How to write landing page copy that converts like crazy (even if it’s your first time)

Image credit: Pixabay

Everybody has that one skill they really excel at, and over the last few years, mine has been writing landing page copy.

It all started as a venture to write copy for my own landing pages (after wasting thousands of dollars on designers, ad professionals, and copywriters who didn’t know what they were doing)…

Then after some valuable information and a little bit of practice, I was able to start producing landing pages that were converting just over 8%:

At the time I wasn’t sure if that was good or bad, as I was just happy to see conversion rates higher than 1%…

But after doing this for awhile and loving my results, I decided to speak with a friend of mine who deals with large companies (like, sameish size as Cabelas) and asked what a good conversion rate was for him.

His response?

If we can get a 0.75%, we’re happy.

(Mind = blown.)

Here I was getting 8% for my rinky dink free course, but large companies couldn’t get over 1%? Something had to be off.

This led me onto a journey of more research, where I started looking for “average” conversion rates that I could compare to…

And after a little while I found a study given by Unbounce, where they mentioned how the average conversion rate was 2–5%.

This seemed a little more legit to me, but seeing how I was able to produce results higher than this every time…

I figured I’d venture into the freelance world and see what I could do for clients.

At the time I was a freelance “copywriter” for Tax Firms, although I was more focused on creating content (like blogs) than anything else…

And even though I spent most of my time looking for this specific job posting, I couldn’t help but see people looking for landing page copywriters all the time (in many different ways).

This led me to submitting a few random proposals on a whim, not really caring if I landed them, but awesome if I did…

And a few proposals later, I landed my first gig…

But it wasn’t just any gig, this person actually happened to be a Bravo TV star selling an online course.

Scared was an understatement and I honestly thought about withdrawing my proposal, but then they mentioned how their current landing page was converting at (less than)1%:

Scary rates, but unfortunately common…

And knowing I could easily beat that, I decided to take on their project…

Getting a 7% conversion ratio in the first week, and receiving this feedback (plus testimonial):

Immediately after that I picked up another gig that paid $400 for 3.5 hours of work:

And after seeing the results on this, they actually kept me on to do all the landing pages for their other clients (large marketing firm), giving me a lot of experience in this lucrative niche.

Now I’m not saying this to brag or anything like that, I’m saying this because:

  1. Anybody can learn this skill. Trust me, I didn’t even know what a landing page was 3.5 years ago
  2. There’s a lot of terrible landing pages out there today, and I’d really like to see some new copywriters fix this dilemma — which is why I’m about to share some useful information with you….

Starting with:

Step #1 — Understand who your target audience is

In today’s world everybody is always looking for “hacks” and “tactics”, when in all honesty — they should be looking for fundamentals and underlying principles…

Because without a solid foundation, nothing else really matters.

This is the same reason why I think so many landing pages fail today, as everybody skips this step and instead, starts worrying about UI/UX design…

But trust me, if you want to be a successful landing page copywriter — you need to take a few seconds and understand your target market.

The good news is that it’s really not that hard to do, and usually requires nothing more than a good 30 minute search around Reddit.

Why Reddit?

Because there’s subreddits for nearly every group of people out there today, and reading through these Reddits provides valuable information on what your target market is saying.

Going back to my first landing page example, the person I was working with wanted to design a course for busy moms who didn’t have time to get to the gym.

Knowing who my target market was now, I decided to jump into the “Fitness” subreddit and started looking for threads that’d match what my target market had to say.

I did this for a good 30 minutes, and after scrolling through countless examples of:

  • How do you get to the gym at 5 a.m.?
  • How long do I need to be at the gym to make a difference?
  • Best workout routine to keep me on track
  • I can never stay motivated to workout at home
  • Etc, etc, etc…

I quickly realized that the biggest obstacle our target audience faced was finding time to workout, and having a routine to keep them on track.

Which led me onto:

Step #2 — Finding the right offer

Now time was something I already knew was going to be a major pain point, as that’s what every busy professional complains about…

But the one thing I didn’t realize was how many people were looking for a routine to keep them on track.

This seemed to be part of nearly every thread that I read, so after reviewing my notes and seeing this consistent problem — I knew this had to be part of our landing page offer.

That’s when I applied this problem into my formula of:

[Problem]? Get my [free item] and see [results]…

Which at this time, looked like this:

“Need a routine that gives you motivation to work out every day? Get my [free item] and see [results]”

That’s when I went back and looked at their current offer, mainly to see how it’d fit into my formula…

And then I realized how big of disconnect they had with their target market.

Instead of offering something that fit into routine or saving time, they were offering a free ebook that talked about different meal plans.

