Leads are the lifeblood of any business… especially in times of economic uncertainty. Successful companies can coast on repeat and referral business when times are good, but they need fresh, new leads to stay afloat during a downturn.

The good news? Demand will never drop to zero, and by setting up a landing page — a single page that highlights a specific product, service, or lead magnet that you offer in exchange for contact info — companies can attract prospective customers who are searching for exactly what they offer.

Landing pages are one of the most powerful top-of-funnel lead generation tools available, and you can build a beautiful one using a top-notch landing page builder. However, it will only convert (i.e., capture leads, sell products) if you incorporate the right elements.

Research has shown that the following elements, many of which are based on marketing techniques as old as the Pony Express, lead to conversion.

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1. Simplicity

Make your landing page easy to navigate, and use simple, direct language. The most effective landing pages don’t include a bunch of links to take you off the page. In fact, most don’t include any external links aside from the call-to-action (e.g., “Sign Up” or “Order Now”).

2. Scannable Content

When people read web content, they begin by scrolling and scanning to see if there’s anything relevant to the page. In fact, you probably did that here, with this very post.

Once they find something of value, they dive deeper and begin reading (rather than skimming). With this in mind, make it easy for them to find the answers you’re looking for by using:

3. Enticing images

Do you ever see stock photo images that make you die a little bit inside? You know what we mean… the smiling business people giving a uniform “thumbs up?” Or the happy doctor treating the happy patient?

Designers call those “stock-photo-y,” and they feel generic and cheesy. Instead of going that route, take your time to choose photos that really draw people in, and project a professional image.

4. Credibility

People buy from companies they trust, and you can build trust by including elements that suggest credibility, such as:

5. Copywritten with Customers in Mind

Voice-of-Customer (VOC) feedback is essential for crafting your message. It involves interviewing and/or performing market research on your customers. VOC research means gathering open-ended feedback to understand their needs, drives, and potential objections.

If you’re new and you don’t yet have a customer base to survey or interview, take a look at reviews for similar products, and visit internet forums where your ideal customers hang out. That will give you a good feel for what they want from products and services like yours, and it will show how they talk to others about their experiences.

6.Video

Embedding video is a great way to draw customers in. That play button is enticing, and it’s much easier than scrolling and reading. You can embed:

7. Call to Action (CTA)

Every landing page needs a Call-to-Action because, for whatever reason, people are far more likely to do what you want them to do if you tell them to do it. Here are some examples of effective CTAs.

8. Minimal Forms

When setting up a lead magnet form, or an order form for a product, only ask questions where the answer will truly benefit you. After all, the more fields you include on your form, the more likely your prospects are to bounce before hitting that “Submit” button.

Obviously, you need a first name and an email address for a lead magnet form. If you’re selling something, you need payment information as well. You also may want a phone number (if you’ve got an inside sales team that will call them).

Beyond that? Any additional fields must truly increase your ability to qualify leads and target the right people. For example, if you sell an enterprise-level software product, you’ll want to know the size of their organization. That way, your sales team will know whether it’s worth the effort to contact them.

You’ve Built It: Will They Come?

The eight elements listed above are guidelines, based on what’s working for many, many landing pages. That said, there’s no guarantee that each of these elements will produce results for you, because every company, product, and the lead magnet is different.

The only way to really know what’s working is to A/B test different elements. Use the Voice-of-the-Customer data you’ve gathered to come up with new ideas about what might increase conversions. Then test out those different elements (e.g., new Call-to-Action, new images, new copy) and see what produces results.

Building an effective landing page is an evolving process. Try different elements based on your data, see what works, and double down. That’s what will help you generate more leads, maximize business, and ultimately thrive in these trying times.