorithm does the trick – especially when they’re announced ahead of rollout. In 2015, we had the “mobile-friendly” update and this year we have mobile-first indexing to think about – both of which were announced before the changes came into effect.

So in this case, a quiz that starts out by asking: “Are you ready for Google’s big ‘mobile-friendly’ update?” raises doubt in people’s minds and makes it difficult not to fill out your quiz.

#4: Ask target prospects to take part in industry reports

It’s always difficult to make a survey sound exciting. Even the word “survey” itself sounds unappealing, but I find there’s one guaranteed way to get people excited about filling these things out – especially for B2B leads.

Approach your target prospects, asking them to take place in an industry report you’re putting together. Make it clear their opinions not only matter to you but other people in the industry and you want them to be a part of the report you’re publishing. Human ego will take care of the rest for you.

The best part about this strategy is you can capture leads while creating your study and then use the published report to capture yet more leads as a downloadable resource.

#5: Target different users with personalised quizzes/surveys

VWO is one of the leading names in personalisation and testing software

To get the maximum number of leads from your quizzes and surveys, you need to pinpoint the specific interests of your different target audiences. Once again, this starts with knowing your audiences and creating personalised quizzes/surveys for each of them, based on their unique interests.

Next, you need a way to target each of your audiences with your personalised content. Thankfully, this part is quite straightforward with the tools we have available today. Your first option is to use personalisation software to segment your visitors and display the relevant lead capture quiz or survey. Tools like Optimizely and VWO make this approach more time and cost-effective than ever.

Then you have social media, which you can use to target highly focused audiences with your quizzes – and I’ll cover this approach in more detail shortly.

#6: Use quizzes to score and qualify your leads

This one comes from Ben Snedeker who’s part of the Infusionsoft team. The magic of a good lead capture quiz or survey is you get the opportunity to get more information from users than you might otherwise be able to. This allows you to score and qualify each lead to gain a better understanding of how to follow-up and move them along the sales process – something Infusionsoft will help you automate.

The thing is, you have to know what information to ask and how to attribute this to sales intent. Then you need to create your lead capture quiz or survey in a way that gets the necessary info without adding too many steps. This can be particularly challenging when you’re taking the “fun” quiz approach where dull questions might kill the experience.

Don’t forget you can reach out to users at a later date for more info and you can also use your targeting options to narrow down prospect information before they’ve even participated. You need to find the right balance between acquiring the info you need from users without preventing conversions.

#7: Promote your quizzes on social media

Promoting your quizzes on social media brings two key benefits to your lead generation strategy. First of all, your quizzes are getting seen by a much wider audience but the real magic is in the targeting options you have to work with.

This is especially true with Facebook and Instagram, which both allow you to narrow down on highly specific audiences. I mentioned targeting different users with personalised quizzes earlier and this is your best alternative (better yet, do both).

You can create quizzes on Facebook in no time but you’ll want to set them up as advertising campaigns to get the best out of the network’s incredible targeting options. It’s kind of scary how specific you can be with targeting people on Facebook and Instagram but it gives you the power to get your content seen by the right people when it matters most.

#8: Disguise your quizzes so they don’t look like quizzes

We have so many best practices and guidelines knocking around these days that things tend to all look the same. Homepages all look like homepages, web forms all look like web forms – and breaking these conventions is generally seen as bad UX design.

However, this doesn’t always translate to better results. When I first started testing out multi-step forms on websites I found the designs that didn’t look like forms got the best results. People don’t like filling out forms so why make it painfully obvious that they’re filling one out?

The same thing goes with quizzes and I’ve found using Leadformly‘s multi-step forms as a way to create “quizzes” works incredibly well. They don’t look like forms; they don’t look like quizzes – they just work.

#9: The follow-up offer

This quiz on Entrepreneur.com hits users with an offer in exchange for email addresses but allows them to scroll down for the results.

Once users complete your quiz or survey you have the all-important task of asking them to provide their email address in exchange for the results. However, this presents a real UX barrier by essentially blocking users from the content they’re after at the last stage – pretty frustrating for them.

You might want to work on alternative approaches.

Let’s say the results from your quiz aren’t particularly good (eg: “You scored 6/10 for your lead generation techniques”). Why not give them the results right there and ask them to hand over their email address for more info on how to get their score up to 10/10?

