Companies that succeed in lead generation know how to do two things right. First, they offer something super valuable to their audience for free. Second, they show that offer in a landing page that makes people convert.
But you are probably wondering:
“I already have an amazing offer. How do I make people convert?”
Well, today you have it easy.
All you need is to take some time and read this article, in which you will learn how to design your landing pages so you can power up your conversion rate right away.
Use a headline that makes people want to read
Let’s start with one shocking fact: 80% of readers will never make it past the headline, while only 20% will read the rest.
If the majority of people will read the headline anyway, why is it important to make it amazing? Isn’t that a waste of your time?
It’s not, and I tell you why: your headline is where you get their attention. If you create a headline that blows their minds, they will stick around and read the rest of your article. If you don’t, they’ll likely be one of those that won’t read the rest of the article.
Many marketers make the mistake of believing that a headline is nothing but a sum up for the rest of the landing page’s idea. This kind of “boring headline” syndrome happens because, we, as marketers, sometimes forget how people read a landing page. This is how most marketers think one person, who we’ll call Larry, reads a landing page:
- Larry is reading an article and he sees a banner in the sidebar offering a free webinar on a topic he’s interested in (let’s say, PPC).
- Larry visits the landing page knowing he will already sign up for the webinar.
- He reads the header, and since he is already sold, he will obviously read every word of the landing page.
- Happy as he can be, he signs up, calls his wife, and tells her how awesome his life is now he signed up for a webinar.
- Larry and his wife live happily ever after.
Obviously, this isn’t how most people visit and experience a landing page. This is how most likely someone like Larry would experience a landing page visit:
- Larry is looking at his emails on his way to work (obviously, not while driving), and he gets a somewhat interesting email on PCC by an expert he follows by email.
- He skims the email quickly, sees it’s about a webinar, and since it’s free, he clicks on the highly optimized CTA.
- He looks at the title.
- The title doesn’t explain anything.
- He quickly scrolls up and down frantically to see if he can get what the webinar is about.
- He remembers he has like 20 other emails to check.
He leaves the landing page and continues with his life.
People, just like Larry, visit a landing page after being seemingly interested in an offer. It doesn’t mean they are already sold when they land in it. In fact, according to some research done by WordStream, the average conversion rate for a landing page is 2.35%, meaning 97.65% of the people who visit your landing page won’t sign up for whatever you want to offer them.
That apparent interest they showed when they click on your landing page’s link needs to be reminded and exploited by the headline. But how do you achieve that? After all, you only have a few words to maximize the power of your titles. Here are a few ways:
Be clear on what the landing page is all about. If you are promoting an ebook about personal development for single mothers, it makes sense to mention all of that in the title. Otherwise, you’ll confuse your visitors, like it happened with poor Larry.
Remember people visit the landing page from somewhere else with some expectations. It’s not they are already sold, but it’s not they don’t know what the landing page is all about either. Because of that, you need to keep your headlines relevant. If they saw an ad on Facebook about your personal development ebook, the headline needs to mention that as well so people understand that the landing page is about that.
Touch on their emotions by using “power words.” These words are called like that, because, well, they are powerful (captain obvious is obvious). There’s a whole list of power words you should always use on your titles, so long as they are clear and relevant. Some of my favorite ones are:
That’s not it. There are 5 words that are considered the “most persuasive words in the English language.” These are:
As you can see, these aren’t groundbreaking words. In fact, they are extremely common. However, what matters is not how innovative they are. What matters is how much they impact on your visitors. Since they impact them, and a lot, make sure to use them in your headlines to increase your chances of having your landing page read.
Write convincing copy
If you made people all the way to the copy, kudos, you’ve achieved a lot. Now, it’s time to make them want to sign up. You do that by writing convincing copy.
Just like it happens with the headlines, writing copy, any kind of copy, is a matter of being clear, relevant and appealing to the reader’s emotions.
Since you are halfway your conversion, so long as you don’t mess things up and tell them what they need to know, your landing page will perform great. The key is to know how you don’t mess things up and you tell them what they need to know.
Let’s start with the first part of the highly complex mathematical equation I just quoted above: not screwing up.
The first and most common mistake anyone can make when writing copy is focusing on the features, not the benefits of your offer. Never talk about the details of your offer without immediately showing them the benefit of what they will get. Instead of “Find X experts say about TOPIC”, say “Find what X experts think you should do to BENEFIT” (using this article as an example, the benefit would be “increase your landing page conversions”).
As you can see in the picture above, Mobile Commons focuses on the benefits of their offer, which highlights all the amazing things about SMS marketing.
Another important mistake, not directly tied with the copy but with the landing page, is to overcomplicate your design. There’s no need to add fancy graphics. Keep it simple. For example, this sign up landing page from Basecamp, a bootstrapped tech company that has grown thanks to their highly optimized landing pages, is simple. It just features the title, which focuses on social proof, a one-field form, testimonials, and nothing else.
Now you are aware of the most common mistakes and problems with landing page copy, how do you actually convince your visitors to sign up? How do you tell them what they need to know?
First, be clear on who you are writing for. Take some time to think who is the special person you are writing your content for. This isn’t a rhetorical exercise; write that down. If I had to develop a landing page copy for you, my persona (i.e. a fancy name for an idealized version of a target audience or customer) would be a “marketing manager who’s trying to create her first landing page”. It’s not incredibly detailed, but it’s a good start. From there, I should make it a bit more complex and add more data to be able to understand what exact pains that audience has.
Then, explain clearly what the main benefits of your offer are. It’s common to believe since you are writing a landing page copy, you are some kind of “word wizard” and you must use all kind of creative and magic words to explain what you have to offer. Don’t do that. Use simple and clear words that explain what your visitors will get from your offer. No need to add any fancy words.
See what KISSmetrics do with their Facebook Marketing guide. They first start by giving some context, then they explain what you can get in it, and finish by telling you what you need to do next. Simple and clear, isn’t it?
Show a CTA that’s actionable
The main goal of a landing page is to make people sign up for something you offer. That process ends with your call to action (CTA). Therefore, your CTA can’t be good nor average, but plain legendary.
How do you make your CTAs legendary, you say? Glad you ask.
First of all, CTA needs to be as clear and relevant as the headline and copy. Duh, I know. But here’s where it gets interesting: your CTA also needs to be actionable. Make people want to click it.
Using power words can help a lot. Just like I told you before, if you use a word like “Free”, “Your”, “Download”, “Increase”, among others, can boost the effect of the desired action.
Also, ask yourself, is the CTA relevant? Does it support the rest of the copy? Your CTA needs to fit the context of its landing page. If you want people to download a guide, then mentioning the word “Download Your Guide” or “Get Your Free Guide” would be two good CTAs to use in that specific case.
Look at the case of Treehouse and their free trial. They use the words “Claim Your Free Trial”. It’s simple yet actionable enough. Also, it uses the word “Claim,” as if their trial is some kind of gift you are being given by them. Quite smart, eh?
One final tip: don’t focus on the color, size or typography of your CTAs. That’s for amateurs. Focus on the words you use in there. The rest is secondary and contextual. In some cases you may want to test a landing page with a different CTA, but not now. Right now you are looking to make a landing page convert, so your CTA needs to be optimized for that.
Creating a high-converting landing page, as you have seen, isn’t as hard as you thought, wasn’t it?
All you have to do is:
- Use a headline that makes people want to read the rest of your landing page
- Create copy that makes people want to sign up
- Have a CTA that’s designed to make people click it
Now it’s time to take some action.
What has been your most successful landing page, and what made it work? Share your story in the comments below.