No, I’m not about to sell you on some multi-level marketing scheme that involves you recruiting your mom.
I’m talking about your landing pages.
You’re spending marketing dollars to drive people to your landing pages. In turn, you’re hoping that the leads those pages generate turn into more money.
And this is where you’re missing out on the money.
With a few simple tweaks, you can give your lead page conversion rate a nice bump. That nice bump then leads to more money.
See how that works?
Here are 6 reasons your landing page isn’t converting, as well as how to fix those problems.
You’ve Got A Lousy Headline
The Internet has created hordes of people, myself included, who can’t focus on anything.
You’ve got a split second to grab the attention of your visitors before they lose interest and click elsewhere. And when I say “split second”, I literally mean as little as 50 milliseconds.
This means you need a killer, attention-grabbing, clear as crystal headline. A headline that grabs visitors by the digital collar and won’t let them go. A headline that makes visitors want to read the rest of the page content.
If your landing page isn’t converting, there’s a good chance your headline is what’s killing it.
As copywriting assassin Joanna Wiebe says, a headline should be:
- Focus on 1 thing
- Reflect the expectations of the visitor
Check out the ConversionLab homepage:
I love this headline for it’s simple clarity. There’s no confusion about what is being offered, and the customer pain point is implicitly identified. Right away, I know that ConversionLab can help me with my landing page.
Ask the following questions of your headline:
- Is it crystal clear?
- It is compelling and does it create a sense of urgency?
- Is it interesting?
- Is it ultra-specific?
- Does it immediately tell the visitor what they can expect from the landing page?
If you find yourself struggling to create a compelling headline, CopyBlogger gives you 10 proven formulas for creating irresistible headlines. If you want to actually test your headline, head over to CoSchedule and use their Headline Analyzer.
When your landing page isn’t converting, the headline is suspect numero uno.
You’ve Got Too Many Options
A landing page should not function like a Swiss Army Knife, with a hundred different options. A landing page should do one thing, and one thing only.
If you want to collect email addresses, ask people to enter their email address. If you want people to sign up for a webinar, drive them to the signup form. If you want them to schedule a free call, drive them to the call.
Do NOT try to get their email address and sign them up for a webinar and book them for a call. If you give people more than one option, they’ll probably choose no options at all.
Check out this landing page for AccuPOS:
My brain hurts just from looking at this page! Am I supposed to download the free trial software or schedule a live software demo or request more information?
Here’s what I’ll do: find a SIMPLER page!
If your landing page isn’t converting, you may have too many options on it. If you need to accomplish more than one thing, create a different landing page for each thing you need to accomplish.
You’ve Got Too Many Opt-In Fields
You know what I don’t have time for? Filling in a thousand different fields on your opt-in form.
My time is valuable, and I certainly don’t want to waste it by giving you a bunch of unnecessary information. Just give me my lead magnet!
It’s been proven that having unnecessary fields to fill in can absolutely kill your conversion rate. Norway’s leading online beauty store removed three fields and immediately saw an 11% jump in conversion rate. Dan Zarella analyzed 40,000 different landing pages and discovered three fields that automatically create lower conversion rates.
The moral of the story?
Only collect absolutely necessary information on your landing page.
As Neil Patel says:
Many people have a highly developed sense of privacy, especially when it comes to online interaction. For a website to be requesting detailed information about one’s identity is considered an invasion of privacy. You’re better off requesting just the basics than getting greedy and asking for a lot.
Check out Wistia’s landing page:
Only ONE required field – email address. Getting started with Wistia is easy, it’s quick, and it isn’t complicated in the least.
This is the kind of opt-in that draws me in immediately.
Don’t unnecessarily clutter your landing page with too many fields. Get exactly the information you’re looking for…and no more.
If your landing page isn’t converting, consider stripping down the amount of information you’re after.
Your Call-To-Action Isn’t Clear
The call to action on your landing page should exactly match what the visitor is getting.
This is called the “conversion action”.
If they are downloading a free PDF guide, the call-to-action button should say, “Download My Guide” or something along those lines.
It shouldn’t say, “Submit” or, “Enter”, or, “Request”, or anything else that doesn’t sound like they are downloading something.
