Just to make sure we’re on the same page,
let’s start off with what you probably already know about landing pages,
and what you want them to do.
Landing pages tell people what you’re selling or offering; they invite them to come in for a closer look; and they help convert them into customers.
Some landing pages are better than others. Others aren’t very good at all.
Why is that?
Let’s discuss it.
Say for example you’re generally pleased with the landing pages you currently have, but some drum up more business than others, and a couple of them you felt comfortable with don’t appear to be converting at all.
Poor landing page performance can usually be traced back to one or more potential pain points, and is generally predictable if it:
- isn’t attracting the right kind of people; people who are in genuine need of the products or services you’re offering
- doesn’t specifically address a major problem they may have that you’re offering a solution for
- doesn’t showcase what people have to gain by using your product or service
- doesn’t show how your product or service is different; and why people can expect to benefit from that difference, and –
- doesn’t tell people exactly what they have to do to get your product or service, which forces them to put in extra effort into figuring it out themselves.
Note: If you get the first 4 right, but you make people have to think about where they should be going next, your good work may be in vain.
Now, the solution to poorly-converting landing pages is actually pretty straightforward.
It involves 10 key principles that guide people through their journey; whether they are first-time visitors on the page, warm leads, free trial users, or paying customers.
What are the 10 key principles & how do you put them to use?
Starting at the top – Literally.
1. Your headline needs to clearly indicate what your product or service does for your ideal users.
- The headline section is the prime landing page real estate; you should consider the headline to be the most important element on your page.
If the headline doesn’t tell people what to expect, or convince them to keep reading, they’ll stop.
- Some businesses mistakenly use their business name as their headline. Unless the name specifically tells the reader what the product, service, or benefit is, it shouldn’t be used for that purpose.
- Another common mistake is to put content above the headline. A small logo might be OK, but a giant-sized logo will act as a distraction.
Ask yourself this. Are you trying to sell a product or service, or are you trying to sell your startup?
- 6 to 8 words is a typical headline’s wordcount. That may not seem like enough to get your message across, but it’s definitely doable.
One of the coolest landing pages out there is Duolingo’s.
If you’re looking to learn a new language at no cost to you,
it shows you where to start in 8 words.
2. Your sub-headline provides whatever additional essential information you need to encourage a visitor to continue reading.
It’s unlikely you’ll ever get a summary of key benefits PLUS what makes your product different PLUS who it’s for or how it works, all crammed into your headline. You want to keep your headline simple and clear cut in any event.
That’s where a sub-headline comes into play.
- A typical sub-headline’s length is about double the length of a headline, or 12-15 words on the average. Like the headline, it needs to be clear, concise, and informative.
Also like the headline, it needs to encourage a visitor to keep reading.
- Good design practice typically calls for placing a sub-headline directly below the headline, selecting a smaller font size, and using 2 or 3 short rows instead of spreading it across the page.
- Alternatively, sub-headlines are often used to introduce different landing page sections.
- Jargon can be acceptable if you’re certain the intended audience will understand the meanings. A tech-oriented startup might be able to effectively use jargon when speaking to a tech-oriented audience.
Otherwise, the use of jargon should be avoided.
- For both headlines and sub-headlines, You and Your are far more widely used than We and We may be providing a great service, but You are the one who will benefit from using it.
3. Your Call to Action tells visitors concisely and precisely what you want them to do
- Your CTA needs to clearly spell out exactly what visitors have to do. Since your landing page has a single purpose, it should have a single CTA.
An exception might be if you have a free trial option, in which case you might want a second CTA on the page. If you do use 2 CTAs, make the preferred CTA stand out.
Note: Never overestimate the power of “free”. Potential customers love free stuff.
- “Learn More” is another commonly used CTA but use it with caution. Anytime you redirect a reader you run the risk of that reader not reaching your goal.
- 3 or more CTAs? How about never? Offer too many options and your visitors probably won’t choose any of them.
4. Your landing page focuses on your audience, and not on your company, product, or service
- It may be tough to hear, but people aren’t interested in products specifically—not even if you’ve created one that can literally change their lives overnight. For them to be interested in what you have to offer, you have to spell out how it can change their lives and why it’s worth their attention.
