Table of contents:
The stakes are high if your landing page copy isn’t right. Read to understand the key copy elements to write the perfect landing page copy for your brand.
Making your landing page persuade and convert your audience is a science.
And the stakes are high — if your landing page copy isn’t right, your funnel will fail.
But don’t be discouraged. In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to write the perfect landing page copy for your brand.
We’ll show you tried and tested methodologies that are easy to implement and proven to be supremely effective.
After reading this guide, you’ll understand the key copy elements that every landing page needs.
That way you can get your visitors to take action, whether that’s signing up for your email list, buying your product, scheduling a demo, or anything inbetween.
So let’s jump in.
It’s All About ‘You’
No, not “you” you — but “them” you...
It’s all about your user, your customer, your audience.
For instance, take note of this landing page from Moz:
“Your” appears once in the headline, once in a subhead, and once in the body copy underneath one of the subheads.
There’s also an instance of “you’ve”...
There is no mention of “us,” “we,” or “ours” at all.
That’s a 4-0 ratio. That’s the kind of ratio you want.
You work hard on your product. You spend most of your working day trying to make it better. And that’s something awesome you should be proud of.
But because of this, it’s easy to fall for the temptation of seeing everything from your brand’s perspective.
This might lead you to include too many instances of “we,” “our,” and “us,” in your copy and and not enough instances of “you” or “your.”
This is a big problem because now your landing page isn’t focused on the user’s perspective. And that means your engagement and conversion are likely to decrease - because you’re making it harder for your users to see themselves in your product.
So instead, make all the copy on your landing page about your visitor.
Moz did it nicely in the example above. Now it’s your turn.
Let’s do a little exercise. Go through your copy and replace every instance of your brand-focused (‘we’) copy with user-focused (‘you’) copy.
You can use this chart for inspiration:
Remember, rule number 1 for any successful landing page is to make it about your visitor. How does your product or service benefit a lived problem of theirs? Angle your entire narrative around this point, clearly and succinctly.
Let your users see themselves in your copy. Empower them to imagine themselves using your product and reaping the benefits of doing so.
Then watch what one simple change does for your conversions.
Talk Benefits, Not Features
People don’t buy features and they don’t buy your product.
They buy benefits.
It’s not what your product or service is, but what it will do for your customer, that counts.
The landing page from Alexa below is a great example of focusing on benefits:
Notice how the headline contains two benefits and zero features.
It’s telling the visitor what they can do with Alexa — “Find the best keywords for your site” and “Create SEO content more confidently.”
They didn’t even mention the technology powering these features: there’s a time and place and time to mention those features later on in the customer lifecycle.
But for now, none of those fancy features matter unless you catch their attention with some major benefits that your visitor can expect first.
Use Mystery and Intrigue
You want to find ways to arouse curiosity in your market.
You do this by implying there is something exciting or useful to your audience that lies just behind the curtain.
In landing page terms, the curtain is your opt-in box, free trial, or other call to action that your user is required to complete before they can satisfy their curiosity.
In this way, you create tension.
So don’t give away your goods upfront.
WordStream, as shown above, does a masterful job of this by offering to show their prospects how to compete in AdWords “without just raising bids.”
Who in their market wouldn’t bite on that in an instant?
Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak
When your customers engage with your product, they’re not doing it just because they think your product is great, but because of how it makes them feel.
To use an analogy to describe this: your customer is not buying a steak, even though that’s what you might be trying to sell them.
Your customer is buying how that steak will make them feel: they’re buying the sizzle, the smell, the taste, the experience, the indulgence.
Bear this in mind when you’re building your landing page. Don’t just talk about your product or service’s features. Rather, make sure that your copy paints a picture that clearly describes how your visitor’s life is going to be different with your product or service in it. Make that alternate reality irresistible.
Remember, there is one big question your prospect is always asking: WIIFM (What’s in it for me?).
So instead of, “This is the best steak in the world”...
Try “Treat yourself to this award-winning, 12-oz cut of prime sirloin, seasoned to perfection, that melts in your mouth."
Don’t Try to Be Apple
Apple’s minimalist approach to writing copy isn’t going to work for 99% of brands out there.
Apple can write short copy like this because they are one of a handful of brands that essentially every person on the planet knows about already.
If you try to emulate this style too much - as many brands nowadays do - your visitors will probably just end up getting confused and leaving.
Don’t overestimate how market aware your landing page customers are. They might have heard of your product before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they understand it enough to see the value of it. The reason Apple can get away with abstract slogans like the one above is because their customers already fundamentally feel something about Apple as a brand. If you’re not there yet, then you need to be more descriptive.
Speaking of which….
Market Awareness: Understand Where Your User is in Your Funnel
Every person in your target market will have a certain amount of awareness of your brand. This is called their “market awareness”
Market awareness is a spectrum.
