Creating a landing page is something every 4-year-old can do. Creating landing pages that convert, on the other hand, is a much more difficult task.
Luckily, we’ve had the good fortune to interview one of the top conversion writers in the world, Joel Klettke, and pick his brains about what are his best practices for creating successful landing pages.
Joel is a conversion copywriter, founder of Business Casual Copywriting, specializing in SaaS and B2B, but his knowledge spans way beyond writing. He has been involved in creating the entirely new HubSpot website, and has also been involved with sites like Sofia.ai, Clockspot.com – and when it launches, InsightSquared’s new site. I also recommend checking out his Case Study Buddy landing page that he put together.
Here are Joel’s insights for how to create effective landing pages.
Create landing pages that convert by first understanding your customer
There’s no set formula for creating landing pages that convert – but the core of any high converting landing page is a deep understanding of the lead’s pain points, priorities, anxieties and desired outcomes. You can only get those from talking to customers and reviewing their feedback, so my work focuses heavily on customer research like client interviews, surveys, review mining, testimonials, and feedback from chat logs/onsite surveys.
One of the things I’ve found to work very well and be key to success for a lot of niches is getting the “So what” out of the way really early on with a SILDI (screw-it-let’s-do-it) section. By that, I mean a very succinct, easy-to-digest section right at the top that spits out the core benefits and compelling reasons to make a purchase.
You can see a great example of this here: http://law.vogel-llp.ca/personal-injury/ in the hero section:
That top section offers TONS of proof and all the rationale the average lead will need to convert. It’s worth testing a variation on this type of section in almost any niche.
As for the most common mistakes, there are tons of them. The ones I see most often:
- Trying to cram way too much copy into the hero section. That’s not a space for long-winded paragraphs.
- Using corporate, say-nothing marketing speak and cliches. Companies are afraid to be raw or use the language of their customers which is why it’s so important to my process.
- Way-too-long bullet lists. Anything over five points and you can be virtually guaranteed a lead is glossing over most of what you’re saying.
To avoid committing that last one, I’ll stop my list there 😉
Answer your customer’s questions
People often hesitate regarding placing content above or below the fold. The truth is there is no fold. People are accessing your site on all kinds of devices. Instead, focus on structuring your page so that it sequentially answers a lead’s most important questions and solves their biggest pain points first.
A good page follows a natural narrative:
- Who/what is this company?
- Why should I care?
- Who else cares?
- How does it work?
- Why should I trust them?
- If I trust them, what do I need to do next?
Historically, I’ve been a big proponent of shorter pages – but in reading more and more long form sales pages from people like Joanna Wiebe or Kira Hug, I’m starting to invest more of my time into longer pages. When done well, they’re a beautiful thing.
Importance of content VS design in landing pages
Copy leads design. The end.
Design is only valuable if it makes the message easier and more compelling to consume. I’m not afraid of a “too beautiful” landing page unless the graphics start obscuring the message. Design is a huge factor in how we make purchase decisions. If a site looks cheap or untrustworthy, the copy will have to work even harder to build that trust.
I don’t think “beautifully designed” and “conversion oriented” are at odds. That said, you won’t catch me writing those hideous pages direct response marketers are so fond of, with a billion different fonts, random highlighting and 50 arrows pointing to different items. Yes, they work, but they make my heart hurt a little.
Landing page typography, color, imagery and layout
It’s hard to make clear design best practices since This is so context-specific. Basically, make the copy easy to consume. Don’t make me fight to read your headlines against an image background if that image makes me squint.
Have a visual hierarchy that makes headlines unmissable. Use images that complement the messaging instead of just looking pretty.
And as far as layout, let copy drive design. I’ve already mentioned that the page should be organized to answer a natural flow of questions. Beyond that, it’s just about presenting that answer in a clear way.
I can’t tell you whether the color blue converts better than green, or if you should use Garamond instead of Helvetica. Nobody can. The important thing is just that the content is clean, compelling, and consistent.
Today, there are more and more DIY tools, which is great for cost, but dangerous for critical thinking.
Yes, you can start with a template, and yes, you can use that as a basis for testing. But don’t shut your brain off. The copy is and will always be the most important part of any landing page, and if your design is keeping you from telling a compelling story, change it.
I think we’re going to see more people going long with their pages.
And I hope we see more people realizing that copy is really, really hard, and that you can’t write landing pages in a vacuum. You need customer feedback, or you’re just guessing.
Landing page that influenced you
Ben: Joel, thank you so much for spending the time and offering your insights. I’d love to know which landing page impacted you the most, and which landing page are you most proud of improving or creating?
Joel: It’s hard to say which landing page influenced me the most since I’m a student of conversion and am constantly learning.
It’s since been taken down (and I couldn’t even get a screenshot from Wayback Machine), but Joanna Wiebe’s 10x Emails landing page was an absolute CLINIC on long form sales pages.
Hopefully, they relaunch it soon.
I’m most proud of the landing pages I put together for the HubSpot redesign, like their CRM page.
They’re constantly being tested at this point, but my initial iteration for the CRM signups page drove over 20% more signups to the platform – which for a company like HubSpot is a big, big deal.
Ben: I’d love to refer our readers to a YouTube Webinar of Joel, that gives some more really interesting insights into the process of landing page optimization:
Ben: Joel has made some excellent points above regarding landing pages that convert. I’d like to repeat and strengthen his statement that while DIY page builders (like, let’s say… Elementor) do give users really powerful possibilities, it is still crucial that these users put in the time and effort into their landing pages, so they don’t end up poorly structured and written.