Part 5: Landing Page Copywriting

The words on your page are the most important elements to consider when creating a landing page. Your words are the first thing people pay attention to when the page loads, and the last thing they read before deciding whether or not they will complete your conversion goal.

Spend 50% of your time writing your headline and the rest on writing your call-to-action.

Well, we’re not actually advocating leaving out writing the rest of the copy on your landing page. Rather, it’s important to understand the relative importance of your headline and call-to-action.

Today’s Course Outline

This part of the course will cover:

  • Taking inventory of your landing page copy
  • Crafting an effective headline
  • Writing an effective call-to-action
  • Writing benefit statements
  • Tips for writing effective privacy statements
  • Having your customers write your copy for you

1. Taking inventory of your landing page copy

If you look at a typical landing page, you’ll see it’s mostly made up of text. It’s of paramount importance that you take the time to get it right. If you remember back to The Anatomy of a Landing Page, there are a number of building blocks you need copy for:

  1. The headline
  2. The subheader
  3. Introductory paragraph
  4. Benefits/feature bullet points
  5. The form header
  6. Call-to-action copy
  7. Privacy statements
  8. Testimonials (though you don’t write these, they’re part of your copy)

Looking at an example landing page, you can see where each of these elements lives:

landing page copy elements

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On your landing page, the copy takes up the vast majority of the total area of the page. As such it’s a great place to start when building your page, to ensure you craft a story that will make sense to your visitors.

2. Crafting an effective headline

Copywriter, Roberta Rosenberg shares this headline writing tip with us:

Your headline has one job and one job only. To get your visitors to continue engaging with your message, increase their desire for what you’re offering, and motivate a Call-To-Action click. That’s why when it comes to crafting effective landing page headlines, choose clarity over clever.

Clever calls attention to itself at the expense of the message.

Clarity smooths the way to conversion.

Again, we turn to copywriting expert Joanna Weibe, to define some techniques and formulas you can use to get a good start on your headline creation.

Here is the process Joanna follows to write conversion-rate-optimized (CRO) copy:

Joanna Wiebe Copywriting Process

If you’re unfamiliar with headline formulas, check out some easy-to-complete ones below:

Formula 1
The Only Way to [Do Something Desirable] Without [Doing Something Undesirable]

Example
The Only Way to Turn Off the Lights Without Clapping or Getting Out of Bed

Formula 2
[Do Something Hard] in [Period of Time] or [Promise]

Example
Tune Your Piano in 15 Minutes or “Piano Tuner App” Is Free

Formula 3
[Do Something Desirable] Like [an Expert] Without [Something Expected & Undesirable]

Example
Learn to Play Chess Like Bobby Fischer – Without Any of the Crazy!

An example of this is a headline from a Freshbooks.com landing page:

freshbooks landing page headline

Some similar examples of headline formulas

You can take portions of these formulas and extend them in different ways depending on your needs. You can take the three headline approach from the landing page anatomy to construct a story. As a reminder, these three elements are:

  1. The main headline
  2. The reinforcement statement
  3. The closing argument

You can construct your story like this:

Statement of uniqueness
Backed up with a supporting statement to establish credibility

Expand on the experience
And explain how you solve a pain point

Close with urgency to encourage a call-to-action click

We’ll show this technique in action in the video at the end of today’s lesson.

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You can use simple formulas to construct an effective introduction to your landing page.

3. Writing an effective call-to-action

According to Michael Aagaard, your call-to-action represents the tipping point between bounce and conversion. When you ask someone to do something online, they have to go through your call-to-action in order to do it – regardless of whether you’re asking them to download a PDF, fill out a form, buy a product, or even just click through to another page.

This means that clicking the CTA is a mission critical conversion goal, and every extra click potentially means money in the bank.

Michael recommends asking yourself 2 questions in order to optimize your call-to-action copy:

  1. What is my prospect’s motivation for clicking this button?
  2. What is my prospect going to get, when he/she clicks this button?

The answers to those 2 questions are going to be the basis for the new button copy. You’ll have to spend time tweaking and refining it before it’s ready for testing, but asking these questions is a great way to get started.

Let’s use a gym membership call-to-action as an example:

  1. The prospects’ motivation is to get a membership in a local gym.
  2. When they click the button, they’ll get the opportunity to find a gym and buy their membership.

This leaves our final button copy as: “Find gym and get membership”

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A call-to-action that conveys the value of your offering and the relevance to your prospect will lead to more conversions.

4. Tips for writing effective privacy statements

The privacy policy statements you add to your lead generation forms can have a significant impact on how people perceive your trustworthiness, in turn affecting your conversion rates. Michael Aagaard ran some A/B test experiments on this in order to determine which type of messaging works best.

