What is a lead capture system and why you need it

The human attention span is a mysterious thing.

I consider myself a pretty focused person, but I can’t tell you how many times a week I experience a sequence like the following:

I sit down on the couch about to drink a beer, when I realize I forgot a bottle opener. So I get up and head to the kitchen to find one when I notice that a bouquet of flowers in a vase on the counter is wilting. I go to pull off a few dead petals, then notice that the water is murky. So, I decide I should change it to help keep the flowers alive – but first I want to Google what to add to the water to maximize the flowers’ life. I head to my laptop, where I see an add about the miracle powers of lemon water, so I head to the refrigerator…. You get the picture.

Science explains this irritating – yet all too common – occurrence, because, in fact, the human attention span is pretty paltry – at about only 8 seconds long. That’s shorter than a goldfish’s attention span (9 seconds), and according to recent attention studies done by Microsoft — getting even worse as time passes.

That, my friends, is the very reason a thing called a lead capture page exists – and why you should be using lead capture pages in order to help build your business.

lead capture pages grab visitors’ attentionWhat is a Lead Capture Page?
Sometimes called a landing page, a lead capture page is a web page that is – as its name suggests – solely intended to capture a lead. Lead capture pages are distinct from a company’s general website (and other parts of the online footprint, like blog posts, social media pages, etc.), and they have one main objective: to get a visitor to do one actionable thing – whether that is to turn over their contact information, sign up for a service or newsletter, or simply make a purchase.

Companies should use lead capture pages for every inbound marketing effort they put out into the world. This means that when a person clicks on any PPC ad, social media post, display banner, email promotion, (etc., etc.) promoting a specific product or service, they should be led to a lead capture page. Capture pages, in turn, don’t only make the conversion process more streamlined, they also allow companies to segment traffic and put the right message in front of the right sets of eyes.

Because a lead capture page’s job is to convert, lead capture pages tend to be pretty simple, without much distracting information. In fact, in many cases (16% of lead capture pages, according to a study by Marketing Sherpa), lead capture pages don’t even offer navigation options to another part of a company’s website, since that might be distracting – like seeing the wilting vase of flowers when you’re already on the way to grab a bottle opener.
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The Benefits of Lead Capture Pages
You might be thinking – “Lead capture pages sound like overkill. My website and blog are sufficient to convince my customers to buy!” But if you are, you are greatly underestimating the power of the lead capture page. Here’s why.

They minimize distractions.
As mentioned, one of the most powerful reasons to use lead capture pages is to minimize a consumer’s distractions; when a visitor lands on a lead capture page from an ad or post they found interesting, they’ll only be faced with that one, interesting thing – not something else that can steal their attention. Here’s a good example from Shopify:

They’re a good spot to put product- or service-specific deals.
Are you offering a specific deal or discount regarding a product of service you offer? If so, the lead capture page for that specific offering is a good place to put information about the related deal. That way, you don’t have to advertise if front and center on your homepage — and you don’t have to build a page solely about that deal.

They help you gather valuable user data.
There are many ways that you can direct potential customers to your lead capture pages – from links in a newsletter, PPC ads, sidebar link, etc. etc. By looking at your capture pages’ analytics, you can see where your customers are coming from – and understand which marketing tactics are working for you, and which you want to abandon.

Tlead capture pages help you gather valuable user datahey provide you with more shareable content.
Lead capture pages can be shared on your social media pages and in emails, and they offer people the opportunity to directly access a place to become a lead or a customer – cutting out a step (e.g. clicking a CTA, browsing your website) for consumers. HubSpot recommends having at least 40 landing pages, so you can offer a wide variety of marketing offers to entice potential buyers.

They work.
Most importantly, companies that use lead capture pages have effectively been able to grow their customer base. Unbounce frequently cites a landing page study done by Omniture that showed that online advertising that used capture pages saw a conversion rate improvement of at least 25%. Further, last year, marketing platform company Wishpond did an in-depth lead capture study looking at the average conversion rates of both B2B and B2C capture pages. What they found was that the B2B lead capture pages converted at an average rate of 13.28%, while B2C lead capture pages converted at 9.87%. In short, the best reason to use lead capture pages is that they work.

