A website is supposed to get you customers.
It’s supposed to get you conversions.
You need people to find you, like what they see, and take a step—whether that’s clicking “buy” or requesting a consultation.
And… the truth is, a lot of websites don’t get conversions at all.
It’s not necessarily because they’re designed wrong. It might not even be SEO. I talk to business owners all the time who are already ranking for their keywords, but still not selling diddly-dang-squat.
So what’s the matter?
Well, most of the time it’s…
Your Landing Pages Aren’t Working
(Or you don’t even have landing pages.)
Landing pages act as a point of entry. They grab a consumer who’s not that far on the sale cycle yet, and turn them into a lead.
(What’s a sale cycle? I’ll get to that…)
These consumers are people who want to learn about a topic—a topic your company is in the business of dealing with—and they need knowledge. They need to know why they should give you their time, why they can trust what you say, and how exactly you can solve their problem.
(They might not know they want all that. But they do.)
And if a landing page isn’t built right, guess what?
⇑ Click above, we’re here to help ⇑
Anatomy of a Landing Page
A good landing page has to do several different jobs:
- It is laser focused on ONE topic, product or service
- It UNDERSTANDS what the reader WANTS
- It GRABS the reader and speaks to their EMOTIONS
- It provides the reader with HELPFUL information (it’s not just salesy)
- It creates TRUST before it goes in with the CALL TO ACTION (the ask)
If a landing page does all of these, and it’s written halfway well, it’s going to get results. But if it misses even one of its jobs, you’re going to see, well, bupkis.
So how do you make sure your landing page does its job(s)? Well…
#1 How to Laser-Focus Your Landing Page
Generally, you’re going to create one landing page for each main service or product type you offer. If you’re an outdoor store, there’s a Tents page. If you’re a family law firm, there’s a Prenuptial Agreement page.
But here’s the trick. Those are just broad, top-level landing pages. That’s not necessarily what people are searching for. The most effective landing pages tie into a keyword (or phrase) that you know people search. (And you know this because you or your SEO partner did the research, right?)
If you look at keyword research, you might find that…
- Maybe “tents” is too broad, but “waterproof tents” is a hot keyword. This is a simple keyword you can probably get a lot of sales out of.
- Maybe “prenuptial agreement” get surprisingly low search volume. But a lot of people search, “Do I need a prenup?” BOOM, you can make a long-tail landing page—which may as well be a license to print money.
The specific topics for your industry will be different (obvs). But the principle is the same—let the SEO research guide you to the most valuable topics. Then write a landing page for each one.
So are we done focusing in yet? Not quite….
You have to ask, what does my topic tell me about my reader?
#2 Where are they in the sale cycle?
Told you we’d get there 😉
The sale cycle refers to where a customer is at psychologically. Every potential customer has some pain, and they need a solution, but not everyone’s ready to pay their hard-earned money to do so.
Here are the stages:
- Latent pain. (They have a problem. Shh, they don’t know it yet.)
- Acknowledged pain. (“I have a problem.”)
- Seeking solutions. (“How can I fix this problem?”)
- Looking for the BEST solution. (“Which product will really fix my problem?”)
- Looking for the best DEAL. (“How much will it cost me?”)
- (“Here are my sweet, sweet debit card digits and thank you for helping me solve my problem.”)
Where your customer is at on the cycle tells you a lot about how you should focus your page. For example:
- If they’re only at acknowledged pain and you’re pushing the lowest price anywhere, they’ll get turned off and leave. (“Too salesy.”)
- On the other hand, if they’re actively deal-hunting and you give them 1,000 words of stellar background information, they’ll bounce. (“Duh, I already know this.”)
So how do you tell where they’e at?
You don’t need a crystal ball. Or rather, you already have one. It’s called your keyword.
Your keyword tells you everything you need to know about where your customer is in the sale cycle.
Let’s use our two examples above:
- “Waterproof tents.” This person is searching for a specific kind of product that meets a very specific need. They have already acknowledged their pain and understand the solution. They’re looking for the best solution or maaaaybe the best deal. Focus on that.
- “Do I need a prenup?” Very different customer! They aren’t even sure they have any pain yet; they just have a vague feeling and want to check it out. This page should be all information, explaining who uses prenups and how they work with a gentler call to action at the end.
Whew! Alright, now we’re focused like a laser. We know exactly what your customer needs. But you still need to…
#3 Speak with Emotion (and choose the right one)
You’ve got a great outline for a landing page. It’s got everything your customer wants, tailored to exactly their needs.
So why should they read it?
That’s right. The thing about people in today’s world is…
We’re all busy.
And we’re all reeeeeeally sick of being sold to.
And we have more information we can look at than anyone in the history of humanity.
So getting on someone’s radar? A little difficult. And staying there is way harder.
But it doesn’t have to be.
This is where people give advice like, “You have to write a strong intro,” or “You need a really great headline.” And yeah, that’s true—both of those will help grab the reader—but it doesn’t end there.
You have to hit an emotional note, and it has to be the right one, and you have to keep doing it in every paragraph.
