The landing page is the digital equivalent of your storefront door. It welcomes visitors and gives them that crucial first impression of your business. But to have a high-converting landing page in 2023, you can’t rely on sleek designs and fancy visuals. You need something else – something more critical. Exceptional copywriting. Compelling copy is what will attract attention and inspire your visitors to take action. In this guide, we’ll provide the most up-to-date copywriting tips for websites in 2023 to use on your landing pages and some copywriting best practices.
The Power of Copywriting
Words matter. It’s true in everyday life, and it’s true in online business, too. Good copywriting is the engine of your digital marketing. So don’t sideline it or assume it’s an extra frill. It’s what will drive your success. When business owners put copywriting first, they’ll power up that engine. They go from having a bland identikit marketing approach to one that’s unique and resonates with web visitors.
Your copywriting efforts must step far beyond stringing together a few words. Good copywriting is about forming a punchy narrative that helps your business connect with potential customers. It’s the connection between those two entities that matters the most. It helps your business convey information, address a pain point, and get that person to take action. But most importantly, effective copy is delivered in your unique voice – the voice of your brand.
Copywriting is important to SEO, too. Search engines forever evolve, as anyone who has been on the sharp end of a Google update will testify. The art of crafting effective copy on blog posts ensures you have content that suits those ever-changing algorithms. After all, what’s the point of trying to connect with a target audience on a web page unless you can reach those people in the first place? And as the web becomes more competitive – especially those coveted Google top spots, anything less than exceptional content could be detrimental to your business. In short, every word, sentence, and paragraph matters. You must captivate, convince, and convert.
Understanding Your Target Audience
All writing needs an audience. But not all audiences are the same. Before you can write, you need to know who you are writing to – who your audience is. Let’s explore this in more detail.
Understanding your audience means doing some market research to establish your buyer personas. Start by delving into the data – look at industry reports, run surveys, and analyze wider trends. What you need to focus on with this research are buyers’ preferences, habits, and pain points. This is your groundwork for figuring out your ideal customer, and it’s fundamental to get it done before you write a single work. It will ensure every web page, sales proposal, and social media post is fully aligned with the needs and desires of your prospective customers.
Research Competitor Messages
It’s good to understand the messages that already reach your target audience. So begin by examining competitor messages, including their web copy. It will help you spot gaps between the narrative already out there and what you have to share with your audience. Are there weak promises? Do messages have a value proposition, or is this missing? Remember to look at where competitors are performing well, too. It will help provide a baseline for your copywriting.
Digging Deep to Unearth Pain Points
Your initial phase of research will have uncovered a few needs for your target audience. But you need to dig deeper. Exploratory surveys which ask more pertinent questions are helpful at this point. The goal here is to understand the psychology of your target customer. What’s causing them pain or keeping them awake at night? What secret aspirations do they have, and how will your product or service tap into them?
You really want to peel back the layers here. If you are selling a mattress, you aren’t selling a place to sleep. You’re selling good quality sleep to those who are suffering extreme tiredness. That’s the pain point. You’re offering a blissful night’s sleep. That’s the aspiration.
Copywriting and Landing Pages: The First Touchpoint
When a visitor clicks on your ad, there is a subconscious question or need in their mind. The landing page copy is there to answer that question, reassure the visitor, and remind them they are in the right place.
Landing pages are – in effect – the first touch point with your customers before they get to product pages or sales pitches. It’s kind of like a handshake. So, it sets the tone for the relationship. We won’t go into detail in this article about the design and technicalities, though. Here, we’ll focus on copywriting, which is at the heart of any successful landing page.
One word to summarize effective landing page copy is transformative. It has a transformational effect on the visitor to that page. It turns a casual visitor into an engaged lead. It guides them down a path, enticing them to discover more about your brand. It’s also there to elicit a desired action – on a landing page, that’s most likely to enter and submit their email address. Landing page copy makes or breaks the visitor’s decision about whether to engage further.
Good copy speaks directly to the visitor’s intent, and it offers solutions, value, and a compelling reason to dive further. And it strikes the perfect balance between persuasion and clarity. But first, you need the value proposition. Let’s explore that further.
The Value Proposition
At the heart of your landing page copywriting approach, you need your value proposition. This is the unique benefit of what you have on offer on that landing page. So if you offer a free video course, the value proposition will clearly explain the benefit of that course, why it’s unique and better than alternatives, and it directly addresses the target customer’s pain point and how the solution helps.