In the first experiment, the original form (with no privacy statement) was tested against a version that said “100% privacy – we will never spam you” beneath the call-to-action. The results of this were surprising.

privacy policy a/b test

As you can see, the version with the privacy statement actually produce 18.7% fewer signups.

Michael Aagaard summed up the test like this:

However counterintuitive it may seem, adding a privacy policy does not guarantee more sign-ups. In fact, it can seriously hurt conversions.

My hypothesis is that – although the messaging revolves around assuring prospects that they won’t be spammed – the word spam itself give rise to anxiety in the mind of the prospects. Therefore, the word should be avoided in close proximity to the form.

Another test was then run with different copy for the privacy statement. This time the statement read “We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared”. The results are below:

privacy policy A/B test

This time the copy change resulted in 19.47% more signups! A great result. Michael summed this up by saying:

Credibility, clarity, and authority is really what you want in a privacy policy, and I believe that the combination of those three factors is what made this test perform so well.

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The lessons here are that you really need to try different versions of your privacy statements, and also that with the right type of statement you can make a big improvement in the outcome of your landing page performance.

5. Writing benefit statements

Listing the features of your offering requires your visitors to figure out for themselves how your product or service can help them.

A more effective way to communicate how you’ll solve their problems is to talk in terms of benefits. This lets you speak directly to the needs of your visitors as opposed to talking about yourself.

Copyblogger provides great insight into all kinds of copywriting, including an excellent technique for turning your feature descriptions into benefit driven statements.

How to turn your features into benefits

Copyblogger recommends a 4 step process to extract the benefits from your features, to find the underlying desires of your prospects. Using a WordPress blog theme as an example, here’s how you can create your own benefit statements:

  1. List all of your product’s features. Narrowed down to the features that are most likely to hook your prospect:

    • Point-and-click site design controls
    • Mobile responsive layouts
    • One-click automatic theme updates
  2. Examine what each feature does, or why you’ve included it:

    • Easily customizes your site in fewer steps
    • Adjusts to fit any device, hand-held, tablet or PC
    • Keeps your site updated and secure at the click of a button
  3. Take your list of what your features do and ask yourself how they connect with your prospect’s true desires:

    • The ease and ability to change your own website in minutes without the need or expense of a developer
    • No complaints from customers that they can’t find your product or services or see your site’s content correctly on their mobile device
    • No more worrying about hours of redesigning or coding to get your site to look the way it did before platform updates
  4. To get to the bottom of each feature’s true benefit, keep asking the question “What does this mean for your prospect on an emotional level?”:

    • Freedom and flexibility from having to pay a developer every time you want to change something on your website, and full creative control at your fingertips
    • The relief and happiness of knowing that your prospects will always be able to get in touch with you or buy your product or services no matter what device they are using
    • The confidence that your website is secure, looking great, and working for you regardless of how many versions of WordPress come out
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According to Copyblogger’s Kelton Reid

Benefits sell, features support

Features have their place in your copy too, don’t get me wrong.
They play the supporting role to benefits and are most effectively used to justify and support the claims of your benefits.

6. Having your customers write your copy for you

According to Copyhackers founder Joanna Weibe, if you want know what messages to put on your landing page, you can swipe it from your visitors, customers and prospects. The more you reflect what people are thinking, feeling and experiencing when they arrive on your landing page, the greater the likelihood that they will trust you, believe you’ve created the solution to their problems and buy from you.

In this example, a testimonial was used to extract a benefit statement of the solution offered on a landing page and use it in a new headline.

copywriting benefit statement from customer testimonial

An A/B test experiment was run to test a piece of this testimonial against an existing heading, as shown below:

Original headline

copywriting a/b test benefit headline

New headline based on the testimonial

copywriting a/b test testimonial

The result was a conversion improvement of more than double.

To gather this type of information, think of yourself as an editor… and think of your customers as your copywriters. Your customers are writing your copy all over the place, including:

  • In support emails
  • In raving-fan emails
  • In tweets, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, in YouTube comments
  • In online forums
  • In LiveChat transcripts
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Joanna suggests that you:

Go collect their words. Then, put on your editor’s hat and comb through all that copy, weeding out the ho-hum stuff and keeping the best phrases, analogies and descriptions.

Let’s write some great conversion copy!

Alright gunslinger, it’s time to grab your metaphorical pen and paper and head on down to our crash course in conversion centered copywriting.

Remember to follow along with a free Unbounce landing page account

You probably already have a free Unbounce account by now to build your landing pages. If not, you can open a free Unbounce account (60 seconds to sign up – no credit card required). This will let you create landing pages for the examples we use throughout the course.

Watch this awesome video to learn how to craft an effective storyline for your landing page

Note: There is an error in the video where there is a CTA at the bottom of the page. This isn’t supposed to be there, so the only conversion goal is the form at the top of the page. Apologies for any confusion.

Marketing writing is in my blood now. Copy that!

Remember to jump into the comments and tell us what you think.


