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4 Expert Tips for Writing Landing Page Copy That Doesn’t Suck

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Your landing page may be beautiful, but are there brains behind all that brawn? Image source.

Designing a high-converting landing page isn’t just about making it look good.

If you want a long-term relationship with prospects, your page has to have a lil’ brains behind all that brawn – in the form of super persuasive and smart landing page copy.

On a special copywriting edition of Page Fights, judges Oli Gardner and Peep Laja were joined by Copyblogger’s Demian Farnworth to critique landing pages based on their least common denominator: the words on the page. Throughout the episode, they broke down a series of copywriting faux pas.

Here are four things you need to know to create landing pages that go beyond pretty looks – with copy that converts.

1. Don’t assume that prospects know you (or your offer)

Demian explained that you should never assume anything about your visitors:

Start by assuming nothing – that they’re not as sophisticated as you think. Start from step one.

Starting from step one ensures that you’re not leaving out any contextual information that will help make your offer as persuasive as it can be.

Have a look at Jana’s landing page, which opens with a headline that is pretty meaningless to newcomers:

Click for full-length image. Image source.

As Peep explained, if you don’t start by framing the problem and explaining how your solution fits into it, you run the risk of alienating prospects (and even pissing them off).

iBoske’s landing page was guilty of a similar infraction, assuming that visitors will understand what a “decision tree” is and how it can help them:

iBoske-lp-560
Click for full-length image. Image source.

After reading the headline, prospects might ask questions like, “What’s a decision tree? Why share my knowledge? And with whom?” – but as Oli put it:

Your landing page copy shouldn’t add more questions. It should add clarity.

To make sure your landing page is as clear and complete as possible, Demian suggested starting with the problem that prospects have top-of-mind and working backward from there.

If you need to gut check your work after the fact, consider this piece of advice summed up by a Page Fights spectator:

2. Relate to prospects before you try to sell to them

Sometimes, there’s a fine line between establishing authority and being condescending.

Oli thought that the copy on ArtTutor’s landing page had a lot of personality and sass, but wondered if it was a little much. “Don’t be sarcastic in your copy unless that’s a trait that your readers identify with,” he warned.

arttutors-lp-560
Click for full-length image. Image source.

He felt that some of the language on the page was alienating, talking down to prospects instead of relating to them:

Don’t paint me as an amateur. You’re putting a wall up between you and me.

Moderator Tommy Walker from Shopify explained that you should always start by showing prospects that you understand their problem.

Simply demonstrating that you understand will get prospects to like you – but it also helps the credibility of your page. After all, showing that you understand the problem is the first step in showing that you’re the person with the best solution.

3. Skip the superlatives (and be specific)

A few of the landing pages made the mistake of making broad claims that killed credibility. Consider the language on Video Brain’s landing page:

Video-brains-lp-560
Click for full-length image. Image source.

Their use of words like “revolutionizing” made Peep’s eyes glaze over:

Those are not benefits. They’re jargon. You lose credibility if you use generalizing statements and hyperbole.

So how can you be sure to avoid vague, meaningless gobbledygook that sends any ounce of credibility down the drain?

Be specific.

Demian explained that the online marketing space is flooded with vague statements that hurt clarity and ultimately, credibility. For that reason, you have to be clear about the value that you have to offer –  value that you can’t get anywhere else.

Even your testimonials should communicate specific benefits.

Lower on Video Brain’s page are some of the most broad, meaningless testimonials the judges had ever seen…

rev-education-testimonials

What is the concept? What is great? And why would people in the education vertical care about a testimonial from an entrepreneur?

Demian felt that the vagueness suggested that the page authors didn’t understand their target audience and what resonates with them.

4. Make all your copy congruent with your campaign goal

The judges and spectators agreed that Kolegraff VC Network’s landing page was a bit of an eyesore:

Kolegraff-lp-560
Click for full-length image. Image source.

As Oli put it:

It looks like someone built this page in MS paint.

Beyond the bad design, Oli felt there was a larger, overarching issue: The page addresses different audiences (and talks about different offers) interchangeably.

While the top part is about startups, the bottom seems to address investors directly with lines like, “Fund the next great idea.”

Similarly, this landing page by Money Quest Corp lacked consistency:

moneyquestcorp.com-lp-560
Click for full-length image. Image source.

It starts off by talking about compliance and saving money, but concludes with a big, fat CTA that declares, “Get Your Implementation Timeline Now.”

Mistakes like this, Oli explained, basically render the rest of your page useless:

Your CTA should confirm that you’re about to get what the rest of your page is selling.

Every single piece of copy needs to be working together in alignment toward the same, singular goal.

In order words, it’s got to be congruent:

Oli suggested a straightforward exercise to make sure that all the copy on your landing page is aligned with your campaign goal:

  • Write down your campaign objective.
  • Pull all the copy from your page and write that down, too.
  • Ask yourself, “Is each and every piece of copy relevant to the campaign objective?” If the answer is no, either delete or rewrite it.

Before you even think about color schemes…

Before you start thinking about how your page should look, you need to make sure you’ve got your landing page copy down pat. As Oli suggested, start with the words, stripped down:

Write what you need to write and then create a design that helps to present that visually.