Don’t overlook the power of lead capture quizzes and surveys

Don’t let the fact many brands fail to make the most of lead capture quizzes and surveys put you off. By asking the right questions you can make it hard for users to resist taking part and capture low-intent leads that might otherwise leave without converting at all.

5 Salesforce Web-to-Lead Form Hacks & Tips to Get More Leads

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

Salesforce is one of the best CRM platforms you’ll find on the market, enabling you to automate all kinds of lead nurturing and customer management processes. It’s a powerful piece of software, there’s no doubt about that, and while it’s not designed to be a lead generation tool per se, it does a fine job if you implement it with the right third-party tools.

To give you an idea of how good Salesforce can be at lead generation, I’ve got five hacks & tips for using Salesforce Web-to-Lead Forms, which will get you generating more leads and converting more of them with the platform.

#1: First, get yourself a form builder

Although you can create forms using Salesforce, they’re notorious for being difficult to set up and, well, let’s just say they won’t be winning any beauty awards. Worse still, they’re a chore to optimise/customise and none of these characteristics are great from a lead generation point of view.

Luckily, Salesforce Web-to-Lead Forms play nicely with a number of third-party lead generations tools, including Leadformly – which allows you to embed conversion optimised, easily customisable and easy-on-the-eye forms on any page. Aside from that, you get detailed analytics on how your forms are performing so you can improve results as time goes by.

This is particularly important when you have to manage multiple forms on your site. Speaking of which.

#2: Create a Salesforce campaign for every form on your site

Salesforce Web-to-Lead Forms

Source: Salesforce

Salesforce really starts to shine once you start mapping out customer journeys. I’m not talking about the sales funnels you’ve created as a path to guide users along; I’m talking about the path they actually take – which tells you how successful your marketing strategy is at guiding users across the sales funnels you create.

To map these journeys out on Salesforce you first need to how you first generated each lead. By default, Salesforce Web-to-Lead forms only capture only capture the name and basic demographics of people who sign up. This isn’t a bad start but it doesn’t tell you anything about why these leads got involved with your brand.

Thankfully, there’s a simple hack to fix this.

All you need to do is create a separate campaign for each form on your site. To do this, you’ll have to create your campaigns first and then “associate” each form to the relevant campaigns. You can do this by including the Campaign ID and Campaign Member Status on your forms. If you need more info on how to do this, there’s a Salesforce Knowledge Article that explains the entire process.

Salesforce automatically gathers data for every campaign you create and because these are associated with specific forms, you’re getting data specific to each of them. So now you can see how many leads each form is generating, how many are converting and a range of other key metrics.

More importantly, you can see which form individual leads come from. So now you know why they signed up in the first place and what kind of follow-up message it will take to get them further along the buying process.

#3: See the path to conversion users take by capturing URL parameters

 

Our last hack was pretty good and incredibly simple, but we take this a giant step further by capturing URL parameters with hidden fields on your forms.

This tells you which page leads are on when they convert (particularly important when you have the same form on multiple pages) but you can also use this technique to map our the journey they took before converting.

Before you can do this you’ll need to add these parameters to your URLs. For example, you’ll add something like mail_camp=# to the URLs for traffic that comes from your email campaigns. So the URL for a visitor who lands on your product page from one of your email campaigns might look like this:

https://yoursite.com/product/?mail_camp=555

Whereas the URL from an organic visit would simply look like:

https://yoursite.com/product

Once you’ve added these parameters to your URLs, you can place a hidden field on your forms that automatically grabs them and pairs them with your users’ information. So you know exactly which path to conversion every user took and you can use this information to map customer journeys in Salesforce and send users tailored messages, based on the path they’re taking.

Again, this is particularly valuable if you have the same form on multiple pages. There are some downsides to this approach, though. First, there are some SEO issues to consider and you can also get lost in a sea of cluttered reports if you’re not careful.

This is one powerful hack, but use it with care.

#4: Put a stop to spam

Stopping spam from web forms is a real challenge for every website owner but this is especially frustrating when it comes to customer and lead management. Spam plays all kinds of havoc with your data and putting a stop to it is vital.

With Salesforce Web-to-Lead Forms you can add a CAPTCHA to prevent spam but this is a terrible way to approach the issue. First of all, you’re adding an incredibly frustrating step to filling out your forms for human visitors. While, at the same time, you’re telling them you don’t have a good enough system in place to stop web spam yourself and you’re passing the responsibility over to them.

 

CAPTCHAs suck. Don’t use them.

