Creating landing page copy that converts is arguably one of the hardest things to do, both as a copywriter and conversion optimizer.
Copy is the primary vehicle for helping the reader take the desired action (YOUR desired action) on the landing page.
It’s an extension of you or your sales person and it’s the reason why we’re able to help an auto recycler generate 497 new leads in just four months.
One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to write landing page copy that converts is because we’re not sure what the stage of awareness the reader (prospect) is in when they come to your page.
Whereas if we were speaking to them in person, we’d be able to change our pitch (copy) on the fly to match the state of awareness they’re in.
“Oh, you haven’t heard of our landing page creation services? Let me tell you all about it…”
But we can’t.
And like many of us who use our websites to drive sign-ups, leads and sales, we’re left to make informed guesses as to what state of mind the reader is in when arriving on your landing page.
Let’s briefly talk about these stages of awareness which is also known as the buyer’s journey.
The Five States of Awareness of Your Prospect
When you begin to write your landing page copy, you need to do your best to make informed guesses as to what state of awareness your prospect is in when they come to your page.
Chris Lema illustrates this perfectly:
The first stage of awareness is that they’re unaware.
Unaware that you exist.
Unaware that they have a problem that needs solving.
Unaware that your solution exists and unaware that your product or service will solve the pain that they have.
Problem and/or Pain Aware
They’re aware that they have a problem but have not yet begun to seek solutions to it.
For example, they’re living paycheck to paycheck because they’re unable to manage their money wisely.
Your prospect has realized they have a pain that needs solving and have begun seeking solutions for it.
This is usually done by searching Google or asking a friend for recommendations.
And now that they know solutions exist for their terrible money-managing habits, they’re moving onto the next stage.
Whether it was Google or their friend that informed them of your existence, they’ve now discovered your product exists and CAN solve the pain they are experiencing.
In our example, perhaps you have budgeting software that can help them manage their money more wisely so they aren’t living paycheck to paycheck.
This is it! They are so close to doing business with you.
In the most aware stage of your prospect, they know they have a problem that needs solving, they know that solutions exist for this problem, have now heard of your solution to solve their problem, and they are considering buying your solution.
Key takeaway: the job of you copy is to move the prospect from one stage to the next and eventually get them to become most aware of your product or service.
How to Make Informed Guesses to the State of Your Prospect
Now that we’ve covered the five stages of awareness your prospect will be in when arriving at your page, we need to make informed guesses about the stage they’re in.
How do we do this?
We do this by looking at the source that brought them to the page.
For example, they land on your page after searching your brand name. What stage of awareness will they be in? Product aware? Solution aware?
Or what if they click a link in your email to read a blog post about family budgeting (and you sell budgeting software), what stage of awareness will they be in?
This is the kind of research that needs to be done to make informed guesses about the reader’s state of awareness.
The best way to do this is to use an A/B testing tool like Optimizely that allows you to send visitors based on the referral source to a specific page variation you’ve created.
For example, you can send all of the traffic that comes from an affiliate guest post to a variation that speaks directly to that audience.
Otherwise, login to your Google Analytics account and click on Behavior > Site Content > All Pages.
Then choose the secondary dimension of Source / Medium and see where the majority of your traffic is coming from to your landing page.
Here’s a peek at the top traffic referral sources for my free email course over the last 5 days:
This information is crucial because it is the foundation for which you will build your copy on. You can’t write copy to try and cover all the states of awareness.
It would be a mess.
And you would confuse the hell out of your reader.
Now that you have the stage of awareness determined, it’s time to sprinkle in some more conversion juju to remove any objections the reader might have with purchasing your product.
Because remember, in the most aware stage they are considering purchasing your product or solution.
They might not be ready to buy.
Could be pricing that doesn’t align with their budget.
Could be missing information about your product (ex: how many modules are included in the course? What kind of guarantee do you have?)
The Killer Headline for Landing Page Copy That Converts
That’s right, you need a killer headline.
In today’s “scan over everything we read” world, it’s more important than ever to lead with a headline that stops people in their tracks.
Now, remember, this headline should be in alignment with the reader’s state of awareness.
Let’s take a look at a good example of a killer headline.
Here’s a landing page from a jazz guitar instructor out of Canada who offers a free essential guide to learning jazz guitar.
The stage of awareness this reader is in is either problem aware or solution aware. They want to learn jazz guitar and are searching for solutions.
Here’s the headline for this landing page, written by yours truly:
Make More Progress In 2 Weeks Than In the Previous 6 Months, Knowing Precisely What to Practice At All Times – Even as a Beginner, or a “Slow Learner”
Pretty long for a headline right? But that’s okay.
There’s no hard, fast rule that a headline needs to be short. Take the time to be specific and benefit-driven.
Killer headlines and subheadlines can take weeks, even months, to formulate.