One one end, you have someone who doesn’t realize they have a problem and doesn’t know who you are at all.
At the other end, you have a prospect who is very aware..
They know they have a problem and they also understand that you can help them solve it.
Take a look at the stages of awareness below:
Unaware: Your prospect doesn’t understand that they have a need or a problem.
Problem Aware: Your visitors are feeling the pain from the problem, but they don’t yet understand there is a viable solution out there.
Solution Aware: Your visitor is considering finding a solution to solve their problem.
Product Aware: Your visitor definitely wants to solve their problem. Now, they are actively learning about your product (ex: doing a free trial, doing a demo call with a sales rep). Sales can happen here.
Most Aware: They are evaluating your solution as the potential fit for them. In fact, they see your product as one of their top options. They just need a little encouragement to push them over the finish line. Sales can definitely happen here.
To tie this all to something a little more familiar...
Someone who is unaware would be at the highest point in the traditional marketing funnel.
And someone who is most aware would be at the bottom (ready to buy).
Knowing which stage they are at when they hit your landing page is crucial to aligning your copy with the conversation they’re having in their mind.
For instance, if a visitor is unaware, you don’t want to start talking about specific features and benefits of your product yet.
They won’t understand how any of that is relevant or important to them.
Instead, demonstrate empathy and show them that you understand their pain first if they are in the unaware stage.
Then, you open the door to move them further down the funnel later on.
On the flip side, if you’re sending a follow-up email to a prospect who is product aware and who has already downloaded your free report, you don’t want to waste valuable time digging into their pain points too much.
This kind of redundancy could make them roll their eyes from feeling patronized or simply cause them to lose interest (at this point they know they have a problem… they just want you to tell them more about your solution already).
Consider creating a separate landing page for visitors in each stage of market awareness.
As you’re doing it, ask yourself if your copy would truly resonate with someone at that level of awareness.
If the answer is yes, then you’re golden.
If it’s no, then it’s time to rework it before moving on.
Preempt Your Visitor’s Doubts
Doubts, concerns, fears, and unanswered questions.
Or... as they call them in sales: objections.
If your visitor has any of these, they aren’t going to convert.
And you can’t blame them, either. People today are bombarded with marketing and businesses of every type trying to sell something to them — a product, a service, a newsletter, or even just an idea.
That’s why they’re so suspicious of pretty much anything you say.
With so many solutions on the market, is your product really going to fix the issue they have?
And you aren’t going to resolve these doubts by ignoring them.
If you avoid talking about the elephant in the room, your visitors are just going to quickly and quietly leave your site without taking any action.
The only way to get around user doubts is to speak directly to those doubts. Address the objections straight on. That way, you gain control of the conversation.
In essence, you get to say:
“Hey, I understand you have doubts. Maybe you don’t believe you can really enjoy better results with our product. But here’s why you actually can.”
The power of this approach is that you demonstrate to your users that you really get them. That you’re meeting them where they are — in the midst of all their problems and fears, and dreams.
And you’re telling them that it’s okay, because despite what they may feel right now, there is another way.
Two Easy Ways to Address Doubts
In copywriting, there are two very common and proven ways to address your market’s doubts.
1) The “Even if” Technique.
For instance, let’s say that you sell a product that teaches people how to make a living blogging full time.
One of the main concerns your potential customers might have is how doable it is if they don’t have a lot of followers or fans already.
To overcome this, you could use the following sentence in your copy:
“Build a profitable blog quickly, even if you don’t have any fans yet.”
Another way is to ask a question that shows you understand where they are coming from.
“So you want to build a successful blog but you don’t think you have enough fans yet to do it? Think again.”
2) Do Your Research
To successfully overcome your visitors’ doubts, you can’t simply guess.
Instead, make sure your strategy is backed by research and data.
Investing the time to do the proper research will pay large dividends well into the future, so don’t skip this step.
To wrap up this section, check out this solid landing page for “firstsiteguide.com” below.
Notice how they preempt the doubts of their target users (people who are new to the web) by putting it right in the headline as a question:
Focus On a Single Message
Your search for the perfect brand messaging does not begin with you or your company.
Just like the “we” copy vs. “you” copy examples above, it’s all about your audience first.
Ask yourself what kinds of problems they’re having right now.
What are they looking for in a solution?
Then, make sure you are communicating only one, clear message to your visitors that centers around solving that #1 thing on their mind.
Don’t Make Your Visitor Feel Stupid
People don’t like to feel stupid. And making them feel that way is shockingly easy to do.
Words or concepts that seem obvious to you often make your visitors’ eyes glaze over.
So avoid using industry jargon, abbreviations, acronyms, and anything else that a layman wouldn’t understand.
In addition to avoiding industry jargon, avoid using uncommon or large words or phrases.
Use simple language.
Complicated language frustrates people, and a frustrated person doesn’t buy, sign up, or subscribe.
