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How To Build and Write Your First Landing Page

How To Build and Write Your First Landing Page

by kobura02
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1 – Start Here

 

A Note From the Author

russLanding pages are a fundamental part of a winning digital marketing campaign.

They’re used to capture leads and convert visitors into buyers.

I’ve been in digital marketing for nearly 10 years now and I will tell you that there is no tool more important to your success than the landing page.

I’ve executed 100’s of digital marketing campaigns for everything from mom-and-pop shops to multi-billion dollar companies.  Every one of these campaigns used landing pages.

In this Execution Plan, I’ll share everything I know about building landing pages that convert.

You’ll also learn how landing pages fit into the overall system of success we use at Digital Marketer.  This system is called Customer Value Optimization or CVO.

I designed this Execution Plan for beginning and intermediate digital marketers.

By the end of this Execution Plan you will have built a landing page that is ready to generate email opt-ins and sales for your business.

Russ Henneberry
Director of Content Strategy
Digital Marketer

 

What are Landing Pages?

 

Why are Landing Pages Important?

 

 

Understand Focus

This is critical and deserving of its own step.

Building landing pages that convert is about being laser focused on a single conversion behavior.

One page.  One offer.

The highest converting landing pages often have zero distractions.  There are no exit links. No sidebar. No header. No footer.

I should mention that building landing pages with nothing but an offer on them will often limit your traffic sources.  You may not, for example be allowed to generate traffic to this kind of page through Google Adwords or Facebook Ads.

But the lesson remains…

Keep your landing pages focused.  Your conversion rate depends on it.

 

Choose a Landing Page Type

This Execution Plan is divided into 3 core modules:

  • Module 1 – Create a Squeeze Page – Choose this landing page type to generate leads.
  • Module 2 – Create a Long Form Sales Letter – Choose this landing page type to sell products and services with the written word.
  • Module 3 – Create a Video Sales Letter – Choose this landing page type to sell products and services with video.

To complete this module, choose a landing page type and get started on the corresponding module.

 

2 – Create a Squeeze Page

 

When To Use a Squeeze Page

 

Resources:
How to Build and Write Your First Landing Page

 

Choose a Squeeze Page Template

 

 

 

Write the Squeeze Page Copy

 

 

Build Your Squeeze Page

Click here and here to view example squeeze pages used at Digital Marketer.  Notice that there is nothing else to do on these pages (no sidebar, no navigation, no distractions at all) except opt-in for the Lead Magnet or leave the page.

These are Squeeze Pages and, in this step you’ll build your squeeze page.

You’ll need an email marketing software like…

… to execute this step.

In this video, Richard Lindner will show you how to create a Squeeze Page usingLeadPages.

 

Resources
LeadPages

3 – Create a Long Form Sales Letter

When To Use a Long Form Sales Letter

 

Call Out To The Audience

Ok, let’s get started.

Open a text editor (like Microsoft Word) and let’s write your sales letter together.  I’ll be writing the letter right along with you using a fictitious product in the dieting space.

In this first step, you want to call out to the audience you are trying to reach.

Remember that the first thing a person does when they hit any web page is decide whether they are in the right place or not.

If they don’t immediately recognize that they are in the right place, they’ll hit the back button.

One way to ensure that the right audience sticks around to read your sales letter is to call out to them.

At the top of this sales letter in the survival niche, you’ll see a blatant call out…

Attention Readers:  Is Your Family Prepared For Urban Survival?

UnderstandtheTypesofLandingPages_1

If you’re the right audience for this sales letter, that statement will “call out” to you.

The call out is often positioned in smaller font above the headline… but not always.  It could also be positioned in the opening of the letter below the headline and subheadline as I’ve done in my fictitious sales letter…

landing-pages-img1a

Notice that the question “Is your overeating out of your control?” calls out to the right audience.

To complete this step, write your call out.

This is your first step, don’t get stalled here.  If you’re struggling to come up with something, use this formula:

Attention:  [YOUR MARKET]

So, it might be…

  • Attention:  Fathers of Young Children
  • Attention:  Ohio Gardeners
  • Attention:  Small Business Owners

Or, if you’re using your call out in the opening o your letter, use a simple question that your audience would say “Yes” to as I did with my “Is your overeating out of your control?”

As I said, just don’t get bogged down.

You’ll be reworking this document after you are finished.  The idea right now is to get something down on paper.

 

 

How-To write a Headline

In this step, we’ll write the headline that will appear at the top of your long form sales letter.

The headline is the first thing that will be read and is, therefore, the most critical piece of copy on the page.

That said, don’t let this section stall you.  You can always change it later.

We will start with a “How-To” headline because they are simple to write and very effective.

The How-To headline will apply to 99% of the offers you are promoting.  That said, it is possible that your offer will require a different kind of headline.  If so, read this article on the Digital Marketer blog to get some other headline ideas.

Don’t start with a clever headline.  Start with clear, simple and direct language that communicates the benefit to reading the Landing Page copy.

