This is a guest post by Bill Bice. He started his first tech company at age 18, building an eight-figure revenue business that became the market leader in their niche of law firms and corporate legal departments. Today he owns boomtime, a word of mouth marketing company.

The most underrated asset in any business is that audience you get to talk to for free, whenever you want to – your email list. You’re doing everything right. You have a mobile-first optimized website. You are creating great content. You’re networking on LinkedIn and other platforms. You’re driving those prospects to your website, the centerpiece of all your marketing. But studies show that 79% of marketing leads are never converted into sales.

Now that you’ve generated that interest and you have prospects visiting your website, you need to capture their emails. Let’s talk about the most effective ways to capture leads – landing pages and pop-ups. 

How to use landing pages and pop-ups.

Landing Pages

A landing page is another page on your website. It is a simple call to action page and it is singularly focused on accomplishing one objective – asking for an email address in exchange for that high-value reward. Most likely, the visitor got to this page by clicking on a link in a search or from a post on social media.

Landing pages are designed for one purpose only – to get a commitment out of a visitor. In exchange for a valuable reward article, the visitor gives you their email. Landing pages are less intrusive because the visitor chose to be directed to the page. On average, landing pages convert between 1% and 3%. Companies that use more than one landing page – and tailor them to segments of their audience – can convert at an even higher rate: 5% - 10%.

Pop-Ups

A pop-up – also called a lightbox – is a small window that pops up over the webpage a visitor is on. It contains a call to action for the visitor to provide their email address in exchange for something valuable – a whitepaper or additional valuable information in a reward article.

Pop-ups are usually more effective than landing pages because if a visitor is already on your website reading an article, it’s easy to pop-up and say, “Hey, sign up and get a free whitepaper or download that goes with this article.” You will be most successful if you get to them when they’re at the peak of their interest on the site. If you tie that interest into offering them additional valuable information in exchange for their email address, you can get a good conversion rate. And there are always opportunities to increase that rate by following the data and making changes as needed.  

How to test your Pop-up for effectiveness

You want to make sure that you are asking your visitors for their email address at the right time and in the right way. The only way to do that is to test it and see what works, then follow the data. Pop-ups and landing pages are the perfect places to do A/B testing to see how slight changes in wording, placement, and timing affect your conversion rates.

  • Test the timing of the pop-up

Pop-ups can be timed to pop-up following certain actions, or after a visitor has scrolled down a page a certain amount. You want to time your pop-up for when someone is the most interested. Test out a few variations to see what works best.

  • Test the location of the pop-up

Where the pop-up is located on the page can have a huge effect on conversion. We’ve found that placing the pop-up further down the page, which gives the visitor time to read and really understand the value of what you’re providing, works best.

  • Test where the Call to Action is on the landing page

Just like a pop-up, where the Call to Action is located on the landing page can have a huge effect on conversion. Test out a few variations to see which location works best.

  • Test the headlines and copy

How we talk about ourselves and our offering can have a huge effect. Testing out multiple iterations of the headline and copy can help you determine what works best.

  • Test different Calls to Action

One call to action may be way more effective than another, even when everything else is the same. Try testing out at least 2 versions of the Call to Action to see if one drives more conversion.

How do you create an effective Call-to-Action (CTA)? 

Both a landing page and a pop-up need to have a strong call to action. The right call to action can mean the difference between capturing a lead’s email address or losing them. It requires a deeper understanding of your audience and it breaks down into three steps:

  • Identify a Problem – Find your prospect’s pain point. You need to really understand your audience and the problems they’re facing. 45% of consumers will abandon an online transaction if they feel their questions/concerns aren’t addressed quickly.
  • Create a Sense of Urgency – Build urgency around the problem they’re facing – that makes them feel like they need to follow your call-to-action. You can do this in your landing page headline, subtitles, or bullet points and that will increase or decrease conversions for your call-to-action.
  • Offer a Solution – Offer a solution to the problem they’re facing. Whether it’s a reward article, the chance to talk with someone, or even to sign up for more key insights, offering some sort of solution to help with your prospect’s pain point will make them more inclined to follow your call-to-action. 

What makes a good Call-to-Action?

  • Let your audience know exactly what you want them to do. This should be a simple action that is easy to take and removes risk.
  • Be clear and concise. Tell people what you want them to do next and what’s going to happen.
  • Provide them with a reason to take the action. Tell them what taking that action will do. For example, what is the reward for taking the action?
  • Use strong words for your desired action: subscribe, download, order, find out, shop, buy, or call.
  • Know your devices – Most of your visitors will come to your website or read your emails on a mobile device. Customizing different calls-to-action based on the device being used to view the site can help ensure it always looks good and functions properly, no matter what device they’re using.

Just ask for their email address.

Your CTA on your landing page or pop-up has worked and your prospect is ready to sign up. My recommendation is to only ask for the one thing you really need on the form – their email address. We’ve followed the data across hundreds of businesses. When you also ask for their name, it reduces conversion by 20%. Ask for a phone number and you reduce the conversion rate by at least 50%. Any additional field after that is further reducing conversion by an average of 8% each. 

Now that you have that valuable bit of information, their email address, congratulations. They are now part of the most valuable asset at any business – the audience that you get to talk to at any time. 

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