Design Differences Between eCommerce & Lead Gen

If your B2B marketing department is using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising to support eCommerce and lead generation campaigns, you won’t get far without landing pages.

At some point, you’ll need to create a dedicated page that your paid traffic can be directed to. It doesn’t matter if you’re creating a specified destination for your Google Ads, a unique product offer or even a subscription page for your newsletter—landing pages help focus your traffic on your conversion goals.

But an effective landing page for selling products isn’t necessarily effective for attracting leads and vice versa.

If your landing pages are going to convert visitors and provide a worthwhile return on your investment, you’ll need to understand what makes lead generation pages different from pages that sell products, and how to use those differences to create a successful B2B marketing campaign.

What’s the Difference?

The primary goal of lead generation landing pages is to collect user data (contact information) from prospective customers. Lead generation takes place early in the sales cycle and ideally leads to a long-term commitment or a large purchase.

Users who convert on a lead generation landing page usually provide contact information in exchange for an asset like a whitepaper or an eBook.

In contrast, eCommerce landing pages are designed to sell products. These prospective clients will ideally become clients on the spot and will be fueled by different motivations than prospective leads.

Why It Matters—Different Objectives Require Different Strategies

While eCommerce and lead generation landing pages are both built to convert visitors, their differing objectives require different points of emphasis for designers.

For example, buyers on an eCommerce landing page might place a higher value on security since they are providing payment and shipping information. This usually appears on the page in the form of additional verifications, receipts and so forth.

(Of course, leads value the security of their personal information too and expect real benefits from converting. But your lead generation landing page can address these hurdles in other ways, which we’ll address below.)

Lead Generation-Specific Design

If you’re mapping out your online conversion path, lead generation falls between demand generation, which creates awareness of your product, and lead nurturing, which brings existing leads closer to a sale.

Similar to these other steps, lead generation is a top of funnel activity, which means you’re trying to get your foot in the door, not make a hard sell.

Every lead generation landing page needs a few key elements to succeed. Here are five of those keys, in no particular order:

  1. An offer with a clear call to action. Your visitors should know what they’re getting and how to get it almost as soon as they arrive on your landing page.
  2. Compelling content. From your headline and page copy to your images and videos, everything on your lead generation page should support the benefits, urgency or quality of your offer. (Save the “About Our Company” manifesto for your main website—this page is about results!)
  3. A lead capture form. Users need to be able to share their information with you easily to become leads.
  4. Trust indicators. Reviews or testimonials that connect real people to your offer reduces friction and makes users more likely to convert. As P.T. Barnum said, “nothing draws a crowd better than a crowd,” so amplifying the authority of your offer with some social proof should help with conversions.
  5. Minimal navigation. You don’t want your prospects wandering off—they’re there to complete the action on the page and that’s all. For this reason, you can remove the standard header navigation that your website visitors use to check out different pages.

The exact details and design of your landing page will be dictated by the specifics of your offer, brand guidelines and so on. But if you want to build a lead generation landing page that works, what you leave out might be as important as what you leave in.

Lead Generation Landing Page Design—Ask For Less

Most lead generation landing pages are built around the Holy Trinity of online forms—“Name/ Phone/Email.” But if you want to convert users into leads effectively, the magic formula is simple: Ask For Less.

First, ask for less from your landing page. Do you have a single conversion goal? It might be a newsletter subscription, whitepaper download or a Facebook follow, but your landing page should have one defined goal that you can track and reference.

Second, ask for less scrolling. At this stage of the sales cycle, you should be able to sum up the benefits of your offer simply and clearly. Your lead generation landing page should require as little scrolling as possible and the conversion action should never be out of the user’s sight.

Third, ask for less from your visitors. Sometimes asking for “Name/Phone/Email” upfront feels like proposing marriage on the first date. Instead, ease users into the “big ask” with establishing questions in a multi-stage landing page form.

ECommerce-Specific Design

Effective lead generation will fill up the top of your sales funnel, but effective eCommerce design can take your visitor all the way through the buyer’s journey in one session.

Because eCommerce has become so commonplace, it’s become more important than ever to create a seamless and convenient user experience that removes obstacles from your conversion path.

Accurate product photos and descriptions, working links and buttons and reliable loading times are now the baseline expectation for every page online shoppers reach.

Further, as millennials become the primary purchasers in both the B2B and B2C marketplaces, they expect an “Amazon-esque level of convenience” in their online transactions. This means that getting the details and functionality of your eCommerce landing page right is crucial to creating and keeping user trust.

The sad truth is that today, having a sleek and streamlined user experience isn’t a tactic to help you distinguish yourself from the competition, it’s the bare minimum.

Tips For Effective eCommerce Pages

Getting your eCommerce landing page right means paying attention to the details, but it also means building in features and incentives that keep your visitors engaged. These tactics can include:

  • High-Quality/Zoomable Product Images
  • Social Proof (Reviews and Testimonials)
  • Time-Sensitive/Referral Discounts
  • Links to Related Products
  • Product Hierarchies & Categories
  • Live Customer Support

Lead Generation & ECommerce Landing Page Similarities and Tips

Effective lead generation and eCommerce landing pages have their differences, but there are at least four rules that apply to both systems.

  1. Keep your promises. Users expect the transition from the ad they click on to the page they land on to be seamless. If your landing page isn’t a logical and natural extension of your marketing efforts, your campaign won’t perform as well as you’d like.
  2. Say thanks. Your customer interaction doesn’t end just because they hit “Submit” or “Place Order.” A thank-you page that confirms the transaction and explains next steps can be just as important as the transaction itself, especially if you’re a fan of long-term customer retention.
  3. Test and optimize. As a tool, one of the reasons landing pages are so effective is because they are infinitely testable. Your designer should be able to make changes to copy, images, forms and just about anything else to boost your conversion rate. Just make sure that you’re running targeted and isolated tests that produce statistically significant results. Split testing isn’t a shot in the dark, and optimization “just because” can burn valuable budget on useless changes. Treat your landing pages like a science project and you’ll stay on track.
  4. Stay focused on your inciting action. Landing pages are literally limited by design. If you’re generating leads or selling products, the ultimate goal is the same—to get the user to do whatever it is your page wants them to do. As long as you keep that in mind, the rest should fall into place.

Conclusion

Keep in mind that each and every campaign comes with its own set of unique challenges and potential solutions. But for any and all campaigns, ads and landing pages, it’s vital that you know if your users are in the top, middle or bottom of your sales funnel. Knowing where you’re shooting will always help increase your odds of hitting the shot.

For more information about how to streamline the buying experience for your landing page visitors, download the just-released eBook, B2B Becoming B2C: The Changing B2B Sales Cycle. This eBook explains how the B2B sales cycle is changing to provide buyers with an “Amazon-esque level of convenience” prominent in the B2C space. Get your copy of this eBook now to learn more about the shifting landscape, and how your B2B company can adapt its sales cycle through three clear factors.

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