Landing Pages: Using the Language that Converts
Are you in the process of optimizing your landing page and wondering if you’re missing anything?
So here are a few of those small optimization details that can make all the difference. I’ve pored over landing pages from all around the web (both B2B and B2C) to find the five ways that language impacts on conversions.
Check out these five ways you can use language to convert your landing page traffic.
1. Give people something instead of telling them what to do
You need to communicate value immediately and constantly in your landing page. Value is expressed in your USP, your value proposition (of course) but also your list of benefits and even your CTA.
People respond unconsciously to tone in our daily lives. We meet somebody and for no reason we like them, or we don’t, based on the most minute physical and emotional cues.
We unconsciously react to someone whose arms are crossed on their chest versus at their sides. We tend to trust someone more who sits confidently, with an open attitude, good posture, and a slow speech-pattern.
Landing page are no different.
In fact, the smallest change in your CTA (from demanding to offering value) can rocket your landing page’s conversion rates.
Here are a couple un-optimized examples from a dental clinic’s landing page:
Here are a few examples and recommendations:
- Instead of “Buy Now’, try “Check out our price page”
- Instead of “See how it works”, try “Get your Free Demo”
- Instead of “Order Now,” try “Get Access to Leads”
- Instead of “Book an Appointment”, try “Get the time-slot you want”
These small changes will affect the tone of your landing page. When coupled with a personable, smiling (non-model) image, a USP that denotes value to your audience, and easy-to-understand benefits, your landing page will be friendly and awesome - and your conversion rates will reflect that.
2. Positive Achievement vs Negative Avoidance
“You getting all scienc-ey on us now, James?”
Well yes I am, random reader I just made up.
This subject is an ongoing, and controversial, discussion going on in the field of advertising psychology (actually a real masters degree that you can take from real universities). The question, basically, is this:
Do people respond more actively to avoidance of a negative result, or to bringing about a positive result?
This is something you need to test, because the improvement may depend entirely on your product, your audience, or even the individual words you use.
I would genuinely recommend you A/B split test two USPs (unique selling propositions): one that frames your service in terms of positive achievement, and another that frames it in terms of negative avoidance. Any good landing page builder should make A/B testing your page a cinch.
Here’s what I’m talking about:
- “Increase conversions by 50%” VS. “Save 50% of your marketing budget”
- “Protect your 401k with our proprietary security systems” VS. “Avoid scammers with our proprietary security systems”
- “Our 100% commission-based fee means we only win when you do” VS. “Save your hard-earned money with our 100% commission-based fee”
- “Stay warm with our trademark AcmeDown fleece jackets” VS. “Keep out the cold with our trademark AcmeDown fleece jackets”
Now, you might think that these small changes can’t actually meaningfully influence your landing page’s conversion rates. I’m here to tell you they absolutely can - and are more than worth testing even if you don’t believe me.
3. Make it skimmable
I’ve said many times in other articles, as well as the complete guide to landing pages, that you should keep your landing page simple and to-the-point. Keep your image and USP front and center, and your variables separated and distinct.
How you write - how you express your sales points in your landing page - is as important as anything else on that page. People don’t actually read every word on your landing page: they’re looking for the single thing that sets you apart from your competitors. They’re looking for the thing that makes them say ‘Sold!’ and click through.
If they can’t find it (either because it’s not there or because you’ve hidden it in a long paragraph talking about your business’ origins), they’ll bounce. Never to return (unless you use re-targeting, but that’s a whole different article!)
Here are my recommendations for how to write easy-to-read, skimmable, copy:
- Use bullet-points : If possible, use small icons that get the idea across as bullets
- Use headers and a single sentence description: I recommend four or five “mini-USPs” that give value to your audience. Follow these USPs (bolded and independent) with a descriptive sentence that gets the meaning across easily
- Keep your landing page simple: Provided you have an excellent toolbar at the top of your page that links to relevant pages throughout your website, you don’t need to include a huge amount of information on your primary landing page. Keep it simple. Keep it short. Keep it clear.
