PART 1 – INTRODUCTION TO LANDING PAGES
A landing page is the digital marketing term for a single page of a website with only one specific action for your prospects, leads, and customers to take. The goal is to send relevant traffic to the landing page and convert as many of the visitors as possible. This is often to get a lead to sign up to your mailing list through an opt-in form, usually in exchange for a free gift.
However, it doesn’t need to just be about opt-in forms. A landing page can also be used to get leads to buy something, get people to sign up for a free consultation call, or to take any other single action that you need them to take.
Not a Homepage
Having a laser-focused goal is the big difference between a landing page and a website homepage. A homepage is something that a visitor can usually do many things on. It usually has navigation menus to get to other parts of the website. A homepage will often have content to keep users on your website for as long as possible.
With a landing page, there is only one thing for visitors to click. There are no navigation menus for them to browse to other parts of the website. All of the content on the page has the specific purpose to get visitors to take that one single action. The only things a visitor can do is take the action you want them to or go back. That’s it.
Think of it like a funnel. You generate traffic from all of your different sources like social media, paid advertising, or your email list, and you send all of them to this one landing page to take the same action.
Elements of a Landing Page
There are several common elements to a landing page. Here are the most common elements that you need to focus on:
- Headline: This is a strong headline in large bold text that grabs the attention of the visitor and communicates your core value proposition.
- Hero Shot: This is the main image, but it can also be a video. You want to use a great picture or a powerful video to show off your product or grab your visitor’s attention.
- Copy: This is the text that shows the benefits of the offer and convinces them to take the action that you want them to.
- Forms: Landing pages will have forms when the goal is for an email opt-in, a sign-up, or information gathering.
- Call To Action (CTA): A CTA is the specific phrase to tell the lead what you need them to do and includes a submission button.
- Indicators of Trust – These are trust badges, testimonials, or other things to indicate trust to a visitor.
In part two of this series, we go deeper into writing great headlines and choosing hero shots that improve conversions.
PART 2 – HEADLINES AND HERO SHOTS
The headline of a landing page is the first sentence in your text. It should be in a large, bold font and it’s purpose is to communicate your core value proposition. A core value proposition is the main benefit that the lead will get from taking action. It’s the reason they will opt-in to your email list, the reason they will sign up for a free consultation call, or the reason they will buy your product.
The headline should be written clearly. While the language should be simple, that doesn’t mean that it needs to be generic. It should be talking about them, not talking about yourself. Word it in a way that explains what big result they will get. A good headline won’t beat around the bush, it will be clear and get straight to the main point.
Most People Only Read Headlines
Legendary copywriter David Ogilvy once said that five times more people read the headline than read the body. That’s why it’s important to fully explain the core value proposition directly in the headline. If your headline is weak, readers will lose interest, click back out of your landing page, and your conversions will be much lower.
A great headline shows empathy to the reader. It not only shows you understand their problem, but it promises that there is a solution to that problem. By empathizing with your reader this way, the reader will be more interested and will follow through reading the rest of the copy.
Your headline should be short. If your headline is too long or wordy, it can be confusing. Clarity is the goal here. If you find your headline getting long, add a small sub-headline, but be sure that your core value proposition is still in the main headline exclusively.
A Great Hero Shot
Your hero shot is a single image or a video that shows off your product or service. If it is an image of your product, make sure it’s an incredibly high quality image. This will be the first impression of your product, and if you have a low quality image, it will also be the last impression. Make sure the product is shown in great lighting.
For videos involving products, show your product being used. If it’s an explainer video about your product or service, make sure it repeats your main headline and focuses on the benefits of your offer.
In several marketing studies, it was found that both your headline and hero shot should be relevant to the whatever the lead clicked on to get to your landing page. So for paid ads, you should use the same headline and hero shot in the ad as the landing page. By keeping it relevant like this, you can expect a significantly higher conversion rate regarding the action you want them to take.
In part 3, we will cover how to write the main body copy.