Because without a killer headline, the rest of your copy won’t matter anyway.
Need some inspiration to help you create a killer headline? Download some of the best headline hacks from legendary copywriter John Morrow:
[bonus]Exclusive Bonus: [link]Download 52 headline hacks[/link] to get more clicks and downloads[/bonus]
Highlight Your Benefits
Expanding on the benefit-driven headline, you should always lead with benefits and not features.
Your budgeting software integrates with their online banking system.
So what? What’s the benefit of that?
Lay it out for your customer.
Like this, from You Need A Budget (YNAB):
Easily connect all your bank accounts in one place. It’ll be super easy to keep things up-to-date and stick with budgeting like never before.
Now the reader understands why it’s beneficial that your budgeting software connects to their bank.
No more manual entries!
Who can resist buying a product or service when we see how well it’s worked for other people.
Arguably, there is no copy more powerful than the one a customer writes.
High-converting landing pages place customer testimonials at the front and center of the page, with a picture of the happy customers alongside the quote.
Make sure you’re adding testimonials to your page.
Like this one from the YNAB success stories page:
YNAB has made life so much easier. Without it would be stressed, and spending money on things we didn’t really need or care about, without even realizing it. Now we have money set aside for unexpected medical expenses, job loss, car repairs and vacation—we don’t have to worry—plus we are intentional about spending money on things we’ve deemed important, which is so much more satisfying.
Don’t have any customer yet?
Try offering your product or service for free in exchange for a testimonial.
Use Video to Further Explain Your Product or Service
What, you’re not using video?
This is 2017, people!
Video is a fantastic way to quickly communicate visual information that people need further assess whether or not they want to buy what you’re selling.
Dropbox recently released Paper, a new collaborative document writing software. On their product page, they do an excellent job of explaining paper – in just 1 minute 35 seconds.
Try creating your own short, 2-minute or less video.
It’s is not a huge drain on resources or time, and can be easily done using the most basic of smartphones and software.
Not a fan of getting in front of the camera?
Compare Yourself to the Competition
This one isn’t very common, yet I recommend it because I’ve seen the benefits of comparing yourself to the competition.
Look, you and I aren’t the ONLY solution out there that exists for our prospect – as much as we’d like to think we are.
Take the proverbial bull by the horns and showcase why your solution is better than the others out there.
And don’t be afraid to admit where you might come up short.
Being honest and forthright with your product or service will go a long way in creating trust with your potential customer.
And if you do fall short in some areas, so be it. This means you can add it to your product roadmap if it’s a feature that a lot of customers are asking for.
Nusii, online proposal software that lets you create beautiful proposals quickly, does this quite well.
And it was this very tactic that they used to get me as a new customer a couple of months ago.
Check out what’s at the bottom of every page on their website:
They let you compare their product to the competition.
Quite brave, don’t you think?
At the time, I was also considering Proposify to create my proposals. Here’s what Nusii had to say about Proposify:
Proposify tries to recreate the flexibility of Indesign. But if you’ve ever used Adobe’s layout software then you’ll know it can be overwhelming. The more choices and options, the bigger the learning curve and the more time you’ll spend writing and designing your proposals.
It was refreshing to see a company that was willing to do a “compare and contrast” with their competition.
You should try this too.
As in right now.
Put Skin in the Game
One of the most common mistakes people make when creating landing pages is putting the onus on the reader to take action.
Sign up today!
What about you, the owner of the product or service? What will you do for me if I sign up or buy now?
Putting skin in the game is as easy as putting a guarantee on the page.
Yep, that’s it.
We see guarantees all the time on sales pages: If you’re not completely satisfied, we’ll refund your money in 30 days.
Sure, that works. But it’s also overused and commonplace.
Why not try a different angle by making a specific promise to them?
As an example:
I’m 99% certain you’re going to love this product, and that’s one reason why my current return rate is so low. I want to make sure that you’re 100% happy with me, the product and your purchasing experience which is why I always offer a full, no fuss money back guarantee if it turns out it’s not for you for whatever reason.
If you do not see an increase in conversions by applying our training… or if you do not see an increase in customers by applying our training… or if you do not see an increase in revenue by applying our training, send us your work within 60 days and we’ll issue a full refund.
Having a well-written guarantee removes the perceived risk of buying your product or service and, again, gets the prospect closer to doing business with you.
Which is why you’re here doing business online in the first place isn’t it?
It’s more competitive than ever today to run a successful business online. And knowing how to properly structure your offer will help you stand out from the competition and sustain your business.
Take the framework I’ve provided here and apply it to your next landing page to create landing page copy that converts like mad.
Then leave a comment below along with a link to your page to share with the community.
We’d love to see it and provide you with helpful feedback!
And if you’d like us to create a high-converting landing page for you, get a free proposal by filling out our project questionnaire.