If they’re getting a free trial of a software, the call-to-action should say something like, “Start My Free Trial”.
This isn’t rocket science, but it’s surprising how often something this simple is overlooked.
SalesForce offers a demo in exchange for contact information. The call-to-action here – “Watch it in action” – matches user expectations. If they had used a word like “Submit” instead, they would have created customer confusion and killed their conversion rates.
Your Benefits Are Blurry
People buy because of the benefits a product or service offers. They buy because something promises to enrich their lives, or make life simpler, or give them more energy.
People don’t buy because of product features, they buy because of product benefits.
Unless you’re a hardcore gearhead, you don’t buy a car because of the 2-inch tube running into the carburetor. You buy because of the benefit of leather seats or a rumbling sound system.
You buy a tablet to watch movies, not because of the microprocessor.
In light of this, your landing page should prominently feature the benefits of your product or service, not the features.
The geniuses over at Copyblogger offer this four-step process for extracting the benefits of your product:
- First, make a list of every feature of your product or service.
- Second, ask yourself why each feature is included in the first place.
- Third, take the “why” and ask “how” does this connect with the prospect’s desires?
- Fourth, get to the absolute root of what’s in it for the prospect at an emotional level.
If your landing page isn’t converting, take a close at the items listed on the page. Are you listing features or benefits?
If you’re listing features, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.
To put it bluntly, you can’t afford a low conversion rate. The difference between a 10% and 20% conversion rate could be thousands, or even millions of dollars, depending on what business you’re in.
Taking the time to fix your low converting landing page isn’t a waste of time, it’s actually a highly profitable venture.
And the reality is, your low conversion rate is probably easy to fix, as long as you know what to look for.
Use these six points as a checklist of sorts. If you run your landing page through the gauntlet of these questions, I’m confident you’ll boost your conversion rate.
I never knew there was so much money in words.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always been good at writing. I don’t say that in a, “Hey I’m awesome, give me candy!” kind of way. It’s just what I’m good at. Some people are good at soccer. Some are good at cooking. My feet don’t work and my kids don’t eat what I cook (my last attempt at fried chicken ended with my kids eating bloody drumsticks).
But I am good at stringing words together in compelling ways.
It’s a gift. Sort of like John Travolta in Phenomenon, except with words, not telekinesis.
But I never knew how to turn my words into cold, hard cash.
Brian is insane.
Insane in a really good, hilarious way, not a, “Please lock this guy up, he might hurt someone,” kind of way.
Brian also happens to be a really good copywriter. Companies like Hubspot shell out lots of cash so Brian will write for them.
Brian introduced me to the world of copywriting. He told me where to find jobs and how to position myself. He told me how to price and how to invoice.
So I started applying for copywriting jobs on various job sites. I had a couple of bites initially, but nothing too exciting.
But as time went on, I discovered a few things that enabled me to ACCELERATE my progress to the point where I could quit my job and be a full time copywriter.
CONFIDENCE IS ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL
People don’t want to hire a writer that isn’t crazy confident in his writing skills. After all, they’re giving you THEIR money to create high quality, super compelling content. They can’t afford to hire a writer who is wishy-washy about his ability to write. They can’t waste time on a milktoast Michael.
As I posted for jobs, I found that people responded best when I was the MOST confident. When I made it clear that I was a REALLY good writer who would give them fantastic results in a timely fashion. When I positioned myself as a guy who absolutely knew what he was doing and would absolutely deliver on the job.
Occasionally I see people post things on job boards like, “Hey, I’m a new copywriter just trying to figure this thing out. Lolz. If you need some work done, let me know!”
When I see that, I want to reach through the screen and slap them. In a kind, gentle way, of course, but slap them nonetheless. Why? Because no sane person would hire a writer like that!
When positioning yourself as a copywriter, you’ve got to position yourself as supremely confident in your writing skills. And if you’re a good writer (which I know you are) this shouldn’t be an issue for you.
But if you don’t have the confidence to do that, you probably should take up a different profession, like juggling or bull riding.
I wasn’t an expert in copywriting, per se, but I was confident enough in my writing skills to take on any job, and that in turn, landed me a lot of jobs. Then, when I delivered top-notch copy that really satisfied my clients, it built my confidence even more.