PART 3 – BENEFIT-FOCUSED COPY
If you have a strong headline and a great hero shot, the next important element of your landing page is the main copy.
Unlike long form sales copy on a sales page for a high priced product, your landing page copy needs to be concise. Although your landing page might be being used to sell a low priced trip wire product to turn leads into proven buyers, you still want to keep your copy short and to the point.
It’s Not Story Time
In long form copywriting, telling a story that builds trust and authority all while overcoming the reader’s objections is great. Since this isn’t a long sales page, this isn’t the time for a long, convincing story. Instead, you need to focus on the main benefits of the offer. These should be short benefit statements. A good number of benefit statements is between five and seven. Too few and it won’t be as convincing, too many and you may lose the reader’s attention.
Benefits, Not Features
Your benefit statements, no surprise here, need to focus on the benefit, not the feature. This is an important distinction that will make a world of difference in the conversion rate of your landing page. It’s common for people new to copywriting to have a hard time telling the difference between the two when writing. They end up listing all of these wonderful features, but their conversion rate is low because they aren’t actually communicating the benefit that the features will have for the reader.
A great example of this is let’s say that you’re trying to sell a phone battery. If you write in the main body copy of your landing page that you are offering a powerful new battery, that is just listing a feature. It doesn’t really convey the benefit of the battery to the customer. It just vaguely mentions a feature. “It’s powerful” doesn’t really speak to the problem. Instead you should say that this new phone battery means that they aren’t going to need to charge their phone as often. This benefit statement directly addresses the main pain point a lot of people have with their phones which is that they need to charge it more often than they would like.
When writing your copy, write like an actual human talking to another human. You don’t need to be waxing poetic or getting into technical jargon. Keep your benefit statements casual, but to the point. Choose commonly used words. Don’t try to use large words when a normal word will do.
Even when your target market is educated adults, you want to be writing simply enough that a 10 year old could understand what you’re saying. Not everyone who is on your landing page will understand your statements if you’re trying to write like an English professor.
In part four of this series, we are going to talk all about the call to action or CTA.
PART 4 – CALL TO ACTION (CTA)
One of the most important parts of any landing page is the call to action. A strong call to action will turn your leads into conversions, making the reader take the action that you want. You can get readers excited about your offer with a great headline, the perfect hero shot, and superbly written benefit statements. However, if you don’t actually tell your readers what to do next, your conversion rate is going to be extremely low.
Relevance and Value
Your call to action needs to be relevant with everything else on the landing page. A good call to action will reflect the core value proposition that was talked about in the headline. It should reference the solution to the problem. Reflecting this core value proposition from the headline brings the conversation full circle and will skyrocket your conversion rate.
For an example of this, picture a big submission button with the text, “Yes, I want to receive my free e-book now and learn the secret to shedding unwanted weight and having a great six pack.” This kind of call to action benefits from being longer because there is such a strong pain point that is being hit.
Not all call to actions need to be as long to be effective. If you’re some kind of marketing consultant and you’re offering free consultations so you can sell them on your services, short and to the point would work great. Your call to action can simply say, “Yes, schedule my free consultation call!” In this instance, the main benefit is that the consultation is free.
You’ll notice that in both of these, the call to action start with “Yes,” and speak from the reader’s point of view. by writing yes first, you are implanting that word in their head. Simply having yes at the beginning of our call to action can often improve conversions and is worth testing. By writing your call to action in your reader’s voice you aren’t telling them what to do. You’re not bossing them around. Instead, you’re letting them answer you. This is their choice, their decision and they are telling you what they want. This subtle way of writing your call to action in your readers voice drastically increases conversions.
Be meticulous with your word choices. For instance, if you’re selling a $7 e-book, don’t write a call to action that says “Yes, I want to purchase…” or “Yes, I want to buy…” Instead, use the word claim. Claim in place of buy is more positive. Of course they know they are going to be buying something, but the words buy or purchase negatively make them focused on the fact that they are about to be spending some of their hard earn money. They aren’t buying your product, they are claiming the solution to their problem.
Part five of the series is going talk about indicators of trust on your landing page.