Use Visuals Alongside Numbers
Help your visitor understand big data points or other large numbers with pictures, graphs, and illustrations.
People inherently have a hard time imagining the scale or meaning of large numbers without a little help.
This image below is a great example of simplifying a comparison of world financial markets (measured in trillions of dollars) that would otherwise be difficult to imagine, by making it visual instead:
Make Claims Specific
Specific claims are more believable than vague claims.
Vague claims sound like something you just made up. Specific ones seem like they must have come from something real.
So instead of boasting about your “thousands of users,” tell your visitors you have 5,829 users.
Instead of telling your visitors that your site optimization service increases site speed by about 20%, look at your actual numbers and be more precise — 22.8%
In turn, you’ll find your conversion rates going up, along with your trustworthiness.
Changing Gears: Let's put this all into practice
We’ve covered several general principles, and each one is important in guiding your landing page copy strategy.
However, now we are going to dive into more specific sections that every great landing page has.
This is where theory meets practice.
You will learn the key structural components of a landing page and how to apply each one so that your copy will be a stunning success.
In that spirit, let’s start with the most important part of any landing page:
“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy” - David Ogilvy, known as the “Father of Modern Advertising”
Nothing is more important than the headline
Your headline is the first thing that your visitor will read. It needs to count.
That’s because if your headline doesn’t pull visitors in and get them to continue reading, nothing else matters after that point.
Here are the qualities of a powerful headline that will help you engage and convert more visitors:
- Mention the primary benefit of your product in the headline.
- Make your headline congruent with the ad or referring page that sent the visitor to your landing page. This keeps the user journey consistent, instead of confusing.
- Target one specific level of market awareness with each headline (create multiple landing pages if need be).
Here’s a great headline example from Shopify. Notice how they get right to the point:
The subheading, or subheadline, is your chance to communicate the promise or idea of your headline in more detail.
Keep it to one or two sentences that elaborate on how your product or service will help your users achieve their goals, solve their problems or live better.
This example by Uber is a really good example of these principles in action- it’s immediately clear what the benefit is to Uber’s cash-strapped, time-poor audience - they get to “Earn Money on their Schedule”. It’s simple, direct and speaks directly to the user’s lived experiences.
That makes it powerful.
CTA (Call to Action)
Your call to action should be displayed before the user has to scroll (sometimes this is referred to as text that is “above the fold”).
It is the one action that your entire landing page is designed to encourage.
You could keep your CTA copy simple, for example, “Sign up” or “Buy Now.”
However, you can often improve conversions by stating your call to action in the form of a benefit, such as “Ship My Jacket,” “Get Your Free Trial,” or “Start Saving Time on Email Marketing.”
Here’s a great CTA from Treehouse, an online learning platform:
Make Your Landing Page Scannable
People scan web content at lightning speed today.
They’re just too busy with social media and every other digital channel demanding their attention to slow down and read something carefully.
That is...unless you hook them in.
And the only way to do that is make your content more scannable.
You do this by frontloading your copy.
Put the most important aspect of your message, your benefits, your amazing uniqueness — right at the top. Right at the beginning of your copy.
Most of the time, those first few words and lines of your copy are the only chance you have to grab your visitor’s attention long enough to intrigue them to stay on your page.
Make them count.
Let Your Customers Do the Talking: Use Testimonials
Social proof is one of the strongest forces in human nature.
Your testimonials or reviews from happy customers should always be featured prominently on your landing page, near the top and at least above the “fold” (the portion of the site that is immediately visible without scrolling down).
If you don’t have any raving testimonials just quite yet, no worries.
Make an outreach plan to get some that you can use. But for now, you can also leverage social proof by using numbers.
For instance, you can mention how many people are using your product.
Ex: “Join 5,209 users who are loving our app!”
Worst case scenario, if you don’t have any numbers yet for your new product, try incorporating statistics from more general trends.
For instance, if you have a social media scheduling app that is still in beta, you might say something like this:
“87% of marketers say they believe automating their social media campaigns is important.”
Customize Your Landing Page to the Source
It helps to tailor your landing page to accommodate visitors based on the source they arrived from.
For instance, if they came from Reddit, consider offering a special bonus for Reddit users.
If they arrived from your email list, thank them for being a subscriber.
Little touches like these create the feeling that you really understand and care about your visitor, and that you’ve really thought about their end-to-end journey with you.
Are you ready to write your next landing page?
Writing the perfect landing page copy is crucial to the growth of your business.
But, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t have to be challenging.
If you use the simple and proven techniques above, your landing page copy will be more relevant and more persuasive to your target audience.
And you’ll find that once you get one part of your landing page right, the rest follows much more quickly and easily.
If you still feel like you’re stuck, start with more research on your audience.
It will help you uncover the one or two main insights that make everything else fall into place.