9 Copywriting Tips for Landing Pages that Actually Convert
We like to think of ourselves as rational beings.
But nothing could be further from the truth. We’re emotional, irrational and unpredictable, especially when it comes to our buying habits.
The truth is we buy for emotional reasons then use logic to justify our purchases.
Sociologists have even found that people rarely buy the “best” product. Instead, they buy from the people and brands they know, like, and trust.
Obviously, then, our sales copy needs to generate these qualities.
So let’s review 9 high-powered copywriting tips that not only create the know-like-trust factors, but increase landing page conversions as well.
Help them Know You
What’s the first objection that comes to mind when you see an offer from a new company or startup?
According to Harry Beckwith in his book Unthinking,
“The first time someone gets our attention, we take away two messages: that they exist and that we’ve never heard of them before. They’re new and unfamiliar, and we love the familiar.”
Knowing and trusting go hand in hand. So your copy needs to do more than persuade. It needs to help people feel they know you.
Here are 2 tips to help you do that.
1. Be Conversational
Most B2B products aren’t sexy. Take heatmaps, for example. It’s not something you chat about with your friends over coffee.
But that doesn’t mean your copy should be all jargon and tech-speak. Your buyers are entrepreneurs, website owners and marketing directors who make buying decisions based on how much time, energy, or money you can save them.
Which is why, no matter how professional your brand’s image or how complicated your industry, your landing page copy needs to be conversational. Write like you talk—with metaphors, incomplete sentences, and sometimes, when it makes sense, imperfect grammar.
Here’s how Crazy Egg does it:
Crazy Egg compares their product to a pair of x-ray glasses, which gives you a clear mental picture of what a heatmap could do for you.
Notice also the complete lack of jargon here. There’s no mention of “heatmaps,” “usability,” or “clickthrough rates.” Instead you get 3 simple examples of what Crazy Egg can do — using the same words you’d use to explain it to your non-marketing friends.
Rule #1: Don’t try to use fancy words or show off your industry knowledge in your copy. Be conversational and use the words your prospects use when talking about your product.
2. Create an immediate connection.
Your prospects need to feel you understand their problem. Otherwise, how could you solve it for them?
In your copy, talk about the problem, the pain, and the stress it causes. Then let them know there’s hope.
This excerpt from Ramit Sethi is a good example:
Notice how Ramit states the dream “we’ve all talked about.” He shares the reality: months and years passing by without any success. And then he gets to the real problem, not that we lack desire but that we don’t know where to start.
The key here is his use of “we.” He isn’t some guru “out there,” who doesn’t understand the problem. His description of it is so accurate, prospects feel an immediate connection.
By addressing the problem, agitating, and then introducing his product as the solution, Ramit creates empathy.
He clearly communicates that he understands the problem. This builds rapport and lays the foundation for liking and trust. Make sure your copy does the same.
Help them Like You
Think of likeability as the bridge between knowing and trusting. Once someone likes you, they’re less likely to question your motives or raise objections.
According to Robert Cialdini in Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, people are predisposed to comply with your requests if they like you. So a simply way to improve your landing page’s conversion rate is to boost your likeability.
The question, then, is how — especially when you only have the words on your landing page to inspire liking.
For that, let’s look at these 3 copywriting tips.
3. Make it about them, not you.
What’s everyone’s favorite topic? Themselves.
While your prospects might enjoy a good origin story, they honestly don’t care about you except to be sure you’re credible and can be trusted.
What they do care about is what’s in it for them.
So don’t waste a lot of space talking about you or your product’s features. Instead, talk about your prospects, their problems, and how your product can improve their lives.
Now let’s look at an example of what not to do.
In most cases, your biggest benefit should be the headline. Not the name of your product.
And your lead should not be all about you. These three paragraphs would be fantastic lower in the sales page as a credibility booster, but they don’t make a good lead.
- They don’t hook their reader’s attention.
- They don’t address the problem their prospects are facing.
- They don’t offer a benefit.
- They don’t build empathy or rapport.
To create copy that inspires liking, you need to focus on your readers, not you. Make it all about them, and they’ll walk away feeling you care.
4. Add more value than you ask in return.
We’re talking about reciprocity here. But it needs to be real.
You can add bonuses to your offer, like Ramit Sethi does here:
You can also promise to make your prospects’ lives better. Digital Marketer does this masterfully:
Not only do they create a sense of belonging, their unique selling proposition is that they do the hard work so you can relax and enjoy the results. Saving time and simplifying their lives are powerful promises.
Keep in mind, though, your prospects’ BS detector is highly refined. If there’s any hint of a “catch” to your generosity, they won’t just click away. They’ll warn their friends to stay away as well.