So how do you do that? Well, let’s talk about our emotions…
The three emotions that grab consumers:
- “Aha!” When you teach the reader something they truly didn’t know, they feel impressed, satisfied and appreciative. This drives trust and sales.
- “Oooh, haha!” When you simply entertain the reader (which can be funny or just cute, unexpected, surprising) they stay with you and keep reading.
- “No… No… No… oh thank G*d.” Fear is the primary emotion that drives sales. The most effective sales pages always focus on fear (and relief).
Because every potential customer has pain. They have it whether they’re admitting it or not.
Your job is to draw it out in the open. Double down and explain the problem. Show the worst it can be. Show what happens if it goes unfixed. Bring them all the way to rock bottom…
…and then offer a way out (YOUR PRODUCT).
Beginning copywriters shy away from this. They don’t want to say anything negative or “scare” the customer. But the customer is already scared. They have a niggling doubt about something in their life. You don’t have to be mean—just honest:
What is the worst that can happen if they don’t get a prenup?
What if they buy a cheap tent that isn’t waterproof?
Show them. Help them understand their problem. Be the one who shows them a way out.
(Fear is not the only emotion that works, by the way. Both teaching and entertaining the reader go a long way, as we’re about to see…)
#4 Give Them Real Information
There’s a phrase you’ll hear repeated like a mantra in the marketing world:
“Quality content… quality content… quality content… Ommmm….”
But what the heck is quality content?
Basically, it’s any landing page with some meat on its bones.
You can’t survive on emotions alone. That’s just salesman stuff. You want to be the go-to source for information, the one page your reader trusts and is swayed by.
Offer them information. Answers. Substance.
What would you do if you came to the “Do I need a prenup” page and all it was was a yes, you do, or you’ll lose everything, and a “free consultation” box?
You’d probably leave, never to return.
But what if the same page answered questions like, what kind of couples usually get one? How much does it cost? Will it hold up in court? What if my fiance doesn’t want one? It’s like you get to sit down with a lawyer and get all your questions answered for free.
Think that might be the site where you finally book an appointment?
Basically, in today’s internet, there’s a simple equation:
In-Depth Information + Accessible Style + Answers No One Else Gives = QUALITY CONTENT
And why do you need quality content? Well…
- SEO: It indirectly boosts your search ranking
- READER EXPERIENCE: Customers stay on the page longer
- TRUST: People link your page as a resource for others
- SALES: You think people are more likely to convert? Yep, you’re right.
In-depth, quality landing pages cost more. They take research time, a good writer and are usually long-form—possibly 1,500+ words. But they also work.
Not all landing pages do this. But when one doesn’t, it sounds like a carnival barker. It’s what you imagine a knockoff Viagra sales page would sound like. These pages can still work, because they’re riding the charging horses of fear and emotion, but they give the rational mind too much to object to.
The rational part of the brain is the “off switch” for emotional response. At some point the reader will question what they’re being told and, if there’s nothing there to help them rationalize it, you lose a lot of them.
But that’s not the only way to lose them…
#5 The Delicate Art of Creating Trust
It’s the difference between, Yes, I really need to buy one of these…
…and I need to buy this one, right now.
And I have some good news:
Building trust is easy.
In fact, if you followed the steps above, you’ve already built it—80% of it, anyway. The reader knows you understand them, they know you can fix their problem (and their fear), and they know you’ve given them better information than anyone else. The only remaining problem is:
They also know they’re being sold to.
And all of us, in the back of our head, have that one last worry: “What if I get ripped off?”
That’s why the end of the landing page is the most important place to build trust. If you don’t, the risk is that you become a replacement for Wikipedia and they leave with their newfound information to “think on it.” But if they trust you, they’ll take your action step.
Ways to build trust include:
- Social proof. Quotes from past clients can be scattered throughout the page.
- Have you won awards? Worked for big-name clients? Have these displayed on the page (and EVERY page) and/or refer to them in the copy.
- Refer to your company’s experience in the copy itself, and get specific. “Recently I sat down with a couple where the woman owned a business of her own, and the man sometimes helped with it…” is way better than just “I have 15 years of experiencing doing prenups.”
But the last, and most important step, is to take away the risk.
Here are ways to take away the risk:
- Money-back guarantee
- Try it on, and if you don’t like it, return shipping is on us
- 30-day free trial
- Free consultation, quote or estimate
- We charge nothing unless you get X result
All of these have one thing in common: the customer can do something and not worry about losing their money.
Actually, they have something else in common: they always come at the end.
You can mention these things anywhere, sure—they’re great hooks and selling points. But you have to emphasize them right before the call to action. It’s a final way of saying, Hey, look, I know I’m selling something but I’m not in it just for me. I want you to be happy. So…. [call to action]?
Talk to an Expert About Your Landing Pages—for Free
Your business deserves more than a cookie-cutter website. And your sales numbers deserve more than generic copy. Want a website that actually performs? We can help. ByteLaunch offers a free consultation to discuss your marketing needs and help you get the answers you need. Contact us for your free consultation today.
Could use an image like this, although this particular one is owned by a competitor: http://diggitymarketing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/sale-cycle.png