"The pen is mightier than the sword." This ancient saying remains with us today because of the immense truth it contains. Words have power. Like the sword, they can destroy and take life. But more than that, they can cajole and inspire us, stir our hearts and move us to action.
The role of the copywriter is to harness the power of words for monetary gain. More than anywhere else, the landing page is where the skill of the copywriter is put to the test.
Words have the most power when they mean something to us. When what's being said could impact our lives, we sit up and listen.
In this tutorial, I'll show you how to write a landing page that makes your prospects sit up and listen. Once you've got their attention, you can show how your product will help them.
1. What's Your Problem?
Problems. We've all got them. To be human is to have problems.
Some big problems seem insurmountable. Broken friendships, terminal illness, trampled dreams.
Others are smaller, but they're still frustrating, and impact our daily lives. Whether it's a desire to improve our golf swing, be a better parent, fix a virus on our computer, or spend less time in the kitchen. These smaller problems niggle away at us, often below the surface. Chances are, it's one of these smaller problems that your product or service provides a solution to.
To discover how your customers speak about their problems, listen to what they’re saying.
When we're struggling with a problem, to meet someone who understands is to believe there might be a way out.
Before you write a single word of your landing page, you must get the grips with the problems your customers face. That's because every word on your landing page should demonstrate that you understand the struggles of your readers. In other words, you must write about the problem your product solves in the language your prospects would use.
That means if you don't know your customers, it's time to get out into the world and meet them. Fortunately for you, the Internet allows you to do this from the comfort of your office.
To discover how your customers speak about their problems, listen to what they're saying. All this is just a Google search away. Read their blogs. Hang out in the same forums as them, and look at the questions they're asking.
There's an open secret in the world of copywriters that's probably the best tool out there for uncovering what your customers really think, in emotive language. It's open because anyone can use it, and you probably walk past it every day. It's secret because few people know how to use it.
The secret is Amazon reviews.
To find out what customers really want, and what they're struggling with most, look at Amazon reviews. Look at products or books in your niche, and check out what people are saying about them. In particular, look at the one-star reviews. This will tell you what people are struggling with, in their own words.
Only when you know the problem your product solves in the language of your readers are you ready to start writing copy.
But What About Features and Benefits?
If you've studied copywriting at any level, you've probably heard the old adage: focus on benefits rather than features. The advice is right, but it can be difficult to distinguish between the two.
Let's say you're selling a luxury car with leather upholstery. Is leather upholstery a feature or a benefit? On first glance, it's a product feature. The benefits of leather upholstery to customers are comfort and style. On the other hand, most cars nowadays are somewhat comfortable and at least a little bit stylish, but few have leather upholstery. So maybe it is a benefit after all.
You can see how this could go around in circles all day. Here's how I understand it:
- Features refer to the language you use in your company to talk about your product.
- Benefits refer to the language your customers use to talk about your product.
The solution, then, is to write in the language of your customers.
2. Notes On Writing
Most non-writers (and many writers) assume writing is a slow, agonizing process. As I've said before, it doesn't have to be. Write your first draft quickly, then put your effort into the editing. The best reason for writing fast is that ideas beget ideas. Once you open the creative fountain, you'll find it difficult to stop the words from flowing.
- Use short words, sentences and paragraphs. A landing page is no place for showing off with flowery prose. Keep your reader's attention by making your writing punchy.
- Get to the point. Waffle will drive away readers. Every word must be there for a reason. When you've got a final draft, cut it by 10%. After your cut, cut 10% again. Keep doing this until you've removed all the flab.
- Write directly to your readers. That means writing in the second person, referring to your reader as "you".
- Your work is never done. Unlike a book or a blog post, a landing page is always a work in progress. Test different headlines and copy to see which converts best.
- The customer is always right. For landing pages, you can't be precious about your choice of words. Start out with the words and phrases you discovered in your research. Tweak your copy based on what sells.
3. How to Structure Your Landing Page
One of the biggest myths about writing is that it's all about choosing which words to put on the page. Words matter, but even more important is how you structure your copy. Get your structure right, and you'll engage your audience right from the get-go. Get it wrong, and you could lose them before they've read a full sentence.
What's more, using an established structure makes writing easier. Instead of scrambling around wondering how to begin, writing becomes a paint-by-numbers task.
There's not a perfect structure that works for all landing pages. But the structure I'm sharing is tried and tested. Use it as a starting point for developing your copy.
Step 1: Grab Attention With a Headline
Key to the success of any landing page is the headline. As the great-grandfather of marketing David Ogilvy said:
"On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy."
If your headline doesn't immediately hook interest, then your prospects have plenty of other places to direct their attention.
In your research, you've dug up what matters to your customers. Use that information to write a killer headline.
Step 2: Hook Them Up
Your headline is the bait that gets the attention of your prospects. Once they bite, you've got to have a hook ready so you can reel them in.
Your hook is where you show your prospect, in their own vocabulary, that you understand the exact problem they're facing. Again, your research will be immensely useful in helping you craft these sentences.
Step 3: Offer the Solution
Now you've shown you understand the issue they're facing, you've got your readers attention and respect. They're ready for you to explain how you can help them.
Show them how your product solves their precise problem.
Step 4: Inspire Dreams
You've demonstrated you have the answer. Now paint a word-picture of what their life will be like once they've bought your product or service.
Step 5: Show Why You're The Best Choice
We live in an age of consumer choice. Your prospects will want to know why they should choose you over your competitors who offer a similar product. You've already stood out because you've shown you understand their problem, but there's more you can do. This is where you:
- Highlight your experience and credentials at helping people with this particular problem.
- Share testimonials from people who have found your product useful.
- Outline any special offers you're running at the moment. Time limited offers are particularly powerful.
- Minimize the buyer's risk, for example by offering a guarantee.
Step 6: Finish With a Call to Action
Your readers should be left with no doubt about what to do to solve their problem. As such, your call to action should be clear and to the point.
Your call to action is one part of your landing page where design and copy interact. Good design makes your call to action stand out over the rest of the landing page.
Step 7: Make Sure They Got The Message
One of the biggest mistakes I see on landing pages is when the copy ends with the call to action. If you do that, and your prospect is swithering, then you've lost them. What's more, many people who like your headline will simply scroll down to the bottom of the page to see what goodies they find there.
Use the space beneath your call to action to summarize your solution and the pain points it solves.
Your Call to Action
Now it's time you took action. You now know exactly how to research and write a landing page. So go do it!