No-Fail Landing Page Copywriting: 5 Recipes
Landing page content is not your average copywriting – it can make or break your conversions. To nudge prospects to take the next step on their buyers’ journey, you need precise, targeted, and engaging copy.
We’ve put together some resources and tips on how to write action-oriented landing page copy that speaks to your prospects and gives them what they need to convert.
Answer These 6 Questions First
Before you dip your quill in ink, make sure you know the answers to these 6 questions:
- Who is your brand & what you’re offering
- Why that matters to the visitor
- What is your goal
- Who is your competition
- Who is your audience
- How did they get to the page
Now, these should all be obvious, yet revisiting them will bring laser-focus to your copywriting.
For example, take a moment to think about what is your unique selling proposition for this particular landing page and the audience you’ll be showing it to. Why should prospects choose you over your competitors – is it the speed of your service or a unique approach to a common problem, for instance?
It also helps to consider how visitors discovered your landing page. If you’ve sent them via pay-per-click campaigns on Google Search, for example, what was the ad copy they saw? What do they already know about your brand or product?
Thinking about what you’ve already shown and offered your prospects before they even land on the page can help eliminate friction and make their buyer journey smoother.
Here Are the Landing Page Copywriting Ingredients
We’re not going to dive into all the landing page elements – from hero image to features, reviews, and client testimonials. Instead, we’ll focus on the aspects you can strongly influence with the copy itself.
How can great copywriting help your landing page convert better? Here’s how (and where) to apply your copywriting skills.
A Showstopper Headline to Cut Through the Noise
The headline of your landing page will compel the visitor to look, stay and see what you’re offering – or will fail to achieve that.
The landing page headline serves as a “hook” – it should speak to the visitor and intrigue them enough to explore further. Plus, it needs to be very short, 10 words or less.
The headline has to deliver in 3 ways:
- Provoke interest
- Attract attention
- Present the primary offer and help the visitor begin to understand it
Sometimes great headlines can do one or two of these at the same time. Even if you accomplish only one of these goals with the headline but do it well, that’s a win.
Here are some great examples of landing page headlines that really work. Take your pick to draw inspiration.
The headline of Tick’s homepage does a great job of speaking not of the product itself, how it integrates with other project management software, or its features. Instead, it directly addresses a pain point for the audience.
If you don’t have the data about what projects take most of your team’s time, you can’t see the full picture of your project portfolio’s risks and opportunities. Are some low-tier projects getting too much attention? What if some high-revenue projects are not getting all the resources they need?
Typeform’s headline elicits a positive emotional response from the user. Instead of focusing on function, features, or use cases, it aims to connect with the visitor on an emotional level.
Similarly, Glassdoor’s page speaks to the user and their core values, not just their pain points.
Users would most likely land on the platform while searching for a job to get an idea of salary ranges and employee reviews. Instead of showcasing the benefit of their extremely rich database, the headline turns the table and speaks to the user. Plus, it addresses not just their specific current need – to find a job, but their core need to find a job they’ll love.
Neil Patel grabs the bull by the horns – who doesn’t want more traffic? Another cool element here is the subheadline, which is personalized by location. You’d see this in Sofia, Bulgaria:
And this in New York:
The headline and subheadline should work together as the one-two punch of a landing page’s effectiveness.
If the headline makes the visitor look, then the subheadline should make them stay. Still, your subheadline can have different goals, depending on what the headline focuses on.
For example, if the headline works to attract attention, the subheadline can follow up with what your offer actually is. This is the case with Typeform and Tick examples above. The headline engages, the subheadline delivers the message.
Alternatively, if the headline states your offer plain and simple, the subheadline can be focused on delivering the value proposition – what makes your product so awesome.
The bottom line is, the combination of headline and subheadline (and hero image/video) should clearly communicate what you actually offer the user. After all, if a potential customer doesn’t understand what your product or service is about, you’ve lost them for good.
Here are some great subheadline examples:
GetResponse’s landing page tool uses 2 subheadlines to support their simple, to-the-point headline.
The first reaffirms the offer – build great landing pages fast. The second subheadline addresses the user’s goals and pain points directly. Use this tool to achieve your business goals – conversions – and drive business growth. Using this tool will be painless, even if you have no experience in designing landing pages.
