When creating an effective landing page, there are many essential components to master.
Lead acquisition. Design. Coding.
But there's one component that should absolutely come first, above all else--and that's content.
The old saying "substance over style" couldn't be more true when it comes to landing pages that convert. The only way that people will buy something is if they are willing to take the time to actually read what you've got to say.
In this post, I'm going to share with you the four most vital copywriting elements of every effective landing page.
So let's get started.
Table of Contents
1. Master the Headline
David Ogilvy famously said, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
Pretty crazy, isn't it?
And according to Copyblogger, it's even more than that, "On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest."
When you've written your headline, you've actually already spent 87.5 cents out of your dollar.
That's right; you've spent the majority of your marketing budget before your audience even reaches your opening sentence. Therefore you must get it right.
So, how do you create a cool headline that captures people's attention and encourages them to take action?
There are three key factors to keep in mind:
The Big Promise
When your audience browses your landing page, it must be immediately clear why they should read on.
It can be a fantastic benefit or a considerable problem your product solves. The point is to make it crystal clear what they will gain from reading your page.
In most cases, a good start when you're writing a big promise is to focus on your unique selling point — your USP.
Is it your low price? Your exceptional quality? Your popularity? Or your product's ease of use?
The brand Caspar does a great job sharing a clear benefit-driven headline:
For Caspar, the unique selling point is the superior quality of their mattresses. Just look at those happy faces, who doesn't want to feel like that?
Or if you're thinking about a pain-point focused headline look at Happify:
They decided to go the other way and stress the pain points that we can avoid, namely, mental health issues.
But regardless of whether you use a benefit or a pain point, the main goal is to make it obvious why people should invest their time reading the page.
The Slippery Slope
Another goal of a successful headline, therefore of an effective landing page, is one that draws the reader into the body copy.
As the copywriter, Joe Sugarman, said, "Your readers should be so compelled to read your copy that they cannot stop reading until they read all of it as if sliding down a slippery slope."
And the best way to create a slippery slope with your headline is to create curiosity. By building tension and creating a sense of anticipation, we can entice people to read further.
Notice how CopyHackers utilizes the slippery slope with conversational language. By using the line, "Dammit, that should be me." we wonder what the headline is about, and before we know it, we've been drawn in…
The No-Nonsense Qualifier
There's no point wasting your hard-earned money attracting customers with no interest in your product. Once we've invested our time and money into getting traffic to our page, we must maximize the number of high-quality leads.
The no-nonsense qualifier aims to specifically address your ideal customer. The beauty of this type of headline is that it's self-selecting. It interests those that might buy your product and deters time-wasters.
Look at how Nauto qualifies their audience, if you're worried about Fleet Collisions, this is the eBook for you.
At the end of the day, the success of your headline is always decided by your customer, so it makes sense that we should be guided by them.
It can be easy to overthink your headline but try not to let it get to you. The goal of a headline is simply to convey the value of your landing page to your audience. As long as you've got something interesting to offer, there will be excited people ready to listen.
2. Benefits, Benefits, Benefits...
Once you've got the attention of your reader and persuaded them to read the first line (of your new effective landing page), it's time to capture their interest.
This is where you tell people why they should care about your offer. And the best way to achieve this is by showing them exactly what they have to gain from taking action.
There are two important ways of doing this:
Sell the Benefits
It's easy to feel overwhelmed and try to oversell your product by cramming your landing page with product features. But the secret is to always display an obvious benefit to the reader in every sentence.
As a copywriter, Jay Abraham said, “Sell the benefit, not your company or product. People buy results not features”.
When we write copy, we must frame everything around the reader. It should satiate the reader's biggest problems and burning desires.
They want to know how you can help them — that's all.
Check out how Khan Academy shares their three biggest product benefits. They don't just name the advantage; they get our interest by explaining exactly why their product is valuable to us.
Show Don't Tell
If you've got a product that can be shown in action — do it.
As with any sales pitch, the goal is to get your customer to visualize the benefits of your product, and one of the best ways to do this is video. We can see the value of the product ourselves.
Asana does this effectively with a simple product tutorial:
Or, if you've got the budget, it's even possible to bring your product to life on your landing page with animation.
The great thing is that it removes any continuity issues caused by having to click onto a video, and it fits seamlessly into the page.
For inspiration, take a look at Muzzle. They're a notification silencer for people using screen-sharing, which uses animation perfectly.
Within a few seconds, Muzzle amusingly outlines its value proposition. As you browse the landing page, you're greeted with humorous notifications that pop up in the right-hand corner of the screen.
3. Establish Trust and Credibility
After carefully enticing your readers with exciting benefits, it's time to establish proof that your brand will deliver on your promises.
It's no secret that consumers are wary about advertising. Thanks to the influx of information that we all have to deal with daily, research show we're far more discerning and suspicious than we used to be.
In fact, a study by the American Association of Advertising Agencies found that just 4 percent of consumers believe that advertisers and marketers practice integrity. Yikes.
So what does that mean for writing an effective landing page?
We've got to do everything we can to establish trust and credibility with our readers. We've got to back up our promises with tangible proof.
Here are two effective ways to do it:
Customer Testimonials and Brand Endorsements
With research showing that 92% of people trust their peers over traditional advertising, including testimonials on your landing page is a great choice.
It demonstrates that other people, like us, have had a positive experience and that trustworthy brands also have faith in your product.
