How to write landing page copy that converts

A few simple tips on what and how to write for a landing page to increase conversions
We teamed up with Useful, a digital agency, to present a step-by-step guide to writing powerful copy for the landing page. You don't need to be a professional copywriter to showcase your product, describe what's so unique about it and convince your site visitors to take the action you want them to take. As an example, we'll use a landing page template with text copy about an English-language school.
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Marina Kasperovich
Copywriter, co-founder of Useful, a digital agency
step 1

Header

The first screen is the most important element of a landing page. This is why the header, subhead and button should work together to create that good first impression.
The job of a header is to hook the reader and announce the problem you are going to solve for your customer on this particular page. Not everyone who reads your header will continue scrolling the page. So it's worth putting in a lot of effort into creating a good one. Save writing it until you've finished the rest of your landing page copy.
A good header does four things:
1
It meets the users' expectations (for example, if they followed an online ad that's already promised them something). This will reduce outflow.
2
It intrigues. Make it interesting and visitors will spend more time on your page.
3
It clearly states what site visitor should be doing on the page. This is how you filter out those who don't have time or money for your product or service.
4
It helps with SEO. Include a key phrase in the H1 tag.

Try it: create a headline using one of the formulas

1
[Quality of a product] [SEO phrase], designed to [benefit for the user].
Example:"A convenient day planner designed to help you hit your daily targets."
2
[Do what you love] without [negative emotions] / [surprising action]
Example: "Do what you've always dreamed of without sacrificing your career."
3
[Product name] is a [product category] that [function it performs better than anyone or anything else]. (They love this formula at TechCrunch).
Example: "Ter is a cute fitness tracker that works like a Tamagotchi."
4
[Reduce pain / fix an issue] [in an unexpected way].
For example: "Spend less when you shop."
step 2

Subhead

Do not leave the header hanging. Support its value proposition by adding a subhead: explain what was left unsaid and compel your site visitor to keep on scrolling. A subhead adds specifics to the offer.
Often people write the strongest statements in the subhead while reserving those strange and catchy word combos for the header. Many think the header should be, well, creative. This type of game play, however, leads to a vague product or service description, the meaning of which eludes even the writer herself.

It helps to change copy around: remove a confusing slogan, hero your header and add a new, more detailed subhead.
step 3

Unique selling proposition

A value proposition is an encompassing and concrete phrase which reveals what's so unique and attractive about your product or service. It is there to help your reader compare their problem against your solution.
  • Use simple words – the ones even an 11-year-old would understand;
  • Omit minor details;
  • Choose words that people will associate with your product. So, if you have a flower delivery business, write just that on your site. Not only this clarifies your proposition, it is good for SEO;
  • Say who your product is for. (Here's an example: X is ideal for startups/travellers/newlyweds).
step 4

Benefits and features

Now that you've convinced your client that you are aware of their issues, tell them why your solution will work. Here you could describe why it will work and tell them about its key benefits and special features.
Do not mix up benefits and features. Compare the two:
1
Value your client receives from using this product (This is a benefit)
2
Element of your business/product that helps your client receive this value (This is a feature)
It is generally believed that it is better to tell the client about a product's benefits ("This product makes life easier for busy people") and not functional features (for example, server capacity). However, it also happens that a functional feature speaks for itself and is a benefit in itself (for example, a one-off teaching programme). There are no rules as such, just try to separate what's really important from the rest.
step 5

Showcase your product with a hero image

What does the key screen of your app look like? What does a person using your product look like? How does the service work in real life? Photos don't always need a caption. But if you decide to write some text copy, include one or two special product/service features.
Step 6

Section headers

Section headers are there to attract attention, compel the reader to keep scrolling and read the contents underneath them. Such headers aid navigation and divide the page into sections.
Three ingredients of a good section header:
1
Brevity
2
Clarity
3
Focus on just one feature at a time
Three most common mistakes:
1
"This reads like an aggressive sales manager's writing" (takes away trust)
2
Too playful or elaborate (you'll confuse your reader)
3
Too bureaucratic, with too many cliches. For example, "Quality characteristics of our unique approach." Here, instead of moving people, you'll risk boring them to death.
step 7

Step-by-step guide

It's worth splitting even the most simple product or service into 3-4 easy steps. Many mistakenly think that a smart user will be irritated by detailed descriptions. It's not true. The reader never has enough time to delve into details. And they'll be grateful if you provide a quick, step-by-step explanation as to what they're supposed to do.
Top tip: When you are writing copy for a landing page, use the imperative and be as clear as possible. For example, do not say "Just enjoy the result", but do say, "Take a taster class."
step 8

Buttons

We can't talk about landing page conversions if the page does not have a single button. Research compares website buttons to closed doors in an unfamiliar building. So it's especially important to create buttons that people will want to click. (Because they do not want a form asking for their credit card information popping up unexpectedly or a sales guy video calling them without asking for permission first). Here's a few simple rules to writing copy for buttons.
  • Start with a simple imperative verb (Book now) or a simple verb in the present tense (How it works);
  • Use personal pronouns to sound like a human, not a robot;
  • Avoid broad statements (Begin your happy life here);
  • Appeal to the wants and needs of your potential customer;
  • Calculate steps: think about the page you are drawing visitors to and its header;
  • Try different word combinations for single-action buttons (see below).
step 9
Facts
People like facts. When you're scanning a webpage, your brain involuntarily captures and saves the numbers it encounters. In the second half of the landing page, add an information section with two or three numbers rendered in large-sized numerals. When composing text copy, use any figures that will help people form an impression about your product, specialist or company. This will attract their attention and help your site earn their trust.
step 10
Social proof
Your clients know about your strengths and weaknesses better than anyone, and this is why potential clients believe reviews. Spend a few hours collecting honest feedback. You could even write down a couple of lines yourself and send them to the client for approval.

The biggest danger here is a review sounding fake. To avoid this, ask your client to share their personal experience in detail, noting not just the upsides but also the downsides of a product.
step 11
Last screen
Your page will not be complete without a strong call to action and a tool that will help your site visitor make the first step to a desired result. It can be a standalone button or a contact form.
  • Write more than one call-to-action for the last screen of your landing page. Test all options and choose the one that converts.
  • Remember that any call to action should be a clearly articulated benefit a site visitor will receive in exchange for clicking the button. So it's the well chosen words rather than punctuation marks (such as an exclamation mark) that will trigger an emotional response and a desired action from your site visitor.
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