Now don’t get me wrong, that could be a valuable asset for other target markets looking to get in shape…

But when you’re targeting busy moms who want a routine they can count on, showing them how to spend 5 hours every Sunday for meal prep probably isn’t going to be the best option.

This is when I emailed the business owner with my findings, and after she asked what I’d recommend to fix this issue…

I simply replied:

“Let’s give them 5 free days of your course. That’ll give them enough time to start a routine, and if they like it, then they’ll enroll in the paid version”.

She was a little reluctant at first, but finally agreed to it…

And well, as I mentioned earlier, that 7x increase in conversions was all she needed to see.

The takeaway:

I don’t care if you have the best design or a $1,000 per hour copywriter, without the right offer — you’re screwed.

This is why it’s extremely important to understand your target market first and have the right offer in place, because without that foundation in place…

Nothing else really matters.

Step #3 — When possible, always start your landing page with an image

One of the easiest things you can do to stand out online is just show that you’re real.

This is the same reason why videos work so well (as people can actually see you)…

And if you’ve ever noticed, all major successful online companies always have a “face of the company”.

For ClickFunnels, it’s Russell Brunson…

For Digital Press, it’s Nicolas Cole…

For “I Will Teach You to Be Rich”, it’s Ramit Sethi…

And the list goes on forever, but here’s where I’m going with this — people buy from people, not companies.

This is the same reason why I always advise starting every single one of your landing pages with a picture, as it allows the reader to put a face to the company and make them more likely to convert.

(Trust me, this works. I’ve tested a lot of landing pages and every single time the version that included an image worked better, sometimes 2x as good).

And if you’re working with somebody who doesn’t want to put a face on the company?

Don’t worry about it too much as it’s not “absolutely necessary”, just tell them that it helps and that’s about all you can do.

P.S. One exception to this rule is e-commerce stores because they’re selling a product, which isn’t dependent on the person (as opposed to coaching, service, courses, books, etc)…

The takeaway:

Do everything you can to make the reader feel like they’re talking to a person, not a company.

This is opposite of conventional wisdom/what every other company does, I know, but that’s also why it works so well.

Step #4 — Create a headline that talks to them right away

Okay, so now that we’ve went over the fundamentals of writing a killer landing page, it’s time to go over tactics…

And the good news is that it’s not too complicated.

When you really think about it, landing page copy is broken down into two parts:

  1. The headline (what catches their attention right away)
  2. Specific benefits and features showing why your product (or service) is beneficial to the reader…

And they’re both important, but if you don’t grab their attention right away then the rest is worthless — so let’s go over this first.

3 principles that have always worked for me

When I first learned how to become a copywriter, I was taught 8 different ways to create a headline….

And even though each of these principles work well in their own respective format, I’ve learned that landing page headlines always work best when following one of these 3 options:

  1. Ask a question that relates directly to your product and make the reader answer it

Example — “What would you do if you earned $1,000 or more on the side using skills you already have?”

2. Give the reader useful information

Example — “Free guide reveals the 7 mistakes that prevent people from finding their Dream Job”

3. When in doubt, use a “how” headline

Example — “How to win friends and influence people”

Looks complicated?

Don’t worry, it gets easier…

And here’s one thing most people don’t realize, headlines never just start out in their final format.

What do I mean?

Well, it’s a lot easier to start with a simple benefit and then pump it up after that…

So whenever I start creating headline copy, I always write down 3 variations in plain english first.

To give us an example of this, let’s say we were writing headline copy for a free email course that teaches people how to start a side hustle.

After doing my research and understanding my target audience a little better, I’d write down something along the lines of :

  • Learn how you can make $1,000 or more from the comfort of your couch
  • Freelancing is the best side hustle
  • You don’t need a part time job to make extra money

Then after I have these 3 variations down, I’d simply reformat them into a headline principle — which would give me something along the lines of:

  • Wanna learn how you can make an extra $1K by freelancing online?
  • Free email course reveals the best way to make side income (without wasting your time)
  • How to make money on the side, without picking up another soul-sucking job

And after that, you simply pick your favorite one…

But here’s a pro-tip for you: pick your favorite headline so you can create the final copy — then after that, send all 3 the clients way so they can choose their favorite as well.

Doing this not only makes them like you more (as it looks like you’re an overachiever), but it also allows them to do some A/B testing…

And it requires zero extra work from you (since you’re doing it anyway), so it doesn’t make sense not to.

The takeaway:

Write down the main benefit of your freebie in 3 different variations, then after that — reformat each of these variations into one of the principles I mentioned above.