Take this video, “United Breaks Guitars,” detailing one customer’s bad experience with the airline.
Make sure you add value, not song-worthy headaches. And avoid promising more than you can actually deliver.
Set proper expectations, and as you’ll see in a moment, your honesty will likely be rewarded.
5. Be honest.
You may be tempted to stretch or distort the truth to make you and your product shine. But don’t do it!
Complete honesty, even about your mistakes or short-failings, can make you more human and likeable.
The iconic example of this is Avis, who was the #2 car rental agency, behind Hertz. Instead of trying to divert people’s attention from this issue, they embraced it, and their tag, “We try harder” was born.
You don’t have to manipulate or create hype to sell. You can be honest about your strengths and your weaknesses. Not only will you be more likeable, you’ll be more trustworthy as well.
Speaking of which…
Help them Trust You
“The primary reason people will choose not to buy from you is lack of trust.” - Zig Ziglar, Selling 101
We don’t buy cookware from the guy selling out of the trunk of his car because we don’t know where he got it from.
We don’t buy from the fast-talking, pushy salesman because he doesn’t let us ask questions — and when he does, he doesn’t give us a straight answer.
Trust sells. So let’s look at the copywriting tips that build trust.
6. Communicate clearly.
While Rule #1 of copywriting is to write like you talk, you need to avoid stream of consciousness. Make sure your copy is organized, accurate, and crystal clear.
Most of a landing page consists of persuasive copy, problems and solutions, or benefits and features. It can sometimes be unclear exactly what the offer is.
So after you spell out the benefits, craft your offer and CTA to clearly itemize what your customers get.
This example comes from Casey Research. (While I blasted their lead-in copy in #3 above, their CTAs are exceptional:)
Here, Casey spells out exactly what to expect when you buy: the cost, the length of the subscription, and every detail about what you get. The hero image even shows you what it will look like.
As you know, specifics sell far better than vague generalities. And by clearly explaining what your offer is, what to do now, and what to expect after they buy, you give your prospects the details they need to trust you.
7. Pile on the Social proof.
Social proof may include industry certifications, celebrity endorsements, prominent client logos, online reviews, success stories, and the number of happy subscribers or customers.
Feel free to pile it on. Take Jenny Craig, for example:
These certifications give instant credibility to the effectiveness of their program.
A celebrity endorsement doesn’t hurt:
And how about this: an independent study found that Jenny Craig was one of the most effective weight loss programs when compared to 10 other programs in the study. That's third-party validation, right there.
When evaluating an offer, your prospects look for evidence that you can deliver as promised. When experts and other reliable sources recommend the product, your prospects are much more comfortable trying for themselves.
8. Add Testimonials.
Testimonials are a type of social proof, but they offer a unique value beyond credibility. And they can help convince a prospect who is otherwise on the fence.
Through testimonials, prospects see other people who are in a similar situation or who look and talk like them—and their words about you and your product can erase doubts.
For instance, I was recently scanning a landing page for Mike Dillard’s Self-Made Man Society. I wasn’t interested in buying. I was looking for screenshots I could use in an article. As a result, I didn’t pay much attention until I saw this guy:
I know Curt, so a testimonial from him made me go back and read the sales copy again. My thought? Maybe I should consider this after all!
Your customers’ words, sharing their own thoughts and feelings about your product, are far more powerful than your own words. They can quickly turn doubt (or disinterest) to trust.
9. Reduce Risk with a Strong Guarantee.
If you don’t believe in your product, how can you expect your prospects to believe in it?
The stronger your guarantee and the more risk you take on yourself, the more comfortable people will be with buying.
Fortunately, no matter what your product, you can find something to guarantee. For example:
- Money-Back Guarantee
- Risk-Free Guarantee
- 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
- No-Questions-Asked Guarantee
- Life-time Guarantee
- Low-Price Guarantee
- Free Trial
For example, Crazy Egg offers a free trial:
Ramit Sethi offers a detailed 60-day money-back guarantee:
And Digital Marketer offers a 30-day, unconditional, no-questions-asked money-back guarantee:
Remember, your guarantee demonstrates your own confidence in your product. And it builds good-will with your customers, proving that you aren’t in business to bilk them but to offer real value and a lasting relationship.
Copywriting is about presenting your offer in a way that showcases your product while also helping prospects know, like, and trust you.
The 9 tips I’ve shared here are a good place to begin. Not only do they help you present your offer and its many benefits, they help you communicate your desire to help customers in tangible ways.
Which brings me to my final tip…
Don’t worry too much about making your prospects know, like, and trust you. Instead, focus on knowing, liking and trusting them.
When you genuinely care about your prospects and have an honest desire to provide value—your copy will show it.
And that’s the real secret to conversion copywriting.
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