Instapage uses the subheadline to drive home the message of how they bring value to the user.
They help the user relate by describing the success of “customers like you.” They are as specific as possible, citing data – 400% more conversions. They also state their value proposition – the most advanced landing page platform. Three strikes, the user is in.
LastPass’s one-two punch with the headline and subheadline is using a similar model – the two elements communicate the same main message.
The role of the subheading is to expand on the value proposition and to draw the user in. It creates intimacy and understanding of what the user experiences, and then suggests a solution.
The headline and subheadline are elements of a landing page where a great copy can really make a difference. Now we’ll look into some other ways copy can nudge a visitor further down their buyer journey. The next 4 aspects we’ll be looking at are not page elements but ways to communicate your offer effectively.
What’s In It For Me?
One of the common flaws in landing page copywriting is keeping the focus on yourself – your brand, your product, your features. It’s understandable – the landing page is where you need to provide all the necessary information for a user who is already considering using your product.
The truth is, though, users don’t care about your product. They care about whether this product will serve its purpose and help them accomplish their personal goal. Or “what’s in it for me?”
Bonus tip – this same rule applies to most content types you’d find on any SaaS content marketing calendar. It applies to landing page copy, but also to blog posts, solution pages, or video assets.
One way to start writing customer-centric copy on your landing pages is to describe your features as benefits. For example, your cloud business phone solution has a native Pipedrive integration. Why did you develop it? What problem is this integration solving, what benefits does it deliver to the user?
By describing your features as benefits, you’re showcasing what your solution can do for your users and how you can improve their life.
For example, when the iPod came out in 2001, it had 1GB of storage. Apple didn’t list that feature in their copy. Instead, they focused on the benefit with the slogan “1000 songs in your pocket.” They made sure users can understand and relate to that feature, rather than focusing on the details that users couldn’t comprehend or visualize.
Use an Element of Pain
The fear of pain – or the loss aversion cognitive bias – motivates our behavior and choices more than we’re willing to admit. We are more likely to anticipate the pain of losing something than we are to feel the pleasure of gaining something of equal value.
To bring this back to landing page copywriting, your copy could mention what someone can lose, not just what they can gain.
Essentially, you can illustrate a pain point your reader might be experiencing and then position your product as an antidote to that pain. An equally efficient approach is to describe what users can miss out on or lose if they choose not to use your product.
Here are three examples to make this idea more tangible.
Mixpanel incorporates the pain element in their copy to reinforce their main message – using this tool is simple and easy.
If you want real-time insight into how people interact with your products, you don’t have to invest hours in SQL programming to retrieve specific data from your database. Nor do you have to sit on your hand while somebody else is available to create this report for you.
What the copy does really well, is to communicate the user’s pain and frustration, thus making the value proposition much more powerful – you can take action and get the data now with our tool.
Insent’s section header is also leaning on pain to drive the message home. It’s pointing out a big risk– you’ve spent all this budget on getting leads, are you doing your best to keep them engaged? The copywriting is then positioning this SaaS tool as the answer to the pain point.
This example is from Basecamp, and while the design could be better, the copywriting is focused on the same goal. It describes a before and after picture of managing remote teams. The hurdles of remote work are described extensively, and Basecamp is presented as a solution to all these challenges.
Use an Element of Pleasure
In contrast to the previous approach, landing page copywriting can be very effective when it focuses on pleasure, too.
While pain is a great motivator, connecting a brand to our deep emotional and psychological needs has many long-term positive effects. If your users associate you with meaningful, positive experiences, they’re likely to be more loyal and develop a deeper brand bias.
The way to achieve it is to highlight how your product brings emotional and psychological pleasure. A common approach is to demonstrate how pleasure is a by-product of having your product or service. You could also show how your product meets an emotional need beyond its functional role.
Let’s see it in practice:
Dropbox’s landing page describes the service features as benefits. On top of that, though, the copywriting addresses move universal values than just ease of collaboration and security. It speaks of “peace of mind” and “favorite tools” and presents the brand as a solution that will make your life easier but also happier.
Along the same lines, Evernote describes its value proposition by addressing a core psychological need – to be in control of your life and not agonize over missed deadlines or lost to-do lists.
