Landing page optimisation: a copywriting checklist
Landing pages are specialised web pages that a user lands on from places like emails, social media or search engines. For this reason, landing pages aren’t normally found within the main navigation of a website. They’re only targeted at prospective customers. Think of them of kinda like an entry point to a company.
Landing pages are typically built with a single purpose in mind. This could be persuading the reader to leave their contact details, download an app, purchase a product, watch a video - anything like that.
What all of this means is that landing pages have a different structure and design to normal web pages - so when it comes to creating yours, you've got to think differently. And of course, the words on a landing page are very important for persuading the reader to take action. Here are our top tips to ensure the copy on your landing page wins you more business.
1. Stick to one call-to-action
Before you write anything, you have to decide what action you want the reader to take. For example, you might want them to:
- Buy a product
- Fill out a contact form
- Watch a video
- Download an e-book
- Claim a voucher
Whatever you choose as your call-to-action, just make sure it’s clear from the very start. Once you’ve decided what action you want your reader to take, don’t ask them to take an extra one. It’s confusing for them and takes their attention away from the main purpose of your landing page. Including just one call-to-action is a surefire way of improving the conversion rate of your landing page.
2. Use a proven formula for writing great headlines
It can be tempting to focus all of your efforts on the main landing page copy - and then neglect the headline. But it shouldn’t be an afterthought. It’s possibly the most important bit on the whole page. If you’re struggling to write one that bangs, some old copywriter called John Caples created 35 different formulas for writing headlines. In our experience, they’re pretty effective.
3. Communicate your offer clearly and concisely
Just beneath your headline you should summarise your offer in two sentences or less. Readers have got to understand the offer straight away, else they’ll bugger off.
But that’s easier said than done. So here’s a trick. Write down a few different options - at least three - and show them to a friend or family member who knows nothing about the company, product or service. If they don’t understand the business based on this introductory copy, your average internet user won’t either. So rewrite it until they understand it.
4. Put the key info 'above the fold’
‘Above the fold’ is a term that originates from folded newspapers. Editors would often place key, enticing information above the fold, where people could see it on newsstands. In old-school broadsheet newspapers this info would typically be the headline and perhaps an introductory paragraph.
In the world of landing pages, the fold is the part of a page that a user can see without scrolling down. So we can apply the same principles as newspaper editors did. Put the most important information above the fold of your landing page. Generally that would be your headline, a two sentence intro and a call-to-action button. Be sure to optimise your landing page so that the same key info shows above the fold on all devices.
The image below is a good example of a landing page from Trello. You can see how they have included these three elements (headline, intro, CTA) above the fold of their landing page.
5. Don’t worry about word counts (really)
Look around the internet and you’ll find all sorts of opinions, studies and research on the ideal length of a landing page. But just like emails, it’s impossible to say x number of words is better than y number of words. Every landing page is different, with a different purpose, audience and format.
If you have a complex product or service that needs explaining in detail, do that. On the other hand, if you think you can sum up your offer in 100 words, do that. The right amount of words is the number it takes to achieve your aims. So don’t get too preoccupied with hitting a word count or cutting down on copy. Landing page optimisation is all about finding the right design and copy that resonates with YOUR readers.
6. Test, edit and revise
So you’ve followed all of this advice and (presumably) you now have a quality landing page. Great! But the only real way of knowing whether it’s actually good or not is to see how it performs with your users. Don’t ‘sign it off’ and then just ignore it. Monitor how people interact with it and if they convert. If it’s not performing as you hoped, go through this checklist again until you see an upturn in results. Because in the end, the reader will decide if it’s an effective landing page or not.