So take a step back.

Look at your copy in isolation with the campaign congruence exercise above. Is it persuasive? Credible? Will it appeal to your target audience?

And once you think you’ve got it all figured out, put your page to the ultimate test by submitting it for scrutiny on the next episode of Page Fights.

— Amanda Durepos


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About Amanda Durepos
Amanda Durepos is Unbounce’s Blog Editor and an aspiring dog owner. Former gallery director and freelance blogger, she has a love for curating great content. Find her on Twitter: @amandadurepos
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Comments:

  1. InternetLocalListings

    Such wonderful tips. That testimonial example was the best. I had a chuckle at that ;)

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  2. Sarah Bartlett

    Wish the blogosphere threw up more posts like this one – genuinely useful and informative. All hope restored!

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  3. Jim

    Great job taking the most salient learning points from the webinar and breaking them down for us!

    I may have missed a few of the tips in the webinar, so it’s great to have such a great summary… even if it is without all the pain and suffering Oli and Peep cause to people as they watch the pages they created being ripped apart. I’m sure they’ve made more than a few marketers cry.

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    • Amanda Durepos

      Hey Jim, thanks for watching and reading!
      Yea, they’re tough but they mean well ;)

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  4. Angus Lynch

    Great post! Point #1 rings especially true for me (us).

    We get so easily entrenched in the lingo and knowledge of our own products that sometimes it’s hard to relate to the mindset of someone who has never heard of it before.

    So further to the Tweet from Emese, I would say ask random strangers to review your copy ESPECIALLY if they don’t work for your company–any kind of association with your industry/products spoils the reliability of the feedback.

    Thanks for another great post Amanda!

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    • Amanda Durepos

      Thanks Angus! :)

      Totally agree, I think it’s hard to remember what it’s like to *not know* about your niche or product. Sites like http://www.usertesting.com/ could also be helpful in gathering unbiased feedback.

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  5. Anand

    This is an eye opener. Quite often people assume that they’ve nailed it, when they may actually have succeeded in confusing the user.

    It’s a nice post, points us in the direction to look for the mistakes and correct them.

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  6. Len Motuzas

    Thanks Amanda for your tips. We have been writing our copy for our new website this week and your points have helped us to clarify our offerings. You made this an easy read with excellent examples.

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  7. Brian

    This is why I read your stuff and watch the videos (Page Fights). Very good stuff!!!

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    • Amanda Durepos

      So glad you like it Brian! Hope you’ve been watching live :) The Twitter feed is usually equally as fun.

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  8. Marlena

    Excellent article, loved the bit about writing content…then building the design that visually represents it, thanks Amanda.

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    • Amanda Durepos

      That was my favorite quote from the show as well :)

      Thanks Marlena!

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  9. Stephan K

    Great post Amanda, congruence is so overlooked on landing pages and I think its not a conscious decision a lot of the time. Just a general response to messy, badly laid out copy.

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    • Amanda Durepos

      Totally agree with you Stephan. I’d bet it’s also sometimes the result of A/B tests and revisions that stray from the goal.

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  10. Datson

    Good examples!

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  11. Amit Jain

    Great tips Amanda Durepos .
    Some of them are very new for me i will use those in my website and hopping for positive result.

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  12. nidhish

    Thanks for such valuable information Amanda.You really cleared my doubts about landing pages, hell i just realized what i did wrong on my page .

    thank you very much .

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  13. Nikhil Gupta

    great one i like it very lovely post

    good written

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  14. Andy Kuiper

    Clearly, one needs to ‘put some thought’ into content before creation… thank’s for the excellent tips Amanda :-)

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  15. Edward

    I would add one more key point: break up large chunks of text and ensure that “scrollers” will still be able to easily understand your value proposition. Do this by ensuring you have subheaders that summarize key pints throughout the landing page, and not just clustered into one bulleted area.

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  16. Paul F.

    Hi,

    Thanks for the post. We recently redid our site and have gone all over the place in terms of landing page copy. We ended up going with a very succinct message describing what we do. Do you think that is a good approach in terms of SEO and conversions?

    I would love some professional feedback. Our site is https://thebhwgroup.com

    Thanks!

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  17. Bhaben

    Came across this article and liked it as it was nicely written. However i feel we should also look to reduce the pain our visitors suffer when filling up lengthy registration/sign-up forms. We can always use social login on our landing page along with traditional option.

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  18. Netta

    I liked the point made about testimonials as well. Some people know that trust is necessary, so they’ll add the trust effects, but not understanding why they produce trust is such an issue and can definitely backlash – or just not work as planned! The note about not using sarcasm or jargon in your copy resonated with me as well. It’s important to remind yourself that you’re writing to your target audience, not your friends or company. This was a great idea, a great concept, and a great follow-through. I’d love to hear about the next webinar on this.
    There’s a fun post about some landing pages do’s and don’ts you may enjoy on Conversioner.com as well: https://www.conversioner.com/blog/10-landing-page-examples-to-increase-sales

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  19. landing page copy

    Thanks Amanda for sharing these very useful tips with us, I was exactly looking for this. Now I got it very well!!!

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Comments