Later, after you establish data on your “control”, you can get clever if you want.

I’ve provided a set of How-To Headline formulas you can swipe to use verbatim or to provide inspiration.

  • How to Get [desired result] in [time period]
  • How to [desired result] Like [world class example]
  • How to turn [blank] into [desired result]
  • How To [desired result] When You’re Not [blank]
  • How To Make People Line Up And Beg To [blank]
  • How to fast-track [desirable result]
  • How To Become [desired result] When You [something challenging]
  • How To Build a [blank] You Can Be Proud Of

Remember, don’t get stalled here.  Pick one of these formulas within a few minutes and move on.  You can improve it later.

To complete this step, you’ll need to have a How-To headline at the top of your page.

Here’s my first draft “how to” headline for our fictitious diet product…

landing-pages-img2

Write a Sub-Headline

 

In this step, we’ll write the sub-headline.

This headline appears in smaller type underneath the headline.

Understand that you’ve made a claim or promise in your headline.

DO NOT make a new claim in your sub-headline.  Simply support the claim you made in your headline with the language in the sub-headline.

If you’re having trouble writing your your sub-headline, try filling in the blanks in the following sentence,

  • Discover how quickly you can [desired result]
  • Learn how easily you can [desired result]
  • You too can have [desired result] in [desirable time period]
  • How [impressive number] Got [desired result] in [time period]
  • A Simple Way To [desired result] Even If You [something challenging]
  • What Everybody Ought to Know About [blank]
  • Little Known Ways to [desired result]
  • Learn to [desired result] without Losing [something desirable]

If none of these look applicable to your business or offer, visit this article from the Digital Marketer blog and swipe one of these other headline variations.

Remember, keep it simple.

To complete this step, you’ll need to have a sub-headline underneath your main how-to headline.

Here’s my first draft sub-headline for our fictitious diet product,

landing-pages-img3

 

Write the Introduction

In this step of the Execution Plan, we’ll cover three of Perry Belcher’s 21-step process.

Your reader has read the call out, the headline and subheadline.

At this point, they may have even scrolled to the bottom of your letter to see the price and offer.

Now, they’re digging into the lead (sometimes spelled lede) of your letter.  It’s a fancy word for introduction.

We’re going to use a classic opening to a sales letter called…

  • Problem
  • Agitate
  • Solution

In the first step of the introduction, we’ll identify the problem that the prospective buyer has.

Your reader is wondering if you truly understand their problem.  It’s your job as the marketer to establish common ground between you and the reader.

You’ll then agitate that problem (gently and with empathy) and then reveal the solution.

Lastly, you’ll take them off the hook by letting them know that the problem is not their fault.

Remember, this is your first draft — it doesn’t need to be perfect.

The key is to get SOMETHING down on paper that you can work with.

Here’s what my first draft introduction looks like for our fictitious diet product,

landing-pages-img4

 

 

Show Ease of Use and/or Speed to Results

In this step of the Execution Plan we’ll cover two steps from Perry Belcher’s sales letter formula.

The key to this step is to communicate (if possible) that your solution is easy and/or quick to deliver results.

Here’s how I communicate ease of use and speed to results with our fictitious diet product,

landing-pages-img5

 

Tell the Future

In this step, we’ll paint a picture in the mind of the reader of what it will look like if they solved their problem.

You’ll want to use sensory words that transport your reader to a better place.

Sensory words conjure up emotions by tapping into the senses of,

  • Touching
  • Smelling
  • Tasting
  • Hearing
  • Seeing

You want your reader to see and feel in their mind what it will be like to be free of their problem.

The easiest way to start this section is by filling in the following blank,

Imagine what it would be like to ……

To complete this step write a sentence or two that tells your reader’s future.

Here’s what my first draft looks like,

landing-pages-img6

 

 

Prove You are the Expert

In this step we need to address a question in your reader’s mind.

Why you?

Why are you or your organization qualified to solve my problem?

You need to establish why the solution you have is credible.

There are a number of ways to do this including,

  • Use a testomonial – If you have a broad testimonial that fortifies your credibility you could place it here.
  • Give your credentials – If you have credentials that bolster your credibility (you’re a doctor, MBA, Air Force Pilot)
  • Borrow credentials – If you have someone that has credentials that will endorse you and your product, use them here.
  • Tell your story – Is there an experience you’ve had that makes you qualified to solve this problem?  Tell that story.
  • Use impressive numbers – If you have impressive data, years experience or numbers of succesful customers, use them here.

Remember, at this point no one is reading this copy that doesn’t have the problem you have described.

At this point, you need to explain why YOU are qualified to solve the problem.

To complete this step, establish your credibility.

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img7

 

 

Write Benefit Bullets

In this step, we’ll write 3 to 5 bullets that explain the benefits of your offer.

Take your time on this step but, again, don’t let yourself get bogged down.

For your first draft, this step should take no longer than 30 minutes.

You’ll come back and spend more time on these benefits later in the Execution Plan.

