Starting with the call to action

If you want to show off a product, your website’s product pages should have been designed to showcase them attractively. But if you want somebody to buy something, subscribe to a service or even download a document, you need to sell the offer. If it’s in response to an advert, or even a link from elsewhere on your website, that means creating a landing page.

I’ve discussed good landing page design before, and how it needs to reflect the offer; minimise the effort required to respond; and reassure the reader that you’re trustworthy. However, one thing which often mystifies people about the most effective landing pages is the technique of putting the response system at the top.

You’ll have seen this on many websites: a headline, then a box to fill in your details and apply, and only then the information about what you’re applying for:

form

Why is this a tried and tested format? It’s to do with giving users the complete picture at a glance. People are becoming increasingly short of attention, and they want to know the conclusion from the outset. The format above says “this is how the deal will be closed; if that’s acceptable, here’s the sales pitch”.

If the sales story is anything more than a few lines, of course it makes sense to repeat the call-to-action at the end. But by revealing the ending right from the start, you’re establishing a trust that there will be no unwelcome surprises.

The same idea can apply to a product page. Of course, your page will finish with a call-to-action, perhaps making an enquiry, requesting a catalogue or just viewing a technical document online. But could that be included at the start too?

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