How to Build Your Prospect Lead Bank: Part 3, Stick the Landing

gymnastLast month, we looked at how to write the email or ad that convinces your prospects to say yes to your offer and provide you their contact information as an interested prospect, allowing you to start them down your sales funnel. (For review, you can read part one, which talks about why you need a good lead-gen campaign.)

This month, we’re going to look at the landing page. It’s the place where that email or ad takes your prospect, and where you post your offer. Why not just link your email directly to the offer? Because the landing page gives you an additional chance to hook the prospect by really digging into the benefits they’ll receive by downloading/viewing/accepting your free offer.

Landing pages are one of the most important elements of lead generation. MarketingSherpa’s research shows that landing pages are effective for 94 percent of B2B and B2C companies. The great thing about landing pages is that they direct your viewer to one specific page that has the very focused text you want them to see — and only that. Often, the landing page will even be disconnected from the template that your other Web pages will have so that prospects won’t be able to surf to other pages within your website.

Visitors come to your landing page for only one purpose: to complete the lead-capture form. So keep it simple for them.

Talk to your audience (again)

Much of the advice for writing the emails/ads holds true for writing your landing page. Start with the prospect — get to know him/her and write text that speaks directly to them. Learn everything you can about your target audience’s concerns, interests, problems, and what it cares about most.

Then use that information to craft copy that convinces them to check out your offer — after all, it’s free; what do they have to lose?

When they click on the large, obvious call to action on your email/ad, they go to the landing page for your final push.

The format

Start the landing page with a catchy — but not overly clever or esoteric — headline that corresponds to the call to action. For instance, if you’re offering a white paper, your headline can be something like, “The White Paper That Will Change Your Shipping System.”

Then, put in a brief description of the offer. Here’s a good place, like in the headline and the page title, to put in keywords to optimize search engine optimization. That will help you capture Web surfers who never even see your email/ad.

Next, put three, four, or five bullet points of benefits the prospect will get from accepting the offer. Again, these will come from knowing your audience. If you feel their pain, you can tell them how the offer will alleviate or address those problems or show them a new way of dealing with a problem, or even the new way to do something that has become routine.

Then, put in some sort of proof. A testimonial would work, or an award or recognition, or results clients have seen from your offer, or a key differentiator. That proof creates credibility in your prospect’s mind. Make this different than the proof you put in your email/ad.

Last, give them a clear, obvious, call to action, and make sure that it at least includes the requirement that they enter their name and email address. You can certainly ask for more, but the more you ask for, the more walls you’re putting up and the more hesitancy you’re creating. I recommend name, email address, and maybe a phone number.

In structure, it’s as simple as that. And the more landing pages you have — the more offers you have — the more names you’ll collect. Which inevitably means the more sales you’ll make.

What’s next?

So, now you have all those email addresses. What do you do with them? We’ll go over that next month. Till then, here are some more hints and tips for creating a landing page that effectively captures leads.

25 Smart Landing Pages for Collecting Leads

Landing Pages: Optimizing your Landing Page for Lead Generation

The Ten Commandments of an Awesome Lead-Generating Website

Photo credit goes to Erin Costa.