Rob Hope is a web designer and founder of One Page Love. In our podcast, he explains why landing pages are sometimes better than websites, demonstrates the impact that intro copy has on your landing page, and guides us on how to get real and valuable testimonials.

Rob Hope is a South-African born web designer and developer who runs One Page Love, a leading showcase of one-page websites, templates and resources.

Rob launched One Page Love in March 2008. After a decade of freelancing, he finally took the leap to work on his side projects full time. These days he is building the Email Love website while interviewing guests on his Yo! Podcast. When not building online he loves to surf, travel and listen to 90’s punk rock.


Why Building a Landing Page

Let’s start from the basics: what are reasons to build a landing page instead a multipage website?

“So a landing page is where you land up off the marketing efforts. So you have a Facebook ad, you have an Instagram ad, and through those targeting tools they offer on those platforms, you can really find that person. You can sift through the world of people in social media and you can now show them something and try to direct them to your landing page.

Gone are the days where you would just advertise your homepage from all your marketing. With your product, your product is a niche product. And imagine you offer five different things. Imagine you are an eCommerce store, you can’t just send people to your homepage through your social media. So what the landing page does is it helps filter the massive audience out there. And in turn, what that does is that it actually increases conversions, your landing page, because it’s targeting a certain user. And it’s also respecting that people are different. Now, everyone’s with different problems, everyone’s after something different. And if we can actually help filter that audience to different landing pages in our website, 10, 20, whatever, it really helps increase the sales.”


The Importance of Intro Copy

We attended Rob’s lecture at WordCamp 2019 in Berlin, where he explaind what makes a landing page convert. We wanted to use the opportunity and dive deep into this topic, which is interesting for anyone building websites — how to create a landing page that really drives more conversions? are there any guidelines for the intro copy for example?

“Well, first of all, thanks for watching the talk. You always hope that someone’s going to choose your track over the other tracks. But the room was full, I was really stoked. So the intro copy is it’s overlooked, it’s really overlooked. We as the… I should say, we as a marketer, as a business owner, and sometimes you do everything in your business and you are so involved in your day-to-day activities. You land up just giving the website that you think would be what the user wants. And it’s not, you need to switch your thinking. And the intro copy always identifies with a user problem. So I promise you that 90% of the landing pages I review will start off, and it’ll say, ‘We are the next best solution that are innovative.’

And they use all these big buzzwords to sound important. But there’s someone who’s sitting on their phone on the train who is actually looking for solutions to a problem they’re having. And they’re human being, they want things really simple and to the point. And as soon as that intro copy is just word, you’ll lose them. You’ll lose them completely. They’re thinking, ‘Well, you know what? These people actually don’t care about me. They haven’t identified my problem, they’re just trying to target everyone else.’ So that intro copy, when you can identify with a real simple problem that someone’s got and just offer a solution straight away, that’s when they really start to engage, and they’ll actually begin to scroll.”


Identifying With the Person on the Other Side

What are the common mistakes that Rob usually sees in the first part of a landing page?

“So you know what’s so overlooked, again, just with that intro copy is that the landing page has been built from the designer’s point of view or developer’s or the owner’s point of view. It’s not really understanding that there is someone on the other end that’s may be emotional, they’re looking for a solution, they’re frustrated, they’re not identifying that.

There’s often a very simple solution to what someone’s looking for. But you’ll go and put a seven megabytes header image in the intro that someone’s loading up on their mobile phone, and then all the text is super wordy and they have to scroll three times before there’s actually a simple explanation of what we are trying to actually sell someone here. So, yeah, let’s go macro here — It’s about not being a human being and identifying with the person on the other side and just relating to them, and saying, ‘Hey, I understand that you’re frustrated, and you know what? I can help you and here’s the solution.'”


How to Get Real and Valuable Testimonials for Your Landing Page​

Testimonials are an essential part of a landing page. How should you go about getting the right testimonials that will help you generate more conversions?

“I wanted to add that to my WordCamp talk because I had these perfect testimonials by real people. And I know people in the audience were thinking, ‘Well, geez, that’s all very well, do I create fake ones?’ I mean, the easiest way to get a testimonial is you need to offer your product to free, to opinion leader. And also, guide them in the testimonial. And don’t say, ‘Hey, can you please write me a testimonial?’ Just say, ‘Hey, here’s my product. Please don’t send me a good testimonial if you don’t believe this product is good.’ Start there. And then go, ‘What I’m looking for in this testimonial is just if you could speak about your favorite feature in our product or service,’ or say, ‘Was there anything to do with time saving that you appreciated because that’s what I’m… we want to talk about time saving?’ If it’s not, then don’t mention it, but if it is.

So it’s about guiding that person. You really need to enforce opinion leaders within your niche. I always use an example like dog training. It’s just a classic in a landing page you would create… so you’re selling this course about dog training. And there’s that famous guy, he’s always on TV. I forget his name, but you would go straight there and try and get a testimonial from him. And if you can’t get him, try and get someone else. You’d search dog training on Twitter, and then find some people with a lot of followers, and then those are recognized within your niche, within your community, and then you need to have a really good photo of them, their name, how established are they. This is an award-winning dog trainer, and he thought that this was a very concise, well packed 30-minute course, you know what I mean.

So it’s about approaching those opinion leaders. But again, from the user’s point of view, if he sees an anonymous avatar, that gray head, and it says, ‘Outstanding service,’ and that person’s name is John Smith, it’s just a bad testimonial and a waste of space. It almost feels like a placeholder. So you need to ask yourself, that user, what kind of testimonial would they want to see? And if it’s dog training, maybe another dog owner, maybe a family of two, that could be your target audience, and you would say like, ‘This is Joe and Scott, and they have been dog owners for four years, or new dog owners, something like that.’ You need to think about who the audience that is trying to get out training videos. And you need to put yourselves in their head and then place those testimonials accordingly in the landing page.”


Great Design Shows That You Care About Your Product

How important is design when building landing pages?

“Yeah, it’s interesting because let’s go back to the course we said about dealing with the struggle of divorce and so on. I would say design is less important in those cases. I’ve seen them, I’ve seen the landing pages with tons of texts, terrible images, but they actually, they do have good testimonials, they do have good reviews. I definitely think 99% of them are way too long. They’re just repeating the same thing the whole time. If anything you really need that sticky header bar that stays there with that buy button at the top as people are scrolling, just have it there visible at all time. You don’t have to repeat that pricing table 12 times like I’ve seen in the real dirty ones.

But when it comes to selling an icon pack or maybe a WordPress theme, design can cut through a lot of that noise out there. Let’s think of the WordPress theme directory. There are some terribly designed WordPress themes on the theme directory. So if you present your WordPress theme in a beautiful landing page with great looking testimonials and gradients and some drop shadows and so on, it is important. I would say for our community, design is definitely something you should invest in. Don’t overlook it. Also, for me, maybe because I’ve been involved in design a long time, when I see design and consistencies, I immediately assume that the product might be similar. There might be inconsistencies in the build. Great design shows me that you care about your product, and you probably going to deliver a real special product, and I’m willing to spend money on that.”