You’ve heard the stories and the hype: “Landing Pages That Make Your Conversions Skyrocket” or “Three Small Copy Tweaks That’ll Triple Your Income,” and so on.
There’s some truth to it, but like all partial truths, it doesn’t tell the whole story.
This assertion makes it easier for scammers to say, “Hey, just pay us $5K a month and we’ll fix it all for you.” Of course, that just isn’t true. They might “fix” some things for you, but it’s almost guaranteed that your income isn’t going to triple.
Yes, your sales might be better if someone comes in and fixes your landing pages. Despite that, whether they know how to fix anything is another question. If someone doesn’t know your particular demographic, they can do far more harm than good.
Fixing landing pages takes skill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself. It can also mean that you don’t need an expensive consultant to make improvements.
In fact, not doing anything wrong with your landing pages can take care of many of the things keeping visitors from converting.
In short, you don’t need some sort of miracle. You do, however, need to learn the rules so you can break them when it benefits you.
So read on for some of the mistakes that can make your conversions plummet — then you can make sure to avoid them. It sounds simple, and it can be if you don’t make these mistakes.
Table of Contents
Ah, the audience. You know, that group you have to consider before all others. This is one of a myriad of places where knowing your audience is a step in the right direction.
For example, imagine writing advertising copy or a landing page for a Harley-Davidson dealership. You might think that you’d be writing toward men who don’t have a high level of education and who aren’t in professional or distinctive careers.
That would be an incorrect assumption. Currently, the company says that the “median” Harley Davidson owner is a white male about 47 years old, with an income of around $90,000. Still, that audience can change from campaign to campaign and over time.
Harley-Davidson knows that to be sustainable and to keep the brand as desirable as it is today, they need to address Millennials now. So are you writing for the 47-year-old guy, or the 36-year-old early career guy or gal?
Well, specific is good, but resonating with readers is better.
Consider a teenage daughter coming to Dad with a TikTok ad for Harley Davidson because it’s cool — that’s messaging that money can’t buy. Boring, dull, dry copy is out. Interesting, challenging, impactful copy is in.
You need to be winning hearts and minds even if you’re selling office supplies. Think about it: have you ever seen a commercial about a red stapler? Probably not, but a red stapler played a part in the movie “Office Space.”
At the time they were filming, there was no such thing as a red stapler — it was a black Swingline stapler that the filmmakers painted red. After the success of the movie, the stapler manufacturer produced some red staplers.
They also used the red stapler in their commercials. This is exposure that you can’t purchase for any amount of money. It gave congruence to their messaging, and they’re selling the red stapler to this day.
Test your messaging and your landing pages. Test your audience and their thoughts about what you have to say. Find out who they are, what they want, and where they are.
Learn how to write copy that resonates with your ideal customers here.
Legibility means more than just asking yourself if the font is big enough. Many things go into how legible a page actually is. Thinking hard about what’s being written is hard, but you also need to examine the page’s format and readability.
How does it flow? Where are the spaces that let your reader breathe between words? Interesting, compelling writing is like music. There are “notes” which are the words and “rests” where there’s silence.
See that in action here? There was a rest after the word “silence” as you moved to the next paragraph. Short sentences can still pack a punch.
Don’t you think so?
In some situations, a short phrase can actually create a long career. The phrase “Here’s your sign,” propelled comedian Bill Engvall into a national stand-up comedy career. Rodney Dangerfield’s grandchildren are still living off of his “I get no respect…” phrase.
Since most of this work involves writing, have you ever wondered why you see images and illustrations here? That’s because images give your eyes a rest, and help to keep you in the flow of reading the copy.
In short, you need to remember how to make points with your words, and how to combine words and images.
There’s a multi-millionaire trainer in Australia who combines her eye-catching artwork and her words with occasional profane language. She also incorporates colorful, huge “buy buttons” on her landing pages.
Any visitor can see how to opt-in or purchase from her work. That’s true, but would her approach work on people with more traditional sensibilities? Probably not, but are her pages and messages memorable?
You bet. Her pages are very legible. Yours must be too.
A picture is worth a thousand words. So be sure to use some images, but don’t throw them in there as afterthoughts. They aren’t placeholders, they’re part of your communication. Choose carefully.
If visitors have to spend a lot of time thinking about your offer, then you’re already more than halfway down the road to losing them.
It doesn’t matter how intelligent your website visitor is — they want something simple and easy when considering a purchase. Believe it or not, this is true regardless of what you’re selling.
Don’t make people wonder what they need to do next. Any checkout system should be clear and concise. Otherwise, you risk them thinking, “I can’t be bothered.”
In other words, make sure you’re not asking visitors to figure out where to click. Something that seems clear to you may be inconceivable to the potential customer viewing your web page.
This is why it’s so important to have user testing whenever possible. You’re trying to walk a fine line between clear communication and simplicity. It’s a fine line because you don’t want your more intelligent visitors to think that you’re talking down to them.
In many ways, it boils down to testing what works best for your particular demographic. A good way of doing this is A/B testing, also known as split testing. This can be a huge help, and it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the process if it’s new to you.
Here's a step-by-step process that can help you test your copy to boost conversions.
Pages that say “For a limited time only” should also explain what that limited time is. Is it a month? A day? A week?
People have a well-studied aversion to risk. Humans tend to not chances if they don’t know exactly what the risks are. So try to address any objections and risks.
