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Do you have a content offer on your website that is “gated” behind a landing page? Do you believe that your offer is super fantastic, but for some reason, it simply isn’t getting the number of downloads you expected? Perhaps it’s not the offer that’s the problem… Maybe it’s actually your landing page design.

If your landing page isn’t designed to entice the user to fill out a form, then no matter how amazingly cool your offer is, it won’t get the attention (or downloads) it deserves.

What is a landing page? And what do we mean by “gated”?

A landing page is a website page that visitors “land” on after they’ve clicked a Call-to-Action (CTA) button to an offer. For the sake of making this post as practical as possible, let’s use this fun example of a CTA button you might see on a website:

Example CTA

When the visitor clicks the button, they should be directed to your landing page, which houses a form the user will need to fill out before gaining access to your offer.

In marketing speak, this is typically known as a “gated” landing page—a landing page that requires information in exchange for content. Most often, those forms fields would include an email address, first and last name, company name, or any other information you’d like to know about your visitor that they should provide before downloading your content.

Sounds easy, right?

Not so fast.

If your website user was enticed by your Call-to-Action button, HIGH FIVE! Maybe it was a great graphical design, great shapes, colors or just the right copy that got your user to click (oh, and cute puppies never hurt!).

But don’t stop there. Once the user clicks the button, you need to keep them fully engaged in order to motivate them to take the next all-important step—filling out the form.

How do you get a user to fill out a form?

What to say, how you say it and how easily digestible your information is on that landing page will either…

  • A: convince the user that it is worthwhile to give up their personal information


  • B: cause them to bounce off your page faster than a kangaroo. We like kangaroos. They’re cute… like puppies. But we don’t like bouncing. NO bouncing.

Here are some important elements to consider while piecing together your landing page design and copy:

1. Message Match

If your CTA button says Want to Learn the Ins and Outs of Dog Breeding? Get This Free eBook!, then your landing page headline should leverage the same copy in order to facilitate a message match. Imagine how confusing it would be for your website visitor to click on the CTA button above and then get directed to a landing page that says something like “Hiring the Right Employees is Step Number One.” Your user expects to be directed to a page that’s clearly about dog breeding. Although your landing page text may eventually mention employee hiring, this headline is confusing and there is a good chance your user will kangaroo-bounce off the page before learning what it is you are offering. Even if your LP headline is very topical, it still might appear misleading if it’s not aligned with the CTA copy.

2. Succinct Copy

Use short, succinct copy (preferably bulleted) to describe and define your offer. Appeal to the target buyer’s needs and then direct their attention to your form.

What’s more, choose appropriate fonts. No more than two fonts per landing page. Along similar lines, don’t go overboard with switching up font sizes, as this will distract from the page content itself.

3. Appropriate Visuals

People like images. A visual can help your visitors quickly process the information on the page, and can also quickly engage them in the rest of your landing page’s content. Obviously, you want to choose a relevant image. But also consider a visual that isn’t too big or too overpowering.

Also, don’t forget to include your company logo at the top of the page!

4. Breaking Down the Form

Form Headline: Your form headline should be short and attention grabbing. It should, again, include a message match with the headline – and it should clearly indicate what the user is supposed to do next.

Fair Trade: This is a mistake often made by overly ambitious marketers who want to collect too much information too quickly. Ensure that the amount of information you are asking for in exchange for your offer is equal to the actual value of the offer. For an eBook or similar piece of content, an email address, first name, last name and company name should usually be more than enough information for a form. Require a telephone number and the user may bail on you.

If your form is for a more bottom-of-the-funnel offer, like a demo or a quote, then it’s more appropriate to ask additional questions in your forms. If a user is requesting a demo but does not want to leave a phone number, chances are good that they are not serious about the demo anyway.

Form Placement: Another thing to note is the placement of a form on your landing page. Placing the form to the left or the right of the copy (above the fold) is preferred to the bottom of the page where it could be overlooked.

Submit Button: We’ve all seen “submit” and “download” at the bottom of forms. But these one-word buttons don't emphasize any benefit the visitor is receiving. Get creative while continuing to match your overall message. Try something like “Send me my eBook now!” or “I want to breed dogs!” 

And finally, never forget to…

  • Include social sharing buttons. Positioning social share icons for various social media platforms on your landing page provides users the opportunity to share your offer with their network. If it’s something they find particularly helpful, why not make it easy for them to spread the word?
  • Remove your navigation bar. Once you’ve directed the user to your landing page, you do not want to include distracting messages that will lead them away from this page before they’ve converted into a lead by filling out your form. Your logo should link back to your home page, but remove top-level navigation tabs from your LP to help limit these distractions.

Below is a simplistic example of what our sample landing page could look like, taking into account the characteristics discussed in this post...


Use these steps for great landing page design and watch the downloads for your offers come flying in! If you aren't sure about a particular section of your landing page, it's best practice to run an A/B test to figure out what works best. And remember, consistency is key. Be consistent with the formatting of all of your landing pages on your website. 

Good luck. After all this puppy talk, I have to go cuddle with my dog now!

Free Download: 9 Things Your Website Is Doing to Drive Visitors Away

About the Author

Ranae Mogensen
Ranae Mogensen

Currently serving as Inbound Marketing Manager at aPriori Technologies, Ranae Mogensen is an adept campaign specialist and project manager with over 10 years of experience. A HubSpot certified marketing & sales professional whose worked with clients from numerous industries, Ranae is passionate about reaching prospects and customers with meaningful content that helps them solve their most pressing business problems.

 Tags: Website & Graphic Design Lead Generation / Conversion

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