3 Professional Copywriters on What It Takes to Write Landing Page Copy that Converts

Choosing the wrong words for your landing page can bring your relationship with prospects to a bitter end. Image via Flickr.

Editor’s note: To celebrate the launch of The Conversion Marketer’s Guide to Landing Page Copywriting, it’s Copywriting Week on the blog! Stay tuned for more copywriting-themed posts that will help make you a better writer and a smarter marketer.

Your landing page is the first impression your company makes on prospective customers. Because of this, your landing page copy is essential to the success of your business.

Every day you stick with suboptimal landing page copy, you lose potential customers – but how do you know whether the words you’ve chosen are driving conversions or pushing people away?

By learning tips and tricks from marketers who practice copywriting for conversion for a living.

We interviewed three professional copywriters who gave us six pieces of advice to help you improve your landing page copy to drive more conversions and sales – let’s take a look at their most powerful tactics.

1. Get readers to take a *single* action

What’s the goal of landing page copy?

If you automatically thought conversion, you’re on the right track. However, our experts took it a step further.

Joanna Wiebe, Conversion Copywriter at Copy Hackers, explained that your landing page copy has one (very simple) goal:

To make it super-desirable to complete the form or take whatever single action the page is intended for.

Barry Feldman, Marketing Consultant, Copywriter and Owner of Feldman Creative, echoed that thought, stating every paragraph should drive the reader towards “the place where the mouse or finger is supposed to go.”

Whether it’s downloading an ebook, signing up for an email list, setting up a consultation, or clicking through to view available products, make sure you know your landing page’s call to action in-and-out – and then make sure that every single copywriting element is in alignment with that goal.

2. If you have more than one buyer persona, create (and test) multiple landing pages

Andy Zenkevich, Co-founder and Head of Product at Get A Copywriter

Andy Zenkevich, Co-founder and Head of Product at Get A Copywriter, describes a buyer persona as “a profile of the client’s best customer.”

Ask yourself, who is the ideal person to use your product or service?

Once you know which (single) buyer persona you’re targeting, it’s much easier to write your entire landing page to compel that person to take action.

But what happens if you have several buyer personas and you’re not sure which might drive the most conversions? Here’s what Zenkevich recommends:

If there are several personas for your product or service, create a distinct, separate landing page for each of them, and target separate keywords.

Zenkevich notes that having distinct landing pages for different AdWords campaigns allows you to “target different personas with relevant copy,” but it also allows you to A/B test your landing pages to see which one performs the best – so you can learn who your true buyer persona really is.

3. Learn (and steal) your target customer’s trigger words

Anyone who’s worked in marketing has heard of the “trigger word” phenomenon: the idea that certain words can propel people to buy, and other words can put wallets back into pockets.

Who decides what the trigger words are? It’s not your copywriter, and it’s not your marketing director. Surprise: it’s your target customer. Joanna explained:

Joanna Wiebe, Conversion Copywriter at Copy Hackers

It all depends on your audience. That’s why you shouldn’t defer to your own mind or the mind of a copywriter to find the best words for your audience.

Rather, go listen to your market — especially during the times when they’re:

  • In the midst of trying to do the job your solution will do for them or;
  • Reflecting on a time when they struggled to do that job.

And swipe the words they use.

Once you’ve done that, be sure to run A/B tests to validate your assumptions. Will your audience respond best to “We’ll never spam you” or “Your email is safe with us” phrasing?

Even our experts can’t tell you that – sorry, but you’ve got to test for yourself.

4. For button copy, use action verbs followed by value words

The job of your CTA button copy is to get prospects to click – but how can you be sure that the copy you choose motivates prospects to convert?

Barry Feldman
Barry Feldman, Copywriter and Owner of Feldman Creative. Photo credit: Diana Miller Photography

Feldman recommends starting with an actionable word such as “get,” “learn,” “discover” or “enjoy.” And once you’ve set yourself up to speak to the value of the offer, he recommends following up your action-packed verbs with “the value the clicker shall receive.”

Button copy like “click here” or “download now” doesn’t communicate what you stand to gain by clicking. “Enjoy a free week—on us!” on the other hand, does.

The CTA copy on Barry Feldman’s own site shows that he practices what he preaches:

The CTA on Barry Feldman’s page follows the action+value CTA structure. “Get” (action) “the planner” (value).

5. Write only the words you need

Don’t get carried away talking about why your offer is so great.

“You need as many words as it takes to persuade the prospect, and not a word more,” Wiebe advised.

“If the conversion aims to trade an email address (and possibly some personal data) for content, you should be able to communicate the value of the soon-to-be-delivered content fast and effectively,” Feldman noted. “Be careful not to tax your reader in any way.”

Our experts were hesitant to give a specific ideal word count, noting that word count and paragraph length largely depends on the preferences of target customer – and where they are in the buying cycle.

As Wiebe explained, “The more your visitors know about their pains and your solution, the less you need to say about that, and the more you may need to say about your offer and why they must take it (e.g. social proof, urgency, scarcity).”

6. Test your landing pages strategically

If your landing page isn’t converting as expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your landing page copy is bad. Sometimes, there are technical issues that aren’t immediately apparent.

Before you start rewriting your copy, Zenkevich explained that you should start by testing more technical details:

  • Do a few simple tests to make sure your page loads quickly and accurately on different browsers and across different devices.
  • Also be aware of more complex server-related issues. Though your page loads fine in the US, Zenkevich explained, there could be page speed issues in other areas of the world (depending on server neighborhood).

To keep on top of page performance issues, Zenkevich recommends uptime and performance monitoring tools such as UptimeRobot or Pingdom.

Now that you’ve eliminated technical problems, you can start thinking about A/B testing your copy – but be prepared to take a very deliberate approach. Your tests should always begin with a hypothesis that is informed by data.

As Wiebe explained, data-based approaches to A/B testing “increase your chances of understanding the results and using what you learn to grow your business, not just to run experiments.”

Summing it up in three simple points

Every piece of copy on your landing page should drive your prospect forward through the conversion path, closer to your goal.

Joanna Wiebe sums up all of the advice into three simple points:

Cut everything that doesn’t support the page goal.

Talk about the prospect, not about yourself.

And test, target or both.

Simple enough?

Over to you – what are your go-to copywriting tips and tricks? Please share them in the comments!

— Nicole Dieker


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About Nicole Dieker
Nicole Dieker is a freelance writer and copywriter. She writes the "How A Freelance Writer Makes A Living" column for The Billfold, and her work has also appeared in The Toast, Yearbook Office, Boing Boing, The Penny Hoarder, and The Freelancer by Contently. Follow her on Twitter @HelloTheFuture.
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