First impressions count, and so too do your landing pages. Don’t squander the chance to transform someone who has expressed an interest in your content into a prospective customer by making it difficult for that person to share his valuable contact information with you.

Here are some pointers for making the most of them:

DO make your landing pages look like the rest of your website. This is no time for a generic look and feel. Make sure your landing pages hew to your brand and style guidelines. Wherever possible, leverage CSS to ensure they are consistent with the rest of your website.

DO make your landing pages easy to share. Include all your social share icons, as well as an easy way to contact you immediately. You’ve fired up folks enough to click-through to your landing page; now make it easy for them to share their interest in you.

DON’T make your landing pages dependent on a single screen. Use responsive design principles to design your landing pages so they render properly on whatever device your reader might be using at the time – a mobile phone, a tablet, Google glasses, whatever. We all check our email anywhere and everywhere, and our landing pages need to follow suit. Need help? Check out our Marketo responsive landing page design templates.

DO test and test again. Landing-page optimization is a work in progress. It’s important to continually pose intelligent hypotheses for improvement and then test each of them in a disciplined way. Test creative, headlines, text, offers, registration forms, and calls to action to hone in on your formula for landing pages that convert anonymous visitors to named prospects.

DON’T require more information than what you need. It’s the age-old trade off. Your appetite for information about your leads is insatiable. But their willingness to fill out long, complex forms is not. Ask for only the bare minimum that’s required for you to create a lead and then enrich it later. Most of the time, this includes no more than first name, last name, and email address.

DO give them the option to tell you more. It’s OK to ask for more information — phone number, job title, organization size, and so on. Just don’t make it mandatory. Many marketing automation platforms can apply intelligence to this process so that when individuals return to download a second or third piece of content or register for another event, they do not have to provide their basic contact information again. At this point, you can use progressive profiling to also ask additional questions so that over time you learn more about them.

DO keep it clean. Secure your perimeter wherever possible. Make the data you collect structured. Use form validation so that you get the right information. Also, stay on top of form spam. There are bots—as well as people—that fill out your forms with junk information. Profile that spam and then look for patterns you can create filters for. Be careful though – you don’t want to screen out any actual opportunities.

DON’T pass on spam. If salespeople are getting alerts that Santa Claus just came in as a new lead or Walter White in Albuquerque, New Mexico, wants to be contacted immediately, it hurts your credibility and lowers attentiveness to future alerts. Be diligent about trying to protect your users from false leads. They’ll thank you for it.

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