Every startup uses a pre-launch page to gather early interest in your product. The ultimate end-goal of this page, or microsite, is to build an email list of engaged early adopters. Early adopters, by their nature, will checkout a ton of startups every week. Your landing page only has a few seconds to convince them that you’re worthy of their email address.
With a few quick hacks, you can dramatically increase the performance of this page. As always, ensure you’re running something awesome like trak.io and a heatmapping tool like CrazyEgg so you can monitor the effect these changes have to your product.
Here’s 5 quick hacks to get an instant boost to your signup rate.
1. Are You Using The Fold Correctly, And not Just Filling It With a Huge Call To Action?
Most of the internet agrees that 80% of users wont scroll below the fold. So, that means a call to action must live above the fold, right? Well, not always.
While it’s true that 80% of users only pay attention to what’s above the fold, that doesn’t mean that a CTA will always perform better when it’s in the fold. What is important is that you have suitably convinced your visitors of the value of your product, before you present them with a CTA. Otherwise, you’re just wasting valuable fold space that could be used by an awesome headline or video.
People have learnt to scroll. It’s a quick swipe, a simple mouse movement. People will scroll if they’re convinced of your value. People will not fill in your webform if they aren’t.
So, if you’ve only filled your fold with a huge CTA and no details about your value proposition, you need to rethink your design. And then as soon as you think there is enough copy, screenshots, videos… etc. to convince your prospects of your value, then you need to make sure the CTA is prominent and easy to find.
This might mean underneath that initial copy, it could mean in the sidebar, it could mean right at the end of the page. The lesson here, is don’t assume that putting the CTA above the fold is a silver bullet. Ensuring you convince your users before they see your CTA is a silver bullet.
2. Only Ask For Email Address
In your early adopter stages, you’re going to be stalking every single Beta tester on your waiting list. You’ll be emailing them, finding them on twitter, speaking to them on the phone. You’ll be looking after every single individual Beta tester personally and in great detail, even if your product will eventually become a mass market B2C product.
Which means you really don’t need to collect anything more than their email address on your waiting list. Make it easy for people to join your list. Find their name, company name, twitter handle etc. out afterwards once you start talking to them.
By reducing your webform down to a single email address field, you’ll see a dramatic increase in conversions because people are fed up of filling out forms. Forms suck. Don’t make users fill out another one if you don’t have to.
3. Make Your Value Proposition A Short And Simple Sentence
If you haven’t described your value proposition in a single, short sentence, you either need to rework your copy or pivot your product. Are you using jargon? Unnecessarily long words? Complex copywriting only impresses your mom. Everyone else likes to read things in short, stupid language.
Let’s look at Dropbox:
Dropbox provides an asynchronous cloud backup storage solution to maintain your files across all your devices, regardless of the operating system, using native apps and integrations
Your stuff, anywhere
Which do you think is going to convert higher? Forget everything you learnt in English class at school. Big words are for chumps and poets. Spend as long as you need spinning your value proposition until you have a short and easy to understand title. A/B test it if you can’t decide between the last few variations until you start seeing diminishing returns.
Give the details in the body, the screenshots, the bullet points. The headline should be a hook, nothing more.
4. Add Product Preview Screenshots
Betali.st is full of pre-launch startups. With a daily email containing on average 5 new startups, it’s easy to believe that 9/10 pre-launch startups never actually launch a significant product.
Early adopters need a little more than just great copy and headlines. They need some credible proof that you actually have a product behind that webform, and they aren’t just part of a hasty, thrown together Lean Startup experiment.
If you’re a well known founder, or launching on the back of a really popular blog, you might be able to do the infamous “Stealth Launch”. But for the non-celebrity cofounders out there, you need to do a little more work on the credibility front.
Even if you haven’t started coding your product yet, you should make mockups of the actual product interface. And then add them to your landing page. Make sure they’re polished, but not to the point of diminishing returns.
When we added 4 product screenshots to the landing page for trak.io, we saw a 515% increase in conversions to our waiting list. We think it’s because until then, we were just making promises. But showing people what the live product was going to look and feel like showed confidence, and helped to communicate what we meant.
5. Remove All The Clutter
Clutter is confusion. And a confused visitor isn’t signing up to anything. Don’t use scrappy images. Don’t have lots of paragraphs if one sentence will do. Make your headlines tight. Add a single, high quality video. However you need to optimise, there’s a pretty good chance that your landing page has too much.
Don’t be afraid of long form landing pages. A motivated user will scroll down. Trak.io’s landing page is around 5 page scrolls, but we still ensure we use loads of whitespacing and keep everything de-cluttered.
There’s a huge trend towards minimal landing pages, but don’t misinterpret this as leaving out detail. Make sure you have as much info as you need on the page to motivate the user to signup – but don’t try and squash it all into the fold.
The title of this post describes these 5 fixes as easy hacks. some of them might actually be a little harder than you initially think, for example, analysing your own headline can be hard if you’ve been staring at it too long. Getting outside perspective, ideally from analytics data and A/B testing, is ideal. But sometimes you can achieve huge gains just by asking fellow founders “Hey, do you think this headline could be simpler?”.
Eventually, otpimising your landing page will start to give diminishing returns. Once you stop getting dramatic increases, you should probably move to fixing other things – such as welcome emails to your waiting list, keeping your waiting list active, or working on the product.
Want to know what “good” signup rates are for a Beta waiting list? Post your numbers in the comments and checkout this Quora thread.