Let’s look at Dropbox for an example of the best way to write good copy. Simplify your life. It’s a grand statement. It’s also an incredibly short sentence. But it says a lot. It reaches out to a pain point (complications and disorganization in someone’s life) and uses a powerful word offering a promise or a benefit: simplify. It’s also direct. It’s not “our customers’ lives” it’s “your life.” They are speaking directly to their audience. That’s important.
So start drafting some ideas on your value proposition. Check each idea over to see if it answers these three questions:
- Does it offer a benefit?
- Is it unique?
- Does it address a pain point or aspiration?
The Structure of Your Landing Page Copy
Now that you have your value proposition, you have the basic foundation for your landing page copy. But your landing page is more than a heading. Here is the typical copy structure of your landing page.
The headline will outline your value proposition, and it’s the first thing your potential clients will see. It’s there to grab attention and spark interest. It should entice readers, convey that promise, and make them want to delve deeper. Remember, when writing your headline, to consider your brand voice. Your page must feel authentic.
After the headline is the subheadline, here, you are offering additional clarity with your copy. That might be explaining your offer or adding a supporting point to reinforce your message.
You don’t need to add more copy after the sub-headline, but if you do, this is normally the place where you’ll list benefits, maybe using bullet points if the format helps. Note – these shouldn’t be features. They should connect with the benefit as far as the audience is concerned. A 10-page eBook is a feature; a 10-step solution is a benefit.
You don’t want your audience clicking away, thinking they can engage with your offer later. You want them to take action now. You’ll need to use this section to create urgency, like offer scarcity like a free trial to the first 20 takers, to help spur immediate action.
You can add more information to help reassure your reader. It might be some copy that addresses objections or concerns or a guarantee statement. It builds trust.
Understanding Visitor Intent
No visitor arrives on your landing page by accident. They land there because they’ve seen an ad, article, or comment on social media. There is a reason for that click – an intent – and when you understand that, it will help you write effective copy for that landing page.
Perhaps they seek information. Perhaps they want to buy from you. Maybe they need a solution to a problem they are experiencing. Or maybe they are exploring and researching different options. You should tailor your landing page copy to one intent so that it perfectly meets your visitors’ needs when they see your page. It makes that landing page more relevant and personalized.
For example, imagine someone searching for winter running shoes. Their intent is to research before buying. They need a landing page that tells them about the benefits of winter running shoes and perhaps talks about some of the challenges of running during the winter. If that’s what you deliver with your landing page copy, you’re on to a winner.
In contrast, if you used that landing page to talk about your price or a special discount without talking about the benefits of your winter running shoe, that’s not going to work. It doesn’t match up with the intent. The buyer isn’t looking for the cheapest shoe. They want specific qualities to match their needs.
The key takeaway here is to avoid generic landing pages with copywriting you’ve seen work elsewhere because that doesn’t address user intent. No matter how beautifully crafted your words, that page won’t resonate with your target customer. And you won’t convert visitors.
Copywriting in Your Call to Action
You may think it doesn’t take much time to a call to action because it’s as simple as adding a button that says click here, or sign up now. But this part of your landing page is about you closing your pitch. It’s a pivotal moment, and it needs to be persuasive. It is your final chance to urge your visitors to take action before they click away. The Call to Action (CTA) should have the following features:
It’s Clear and Precise
A CTA must be clear so it’s easy to understand. Keep it short and avoid vague or cute language that could leave people confused.
It Offers Readers a Sense of Urgency
Give your visitor a reason to take action now instead of delaying it until later, such as reminding them that they can get that promised benefit as soon as they make that decision. But ensure they are genuine, as it’s important for you to build trust with your audience. So avoid tacky messages telling the reader the offer will “go away” unless you genuinely do plan to remove the offer from the internet.
Remember Your Value Proposition
Don’t forget to echo the benefit your visitor will gain. If you are offering a free course, try “start lesson one now” rather than “join the course”.
You want words that stand out on the page. Your CTA has to be noticeable, so avoid blandness in your writing.
Use an Active Voice
Actionable language is a subtle reminder that the visitor must take action – they need to do something, not passively read your page. Choose some active verbs to help convey this, but keep it engaging and friendly.
Using Emotions in Your Copywriting
Emotions drive behavior. So when we make decisions, we may think they are logical, but there will always be an emotional undercurrent. In copywriting, particularly for landing pages, you can tap into these emotional triggers to help your message have more impact.
