A high converting landing page helps people understand what your product does and why someone should care about it. People of the internet have been building landing pages for a while now and have established a pattern that works. Don’t deviate from this pattern unless you have a good reason. Save the fancy stuff for the rest of your marketing efforts.
A Helpful Headline
Imagine a five-year-old finds your product and asks you what it is. Your response should help the child understand what your product does and who it’s for. Prioritize clarity and brevity.
People don’t read much online. Typically, they just want information quickly. They look at stuff that is either new, unusual or helpful. New gets old. Unusual can be good if it works. Helpful is a solid bet. Use your headline to tell people how your product helps them.
Defining who your product is for in your headline is also a good way to filter out people you cannot help. You only want interested people to continue reading. Avoid getting people to read stuff only to discover that it doesn’t apply to them at the end.
A Supporting Byline
Our hypothetical five-year-old understands what your product does, now explain how it does it in ten words or less.
The Core Problem
Imagine the five-year-old challenges you and asks you why someone would need your product. You must highlight the core problem it solves.
Our brains are fine-tuned to detect problems. A giant piece of cake on the sidewalk might get your attention but a tiger will stop you dead in your tracks.
When you have a specific problem, a specific group of people and a solution you can construct a trigger.
People: 5-year-old children
Problem: Being scared of the dark
Solution: A bedside lamp that projects a faint night sky onto their ceiling.
Trigger: We help kids enjoy going to bed by letting them explore the universe on their ceiling before they fall asleep.
When deployed well, a trigger will prompt someone to ask “What do you mean by that?” which actually means, “Tell me more”.
This idea of a trigger is taken from a book called The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza. He says that the ‘kiss of death’ is when someone says ‘oh! that’s interesting’. What they are actually saying is ‘No thank you, I want to escape this awkward interaction now’.
If our five-year-old thinks your product is “interesting” then it’s game over. You’ve lost them. You need to start from the top and rework your trigger.
On the other hand, if her response is akin to “What do you mean by that?”, then it’s time to explain what your product can do for her.
What Your Product Can Do For Me
One way to communicate the benefits of your product is to list out everything people resort to when they don’t have your product. Then outline all the problems with each of these alternatives. Finally, explain how and why your product is better. That’s what your product can do for me. Now pick your top three.
If you are still left with a bunch of features that describe your product and not its benefits, another solution is to add “which means that…” to the end of your feature sentences. For example: “Our products are only made with organic ingredients which means that they are good for you and they taste delicious”.
A High Converting Call To Action
The child is excited. Now they want to get involved. What is the next step?
Your call to action button text should start with a verb and describe what will happen next ( Start trial, See pricing, Join waiting list). The button should be obvious twenty steps away from the screen.
Landing Page Objections
The child’s parents just showed up. They are sceptical and want to know what is going on here. You need to back up your claims and disarm the most common objections with facts and specific data.
Objections are good by the way. They are an indicator of interest. Disinterested customers won’t object, they won’t ask questions, they just walk away. When someone engages with your product, that’s when they start asking questions. Objections mean engagement.
If the objection is valid and you can’t address it then they are not the right person for your product. Work on eliminating them well before they get to this stage. Be clearer about who your product is for in your headline.
Brainstorm all the possible objections to your thing and then address them one by one. If you can get someone else to address the objections for you, even better.
Testimonials always come sugar-coated. People can taste sugar. A good testimonial starts with scepticism. They describe the fear and uncertainty going through people’s heads when they first considered your product.
A reverse testimonial works because it speaks to us, in the way we speak to each other. When we’re recommending a restaurant, we intrinsically lace our recommendations with doubt.
The five questions you need to ask to get a powerful testimonial are:
- What was the obstacle that would have prevented you from buying this product initially?
- What happened as a result of buying this?
- What did you like most about the product?
- Would you recommend it? If so, why?
- Is there anything you’d like to add?
Once you link each objection to a testimonial, you can bring it home with a guarantee.
If you’re getting lots of complaints, it means your product isn’t doing what it’s supposed to. Complaints are valuable feedback. Listen to them so that you can fix the problem.
Generally, someone who complains wants you to improve. People who don’t care won’t complain but will leave anyway.
A guarantee lets people know that they can complain and something will happen. Refunds are an early warning system. Use them.
A High Converting Landing Page Teardown In 20 Questions
VWO has a landing page analyser that asks you a bunch of yes/no questions and then tells you what to focus on to improve the conversion rate of your landing page. It’s fantastic, please check it out (link in the footer).
I am not 100% with some of the suggestions though. VWO doesn’t follow all of their suggestions on their own site 😐 So I used their questionnaire as a starting point to come up with the 20 questions I currently use to audit a high converting landing page. I don’t have any empirical data to back these up, the whole point is to test these for yourself.
What do you do?
- Could a child understand what your product does, based on your headline?
- Does your headline clarify who your product is for?
- Does you byline explain how your product does what it claims to do in ten words or less?
- Does your landing page contain a screenshot, demo or sample of what is being offered?
Why should I care?
- Does your landing page explicitly explain what your product can do for your customer? So benefits in the first paragraph, not features.
- Does the copy clearly explain what advantages your product has over other existing solutions?
- Does the copy include impressive metrics that summarize the product’s utility or popularity?
- Do you offer anything for free on your landing page?
How do I believe you?
- Does your landing page show proof of benefits (such as case studies) that you promise?
- Do you prominently display icons/images to assure the safety and security of data?
- Does your landing page contain testimonials (or logos) from existing customers?
- Is your landing page on HTTPS?
- Does your landing page offer a guarantee or refund?
- Does your landing page address the most common objections for people?
Where do we begin?
- Does your landing page contain a single offer for visitors to choose from? If you have multiple offers, consider building multiple landing pages so each one is relevant and targeted.
- Is your call-to-action, headline and core benefit located close to each other? Try guiding the visitor by placing important persuasive elements next to each other on the landing page.
- Is your call-to-action above the page fold? To avoid the case of visitors not scrolling down, try moving your call-to-action above the page fold.
- Your call-to-action is obvious twenty steps away from the screen (size, colour, contrast)?
- Does your call-to-action start with a verb and describe what will happen next ( Start trial, See pricing, Join waiting list)? Persuasive text on call-to-action makes it easier for the visitor to think of a reason to click on it.
- Does your landing page have less than three outbound links? Ideally, a landing page should have no external links so that a visitor does not get distracted.
- Is your landing page a single-page experience? Single-step landing pages work much better as compared to multi-step landing pages.
The goal here is not to be able to answer YES to all of these questions. The goal is to use these best practices as a starting point for your AB tests. I must emphasise that collecting data on how your customers use your product is the best way to inform what you should test. These questions are only a fallback if you don’t have enough data or if you can’t find any obvious bottlenecks.
More reading around high converting landing pages:
- Almost everything I’ve shared was stolen from a book called The Brain Audit by Sean D’Souza. This is a very very good book. Read it.
- I also stole a few ideas from one of Julian Shapiro’s excellent handbooks of knowledge. Specifically the landing page section in the growth marketing handbook. Also very very good, do yourself a favour and check it out.
- There’s a sprinkle of Neville Medhora’s Kopywriting Kourse. This one is a different fish compared to the first two, but it’s solid.
- VWO’s landing page analyser for a high converting landing page.
- Other post I’ve written that focus on copywriting include product messaging, website copywriting and writing design for the interface.