Designing your landing page
Only you can judge what’s enough to put your message across to your readers. Different products and target audiences have specific needs, so you need to test to know what works best for you. As a starting point, refer to the following landing page best practices by way of guidance.
Let’s start with the written part of your page. Fire up your writing app. You’ve one chance to make a first impression. This is your time to sell your idea and get people interested. That’s what copy helps to achieve.
Keep it value-centric. Your headline is the promise of the value you are delivering. Focus on the benefits rather than the features. Your visitor should quickly imagine how good life can be with your product or service. Show them in no uncertain terms that you are able to solve whatever problem they are seeking help with.
Focus on pain points. The key is to create content that addresses your customer’s “pain points” and is relevant to their needs, not simply a sales pitch that tries to convince them to enroll in an eLearning course or download a demo. What’s keeping your audience up looking for a solution online? Saving money? learning a new skill, or finding ways to save time on a particular activity.
Solve a customer’s needs with your page, they are more likely to come back again, and with a bit of luck, recommend you to their friends and family - all the while, increasing your conversions.
The tone of your copy influences how visitors relate to your company. Speak directly to your audience, create a landing page that resonates with the persons you are targeting. The best copy is customer focused, lose any ‘we’ statements. Write in the second person and always focus on the reader.
Of course, your tone will reflect your customers. It might be informative, condescending, funny, shocking. Listing a long list of adjectives, according to CopyHackers Joanna Wiebe:
“They are brought to life on the page by combining diction and syntax to create tone.”
If you’re struggling to find your tone of voice, take direction from Robert Mills at GatherContent.
The pickup line
Great copy starts with a headline. Without a captivating title, your landing page is unlikely to inspire anyone into taking notice. Think for a moment.
What’s the biggest benefit your readers will receive if they take the action you are presenting to them? What pain are you trying to solve for them?
That’s what your title should be centered around.
A neat way to do this to pose a question, then answer it in the content below. One technique is to use questions to guide your landing page copy.
Make it impossible to answer no.
What’s in it for me?
“Define your target customer-- who the product or service is for.”
Try a first-person question
These headline formats have been used by many professional copywriters over the years, with proven success. There are hundreds of tried and true variations, but here are three of the best options.
With this no-frills option, you simply state what your product or service is about.
Swap the words round to promote a free ebook in exchange for signing up to your newsletter for example.
Does the value outweigh any potential drawbacks? Their time, money, effort? The benefit-driven headline attracts prospects by tapping into the value that you can deliver.
Make your life easier headline
If your service can save people time so they can get back to something they enjoy, let them know.
These headlines follow a format: Desired outcome, without undesirable action. For example:
If you’re hard pressed for an idea, you can mine reviews for a headline. Let your customers do the talking. Check your customer reviews and testimonials. If someone has left a comment that speaks more for your company than your words could. Go with that.
You can write a headline in an infinite number of ways. It’s arguably the most important part of your copy which is why content writers spend half their page efforts on the headline alone. Don’t be afraid to play around with multiple titles. There are hundreds of headline formulas to captivate your audience and persuade them to read and respond to your copy.
Think of your landing page as a pyramid. You begin with a short headline, expand that idea out to a full sentence, and then add paragraphs with any extra details that might help guide people into taking action.
Tell a story: To avoid sounding generic, stand out with an emotionally packed story. Stories are more memorable and help engage with people, a whole lot more than stats and facts. Why are you offering this incentive? There are three types of stories you can leverage in your content:
How you can help the underdogs - think David vs Goliath
The rags to riches tale where you can show someone how to make (more) money
Overcome an obstacle - where you focus on the pain you’re relieving for your readers
Incentivize: Offer them something. What can you persuade them with? Promoting your landscaping business? How about an e-book on the best time of year to begin planting? Perhaps you’ve developed an app? How about offering a free trial so people can see for themselves how it can be useful to them.
Be clear: Get to the point in as few words as possible. Use your headline to capture the main points; think about how you read online. Most people skim. Copy that respects their time and gets to the point gives people a good reason to give out their information. Here’s a simple formula to remember: Set up the problem, talk about your solution (or offer), and deliver the goods (an ebook, video, or webinar registration). Also make sure you have bullet points and a great, eye-catching headline.
Media: According to research by Xerox, users are 80% more likely to read content that is combined with bold imagery. Which product shots, illustrations, charts, or photography is going to make your offer more appealing or explain it best?
Think of a mock-up of your ebook, a photo of your webinar speaker, and so on. Movie sites will show a trailer to get you excited about an upcoming film. Product review sites will show glimpses of what’s to come and where to buy it.
Think about making your graphics clickable. "People tend to click on graphics.(And before you even consider it, avoid free or cheap, corny stock photography at all costs. People always know.)"
Wow factor: Include things like a sample chapter of your book, the most popular recipe, a video showcasing you have produced, a full-page photo of it, anything to help readers get why this thing you are promoting is worth their attention.
Show don’t tell: If possible, embrace the show don’t tell mentality. Take a look at the landing page for Muzzle. This app silences on-screen notifications. Their landing page fires out an onslaught of embarrassing notifications in the left of the screen. It’s not only funny, but it also captures the usefulness of the app.
Landing pages don't have to be static, you can make them interactive and personalized. Airbnb has gone for a similar method to convert visitors in to hosts. Their page is personalized to the user offering an estimate of earning based on their location. Simple and effective.
Proof: Results are a powerful motivator (positive reviews, stats to inspire visual marketing efforts, social proof to establish trust, success stories, stats, testimonials from real users before / after testimonial, even embedded tweets).
According to research by BrightLocal, 88% of consumers trust testimonials and reviews. Reviews and testimonials up the trust quotient and increase landing page conversions.
Including quotes from people in the field (those your readers will recognize and believe) saying that they like your stuff. This is a nudge that tells them that your peers think you’re great, and they might too.
Action: Your Call to Action or sign up form should stand out. Use contrasting colors and make sure the signup form uses as few fields as possible. Do you really need to know gender or date of birth? Use as few words as possible to take someone's information while keeping it neat. You'll get a lot more asking for just a name and email address than you will every little piece of contact info.
Access: Make it as easy as possible for someone to use your form. For a solid set of best practices, take a look at Accessibility for Everyone, a handbook packed with practical content and design advice.
Lead bouncing: When someone clicks on your call to action, you want to make sure they stick with you. You have a smaller chance of people bouncing off your page if your landing page speaks directly to the CTA. For example, if your lead fills out a form to download an ebook, and is instead sent to a random webpage listing ebooks, they will be understandably confused, grow impatient and leave the page.
On the other hand, if you deliver a targeted page that applies to that specific CTA, you have a much better chance of holding their attention. You can also send them an email with the link to confirm their address is valid. ("This is the address we will send your eBook download link to.") This way, you sidestep getting fake email addresses plaguing your opt-in strategy.
Optimize for mobile devices: Want to miss out on 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide? Didn’t think so. Make sure your page works on all devices, or you are essentially handing almost half of the online traffic over to your competitors. Most landing page software apps templates cater to mobile devices - more on this later.
Above all, be honest. You don’t need to use sleazy marketing patter to make sales or grow your list. Remember to keep your copy simple, avoiding any industry jargon and people will understand you. Feature real results, impressive visuals, and real testimonials.