- Use simple language: Unless you’re using jargon to create a personable and inclusive page (see below) I recommend you keep your landing page language simple and easy-to-understand.
- Gauge your target audience: Is there a level of understanding and vocabulary you can assume or will a certain lexicon exclude first-time-buyers? Test this for yourself!
4. Speak to your audience
Your landing page needs to be focused not on how awesome your business is, but on how awesome you can make your clients. It’s about them.
Yes you need to sell yourself, but sell yourself in terms relevant to them. There are many tactics to do this (including my first strategy above, in which you tell site visitors what they get rather than what they should do).
But there are smaller, subtler techniques that communicate your business as customer-centric. There are things that your audience may not even consciously notice that nonetheless gives them a feeling of inclusiveness and friendliness.
Check out this example from Hootsuite’s Social Network Management Landing Page:
Notice how “you-centric” this short paragraph is:
- “Save your time and your sanity”.
- “[…]your social networks”.
- “[…]designed for you and your team”
Immediately the landing page visitor is thinking about how this tool can help them. It’s not really even about how amazing Hootsuite is - but how useful you will find it.
Here are a few examples and recommendations:
- Use “you” and “us” to create a personable and relatable landing page
- Use language and jargon that your audience knows to create the feeling of a club they’re privy to
- Use customer testimonials that tell a story about how your tool specifically helped with something your audience can relate to (for instance, “The AcmeSaaS tool was so helpful I now have more time to spend with my kids!”)
- Include a headshot of your customers when quoting their testimonial. This hugely impacts on their trustworthiness (and therefore yours)
For a closer look at selling to your audience without being too pushy, check out my article “Landing Pages: How to Sell your Product without Selling your Product”.
5. Speak to Google
Just as you prioritize SEO when creating content, prioritize SEO when writing your landing page copy.
Here are a few strategies to ensure you’re yelling louder than your competitors:
- Choose a few simple keywords that your landing page is focused around: It’s likely these will probably be closely tied to your benefit list
- Bold words and headers (h2 and h4, etc) are seen differently in Google’s algorithm than plain text: So be sure whatever you’re bolding is actually what you want your landing page to focus on
- Remember long-tail search: Google’s algorithm has (with the integration of the Hummingbird update six months ago) started to focus on and reward long-tail search terms like “how to I increase conversions on my landing page?” Consider what your audience is asking for in Google’s search bar when creating your landing page copy
- Ensure your landing page copy is original: Just because one of your competitors has a value proposition or USP that you think fits your company perfectly doesn’t mean you can use it. Google’s algorithm will punish plagiarism in their algorithm, and your landing page won’t be found as often as it might otherwise
SEO is a complex series of strategies and tactics that are developing on a monthly and weekly basis. Just because the strategies I’ve given above work now doesn’t mean they’ll work in a month’s time. Keep up to date with what Google likes to see and change your landing page accordingly.
And if you want to skip to the front of the line and check out some landing page templates that are already optimized for conversions (and some other cool stuff as well), check out Wishpond’s landing page builder.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of how the small changes in language can have a positive (and negative!) effect on your landing page conversions. Ensure your landing page is personable by using personal pronouns, telling a story, including customer testimonials (with a headshot) and making the value of your business all about your customer.
- Landing Pages: The Fundamentals and Conversion Principles
- Landing Pages: How to Sell without Selling
- Landing Pages: Three Landing Pages Critiqued to Hell and Back
- Landing Pages: The Science Behind Designing for Conversions
- The Complete Guide to Landing Pages Ebook (by me!)
Have you noticed any small language changes having an effect on your landing page conversion rates? Have you ever A/B tested your CTA button text? Let me know your story in the comments below!
By James Scherer
To download our complete guide to everything you need to know about landing pages, Click here.