It’s a confidence cycle. Or, as Michael Scott would say, “A win-win-win.”
The Envato blog has a helpful article on 10 Ways To Boost Your Confidence As A Freelancer.
DON’T UNDERSELL YOURSELF
When you first start out, you’ll be tempted to set your rates waaayyyy too low. Like third-world country too low. Like, lower than welfare, too low.
And I get it. You’re new. You don’t want to overprice. You don’t want to scare off potential business. But if you’re good at writing, and confident in your skills, you absolutely should price yourself at a rate YOU feel good about. A rate that will pay the bills and keep you from constantly stressing about money.
Yes, you’ll be too high for some people, but that’s a good thing. You ONLY want to work with clients who appreciate your work. You don’t want to constantly be rate negotiatiting with clients.
On one particular job, I had someone on the inside tell me that I should shoot for a particular hourly rate. He made this recommendation based on what another freelancer was getting paid. I felt like I could get more, so I confidently proposed a higher rate, knowing I could deliver what was needed.
I got the job.
Don’t be shy about asking for the right rate. Not every client will bite, but the ones that do will be the RIGHT clients.
For more specifics on how to do this, Forbes has a helpful article.
PERSONALITY PAYS OFF
Most of the jobs I’ve gotten have been because of my particular style of writing. I’m bold, brash, way overconfident, slightly annoying, and pretty irreverent. I crack jokes. I poke fun at the reader. I poke fun at myself. I write like that guy (probably named Stu) you didn’t like in high school.
But here’s the thing. What is annoying in person actually tends to work quite well in writing. Why? Because most writing is SOOOO BORING. Like, IBM mainframe manual, boring.
Writing that has flair and personality and zest stands out from the crowd. It makes an impact. Leaves an impression.
I don’t like Donald Trump. He’s crazy, obnoxious, and has the political sense of a basset hound. But he has captured the attention of millions of people. Why? Because of his personality! Generally speaking, politics is boring, full of double speak and nonsense political jargon. Trump speaks a different language, and people are starting to notice.
I really like how Ash over at The Middle Finger Project writes. She writes with personality and opinion and passion. You know exactly what she’s thinking. One of her taglines is, “Be opinionated. Because people are reading your writing because they want to know what you think.”
If you want to make a mark in the copywriting world, write with style. Write with opinion and passion. Write in such a way that some people will be offended.
There is so much boring drivel on the Internet. Write with personality!
DON’T GIVE UP
Don’t give up on being a professional copywriter. You can do it. Have confidence in your writing skills. Don’t price yourself too low. Write with serious personality. Now, more than ever, you can make it as a writer.
I did it. So can you.
In the cult hit Newsies, Jack Kelly, played by a very young Christian Bale, says, “Headlines don’t sell papes. Newsies sell papes.”
Of course, those of us in the marketing biz know that Jack Kelly is a bag of bologna who should be tarred and feathered and run out of town. And possibly set on fire. And forced to listen to John Tesh’s greatest hits on repeat.
Because headlines are EVERYTHING.
A lousy headline means no one clicks your ad. No one reads your blog post. No one opts in to your sales funnel.
Every second we’re assaulted by 10,000 things fighting for our attention. The odds of someone clicking on your sorry, boring headline are about as high as a Milly Vanilly reunion tour.
Bad headlines = no money. No money = mo’ problems.
Famous marketer David Ogilvy said:
On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.
Clearly headlines matter.
If there’s one thing the writers of Upworthy know how to do, it’s craft headlines.
Yes, Upworthy is the most annoying website in the history of humanity. Yes, the overwhelming political correctness and general, “Can’t we all just get along?” content is enough to make me gouge my eyes out.
But Upworthy understands the critical importance of headlines. Those of us in marketing would be wise to learn from Upworthy.
So, with our teeth and butt cheeks clenched, let’s learn from Upworthy headlines.
GOOD HEADLINES ARE INTRIGUING
This headline is dripping with intrigue. What powerful statement did these celebrities make? How did they make it? And WHY isn’t anyone talking about it?
Despite my raging Spider sense, I can’t help myself. I MUST click on this headline. The curiosity is too much!