“For just $43 (original price: $560) we’ll send you our e-book full of proven methods — and there’ll be no recurring charges. You’ll also get a 15% discount for the next year.”
One simple sentence like that would take away a lot of ambiguity.
These days, winning copy is often long-form. This gives room for redundancy, and sometimes redundancy can be very helpful in re-stating your offer to make the important bits impossible to miss.
Note that the date on which the promotion ends is very important, so don’t just put that on one part of the page. Repetition makes it far more likely that readers will digest important information.
“You will be successful if you buy this widget.” Okay, but what does success mean? Their definition of success might not be yours. To some, it might mean $6K a month. To you, it might mean $1M a year.
“You’ll see the world in a whole new way.” Really? That’s quite an assumption. How do they know? Do they know how you see the world now? The answer is, of course, they don’t.
The following language is all over the place these days and it has become irritating to many:
“Here’s what to know,” or even worse, “Here’s what you need to know.” That, again, is a huge assumption and can be insulting. Who are they to decide what someone needs to know?
“We have what you crave.” How do they know what you crave? Well, they probably don’t.
“Reach out to us by…” This phrasing might have a negative effect on older, less tech-savvy generations. They want to know how to reach out, so be more specific. If you mean “call,” then say call.
“Think Outside The Box,” How many times have you heard this? By now, it’s probably far too many.
“It’s Cutting-Edge.” Unless you’re selling scalpels, you’re probably not ‘cutting-edge.’ Even if you are, you don’t become that by talking about it.
I once heard a grandfather say to his daughter, “If you have to tell people that you’re brilliant, then you’re not. Real ‘brilliance’ doesn’t have to claim the title. Everyone just knows it when they see it.”
“Move the Goalposts,” is another overused phrase. It’s not like they go out and move goalposts during any sort of match/game. It’s never positive to ‘move goalposts,’ so don’t use it in your copy.
How do your customers talk and write? If they’re very formal, don’t use slang. It’s back to the first item: know who you’re writing for. That’s the way to a better conversion rate.
Know how to effectively proofread and edit your own copywriting here.
Variety is the spice of life, but that doesn’t mean that you can just throw any old words around to explain your offer.
If a DCG ad said “Ring the Banana Phone for Priceless Copywriting Advice,” and then the landing page says “Call Me Because I’m a Communication Expert,” it would be confusing.
The conversion rate would be lower. Even motivated professionals may not read closely enough to understand that the “Communications Expert” is the same guy with the banana phone.
You don’t need to repeat the same words over and over, though. Just be clear and concise. You want to smooth out the path for your visitors. They shouldn’t have to wonder if they’ve clicked on the wrong tab or if they’re on the wrong page.
Many people have come to the incorrect conclusion that they can just use buzzwords and language that’s in fashion. That just won’t cut it.
Right now, a few of those fashionable phrases include: “disrupting the vertical,” “community-led,” “next level,” “game-changing,” “growth hacking,” and so forth. Search out that kind of phrasing and get rid of it.
One approach that often works is to sit down with a leader or founder of a company and ask them to tell you what the company does. Most of the time, in a successful company, leaders can do that without too much trouble. If they can’t — that’s a potential danger sign.
There’s one school of thought that says that companies should explain everything they’re selling and all of the benefits and features.
There’s also a flip side, and that’s the point of view that sellers don’t need to explain absolutely all the benefits and features of each offer.
For example, you could let potential customers find out that your widget will do its job and more. You don’t have to spell out every function of your software before someone decides to buy it.
In fact, if you do explain everything — it could become mind-numbingly boring.
Like most things, there’s a fine line that needs to be walked. Your idea of a surprise might be someone else’s idea of a fiasco.
You have to be able to live with the copy that your business produces, but you may not even be a member of your target audience.
Even if you’re part of your target audience, understand that you’re not like all of your customers. So think about how you’re different from them. What do they want and need? What are you offering that can fill those needs?
It may not make sense to put a huge amount of faith in online reviews for many things. Unscrupulous business owners have purchased millions of these reviews, so it’s simpler to ignore these.
Your personal opinions don’t necessarily apply to your audience. Social proof (the technical term for reviews and testimonials) may be a key piece of what needs to be published on your landing pages.
By all means, consider obtaining or republishing these reviews. They have proven to be worth millions over time for many businesses.
Benefits for the customer tend to be far more persuasive than features. “The iron uses microchip technology to assess the fabric you’re ironing,” isn’t too compelling.
“Never burn your clothes again with our new iron, including a proprietary fabric sensor that adjusts heat as needed,” is an excellent benefit, and is compelling.
It goes without saying that if you have better copy, you’ll have better landing pages. It’s a well-known fact that better landing pages mean more conversions which will help you make more money.
Although you might not realize it, more conversions can also mean happier customers.
Happier customers will often turn into repeat customers and that means a more successful business. A more successful business means a happier business owner.
This improved conversion rate has another effect that again isn’t often considered. Usually, a business owner is concerned with making their business viable and successful.
The broader picture isn’t always considered, but it’s undeniable that better, more prosperous businesses mean a more successful economy. Without a successful economy, nearly all businesses will struggle.
So, more successful economies make a more prosperous and more peaceful world.
It may seem like a stretch, but by improving your copywriting and landing pages, you could contribute to a better world. At the very least, you'll improve your conversion rates. Try it and see.
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