When I first started writing landing pages, something instantly felt a bit off to me, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It didn’t take me long, though, to figure out what it was: the name.
I mean, I get it – it’s the place your customers land after they click on your ad or carefully positioned link. Still, it quickly dawned on me that this is exactly the wrong way to think about landing pages. As I started writing more of them, I realized that it was much more helpful to envision them not as landing pages, but as launching pads. The goal is to use these content marketing pages to catapult your visitors from curiosity to confirmed customers. Thinking about the pages as landing spots makes you write them as if you want your readers to take their shoes off and stay awhile, when in fact you want them to act – quickly, decisively and, ideally, without a chance to truly land at all. Launching pads.
After this epiphany, writing effective landing pages became much easier. Unlike the other top content types brands are using to attract customers, landing pages are not about burnishing your business‘ reputation or encouraging dialogue, they are about inspiring action. A good landing page isn’t designed to hit keywords that capture the attention of as many far-flung consumers as possible. It’s about picking the right words to compel readers to act on your offer.
The rest of the internet may be a clamorous, commotion-filled environment full of sound and fury, but a landing page offers a quiet room where you can speak directly to a potential customer. It is where your pitch – boiled down and polished to a sparkling sheen – lives.
It took me a long time to understand this and get the hang of creating effective landing pages – many more misses than hits, to be sure. But once I became more comfortable, I realized that there are few simple steps that take a lot of the mystery out of writing landing pages that work, and here they are:
Distill your pitch
No other type of content relies so heavily on a single turn of phrase as a landing page, so you better make sure you get it right. The success of your landing page hinges on your ability to make a simple, straightforward and unrefusable pitch for your product or service. You have your targets in your sights – you’ve buttonholed them, essentially – and now it’s your chance to give them your best pitch yet.
Therefore, it is essential that you hone your message to a sharp point. If you can’t lay out the benefits of your product or service in a few simple sentences, you might as well get back to the drawing board.
The fruits of all this labor should be a succinct sentence or two that will persuade your readers that they need your product or service. The rest of the text on your landing page will come from this core message, which will also ultimately become the two most important elements of your landing page: The headline (Unique Selling Proposition) and the Call to Action.
Nail your headline
As it is with any piece of content, the headline is vital to the success of your landing page. This phrase should be a tight, engaging reflection of your pitch’s soul. No room for filler here, just the essential elements of your product’s value. If needed, you can use a short subhead to provide more information about the benefits of your product or service, but more often than not, a headline is sufficient.
Call to Action
In many ways, your Call to Action is even more important than your headline; it’s the single make-it-or-break-it element of your page – your ultimate offer. Like your headline, your Call to Action should succinctly encapsulate the value your product will provide to your target, but in this case, it should do so with a direct instruction for a specific action from your reader.
With these two bookends in place, it should be easy to craft the rest of the text for your landing page – the sandwich’s interior, if you will.
For writing the bulk of a landing page, I have found it helpful to think of the process as an exercise in reverse engineering: you have your end goal in mind – converting a lead using a dynamic Call to Action – and now you need to arrange the other pieces – the distinct and expertly described benefits of your product or service – to make that outcome as close to inevitable as possible.
This is where your writing skills come in. Like a great short story, your landing page copy should carry your readers along seamlessly, picking them up with your Unique Selling Proposition and eventually depositing them gently at your perfectly polished Call to Action. Keep the image of the quiet room in mind – you are guiding your reader by the elbow to a door, and each sentence is one more step toward that door.
In this way, it is important to keep your writing roadmap firmly in mind. All preceding sentences should lead directly and logically to your ultimate Call to Action. In fact, I’ve found that it is helpful to think of the mission of your landing page content as conjuring the final pitch in your reader’s mind. Optimally, each sentence should spring forth so logically from the last that your potential customers feel as if they were writing the page themselves. By the time they get to the end, the Call to Action should be so obvious it is almost unnecessary.
With these elements in place – a captivating headline, convincing list of benefits and irresistible Call to Action – your landing page will be among the most powerful and precise bows in your content quiver.
Contact the experts at Brafton to transform your landing pages into launching pads!