Landing pages are a critical tool for meeting your ever-increasing lead generation goals. Actually, only 8% of marketers reported that dedicated landing pages were ineffective, according to MarketingSherpa's 2011 Landing Page Optimization Benchmark Report. I'm not sure what those 8% are doing, but the effectiveness of landing pages for the other 92% of marketers hinges on one component that isn't often discussed -- visitors have to trust you enough to give away their personal information on your landing page forms to obtain your offers.
The thing is, we've all been burned too many times by companies that don't deliver on their offers' promises, sell our personal information, and SPAM us with irrelevant emails. As such, we've all accrued some keen Spidey senses that kick in when we visit landing pages that tell us whether a company is trustworthy, or whether we should cut and run. But what are those landing page characteristics that kick in our feel-good senses and also help to reduce landing page friction? Well, there are at least 10 of them that I know of, and this post will break down what they are so you can earn the trust of your landing page visitors and capture more of them as leads.
10 Ways to Earn Your Landing Page Visitors' Trust
1) Ensure your call-to-action (CTA) offer and landing page offer align.
When a visitor clicks on a CTA and gets to your landing page, they expect something -- they expect to see what that CTA button said they would see. Unfortunately, what happens all too often is the ol' bait and switch. There's a call-to-action that is so amazing every visitor is going to click on it (congratulations, your CTA has a great click-through rate!), but when they get to your landing page, they abandon because they realize they've been duped (congratulations, this exercise was a tremendous waste of your and your visitors' time!).
If your CTA offers a guide about how to unclog a clogged sink drain, make sure your landing page promises to deliver a guide about how to unclog a clogged sink drain -- not a tangentially related 15% off coupon for plumbing supplies.
2) Write clear copy that explains what visitors will get with offer redemptions.
Much of trust is based in perception. So you very well may be delivering on the offer you promised, but if the language you use seems different, visitors will assume you've tricked them, and they'll abandon your landing page without completing the form. For an example of someone using language to clearly explain their offers and align their CTAs and landing pages, let's take a look at one of HubSpot's customers, Andrew Harper's Luxury Travel Blog.
See that image and language being used in the CTA? It sure looks and sounds a lot like what the visitors finds on the landing page they arrive on when clicking through!
First, notice the repetition of the phrase "Grand Awards Hideaway Report" and use of the same image on both the CTA and the landing page. This creates a congruous experience that puts the visitor at ease, knowing they will receive what they were promised when clicking through to the landing page. In addition, the landing page copy also explains exactly what's in the report -- winners of the 2012 Grand Award, memories from 2011, and other feature stories -- nothing that will negatively surprise your site visitors.
3) Include contact information for your business.
Your visitors probably aren't going to use contact information on your landing page to get in touch with you. But that's not why it's there. Including your contact information shows that you're a real company with real people working there -- you have an address, a phone number, heck, you're even on Google Maps! And notice the example here from HubSpot's landing page for our Pinterest for Business ebook -- the bottom navigation also includes links to other tools, web properties, and social media accounts that help paint a more comprehensive picture of the company we are.
Visitors probably won't use this information on your landing page to get to know or contact you, but it's a comfort knowing it's there.
4) Make sure your forms fields aren't too intrusive.
Many visitors are still reticent to divulge commonly requested information like email address and phone number. So don't make your job of converting visitors into leads any harder by pushing the envelope too much. There's a fine balance to strike between getting the information you need to properly qualify a lead, and asking so much that you harm conversions.
We've written a blog post that talks in depth about how to determine how many form fields you need, but it's wise to have a conversation with your sales team and perform some A/B tests of your own to determine the best decision for your business. What information does your sales team need to know about leads to prioritize their pipeline? What information does your marketing team need to know to nurture leads effectively? And from A/B testing, what form fields are causing people to abandon ship, and at what expense to your conversion rates? This data will help you understand if any of your form fields are making visitors feel uneasy about divulging their personal information so you can make the proper adjustments.
(Tip: Don't forget that you can make form fields optional! Just use the little red star we all know and love to denote required fields, and leave the rest star-free to put more visitors at ease ... but still collect interesting information from those willing to share!)
6) Display third-party seals of approval.
7) Give purchasers the chance to review the details of their transaction.
If you're an ecommerce business, your landing page may require the visitor to perform a monetary transaction during their form submission. If that's the case, make sure you're providing all the information they need to know about their purchase up-front. That means your return policy, the timing and associated costs with delivery, and taxes and fees are all visible and clear before you ask visitors to submit their form. Then provide one final "review" screen that comprehensively details all the components of their order.
There's nothing worse than thinking you're about to purchase an item for $100, and see an extra $10 tacked on at the end for premium shipping that you didn't ask for -- and that type of underhanded activity (whether accidental or intended) is enough to make visitors abandon your shopping cart. If you're an ecommerce business, you can learn more about increasing ecommerce shopping cart conversions in our comprehensive blog post on the subject.
8) Include reviews and testimonials on your landing page.
Just as third-party seals of approval from reputable organizations establish your credibility and security with visitors, it helps to have actual customers vouch for you via reviews and testimonials right on your landing page. Take a look at how HubSpot customer and leadership development company Farr Leadership is doing it, for example:
A testimonial like this right by Farr's "Download Case Study" button and "Have an Expert Contact You" box make the offers seem more appealing and legitimate with the inclusion of a real customer's third-party endorsement -- full name, title, and company name included.
You can also include testimonials for the specific offer that visitors are redeeming, if you have them. For example:
This ebook totally changed the way I approach clogged drains in my household. Thanks for the helpful suggestions; my sink is draining more quickly than ever before! - S.P. Arkles, Boston, MA
A simple way to find testimonials of this sort if a quick visit to your social media accounts. If you're publishing your lead generation content to social media, perhaps you've received some positive feedback from your community. Reach out to those fans and followers and ask their permission to feature their positive comments on your landing page. As we discuss in this blog post, social proof can be a very powerful motivator!
9) Use proper spelling and grammar.
This isn't a spelling bee -- most visitors are comfortable with the fact that mistakes slip through in web copy. After all, it's just humans writing it! But if your landing page is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, you look careless at best and unprofessional at worst. Why would a visitor trust their personal information with you if you can't take the time to run your page through a round of proofreading? Here at HubSpot, for example, we always have a colleague review copy in content like blog posts and landing pages before they are published for all the world to see. Then we run a spell check on top of it to catch any of those sneaky little errors and typos the human eye glosses over, especially when you're pumping out content left and right. Believe me: it catches a lot.
10) Maintain an overall professional appearance.
Does your landing page look like it's maintained by a reputable business, or is it more akin to a tween's MySpace page? Professionalism extends beyond spelling and grammar -- the layout and design of your landing pages can have a subconscious effect on your visitors that makes them feel uncomfortable filling out your form.
Have a trusted friend or family member (or heck, even a stranger) take a look at your landing pages if you're still experimenting with different layouts and designs. Do they look legitimate? Or is there some unquantifiable element that just makes them feel ... uneasy? If you're met with apprehension from your focus group and you've implemented all of the above recommendations, you might have a design problem.
For example, many marketers get carried away with font sizes and colors -- try to restrict yourself to just 3 different font sizes and colors for a more streamlined, less erratic look. Or perhaps you got so excited creating your landing page that you've included a lot of exclamation points -- remember what we said about the MySpace page? You don't have to be stuffy, just pump down the volume a tad. And just like flashing animations can be distracting to visitors on your homepage, it can hurt your credibility on landing pages, too. When trust and conversions are at stake, simple landing pages will almost always beat those with the bells and whistles.
What other elements contribute to gaining trust from landing page visitors?