September 03, 2015

Designing Great CTAs, Landing Pages and Thank You Pages

ThinkstockPhotos-167449311-smallClear, simple and consistently on-brand design helps move your prospective customers down the slide from strangers to promoters.

In fact, design is an often-overlooked but critically important factor in inbound marketing, especially when converting your visitors (people just learning about your business) to leads (potential customers who have given you their contact information).

That conversion process consists of three steps: a call to action (CTA), a landing page, and a thank you page. Imagine your prospect at the top of a slide; your job is to design the simplest, fastest, easiest slide to move them through the process and land them safely at the bottom of the slide as a viable lead.

Each point along the slide presents its own set of design challenges, but your overall guiding principles should be to keep it simple, and always keep in mind the tastes of your audience (buyer personas).

Here's a rundown of the most important considerations for designing CTAs, landing pages and thank you pages.

Calls to Action

The critical first step is the call to action, which is usually an enticement to accept an offer made by your business. Wherever the call to action appears — on a website, in an email, or in a blog or social media post — it needs to cut through the clutter and attract the viewer’s attention. The call to action should have a clear, concise, action-oriented message — and the design should support that as well.

First, always stay on-brand with your design. Of course, this applies not just to the call to action, but to all of the steps in this process. Staying consistently on-brand, through the use of your logo, color choices and design elements, helps lead your prospect comfortably through the process.

Second, while the call to action should be eye-catching, it also shouldn’t be unnecessarily complex. A simple colored button will often do the trick. If you want to add more visual interest, consider integrating a small graphic representation of the offer itself — an e-book or white paper cover, perhaps — or a (tastefully restrained) starburst or badge to draw the eye.

Finally, make sure your call to action is clearly clickable. Certain visual cues point out interactive design elements to the viewer. A button could have rounded corners, a drop shadow or a three-dimensional embossed look; just make sure something about the way it looks tells the viewer, “Click on me!”

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Landing Pages

After clicking on the call to action, your prospect will arrive on your landing page. Here’s where you gather the information about them in exchange for receiving your offer. There should be two visual focal points on this page.

The offer itself should be dominant. Remember, you’re still selling it, as they haven’t filled out and submitted the form yet. A nice image of an e-book or white paper cover, an appropriate stock photo, a big headline — any or all of these things help push the offer front and center.

The design of the form itself is also very important. Don’t throw this together. Make sure your fields are neatly aligned, and that it's clear what to enter in each field. Use radio buttons, check boxes, drop-down menus — whatever makes the form easiest for your prospect to fill out quickly and completely.

Other than those two main elements, keep everything else to an absolute minimum. No navigation, minimal footer, and avoid making the viewer scroll.

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Thank You Pages

Your prospect has submitted their info, and now it’s time to deliver the goods. The thank you page serves that purpose with clear and prominent instructions for how to receive the offer — a “download” or “watch” button, or a statement of what the prospect should expect, like “You’ll hear from our consultation team within 2 business days.”

Thank you pages also offer a great opportunity to move your prospect even further along on their buyer’s journey, opening up new avenues for him or her to explore. Here’s where you can introduce your web site’s navigation, offer additional related content, and incorporate social media so your prospect can easily spread the word about your offer. Keep it all neatly organized.

Your thank you page will be the most visually complex of the three elements in this conversion process, but remember, it should still be simple and easy to use. Oh, and do say “thank you” somewhere. It’s polite, and historians believe it’s how the page got its name.

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Keep these principles in mind, and you will have designed a nice, slippery conversion process for all your prospective butts to slide down.

Ben Carpenter

As madison/miles media's art director, Ben puts his background in magazine and advertising design, film and video production, and print and digital delivery systems to good use. He lives in the Atlanta area with his wife and three kids.