Cut the Crap: 6 Landing Page Conversion Killers and How to Avoid Them

By , October 23rd, 2013 in Landing Pages | 13 comments
Cut the Crap- 6 Landing Page Conversion Killers and How to Avoid Them

Take the crap. And cut it in half. Simple. (image source)

You’ve worked hard to create your landing page. Damn hard. The page is looking slick. You polished your copy. You have one primary call-to-action. You’ve hit publish with a sigh of relief. You’re proud of yourself. You just have to wait now to see your conversions go up.

But when you check your analytics, you notice you’re not getting the conversions you expected. Web visitors are still bouncing off your web page. It’s disappointing. Frustrating. Depressing.

Could it perhaps be that marketing prattle has crept onto your landing pages? It happens quite easily. Much easier than you’d think – even if you’re an honest straight-talker.

Let’s have a look at 6 types of landing page conversion killers. Avoid these mistakes, and your chances of creating a high-converting page will dramatically increase.

1. Are You Wishy-Washy?

It’s easy to write in generalities.

But it makes your readers think yeah, yeah. Nobody believes you when you suggest your app is the most popular or your service is the fastest. People want to read facts and specific numbers.

Writing about hundreds of people using your service reeks of marketing speak and sleaziness. It makes people think, yeah, yeah, they might just have hit one hundred users.

The more specific your copy, the higher your credibility. In his book Tested Advertising Methods, John Caples tells how a mill initially advertised their quality standard was 52.7% higher than the standard required. When they decided to round the figure down to 50%, demand fell to a fraction of what it was before – just because 50% sounds generic and less credible than 52.7%.

Each sentence you write should have a meaning that’s concrete and specific. And the same is true for your call-to-action. For example, Streamline Metrics increased conversions by 36.3% when they changed a call-to-action from the rather vague Submit to the more specific Get quote now.

Cut the crap. Use facts and specific details to increase sales copy credibility
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2. Are You Too Clever?

Do you like to impress with your vocabulary? Do you like to show how clever you are?

Web visitors don’t come to your landing page to appreciate your witticisms. They don’t want to be impressed by your smart-assery.

Writing in plain English helps your readers understand quickly what you mean, while clever word play slows them down. Jargon is fine, but only if your audience understands it.

Marketing Experiments explains how changing a headline from the rather clever Your first Step to a Wealth of Information to Help You Work Smarter to Get the Free Report: Establishing Confidence in PDN Simulation helped to increase conversions by 258%.

increase conversions by 258 - 560
Click for full-size image

Speak the language of your audience. Use the same phrases they use
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3. Are You Using Meaningless Graphics?

A picture is worth a thousand words, isn’t it?

Not always.

Boring stock photography and incomprehensible icons may hurt your conversion rates.

Reducing the size of meaningless icons helped one company increased conversions by 108%.

Scrap irrelevant illustrations – they can hurt your conversions
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4. Are You A Hype-Machine?

When you speak to clients on the phone, you’re honest, helpful, and frank. No marketing drivel. No sleaziness. Just genuine advice.

But when you write copy for your landing page, somehow a dash of sleaziness creeps in. A statement gets a little exaggerated. An exclamation mark sneaks in.

Beware exclamation marks—they’re a sure sign of a sleazy salesman or lazy copywriter.

CityCliq found that a straightforward ‘Create A Webpage For Your Business‘ performs better than the hype-y ‘Get Found Faster! And Businesses Grow Faster Online!

When you’ve written your copy, read it out aloud. Does it sound sincere or sound like a sleazy salesman?

Tone down exaggerated phrases. Write honest, simple sales copy
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5. Are You Irrelevant?

You’ve started writing at the top of your landing page. You write your headline first, maybe a subheading, then a few bullet points and so on.

What’s wrong with that?

You make it quite hard to keep your page on track. It becomes easy to veer off into oh-so-interesting-but-irrelevant nuggets of information, that don’t help you convert web visitors.

To write a successful landing page, start with your end goal and then work backwards.

