updated: October 2nd, 2009 / Ross Johnson / 4 Comments

Optimizing Your Landing Pages, Part 2 – Copy Basics

Optimizing Landing Pages” is an on going series that will total 20 posts. The series is written by 3.7 DESIGNS and Ross Johnson to help web professionals build sites that achieve specific business goals. This is post 3, and the topic is “Writing for Personality Profiles.”

Pay Attention To Your Copy

After you have thought about and planned your landing pages sales funnel (as seen in “Optimizing your Landinag Pages, Part I,” you should take a careful look at your website copy. The copy and content of your landing page is going to make or break it, so it is important to consider a few things right off the bat.

MAKE SURE USERS FEEL LIKE THEY ARRIVED ON THE RIGHT PAGE

Have a high bounce rate? Chances are users end up on your site, don’t get a good impression that it is the page/site they were expecting, and press the back button. The first thing your copy should address is ensuring that the users are at the right place. Users often take less than 10 – 15 seconds before they make a judgment to read further or keep hunting.

Here are some ways to do that:

  • Make sure the first headline matches the link / source they clicked on
    • Advertisement
    • Search Ranking
    • Print Ad
    • TV Ad, etc
  • Have a supportive picture that illustrates how they are on a page that has what they are looking for.
  • Bold, or link any relevant text to the topic/niche

At a glance the users should know definitively that your site has what they are looking for, and it is not a waste of time to hunt further.

MAKE SURE COPY IS SCANABLE

The next major step to optimizing your copy is to ensure that it is scanable. Until the user has a very clear sense that you offer what they are looking for they are not going to read, they will simply scan. If you read the previous article you will know you are trying to move them from the attention phase to the interest phase.

Ways to make your text scanable:

  • Break up large blocks of text with headings and sub headings
  • Anything you can break up into lists (bulleted or numbered) do so
  • Bold relevant keywords, ideally you should be able to read all the bold words in a sentence and know what the paragraph was about.

FORGET ABOUT FEATURES, TALK ABOUT BENEFITS

All too often people get caught up in talking about the features their product or service offers. Forget about the features. Features are what the providers are interested in, the end users don’t care about features they care about what they will be getting out of it.

Examples of features:

  • 250 Horse Power
  • Built on Open Source Technology
  • Monthly Reporting Provided
  • Built using XHTML / CSS

All of these sound great right? Only if you know what the benefit of those are. The average user isn’t going to have a clue why XHTML/CSS is better than anything else. Instead talk about the benefit they will get.

Benefits of above features:

  • 250 Horse Power
    • Enough pick up and speed to get around town safely and still have fun
  • Built on Open Source Technology
    • Built using open source technology, which keeps costs down, and you will never have trouble finding someone who can work on your system.
  • Monthly Reporting Provided
    • See and monitor the progress and improvements month after month so you can prove to the CIO and CEO how smart this decision was.
  • Built Using XHTML / CSS
    • Built using the latest coding practices so that the pages load quicker, are search friendly, and take less time to update and maintain.

Sounds a lot better right?

KEEP THE COPY INTERESTING

When you do get the reader interested enough to read through your copy reward them. Dull copy is hard to read, and if the user doesn’t read they will never desire your product. While every landing page and brand will require their own twist of a brand voice, work with in what leeway you have to spice up the copy so its actually becomes worth reading.

Keep in mind that the headline should make you interested enough to read the first line of the paragraph, and the first line of the paragraph should make you interested enough to read the rest.

ADD A CALL TO ACTION

When you have finished your copy, spell out what you want the user to do. Often times you can get a user interested, and get them to desire your offering, only to leave them wondering what they should do next. Make the call to action a clear link on the page, and specifically tell them what they should do.

Example: Get started by filling out our order form

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4 thoughts Optimizing Your Landing Pages, Part 2 – Copy Basics

  1. That is some very good points. I think a lot of marketers really need to focus on benefits. You see features advertised all the time, but not so much with benefits.

  2. Thanks Jordan, I agree I see features way too often. The only place where I could really see it working is if you were advertising to a group of very well informed enthusiasts who would want to know the features because they would know how the features benefit them. These are the situations where numbers and statistics can work.

  3. Great points Jordan. I recently finished a class at Eastern Michigan that was focused on this exact same topic. Do you have any examples good, scanable pages?

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