We all want to stop forgetting things and get more done, and Evernote promises just that – one place for all your tasks and notes, so you don’t drop any more balls.
The message is conveyed by transporting you into a happy future – the bliss of having all tasks organized and at your fingertips at all times.
Khan Academy Kids applies a similar copywriting approach. It addresses parents’ core need – to ensure that their children learn skills, but do so in a welcoming, joyful environment, so learning does not become a chore.
The choice of words and the key message communicate that specific promise – your children will learn, but we’ll make the process fun and enjoyable, to prepare them for lifelong learning.
The last example of how to use pleasure to convey your core message on a landing page comes from Everplans. They provide an online tool for creating, organizing, and storing your end-of-life plan. From personal and healthcare information to passwords and accounts, financial and legal documents, to death and burial wishes, it’s all stored and managed on their platform.
Communicating the value of end-of-life arrangements is never easy, and this brand does it gracefully. The benefits they point out – “Bring order to chaos” and “Be a hero to your family” – address core human needs, not just use cases.
Build Trust With Your Landing Page Copy
Another way copywriting on a landing page can assist the buyer’s journey is by building trust and providing guarantees.
People want to feel reassured while on your landing page. They need to know your offer is legit, that it will deliver on the promise.
Clear and confident content inspires trust. The more specific you are, the more persuasive you will be.
One way to achieve clarity and build trust with your landing page copywriting is by integrating client testimonials. Another approach – to be as clear and specific as possible when you promise a positive change. Use your case studies to extract data on how you helped previous clients to achieve success, and share the specifics.
Yet another way to build trust with your copywriting is to help the user understand exactly what would happen if they take the next step. Enter microcopy.
Microcopy is the term that describes the small bits of text in UI that help users do things. Microcopy examples are the text on (and around) the call-to-action buttons, the placeholder text in input fields in forms, and error messages, for instance. Microcopy works to reduce friction, overcome objections, and reassure the user what the next step will look like.
A great place to find microcopy examples is around the most precious landing page elements – the lead form or the call-to-action. Here is what it looks like:
Whether it’s by giving you an extra nudge, as Basecamp does, or reassuring you that your credit card will not be charged unexpectedly, good microcopy provides guarantees and decreases anxiety. This is what makes it a powerful tool in the hands of a copywriter.
You can use all these copywriting principles to create efficient and meaningful landing pages easily. Next, take a look at the “copywriting formulas” you can use to craft landing pages that will cut through the noise and deliver your message.
5 Landing Page Copywriting Formulas
These copywriting formulas can serve as your blueprints when you start creating landing page copy. By no means are they not enough to produce great content – their function is simply to give you a wireframe into which you can pour all the product specifics, user benefits, and the value proposition you have.
1.The 4Cs Copywriting Formula
The 4Cs copywriting formula applies to any copywriting task, whether you create it with conversion rate, SEO, or UX in mind.
The 4Cs formula describes quality content using 4 vectors:
- Clear: Your copy must be understandable for everyone.
- Concise: Get the message across with the fewest possible words.
- Compelling: Your copy must be interesting and engaging for your audience.
- Credible: Make your copy credible and trustworthy.
There are many ways to implement the 4Cs formula. Focusing on the reader and their needs, problems, and desires, for example, can make the content on the landing page more engaging. Giving specific and quantifiable information can make it credible.
Consider these 4 principles when creating and editing your landing page copy to make sure you’ve hit the nail on the head.
2.The Rule of One Copywriting Formula
The Rule of One is another framework that can help you write a powerful, high-converting landing page. It states that the landing page should:
- Target one reader
- Present one big idea
- Make one promise
- Offer one offer
Truth be told, not all landing pages can have the luxury of applying the Rule of One. Sometimes your landing page would be presented to different audiences, each with their own goals and needs.
For example, one of our clients’ SaaS music production tool can cater to professional music producers and garage bands alike. The ad copy and the landing pages we create together have to speak to various audiences at the same time.
If you create separate campaigns for each small segment of your audience, though, and take them to tailor-made landing pages, your conversion rates would likely skyrocket. When your campaign is very well defined and your persona– crystal clear, utilize the Rule of One in the landing page copy and harvest the results.
3. Problem, Agitate, Solution Copywriting Formula
Another commonly used copywriting formula that applies itself well for landing page copywriting is Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS).
