Recently I received an email inviting me to download a white paper on “10 Tips for Creating an Effective B2B Landing Page.” The irony is that the white paper is about landing pages and the landing page I was taken to was anything but effective. Nearly everything that could be done wrong was done wrong. The landing page and call to action on the pages were so bad as to almost made me cry. So, I thought I would walk you through a few of the more glaring issues with this offer as an example of how not to create a landing page (or use the service that Optify uses).

First, a quick refresher (and forgive me if you know this already) on landing pages. A landing page is simply a lead capture page—its primary, and only, purpose is to convert visitors into leads. Everything a landing page does should be focus on conversions. Anything not focused on conversion only hinders the conversion process. When creating a landing page, we want to eliminate or minimize these issues as much as possible.

Let’s take a look at the first page I saw when I clicked on the link to download my white paper.

Poor landing page example

There are a lot of things wrong with this page, though I want to start with the most obvious. I received an email describing the white paper and inviting me to download it by clicking a link. Presumably I read the email and decided I wanted to download the white paper before I clicked the link, so why take me to a page where I have to confirm my choice? Did you think I changed my mind? This is an absolutely terrible thing to do to a user. They already clicked the link. Just take me to the lead generation form.

That’s not the only issue with this landing page. There are a lot of opportunities for a person to click somewhere else (assuming they didn’t change their mind). The landing page has a primary menu across the top, a large topic menu on the left with little plus signs that just beg for people to click on them. The primary call to action, the “Request Now” button, is small and blends in with the rest of the page. The call to action is practically hidden and competing with a lot of other items on the page. At least there’s a small line of red copy saying “Receive Your Complimentary White Paper Now!” Why not keep it simple and say, “Download Your Free White Paper Now!” or something similar and make the call to action bigger and bolder?

Assuming you make it past the initial landing page and avoided the temptation to click on all of the little plus signs in the left menu, you’re presented with an equally daunting page.

Poor landing page example

What is going on here? This landing page requests so much information it’s staggering. When I first saw this page the first thing I thought was, “I don’t want this white paper that bad.” The entire landing page didn’t even fit on my screen without scrolling. Had I seen it all I certainly wouldn’t have tried to fill it out. The captcha alone would have dissuaded me.

Unfortunately for me, I decided to fill in the form. Not before I decided to click the “detailed description” link. I had already clicked two links, what’s one more? Then I pondered the “login” button. Log in to what? I saw I could register, but for what? I just wanted to download a white paper. The option to login via LinkedIn was there, but do I want to give access to my LinkedIn information for a simple white paper?

I decided to complete the form. What you can’t tell from this screenshot is when you select certain options under Occupation and Company Information you are dynamically presented with more drop down boxes! There are a minimum of 20 fields to complete to download this white paper, plus the captcha! Wow!

The call to action is a problem on this page too. It’s competing with the captcha for prominence. The color makes it blend in with all the other blue on the page. A call to action should be clear, reinforce the desired action (“Download Your Free White Paper Now” would be better than simply “Download”), and it should stand out. This call to action does none of those things.

The other thing I noticed is the link for “Problems with this form?” It’s an email address, which is fine, but are there really so many problems that you need to provide that link? By the looks of it, I suppose there are.

This landing page does nearly everything wrong. It was painful for me to go through the process of completing the form in its entirety. I had to work at it actually. I’m a fairly busy person so taking a lot of time to download a white paper is not good. Most of the people this white paper targets are busy too. Will they take the time to fill in the form? Doubtful. I only decided to go through with it when I thought, “There’s a fun little blog post in this.” The final insult, however, was when I clicked on the download button. The download didn’t work. After three tries I was never able to download the white paper and each time it made me start the form over from scratch. If not for me, then for yourself, please don’t create landing pages like this one.

What other problems do you see with this landing page that I didn’t discuss? Share them in the comments section below.

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