For many start-ups, marketing is an after-thought. They have limited resources and those are most likely to go first to other areas such as product development. Some start-ups feel marketing is not necessary because they have not achieved the scale to accommodate more business. But if you want to grow your business, you have to market your services. If your resources are tight and you lack the time to do it yourself, the best option is to outsource your marketing.
A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine who started his startup reached out to me with a main concern. His startup is in stealth mode until next month, but he already launched a website with a few informative pages explaining about the product, and most importantly a signup page.
Building a website or a landing page before launching has only upside to it in my view.
By setting up a website and starting to have links to your website from other websites, your online presence clock starts ticking as it takes time for your website to index, and there are actions to take in order to allow for the index. In addition, having a website allows you to add a direct link to your website in every Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn post you post about your company when starting to promote it, and start driving traffic to your website.
A landing page or website can be built in a matter of an hour or two (and you can do it for free) so it’s something worth doing.
Back to my friend - his website has been up for a couple of months now and he told me he had been trying out Facebook and Google ads, in small budgets, to drive targeted traffic to his website.
His campaign stats were fairly good for the small budget used, he’s been seeing a good CTR to his website and fair amount of visits a day. But he can’t manage to convert them to sign ups.
My friend’s sign up page is intended for visitors and potential clients to sign up to be notified when the product launches. It also serves to him as a good lead generator as he reaches out to the people who sign up, interests them with the product and tries to have them on board for the launch (it’s a B2B product).
Seeking to help him, I checked the signup page and immediately understood why people don't leave details.
First, the signup page was messy and confusing. It had way too much text for a signup page and most of it was unrelated to the incentive and reason to leave details.
It had a header that was unrelated to signing up and a block of text about how the product works.
Second, the number of mandatory fields to fill was 6 (!!): name, last name, company name, email, country and telephone.
Also, they were all marked with an asterisk, which was redundant as asterisk can be used only if some of the fields are required, not all.
I asked him why does he need all 6 details and most importantly, what is the minimum amount of information he needs in order to capture the details of a visitor and acquire the lead. His response was that he needed only the email, and a name would be nice to have.
The signup page (and every call to action in that matter) should be simple and fast. As the business owner, you want to remove all possible obstacles from the potential client’s path to purchase. You want the visitor to spot right away the field they need to fill and click ‘submit’. That's it.
Another issue that I noticed on the signup page was a text block with the words ‘you only pay us when a transaction occurs’, above the signup form. Again, when signing up, you have to basically put up blinders for the visitors in order not to confuse them with information that can be on other pages.
Also, using words related to “payment”, “paying” “cost” and the like on a simple signup form can only lead to abandonment of the page.
This doesn’t mean hiding information from your visitors, of course. It only means that not everything needs to be on the signup page.
Instead of including text about when a customer pays, my friend added the words “free to signup”. I feel that this shows a good transparency when the product costs money. There’s nothing more I hate (well, there are others :-D) than seeing the word “free” all over without indication of payment and then signing up only to realize the service is not free.
This is how the new signup page looks like. By making all the changes of removing the confusing text and leaving just 1 field to fill, my friend’s signup conversion rate went up by 50%.
Here is an example for a bad signup form and a good one:
LinkedIn --> Bad
In my view, having multiple fields outside the form is confusing. Why do “find a colleague” at the bottom and “sign in” at the top appear on a signup page? There are too many actionable items on this page, including LinkedIn member directory.
Pinterest --> Good
Easy and simple, username and password and no confusing data on the page.
Comment below with your favorite and worst signup form examples!