Trust and Safety
Tap Into Desires
Descriptive writing will help your reader visualize the benefit of your offer. Paint a better picture of tomorrow, where their dreams and desires are realized. Fitness and weight loss companies are highly effective at this, but you can do this in any niche with enough creativity.
Fear of missing out is a real thing, and it’s highly effective on sales and landing pages. Try exclusivity in your offer or scarcity, and remind them what they will miss if they don’t snap up what you’ve got.
Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Feel their struggles and pains, and write in an empathetic way. Great copy that tells your reader why you understand them will help connect you to your audience.
Bring Joy and Delight to Your Page
Emotional language must include positivity. Have elements of your landing page that are light, joyful, or fun. You want to leave your audience uplifted by your page. A positive attitude will increase the chance of conversions.
Streamline Your Content to Make It Scannable
Readers are busy, and they are unlikely to read every word on your page. Many will skim and quickly scan your content. They’ll pick out keywords that attract their attention. So, your copywriting needs to reflect this.
The content your reader is most likely to notice is your headline. It’s why it must be catchy and attention-grabbing. If it interests them, the reader is then likely to scan your subheadline. That’s why conciseness is important. If you feel the need to provide more content in your subheadings, use bullet points to make them easier to scan.
Clever formatting will help your copywriting. Use bold to highlight keywords and focus on the action words and the benefits. Italics also work well to stress a key sentence. You could also use colors to help certain words stand out on the page. Break up your paragraphs so they are short to read, and use short sentences.
Don’t forget the power of images. Like they say, images say a thousand words. It could be a good way to show the more aspirational side of your landing page – the vision.
The CTA needs to be clear and must stand out on the page so the specific action is clear. Again, a small word count is vital, and you can use formatting like brightly-colored buttons to ensure this stands out.
Remember that a landing page isn’t a home page, so you aren’t directing visitors to elsewhere. So keep it simple.
Testing Your Copy
The journey to a well-written landing page doesn’t stop once the page is live. That’s when most of the work begins. User behaviors, preferences, and markets change all the time, which means your copy needs to continually adapt. So how do you do that? The answer is to test and optimize your copy.
The easiest way to test is via split testing, also known as A/B testing. It’s where you run half your traffic to one version of your page and the other half to an alternative version. You then measure the conversion rates to see which has the best conversion. Most landing page tools include this A/B testing facility.
User feedback is also invaluable. You can use heatmap technology or survey your visitors to get their feelings about your landing page.
Review your analytics, too, including Google Analytics and any branded analytics as part of your landing page creation tool. If you notice a drop in conversion rates or a higher bounce rate, it could be that your page isn’t working as well as it did. It might signal that it’s time to make a change. Perhaps market conditions changed, and your offer is now out of date, and your landing page needs to reflect that.
If you do make changes, take an iterative approach. Don’t overhaul the entire copy on the page. Tweak one headline or one sentence. Do things slowly, and monitor the changes as you go.
Avoiding Common Copywriting Pitfalls
There are a few common mistakes to avoid when writing your landing page. Though each landing page and offer comes with its own challenges, there are some typical pitfalls to understand.
The first is a vagueness in your writing. This often happens when you aren’t 100% clear on what you are offering to your audience and why. If your writing seems vague, you need to return to the start and ask yourself who your customer is and why your offer is relevant to them. Perhaps you have doubts about it, which is normal. But if you can’t get to the bottom of why your offer is important to your customer, it may be time to start again from scratch.
The second mistake is to use jargon in your writing or writing in a wordy fashion. That often happens when you are an expert in something complex or technical. While you may feel comfortable with that language, it could alienate your visitor. Run your text through hemingwayapp.com to see what the reading level of your writing is, and ask a friend for their opinion. You may find it better to hire a copywriter who is a step removed and can write in a more approachable manner.
The third mistake is to let your copy go out of date. While that may sound strange, it’s relatively common. You could write the year in your copy and forget to change it in January. Or you could refer to a trend or technology that’s no longer around.
The fourth mistake is a lack of proofreading. We all make occasional errors in our work, but a once-over is often not enough to catch some of the smaller errors. Use Grammarly to check your writing and do a manual proofread by reading all your text out loud.
Copywriting Tips for Websites: Wrapping Up
Your landing page is a beacon for your business, guiding your website visitors through the rest of your sales funnel and to your sales page. Use these copywriting tips for websites to help fine-tune your landing page, and you’ll start to see the conversion rate improvements you need. And remember that good website copy needs to extend to the rest of your online profile. For more help, reach out to our team. We can do a free assessment of your current landing page and give you some practical tips.