How to Create a Capture Page that Converts
Lead capture pages are essential – but not all lead capture pages are created equal. If you’re planning to design capture pages for your site that will entice people to hand over their info or make a purchase, the following guidelines may help.

1. Leave off the navigation bar.
Help people going for a bottle opener get that bottle opener. Leave off a navigation bar to your website, and gently usher a potential customer towards a conversion without the temptation of checking out other stuff on your site. Lead capture expert Oli Gardner warns that directing people to your business’ homepage from an ad can result in “wandering funnel paths.” Here is a capture page that Dropbox has used:

2. Make the form as short and straightforward as possible.
We’ve talked about the importance of short forms in regards to gated content – and the same goes for lead capture pages. You’re going to need to collect info on a lead capture page in order to capture leads – but you need to make sure you make it as easy as possible for people to give you that info, so you don’t intimidate them and drive them away. If you’re only going to contact people by email, consider simply asking for their name and email address. Asking for things like a phone number, fax, age, or address are likely to send people running in the other direction.

3. Include all of the most important information at the top of the lead capture page.
Resist giving tons of info about your product or service on your capture page. Instead, focus on including the most basic info about the offer – what it is, its benefits, what it will cost, etc. — at the top of the page.

French company Cofidis tested out two capture pages to see which worked better for their company. One was beautifully designed with tons of info, and the other one was stripped down and included all pertinent info “above the fold” (the top 1/3rd of the screen).

cofidisThe company found that the short, stripped version (Version A) converted 48% more effectively than the longer, prettier page. Let people know what they need to know right away, and you won’t lose their focus.

4. Keep the wording consistent.
When you write the copy for your lead capture page, make sure you use the same wording (or complementary wording) as you did in your ads. You want to ensure your messaging is consistent so people understanding what they’re looking for and getting.

5. Build trust.
If a potential customer is trying to decide whether he or she wants to hand over information or money to you, they want to know that they can trust you. There are two important ways to build trust on your lead capture pages:

Use impeccable grammar and spelling. Check, double-check, and triple-check your lead capture pages to make sure there are no grammatical or spelling errors on them. Easy errors make your company look sloppy. Grammar experts Kibin did a study of 1,700 online daters; what they found is that 43% of people reading online profiles found that bad grammar was decidedly unattractive. Don’t be unattractive to someone you are trying to convert.
Include inherent trust-builders, like testimonials or press. You can convince customers to buy by showing them that other people have bought – and enjoyed your product. Some of the best ways to do that include putting customer testimonials on your lead capture pages, snippets from press about your company, or any awards you’ve received. You can also include security seals or certifications; when contact lens company ACLens added a VeriSign security seal to their homepage and capture pages, they saw a 41% increase in conversions and 58%. Show people they can trust you and they won’t be scared to buy.
6. Make the Call-to-Action and conversion buttons noticeable.
You want to ensure that the visitors to your lead capture pages see the CTA and conversion buttons – after all, they are the most important part of the lead capture page. According to a report on color and conversions by ConversionXL, using red buttons and CTAs ensure that the important, actionable info stands out. Here’s a capture page from One Rabbit, where you can’t miss the button:

7. Test.
There is no one recipe for a lead capture page that works. However, marketing experts say that it is crucial to A/B test capture pages to see what works and what doesn’t. By consistently testing and tweaking your lead capture pages, you can maximize the chance that people will want to hand over their info to you – and continue to grow your pool of potential customers.

We live in a distracting, overwhelming world where we can get 1,000s of HD channels on our television and 9 distinct versions of Dr. Pepper. Lead capture pages are an effective antidote to that variety – especially when you want to make sure people are paying attention to your business. Make things simple and easy for your potential customers, and you’ll maximize the chance that they’ll be happy to buy.

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