Instead, there’s a simple but highly effective way to stop form spam from getting through, known as the honeypot technique. Essentially, it involves creating another hidden field on your forms, except this one is designed to catch out spam bots. When bots come across a web form they fill out every field, which includes your hidden honeypot field. So you can set a rule that blocks form submissions when this field has been modified while genuine leads (from humans who can’t access this field) get through with no problems.

To set up a honeypot field on your forms you’ll need to use display: none; in your CSS for the field you want to hide. Then you’ll set a JavaScript rule that blocks submission when your honeypot field has been modified.

If code isn’t your thing, then you’ll be glad to know Leadformly, which I mentioned earlier, comes with honeypot fields on all of its forms as standard.

#5: Put a stop to duplications

A common problem with analytics and CRM platforms is duplication. For example, when a user signs up to your newsletter during one session then downloads your eBook in another, you don’t want them to be treated as two separate leads. Unfortunately, Salesforce doesn’t have a built-in system for dealing with this kind of duplication so you’ll need to call on some more third-party integration for this.

You’ll find plenty of options available via the Salesforce AppExchange page, including CRMfusionRingLead and plenty of others. Of course, this means signing up to these third-party tools as well, so you’ll need to consider what else each of these tools has to offer and whether they have a place in your marketing toolkit.

There are also some dedicated tools to prevent duplication in the AppExchange, ranging from freebies like DupeCatcher to the $5,000-per-year DupeBlocker 3. You can, of course, develop your own system for preventing duplications but that’s a little outside of the scope of this article.

Whichever approach you take to this, you’ll want to have a system in place before you start using Salesforce or your chosen CRM. You can take it from me that deduplicating your account data after it has been collected is just about one of the most painful tasks you can do with Salesforce Web-to-Lead.

Salesforce can be a lead generation tool

As I say, Salesforce is more of a CRM than a lead generation tool but you can but a few hacks and third-party integrations Salesforce Web-to-Lead Forms can change all that. While Salesforce can be a difficult platform to integrate, the benefit of this complexity is how flexible the platform is, once you get your head around it. Hopefully, the hacks in this article have given you an idea of the lead generation potential Salesforce has and a few ideas on how to improve results for yourself.

The Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

Disclosure: We sometimes use affiliate links which means that, at zero cost to you, we may earn a commission if you buy something through our links.

Last month, LinkedIn rolled out an exciting new feature for lead generation ads. Lead Gen Forms are designed to increase mobile conversion rates by placing CTAs on your ads, making it easier for users to take action.

LinkedIn says 80% of engagement with sponsored content happens on mobile and the network realises web forms are a common obstacle to conversions. So it’s decided to take action by creating user-friendly forms on your behalf and prompting users to convert inside the LinkedIn app.

Sounds good, right? Well, let’s take a close look.

What are LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms?

LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms are available for sponsored content campaigns. You can choose whether to use them or not and they won’t cost you anything, so it’s certainly worth trying them out to see what impact they have on lead generation.

Essentially, Lead Gen Forms add a call-to-action to your sponsored content ads, asking users to sign-up, download your eBook, or whatever action you’re targeting. When users click the CTA they’ll be greeted by a signup form inside the app, but instead of filling out fields LinkedIn will automatically pull in the details from their account – so all users have to do is confirm their email address and hit the submit button.

Next, they’ll be greeted by a thank you page and a link to your content or website, depending on where you want to send them. This does involve a bit of setting up on your part, though, so let’s look at how you can create LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.

How do I set up LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms?

To get started with Lead Gen Forms you’ll want to create a promoted content ad – this is the only format that supports the feature. Next, you’ll be asked whether you want to increase traffic with your ad or generate leads using Lead Gen Forms. Naturally, you’ll need to select the second option to use this feature.

Once you’ve named your campaign and selected Lead Gen Forms you’ll be asked to choose which post you want to sponsor – or create new sponsored content from scratch. You can also go to Campaign manager and create Lead Gen Forms for existing campaigns.

Once you’ve chosen (or created) the content you want to promote, you’ll be asked to create your form template. You can either choose the default format or create your own:

Nothing complex here. You simply have to name your form (users won’t see this), choose your headline and provide any additional information you want about your offer. There’s also the option to add custom privacy policy details if you want to reassure users about their data.

One thing worth mentioning is you need a valid URL for your privacy policy page.

Next, you can choose which details LinkedIn collects from user accounts (a maximum of seven fields). First name, last name and email address are selected by default but you can also request additional contact, location and professional details that your Lead Gen Form will automatically collect.