[insert sound of me screaming in despair and smashing my head against my computer]
The best headlines are those that pull the reader in through intrigue. Headlines that create a curiosity gap. That pose a fascinating question without giving away the answer.
For example, the marketing / copywriting geniuses over at Copyblogger recommend using the, “Little known ways to [blank],” formula. As in:
– 7 little known ways to save on your heating bill.
– 5 little known ways to lose weight quickly.
– 4 little known ways to deal with your neighbor who may or may not be a serial killer.
As you craft your lead magnet or email headline or blog post title, ask yourself, “Is this intriguing enough to draw people in?”
More intrigue equals more reads.
GOOD HEADLINES ARE INSPIRATIONAL
Is there anything more inspirational than teddy bears given to refugee kids? I click on this headline because I want to feel a surge of positive emotion.
Have I given anything to these refugees? No! But that doesn’t stop me from get getting some vicarious good vibes. Good headlines draw me in by promising me inspiration and joy.
To quote Billy Corgen, the patron saint of overly hormonal teenagers, “The world is vampire.”
Yes it is. And because the world can be such a rotten place, headlines that promise inspiration and hope draw eyeballs and clickthroughs.
How do you create inspirational headlines? The marketing madmen over at CoSchedule recommend using positive superlatives for strong, emotional headlines. Words like “greatest”, “best”, and “perfect” are surefire winners. For example:
– This military dad just gave his kids the GREATEST possible gift.
– G.I. Jane’s response to these sexist remarks is PERFECT.
Upworthy does it like this:
GOOD HEADLINES CREATE OUTRAGE
Sweet mother. I don’t even know what happened and I’m already starting to feel outraged. How could this young, innocent woman end up a felon? I’m ready to start throwing punches. To start kicking some butts and taking some names.
This is OUTRAGEOUS.
I click on this headline because of a surge of negative emotion. I need to find out what happened and I need to do something about it. I can’t just pass over the headline. It’s got me by the throat.
But don’t negative words actually hurt headlines?
Despite the common advice that positive always beats negative, the folks at Outbrain determined that headlines with powerful negative superlatives actually did 30% better than those with no superlatives.
When doing A/B testing, try running one with a positive headline and another with a negative, slightly outrageous headline. You may be surprised to find that your outrageous headline outperforms your positive one.
GOOD HEADLINES OFFER HOPE
Seriously? A wasp venom that kills cancer cells? Excuse while I start building my wasp collection.
Despite my deep-seated loathing of all things Upworthy, I seriously hope this is true. It would give a lot of hope to many people I know.
Great, clickable headlines offer mega-doses of hope. They promise to solve a terrible problem. To be the solution to constant frustration. To be the salve for a deep wound.
Everyone has problems. Headlines that can identify a sticky problem and then pose a solution are guaranteed to pull readers in.
I suspect this is why the supplement industry is exploding right now. Supplements can claim to solve the WORST problems, and those claims don’t have to be verified by the FDA. It’s a copywriter’s dream!
The same can be said for exercise equipment. One product made the following claims:
The Strap utilizes specialized quantum physics, geometry and vibration harnessing technologies to help synergize the power of the human body’s bio-energy system and allows it to run with optimum performance. Known as chi, or life force, energy flowing through meridian points in some cultures, The Strap technology actually helps to repel interference frequencies that block the free flow of this energy throughout the body. Similar to upping the watts in a light bulb…The Strap may help to instantly and dramatically increase the connectivity, flow and communication of your energy system! Simply place The Strap on your wrist or wear it as a necklace, when exercising or competing, and experience a charge of mental focus, strength and endurance of mind-blowing proportions! You simply can’t believe how powerful it is! Words almost can’t describe as you will shock and amaze yourself and everyone you know the very first time you train or wear it in the gym!
Isn’t that brilliant? A strap that utilizes quantum phsyics, geometry, and vibrations! Where can I get one of these?!?
The best headlines offer to solve sticky, difficult problems.
Yes, I despise Upworthy. But as a copywriter, I’d be stupid to not take notes on the what, why, and how of their headlines. There’s a reason the site has seen such explosive growth in the last two years.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, you’ve never going to believe what happens next.