TasterClub does a fantastic job establishing their credibility:
So, if you can include any sparkling testimonials from either loyal customers or notable brands, it will go a long way.
An important consideration when working on your testimonials is specificity.
If you can quantify the results that customers have experienced, it's a great confidence booster for prospects. It makes it much easier to picture the potential benefits of making a purchase.
Kissmetrics does a great job at adding specificity:
Tell a Story
Stories are a great way to establish trust and create a landing page that converts, without making your copy feel overly "salesy."
The beauty of stories is that they are all about the character's transformation. And if you can develop a story that shares the transformation that your customers will experience after using your product — they'll love you for it.
When creating your story, it's essential to understand that there are three steps:
- Problem: Our hero experiences an issue.
- Exacerbation: After several failed attempts, the issue gets worse.
- Solution: Finally, the right solution is discovered — much to the relief of our hero.
By outlining the problem (1) and emphasizing the pain points (2), people will be much more excited to hear about the solution--your product (3).
For instance, instead of blatantly trying to oversell his exercise product, The Renegade Diet captivates us by telling his transformation story. Even if it's his story, the transformation inspires the reader that the solution is possible.
- First, we empathize with his problem, "I've always had crappy genetics and struggled to make any gains at all." If we're also struggling with putting on muscle, this problem will feel particularly resonant.
- Next, he gives us hope with a solution. "Until I finally discovered the secret…doing the EXACT OPPOSITE of what every other fitness guru tells you to do".
- Finally, he inspires us with a transformation and makes us believe we can do the same. "At 45, I look and feel better than ever… and I can help you achieve the same results."
4. Create an Irresistible Offer
If your reader has been drawn in by the promise of your headline, enticed by the benefits reinforcing your big commitment, and then convinced that your business can deliver on this promise - it's time to get them to take action.
For the copywriter, metrics like click-throughs, engagement, and bounce rates are all secondary to one thing — sales. And the best way to get readers to buy is to give them an offer.
Legendary copywriter Gary Halbert once declared that “Your offer… is by far the most important element in the entire sales message.”
Here are five ways to create an irresistible offer:
Limit the Number of Options
Limit the options that you offer your reader — preferably to one.
As Barry Schwartz, author of “The Paradox Of Choice” shares, “The fact that some choice is good doesn’t necessarily mean that more choice is better.”
In fact, according to a study by psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper discovered that too many options could make people one-tenth as likely to make a choice.
It turns out the more choices your customer has, the more likely they'll postpone making a decision and avoid buying anything at all.
To have an effective landing page, you shouldn't overwhelm your customers with hundreds of CTAs — just offer them one.
Blue Apron's sleek landing page does a great job simplifying the buyer's journey:
Even though there is a range of choices based on the different plans, notice how we've got to commit to choosing a plan first. There's one simple goal, and it's obvious where Blue Apron wants to take us.
Top Tip — Research has also shown that including several CTA's for the same action increases conversion rates. It provides the reader with gentle encouragement to progress through the landing page.
Re-Emphasise Key Benefits
When writing your offer, it's a good idea to remind the reader of your unique selling points. By reinforcing the positive impact of making a purchase, it helps us to justify the cost presented in the offer.
Crazy Egg does a great job of emphasizing their core benefits, making signing up just that little bit more enticing.
As with any successful sales copy, all of your prospect's potential concerns must be addressed before you get to the end of your landing page. By alleviating any of these concerns, then you can maximize the chance of conversions.
Wistia closes their landing page with an interesting FAQ to clear up any possible issues. It's clear, concise, and helpful if you're lingering on the fence about signing up.
Another great example is Netflix. Again they've stuck with the classic FAQ format.
Note — This is particularly important if you've got a complex product, and there's any possibility of confusion.
Reminder of Freewill
In multiple studies, researchers have found that simply reminding people that they have free will over a decision can improve their chances of action.
It's subtle but notice how Moz applies this on their landing page, "Pick your plan. Cancel anytime". It reduces the risk by reminding us that we have complete control of the purchase.
Not only can we pick the right plan for us, but we can also leave at any point, therefore minimizing any potential risks.
Offer a Satisfaction Guarantee
The ultimate goal of any effective landing page is to create a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). To be persuaded, it's vital to make inaction feel riskier than buying.
And one of the most excellent ways to encourage action is to go that extra mile and offer a guarantee. It signifies confidence in your product and will put your prospect at ease. Research shows companies tend to make a profit with guarantees and increases their customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.
Notice how The Renegade Diet frames inaction as a bigger risk than the free trial, "Try this program for 30 days. If you don't see awesome results and feel amazing, simply email us, and we'll cancel your membership immediately."
It's a great example of how a guarantee can put us at ease and reduce any purchase anxiety.
Writing a successful sales copy for your landing page can be overwhelming. Persuading your readers to take action isn't something that we simply stumble upon — it requires lots of hard work.
But have faith, as Halbert shares,
“Strong copy will not overcome a weak offer but… In many cases, a strong offer will succeed in spite of weak copy.”
At the end of the day, if you're selling a great product with an irresistible offer, you've done the majority of the work. It's just about phrasing your copy in a way that conveys the value of the offer.
Of course, there's a lot of testing and optimization before you find the winning combination. But if you've applied these four key copywriting elements, you've laid down the perfect foundation for a high-converting and effective landing page.