This will give you everything you need to create a headline that hooks the reader, and after that, it’s time to move onto:

Step #5 — The body of your landing page

So when I first started to learn copywriting, my instructor would always mention bullet points…

Like to the extent that I thought he had a weird obsession with them.

He would always do everything he could to somehow mention bullet points, even going so far that he’d refer to them as “fascination points”…

And I never understood what he was doing until we got to the module on creating landing pages, but then I realized why he was so adamant…

Why?

Because they’re the simplest (and most effective) way to get a point across, without having to write a lot of words.

Hell, to be honest with you, some of the best landing pages I’ve ever created have followed the simple format of headline + 3 bullet points…

Headline, short intro, bullet points = the perfect layout

And just like how I always do my headlines, when it comes to writing bullet points — I start small then work my way up.

The easiest way to do this is by creating 3 primary benefits in plain english, so going back to my side hustle example — we could put something like:

  • Make $1K per month
  • Learn fun skills
  • Have flexibility to make money whenever

Then after we have these 3 bullet points in place, it’s time to turn them into the final version…

And there’s a small process I go through to reach this point, but in the simplest form — it’s really just explaining a feature with a benefit.

What do I mean?

It’s always easier to explain with real life examples, so let’s just convert the 3 bullet points above into final formats:

  • Shows you how to make $1K per month, giving you more financial freedom and allowing you to do the things you’ve wanted to do…
  • Learn fun skills that you can use for a lifetime, something that essentially allows you to get paid for doing things you love…
  • And have the flexibility to make extra money whenever you need it, which can be extremely helpful when life’s moments come up…

So as you can see, I really just take the main benefit and elaborate on it.

I usually do this by showing the reader what the main benefit could do for them (because that’s really all they care about)…

And if you’re just starting out as a landing page copywriter, it’s usually best to just leave these 3 bullet points as the entire body of your landing page.

I say this because it works amazing and by following this format, you’re essentially guaranteed to get conversions…

(As long as you hit the right points)

But if you ever want to take your results to the next level, you can then start turning these bullet points into a “short sales letter”, which would be something like this.

“Giving you the freedom to work from home….

And working as much (or little) as you want?

I know this sounds like a dream now, but trust me — if I can do it….

Then you can too.

There’s no hoax or scams, I just want to teach you a valuable skill that’ll be useful for the rest of your life…

And if you’re interested, please grab my free email course, 
How to start a side hustle in 48 hours, without leaving your couch!

A course that’ll tell you everything you need to know.”

The takeaway:

No matter what, always start with bullet points.

As with everything I do, it’s always easiest to start small and pump your words up after that…

And if you want to leave in bullet point format, then that works perfectly…

But if you want to try and expand them out into a short sales letter, that usually works a little better (even though it’s a lot harder).

And now that we have the body in place, it’s time to move onto the 6th and final step…

Step #6 — Creating a killer call-to-action

I really don’t know why, but the hardest thing for me to learn was always creating the right call-to-action (button that gets them to take action).

Before taking my copywriting course I guess I never realized this was a thing and thought all of them should say something along the lines of “submit” or “get started”…

But after taking my course, I learned it was actually the exact opposite as the right call-to-action makes a huge difference…

And here’s the “good” part, there’s really no formula for this — it’s just saying what your target market would say.

Some of my favorite examples are:

  • “Gimme” — used by Derek Halpern, who targets millennials
  • “Send it” — one I’ve used for a lot of my freelancing landing pages, and I also target millennials
  • “Let me in” — A call-to-action used by the guys over at Traffic and Funnels…

So as you can see, it really doesn’t need to be fancy — just don’t use the generic “submit” option and you’re already off to a great start.

The important things to remember are:

  1. Think about what your target market would say/like/have thoughts of
  2. Don’t use generic words like submit…

And if you do those 2 things, your call-to-action will be just fine.

Closing thoughts…

Landing pages are a very hot niche right now, and I honestly think they will be for years to come.

Why?

Because people are starting to realize that generic websites don’t work, and the only way to get sales is by setting up funnels that relate directly to the reader.

This is the same reason why you see a lot of people blogging on popular sites (like LinkedIn) then sending traffic back to a landing page that starts a specific funnel…

And that’s all a story for a different time, but if you follow the steps I just provided you — then you’re well on your way to becoming a successful landing page copywriter.

Just remember, with the current average being 2.5%…

The bar isn’t set too high, which allows you to easily stand out from the crowd and create the results your clients are looking for…

But like everything else, it does take a few rounds of learning/practice before working with clients, so just make sure you have some results first (easiest way to test is a small advertising budget, but blogs work too).

P.S. Want to learn more about marketing your business? Check this out