  1. Decide on your end goal and write your button text.
  2. Consider your buyer persona and define the promises that appeal to them.
  3. Think about the main objections your buyer persona has to buying from you.
  4. Write your landing page copy by clearly stating the benefits to your reader and overcoming their objections.

When Saxo bank made their PPC landing page more relevant and focused on their value proposition, conversion increased by 48.4%.

Irrelevant prattle kills conversions. Keep your copy focused on the value you offer clients
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6. Do You Rely Too Much On The Power of Free?

Everyone likes free. We know the power of free is irrationally strong.

When Amazon France promoted shipping for 1 Franc (nearly nothing) if you purchased a second book, sales didn’t jump. But sales did jump when shipping became free.

As marketers and business owners we get side-tracked by the power of free, and we sometimes forget that nobody signs up to a trial or a newsletter just because it is free.

Free information isn’t really free, because everything takes up people’s time. And everyone’s time is precious.

Michael Aagaard promotes his free ebook as if you have to pay for it, listing what you’ll learn from the book and including testimonials to increase credibility. These testimonials are so important that moving them increased conversions by 64.5%.

Content Verve Ebook Landing Page 560
Click for full-size image

Don’t assume that free is a sufficient incentive to sign up. Always explain why customers should sign up and how you make their life better – even if your newsletter is free.

To increase conversions, promise your readers how you make their life better
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The Truth about Writing High-Converting Landing Page Copy

Good copy seduces your readers to sign up. And the key skill of a great seducer? Know how to listen.

Listen and learn what words and phrases your readers use. Know what they’re dreaming of. Understand what they’re struggling with so you can help and guide, and overcome their objections.

The only way to write high-converting copy is to know exactly what makes your readers tick. Translate features into benefits, and into problems you help to overcome.

Sneak into the mind of your reader. Understand how to sell to him. Because that’s the only way to write copy that sells.

Your turn

Now I want to hear from you:

– Henneke Duistermaat


About The Author

Photo of Henneke Duistermaat

Henneke Duistermaat is an irreverent copywriter and marketer. She’s on a mission to stamp out gobbledygook and add sparkle to boring business blogs. Get her 16-part snackable writing course for busy people and learn how to create persuasive content.
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Comments

  1. Duran Drake says:

    Hi Henneke,
    Well Posted Totally Agree on the simplicity towards the language but I think using infographics can even be more helpful to break the barrier of Multilingual thing even helpful to non English spokesperson looking towards the overall audience Infographics is much advisable.

  2. Hi Hennecke,

    thanks for the great read, even or rather because you stroke some nerves. I’m guilty of more than one mistake you advise to avoid.

    I will definitely get back to this very concise article. I specially liked your statement on exclamation marks! “Beware exclamation marks—they’re a sure sign of a sleazy salesman or lazy copywriter.” That was my Tweetable an it’s tweeted.

    I’ve saved the quote on Diigo for further use if you permit. Will have a look on your blog and I’m afraid will subscribe to whatever I’ll find there.

    • Henneke says:

      Ah, you’ve already spotted my love for conciseness. Thank you for tweeting, Martin.

      Looking forward to seeing you at Enchanting Marketing :)

  3. Thanks Henneke for yet another awesome post!

  4. Oyun says:

    thank you i used it for my mermi sektirme it is really wonderfull. Actually its changed my life.

  5. Mike Kawula says:

    Nice! Loved: To increase conversions, promise your readers how you make their life better

    #2 is real important. Read recently copy should be written for a 5th grader, so everyone understands.

  6. Dare says:

    Dear Henneke,
    I Read the post it good, it make me now knows some good steps in landing a page. it good Keep it up.

  7. Laurent says:

    Hello Henneke,
    do you think a 1mn video animation is a good point ?
    Have a look at http://www.yeslinkwith.me and give me some feedback ;)
    Best regards
    Laurent

  8. Mike says:

    Great article. Thanks for sharing specific examples with their conversion rates. It’s fitting that your first point was about providing specifics. In my opinion, providing this kind of proof is what separates good copy and bad copy.

    • Henneke says:

      You’re welcome, Mike.

      You’re right. Specific proof and specific details turn bad copy into good copy (or maybe even great copy!).