Use empathy to introduce the problem your persona is experiencing – this is your buyer persona’s pain point. Add vivid examples and emotional language to hammer the issue home. When you position your offer as the solution, make sure you’re able to deliver on that promise.
Many landing pages are built using this blueprint, as it invites the user to relate to the brand emotionally.
4. Attention, Interest, Desire, Action Copywriting Formula
Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) is one of the oldest copywriting formulas and is also widely used in landing page copy.
Get the prospect’s attention with a strong and persuasive headline. Attract their interest with your subheadline and product description. Describe the benefits of using your solution to draw the reader in and create desire. In the end, call on the reader to take action.
5. Storytelling Copywriting Formula
Storytelling appeals to us because we’ve been telling each other (and ourselves) stories since the dawn of time. This makes it a powerful copywriting technique, though it may be a bit ambiguous to see how storytelling relates to landing page copy.
Consider this – your persona, as well as your brand, have their own stories. What are the stories your existing customers are already telling? What are the narratives of your buyer persona? What does your brand stand for, what is the reason why you developed solution X?
Here are 2 ways you can incorporate storytelling in landing page copy:
You make your prospective customer the character in the story. The conflict in your story plot is the problem your prospect is facing, the reason that got him to the landing page in the first place. This makes your product the resolution of the story.
Alternatively, your story could be about the brand that has created this product. In that case, the main character is your brand or founder, the conflict describes how you created the product – the iterations, the strive for perfection, the struggles, and the story resolution could be the moment it all clicked into place.
Including the storytelling narrative in your landing page copy helps you stay close to human emotions and allows your audience to relate to your brand and your product. If you’re curious, see how you can use storytelling in design – what are the elements of the story plot, and how some brands use storytelling to build brand bias.
Now that we’ve looked through the elements of successful landing page copy and 5 copywriting formulas you can use, the only thing left to do is to write the content itself.
See these 5 rules of great copywriting that apply to landing pages as well.
How to Mix It All Together: Write Like a Human, for Other Humans to Read
1. Put the Most Important Information First
No doubt you all know this! Still, when writing landing pages, we all can get preoccupied with the product specifics, lists of benefits, possible use cases, and lose sight of what’s really important.
Keep your eyes on what matters most. Because the truth is, your prospects don’t have the time to read through the whole page. If you have a clear message, put it up front for people to see.
2. Speak Directly to the Reader
There’s more to this than writing in second person. Besides including words such as “you” and “yours,” it’s essential to use the language your target audience speaks.
Adapting your core message to your audience’s language is likely to resonate deeply with readers and help them relate to your offer.
At the same time, it’s best to avoid using industry jargon and or any other type of terminology your target audience may not understand.
Lastly, avoid passive voice. Sentences written in an active voice are more direct, easier to understand, and shorter than sentences written in passive voice.
3. Be Clear
Good landing page copy uses a simple sentence structure. Keep sentences short and don’t show off your vocabulary skills – short words are easier to understand and skim.
Format the copy carefully – section headers, bulleted lists, bold and underlined phrases make the text easier to read on the go.
The bottom line – you can make your writing clearer by using short words and sentences, headers, and bullet points, but true clarity starts with understanding your audience and their goals.
4. Be Careful When Asking Questions
Questions can be a useful tool to engage the reader and keep them on the page. Use them wrong, and you’ll get an immediate bounce.
Don’t easily presume you know how people will answer the question. Yes/no questions can backfire if you’re expecting a ‘yes,’ but get a ‘no’ or a completely different answer.
Closed-ended questions work best when the answer is almost absurdly obvious. Open-ended questions, on the other hand, prompt the reader to relate and engage.
5. End Strong
Don’t let all the zeal you’ve put in writing the landing page’s beginning simply wane out.
True, the headline, subheadline, and call-to-action are where you need to put most of your talent and inspiration in. The further down the landing page you go, the more specific and detailed the offer becomes.
Come back and finish strong. Drive your message home with a strong and engaging copy all the way to the end of the landing page.
Hopefully, you’ve found some useful copywriting tips that could help you write efficient landing pages. To bring them to life, there is another crucial element – landing page design. See what we’ve learned while designing hundreds of landing pages for the SaaS brands we’ve helped grow.