- That’s why your entire landing page needs to revolve around your audience, not your product or your company. That means that, even when you describe the product you’re offering, you should focus on what it can do for the person reading your message.
How it can make their life easier.
How it solves a major problem that’s eating up their time or making work more difficult.
Why it’s so important they check it out and give it a try.
Yes, all from their perspective.
5. You let your ideal visitors know what your product or service is for from the very beginning
Spell out those uses or benefits.
- If it’s a service for remote teams that are having a hard time communicating, say so in the hero section.
- If it’s a product for professional web developers, say what problem it solves.
6. You show how your product or service can solve a major problem in their lives
- Benefits always outweigh features in importance.
You’re justifiably proud of your product’s or service’s cool features, and you naturally want your ideal users to be aware of them.
But people don’t really care about features… they care about what those features can do for them.
Don’t make your visitor have to think and try to figure it out. You want to focus on the problem your product can solve for them and the benefits it brings into their lives. Present your features’ BENEFITS first.
Apple is very good at putting the user first in their copy.
They mention the pain point, problem, or need an ideal user may be experiencing. Only then do they present their products in a way that makes them appear essential in arriving at a fix or solution.
7. You show what makes your product or service different from anything they’ve tried before
- If you’re trying to sell a Ford to a Chevy-lover, saying the two are pretty much the same isn’t going to make the sale. If your startup is offering a service that solves a problem, you need to state why yours is the better solution for your ideal customer than what’s available elsewhere.
- This is one area where presenting visual context can be vital; especially for products, and especially for showing how they work, how simple they are to operate, how fast they do their job etc.
3 or 4 images or a video often does the trick.
8. You speak the same language as the people you want to buy your product or service
- Create a user persona.
Only when you know your audience will you know exactly how to talk to them. Tech startups use a totally different language than produce vendors, and corporate offices typically employ a tone of voice that creative artists would never use.
- This gets back to defining who your ideal customer is in terms of gender, age, occupation, education, profession, interests, etc. It’s knowing who you would be comfortable having a beer with (or a dish of caviar).
9. You make your text easy-to-read by avoiding long and boring blocks of text
- There’s some truth in the saying “facts tell but stories sell”.
- That doesn’t imply your landing page should read like a novel. Keep your message concise and consistent by making good use of bullet lists, images, sub-headlines, and different sections; and make good use of white space.
- Once you’ve established a flow, you have your storyline. You can easily make a list of benefits read like a story. Trying to make a list of features read like an engaging story doesn’t work very well, if at all.
10. You use social proof to show that your product or service is trustworthy and worth the price
- Building trust can take time, so it’s something you need to start working on from the get-go.
- Being a startup, you may not yet have a huge user base to draw on for great reviews and testimonials, but you can still use social media to your advantage to get the word out.
Wrapping It Up
Starting with the 10 key principles for creating high-converting landing pages for tech products and services, you want and need…
- a headline that clearly shows how your product or service will benefit your ideal users.
- Sub-headlines to address essential information that can’t be included in the headline, that contribute to the flow, and that encourage users to read further
- a Call to Action that tells users precisely what you want them to do
- to explain from the very beginning what your product or service is for
- to show how your product or service can eliminate a pain or solve a major problem in their lives
- to show what makes your product or service different from anything they’ve tried before
- to speak the same language as your ideal users
- to make your text clear, concise, and unambiguous, and you need to
- use social proof to show that your product or service is trustworthy and well worth the price
Put these 10 simple guidelines into practice and your landing page is more likely to attract the right people, engage them, convert them to prospective customers, and guide them towards closing the deal – your desired action.
Writing an irresistible landing page that convinces your ideal users to try or buy your product or service can be tricky and often frustratingly time-consuming as well.
It’s not always easy to avoid a few pitfalls when you’re in the swing of things and everything seems to be going smoothly. Those “pitfalls” generally involve doing the opposite of what any of the 10 key points we’ve just talked about.
We’ve helped dozens of tech entrepreneurs just like you write high-converting landing pages, or optimized landing pages they already have to make them convert even better.
If you would like us to write a killer landing page for you, or review one you already have, let us know – we’re here to help.