Users will be able to see what information you’re collecting from them on your Lead Gen Forms, so be considerate of how much info you think they’ll be willing to hand over. These forms remove the need to type anything out but they don’t necessarily remove the reluctance to hand over personal details. Bare this in mind and understand you might need to experiment a bit to maximise conversions from these forms.

The final step is to choose the thank-you message you want users to see after they submit.

Once you’re done, click Save and that’s it. Now you can set your ad targeting options as normal and your new Lead Gen Form is good to go.

Why Should I use LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms?

As I say, the whole point of LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms is to boost conversion rates from your lead generation campaigns. It’s a pretty good implementation, too, and there are a number benefits to using the new feature.

Remove friction

The aim of the game with Lead Gen Forms is to make it easier for users to convert by removing friction. All it takes is two clicks for users to convert – an impressively low commitment required on the part of users. This adds up to a serious improvement for mobile users compared to the standard promoted content format.

Fewer steps, more info

Lead Gen Forms prove you can ask for more information from people without killing conversion rates. It all comes down to how you design the experience of completing forms and LinkedIn is doing a pretty good job here. This gives you the chance to collect more data without hurting conversions but also choose which kind of information to collect and create advertising campaigns accordingly.

Want to sign up CEOs? Then create your campaigns with them in mind and select “Job title” as one of your fields to confirm you’re getting the right sign-ups.

Potential for double conversions?

Something I’ll be keeping an eye on over the coming months is the potential for double conversions with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms. After users hit the submit button, they’ll be greeted with your thank you message and prompted to visit your site, which gives you the option of targeting them with another offer.

Of course, you’ll already have their email address by this point so the aim is to bag yourself a more valuable conversion – eg: free trial signups, product purchases, social shares or whatever else you think could add value to this lead.

Integration with third-party tools

By using Driftrock, Zapier or Oracle Eloqua, you can integrate LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms with a wide range of third-party marketing tools. This means you can collect your data from LinkedIn and automate the process of nurturing your leads from the new feature.

Are there any downsides to using Lead Gen Forms?

While I’m excited about working with LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms there are a few potential downsides I can already see. None of these are confirmed (just like the potential benefits) but I’ll be keeping an eye on a few things over the coming months.

They don’t solve the web form problem

Actually, this one doesn’t need to be confirmed. Lead Gen Forms have a lot to offer LinkedIn advertising campaigns but let’s be clear: they don’t solve the form design problem most brands are suffering from.

If your web forms are designed and optimised the way they should be, then LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms won’t make much of a difference because your forms will already be converting across all devices, for all of your ad campaigns, on every network.

Leadformly doesn’t make users type out nasty fields either

The reason LinkedIn has come up with this feature isn’t because promoted content ads were failing; it’s because brands are failing to create an intuitive experience once users land on their site.

Instead of waiting for Google, Facebook and everyone else to design a bunch of web forms for you, take control of your own lead generation by creating and optimising forms that convert.

The right form optimisation tool will also help you improve performance and increase conversion rates – something you won’t get from LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms.

They could add friction

Let’s say you have an intuitive signup process on your site, designed to capture leads from LinkedIn and your other lead generation channels. If this is the case, then Lead Gen Forms could actually add friction to the conversion process.

Instead of clicking right through to your site and instantly accessing your content, the CTA on promoted content ads will take users through a multistep signup process – before they’ve accessed your content.

This is where I see a potential problem.

Goodbye traffic?

There’s always a downside to in-app conversions: the risk that traffic will never reach your site. If you’ve already got their email address, you might consider this a small price to pay but missing out on traffic can rob you of other conversions, useful analytics data, potential ad revenue and other branding opportunities.

All of the advertising giants are creating their own “walled garden” systems, making it more difficult for users to leave their platform. It would be a shame to see LinkedIn take the same route and Google and Facebook.

Test them out for yourself

Don’t let me or anyone else tell you how good LinkedIn Lead Gen forms will/won’t be for your business. If you’re advertising on the network, try them out for yourself and see what kind of difference they make to your lead generation results. Just bare in mind your results will vary depending on the kind of content, ads and campaigns you create. Lead Gen Forms won’t do everything for you.

Also, consider what I said earlier about creating the best form and lead generation experience you can on your own site. Your time and effort might be better spent on improving this process to get better results from all of your advertising/marketing channels.

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