  • Julia

    This really got me thinking! Especially the bit about fans writing copy for you, so true! We have raving fans all over the place, community forums, FB etc, I’m going trawling tomorrow and going to hook me some free, awesome copy! Thanks very much, some great tips in this piece. (Also the practical tips and examples for turning features into benefits, that’s always difficult when you’re judgement get clouded and “internalized”)

    • http://thelandingpagecourse.com Oli Gardner

      Excellent Julia.
      Yeah, Joanna always has great copywriting advice. A real pro.

  • http://bib.com Beth

    As someone who started out as copywriter and now leads a marketing team, I find these refreshers and best practices very engaging. Also, so true about listening to your customers! Our current tagline is based on a conversation with a client – Know Your Candidate. Select With Confidence. :)

  • Paul

    What software are you using that making all the changes to the landing page?

    Thanks
    Paul

    • http://thelandingpagecourse.com Oli Gardner

      Hi Paul, It’s Unbounce, a landing page builder. You can open a free account with the link above the video.

  • http://offonline.es Miguel

    Hi Oli,

    A very nice course, I´m learning a lot of things and reinforcing some principles that sometimes I “forget” :D

    I would like comment the next thing: You said at the begining of the course that every Landing Page only should have one CTA and one goal… However you´re using two CTAS and you have 2 goals in the Luxury Resort on costa rica Landing Page. Goal 1- Reservation Goal 2- Lead form.

    So… Can we say that sometimes we can use two goals in the same Landing Page to don’t loose the visitors who are not ready to make a Conversion and try to make a micro-conversion (Lead generation).

    I hope I’m explaining clearly, my english sucks :P

    Thank You !!

    • http://thelandingpagecourse.com Oli Gardner

      Hi Miguel,
      You just spotted a bug in my recording, gaaaah :)
      The bottom CTA should have been removed when I turned it into a lead gen page.
      You’ll see in later videos that I have removed it.

      I’ll put a note beside the video for now until I can update it.

      Great catch.

      And to answer your question, no, you shouldn’t have two goals on your page.

      If they are not ready to convert then this is typically one of three problems:

      1. The page doesn’t do a good enough job of convincing them to convert
      2. They are not very well targeted visitors so they have less incentive to convert
      3. They are not in the right mindset at the time they visit

      You can improve your conversion rate by gathering feedback from your visitors so that you understand their motivations (or lack thereof) and implementing this into an A/B test. Something we’ll explore in detail in Part 9 of the course.

      • http://offonline.es Miguel

        Hi Oli!

        Yes I saw something that didn’t match with the first lesson! I´m glad to help to fix this small mistake.
        And this helps to reinforce the main principle of one Landing Page-one Goal. :D

        I´m looking forward to reach the lesson 9!!

        Regards from Spain

  • http://websolute.com.br Wagner Linaldi

    Great Course!!! I’m really excited to start the next steps and then apply the lessons here in Websolute.

  • Chris

    Hey Oli!

    At the end of this course will we be able to download everything as a PDF?

    I need to keep flicking back and forth between the emails to bookmark the pages blah blah. Would be awesome to have a 1 PDF reference guide!

    • oligardner

      Interesting idea. I’ll be honest and say it’s probably not going to happen. Reason being that it’s a very live course with content changes all the time, so managing a PDF would be impractical as it’s designed as a purely online experience.

  • http://umamoscow.com/ Andrey Fedyaev

    Oli, thank you a lot!!!
    But what about mobile responsive layouts in Unbounce?

    • http://thelandingpagecourse.com Oli Gardner

      Hi Andrey,
      We’ll be releasing our first selection of mobile templates in a few weeks.
      They won’t be responsive for the time being, but responsive is queued up on our roadmap so we’ll be getting that out as soon as we can.

  • Holly Cumming

    Just noticed – typo in point 4 – should read “affecting” not effecting. Meticulous? #guilty ;)

    • http://thelandingpagecourse.com Oli Gardner

      Thanks Holly! Fixed.

  • Evgeny

    Hi Oli,

    Thanks for a great course!

    But i have one question:

    I sell on my page through personal contact, so visitors have to contact me by contact form. Question is: Should i change the submit button for something more original and will it improve conversion?

    Thnaks for a reply

  • http://tillabrookcoaching.com Tilla Brook

    2 clients sent me unsolicited testimonials this morning. You’ve just allowed me to see them as landing page copy. Thank you!

  • http://studentloanre.org Johnson Biggs

    Best lesson yet. Full of the most important pieces of successful online marketing: headline, call-to-action, benefit statements.

  • Rob

    Oli,
    Thanks for so much great information. Do I apply all of this Landing Page brilliance when writing for my website? I know each page may not have a CTA, but shouldn’t every page be working to convert? I’m talking specifically about writing for a non-profit.

    Thanks!