Best of Marketing Examples #003 — My step-by-step guide to writing landing pages

Hey — I'm back. Today it's all about landing pages.
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My step by step guide to landing pages which convert
(The “Best of” #003 • 4 mins)
Hey — I'm back.
Today, it's all about landing pages.
Great landing pages follow a pattern. I learnt this making dozens. It was my old job. Then I did it for clients.
This is the step-by-step guide I wish I had when I started. Enjoy ;)
* * *
There's two parts of a landing page: what's immediately visible (above the fold) and what the user scrolls to (below the fold).
Let's start above the fold. To quote Donald Miller, a caveman should be able to glance at it and immediately grunt back what you offer.
Here's my formula:
1/ Explain the value you provide (title)
2/ Explain how you'll create it (subtitle)
3/ Let the user visualise it (visual)
4/ Make it believable (social proof)
5/ Make taking the next step easy (CTA)

1/ Title

There's one hundred ways to write a great title. I'm going to focus on three.
1/ Explain what you do
When your product is unique all you have to do is explain what you do as simply as possible.
2/ Hooks
Most products aren't unique. So a hook adds oomph. The easiest way to write hooks is to address your customer's biggest objection.
3/ Own your niche
Some startups transcend hooks. Another pattern is to own your niche in one line. Write with conviction. You're THE solution.

2/ Subtitle

Subtitles are where you get specific. Introduce the product. Explain how it creates the value in your title.

3/ Visual

Show off your product in all its glory. The goal is to get as close to reality as possible.
Don't show me fancy illustrations. Show me your product. Or even better, your product in action.

4/ Social proof

Social proof (above the fold) adds instant credibility to the value you're promising.
Take Privy for example. Any startup can write “How small brands sell more online”. But it's their “18,000+ reviews” that make you believe it.

5/ CTA

Your CTA makes taking the next step easy.
Most buttons emphasise action: Sign Up, Start Trial etc. Here's three more compelling CTA types.
1/ Call to value
Buttons which emphasise “value” over “action” usually perform better. The trick is to fulfil the value your title promises.
2/ Objection Handle
Add a few words to your CTA to handle the user's biggest objection to clicking.
3/ Email Capture + CTA
Pair email capture with your CTA to make signing up as easy as possible.
This doesn't mean sacrificing customer info. You can collect whilst onboarding.

“Above the fold” recap

In five seconds customers try to establish whether or not you can help them. Make their life easy.
1/ Explain the value you provide (title)
2/ Explain how you'll create it (subtitle)
3/ Let the user visualise it (visual)
4/ Make it believable (social proof)
5/ Make taking the next step easy (CTA)

“Below the fold”

Above the fold you earn the customer's attention. Below the fold you earn the sale. Here's the last five steps:
6/ Make the value concrete (features and objections)
7/ Inspire action (social proof)
8/ Tie up loose ends (FAQ)
9/ Repeat your call to action (2nd CTA)
10/ Make yourself memorable (Founder's note)

6/ Features and Objections

The first thing you do below the fold is make concrete the value you promise above the fold.
Take Riverside for example. Their title promises “podcasts that look and sound amazing”. Their first two features make this concrete.
The second thing you do is handle your customer's biggest objections.
This means talking to customers. Group together reoccurring objections. Use their own words to handle them.

7/ More social proof

Above the fold social proof is about credibility. Below the fold social proof is about inspiring action. It's a free pass to sell your product.
Use existing customers to bring to life the value you promise.
• “Get a smile you love” → Customers smiling
• “Email reinvented” → Customers describing the difference
• “How small brands sell more” → Sales numbers

8/ FAQ

There's going to be features and objections you want to mention that don't fit in neatly above. This is where your FAQ comes in.
Write them down. Reframe into questions and answers.

9/ 2nd CTA

We've done the hard selling. It's time for our 2nd CTA.
This time we've got the luxury of space. So instead of dropping one measly button remind the customer why they're clicking.

10/ Founder's note

Finally, you leave the customer with a story that makes you easy to sum up.
1/ Put yourself in their shoes
2/ Explain their problem
3/ Take ownership of it
4/ Show the happy ending
You're walking them down a path they'll want to walk themselves. Oh, and people buy from people.

Putting it all together

1/ Explain the value you provide (title)
2/ Explain how you'll create it (subtitle)
3/ Let the user visualise it (visual)
4/ Make it believable (social proof)
5/ Make taking the next step easy (CTA)
6/ Make the value concrete (features and objections)
7/ Inspire action (social proof)
8/ Tie up loose ends (FAQ)
9/ Repeat your call to action (2nd CTA)
10/ Make yourself memorable (Founder's note)

One last thing

Your landing page is your sales pitch. Never forget this. Examine each element and ask:
Would this help me sell if I met the customer in person?
If not, remove it. And if you don't know go out and sell in person.
You'll learn that fancy words and random images of people shaking hands don't get you far. More importantly, you'll learn the attitude of your customer and the words you need to convince them.
* * *
Phew! You made it. If you read every word I salute you.
This was a long one, so I won't ramble on.
See you tomorrow — Harry
New round here? Welcome aboard. Previous case studies here. Or, you can join the newsletter here :)

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