PART 5 – INDICATORS OF TRUST
Indicators of trust is an important way to improve your landing page conversion rate and too many people forget to include them. Having a great headline, hero shot, copy, and call to action are all important. But if you really want to push your conversion rate higher, you need to include indicators of trust. It works especially well for anyone that is on the fence and can often tip them in your favor.
So, what are indicators of trust? These are any kind of information or content that instantly create a sense of trust between you and the reader. It often involves social proof or other types of proof that you and your offer are the real deal.
Types of Indicators of Trust
Indicators of trust come in many forms, so let’s list the common ones so that you can include the relevant ones on your landing page.
- Testimonials. One of the best possible indicators of trust is by having testimonials directly from your past clients or customers. This adds a ton of social proof. Your testimonials can be quotes from past clients or customers, or for more impact, quick video testimonials. If you’re just using quotes, put that customer’s picture next to the testimonial and display at least their first name. Seeing their face and using their name in the testimonial makes it more of a personal connection with your reader. They trust that testimonial more, and by extension, they trust you.
- Customer ratings. Along with testimonials, you can display your high customer ratings if you use some kind of rating and review system for your offers. You can even have past customers and clients submit their rating out of 5 stars when they submit their testimonial and then display that rating with it.
- Logos of press appearances. If you or your products have ever been featured in any kind of press appearances, you can use the logos of those companies and also say “as seen on…” These appearances don’t need to be you being interviewed on national news or a TV show, it can just be if you had a short article about you written on a smaller news website.
- Logos of past clients. If you’re some kind of marketing consultant, showing logos of past clients works extremely well. This doesn’t even need to be well known companies. It can be any relevant client you have. Having several client logos proves you have happy clients. If they weren’t happy working with you, it’s unlikely you’d be comfortable sharing that they were your client for the world to see.
- Trust Badges. Trust badges are great when selling anything through your landing page. These are trust badges you include that promise that their transaction is 100% secure. Your online payment processor likely has these badges available.
In part six we will cover split testing so you can optimize your landing page.
PART 6 – SPLIT TESTING
This final part of the ultimate landing page guide is all about split testing or A/B testing. Split testing is the key to optimizing each element of your landing page so that you are absolutely maximizing your conversions.
Split testing works by creating nearly identical copies of your landing page but with one change in an element on it. You then send traffic and split it between the two versions of the landing page. After you run your test for a period of time and collect plenty of data, using analytical software such as Google analytics, you can see which version of the landing page performed better and had a higher conversion rate. The trick is you need to let the test run long enough to gather enough data. If you ran it for one day with only a hundred clicks, you’re data isn’t going to be as accurate as if you ran your test for a week or more with several thousand clicks.
After you have enough data you should see a clear winner. Now, when you change it back and send all your traffic to only that winning version of the landing page, your conversion rate is more optimized.
You should run split tests for each element of your landing page that has been covered in the guide. However, you should only run a test on one element at a time. If you’re testing different versions of the headline, the hero shot, and the call to action all at the same time, your data isn’t going to be very accurate at all. Testing multiple elements all at the same time corrupts the data.
However, you can split test multiple version of one element at the same time. This means you can run a split test between 4-5 headlines at once. Or you can run a split test between a few calls to action at the same time. It’s not recommended to go above 5 versions at once. Keep in mind, the more versions you are testing, the longer you need to run your test so that you get enough data and can make an informed decision about the winning version.
Here are some quick things to test:
- Headlines: Write several strong headlines and run split tests between your best ones.
- Hero Shot: Test different images or changes to your video. You can also test whether image or video performs better.
- Benefit statements: Test it the same way as the headline, but test each benefit one at a time for accurate results.
- Call To Action: This can be tested the same way as the headline and the benefit statements.
- Indicators of Trust: Test testimonial length, number of logos, or different trust badges.
- Page Design: Page layout, color choice, and even font size or choice can make a difference.
Once you’ve thoroughly tested all of these elements you can expect significantly higher landing page conversion rates.