This is not the time to explain the product or service you are offering.  This is the time to outline the benefits your reader will receive if they buy your product or service.

Remember that people don’t buy products and services.  They buy outcomes.

  • They don’t buy cold medicine, they buy a good night sleep.
  • They don’t buy a gym membership, they buy a sexy body.
  • They don’t buy pest control, they buy a clean, safe home for their children.

To complete this step, write out three benefits (or outcomes) the reader will get if they buy your solution.

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img8

 

 

Show Proof

In this step we will create the most important element of your copy — proof.

You’ve established your credibility or the credibility of your organization in an earlier step.  Establishing your credibility creates trust.

But throughout your copy, you’ve started to introduce promises to your reader.

You’ll need to substantiate each of those promises by providing proof.

If you’re selling a physical product, this is a good time to demo the product through video or images doing the things that you said it would do in the benefits bullets.

Infomercials have mastered proof.  They show knives cutting through nails and then easily slicing a tomato or demonstrate a cleanser removing a red wine stain.

Proof comes in many forms including,

  • Demonstration – If you can show that it works, do it.
  • Social Proof – If you have testimonials that fortify the claims you’ve made, include them here.  Mention how many other people have benefited from your solution.
  • Data/Research – Use data and research from reputable sources to substantiate your claims.
  • Borrowed Credibility – Find and use information from reputable sources. Can you find information from reputable people or organizations like The New York Times, CNN or from trade associations for example.

The higher the risk involved in your offer, the more proof your buyer will need to feel comfortable making a purchase with you.

Lastly, if you can’t properly substantiate a claim you’ve made, consider removing it.  You could test it later but you’ll likely have better results removing an unsubstantiated claim than leaving it in there.

To complete this step you’ll need to create the proof necessary to substantiate your claims.

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img9

 

Make the Offer

In this step, you’ll write out the offer.

The offer is the exact deliverables they can expect if they give you money.

Your offer should be,

  • Clear
  • Compelling

Most importantly, your offer should be clear.  If your reader has even a shadow of a doubt as to what they will get, they’re gone.

  • Are you going to ship them a product?  How long will it take to get there?
  • Are you going to do some one-on-one training?  How will it be delivered?  How long are the trainings?  How often?
  • Are you going to provide a service?  How long will it take.

You’ll also be revealing the price at this point.

Think through the questions that your readers might have about the offer and answer all of those questions.

Again, this is a first draft and you’ve come a long way.  Don’t get stalled here, you’ll be able to come back and strengthen this section later.

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img13

 

Add Bonuses

You may find that bonuses are not applicable to your offer.

That said, if you can add bonuses, it will almost certainly increase response.

Also, adding a bonus is a great way to increase scarcity (covered in a future step) by taking those bonuses away after a certain date or after a certain quantity has been sold.

Here’s how I incorporated bonuses into my diet offer,

landing-pages-img12

 

Reveal Price

Ok, the time has come to reveal the price of the product or service.

This can be as simple as naming the price.

Or, you could justify the price by comparing the cost of your solution to something your reader would commonly buy.

Here’s what my letter looks like,

landing-pages-img11

 

Inject Scarcity

In this step we will add scarcity and urgency to your offer where appropriate.

You want your reader to take action NOW.  If they decide they will do it later, they’re gone.

You can persuade them to take action NOW by communicating the scarcity of the offer.  If they believe they could come back tomorrow, next week or next year and get the same offer — they’ll be less likely to take action now.

Don’t manufacture scarcity or urgency but if there is a real reason to take action now, be sure to communicate it.

Here are some examples,

  • Register for this event now, there are only 32 seats remaining
  • Buy now, this offer is only available until midnight January 26th
  • Only 1,000 of these coins were created by the U.S. mint

Another way of creating urgency in your buyer is to make a statement like,

“Think how much it is costing you every day that you don’t take action on this problem.”

In this step, state the scarcity or urgency of the offer (if appropriate).

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img14

 

Reverse Risk

In this step we will add risk reversal.

Risk reversal is about providing the reader with a feeling of security about the purchase.

There are a lot of ways to reduce risk including,

  • Providing a guarantee
  • Offering a free trial
  • Providing a return policy
  • Using trust seals (Association Membership logos, BBB insignia, secure checkout seals, etc)

To complete this step, write out the elements you will use to reverse risk on the part of the buyer.

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img15

 

Make a Call-To-Action

In this step, you’ll make your call-to-action.

This is not the time to be timid.  A call-to-action tells someone exactly what you want them to do and how to do it.

It’s a simple command statement like, Click on the “ADD TO CART” button below.

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img16

 

 

Add a P.S.

In this step we’ll write the PS’s.

It’s common for people to scroll to the bottom of the landing page to find the offer/price.  As a result, they often see the P.S. right after reading the headline.

Write a P.S. that sums up the high points of the Landing Page copy in a single paragraph including,

  • Major benefits
  • Major proof points
  • Risk Reversal
  • Scarcity or Urgency

In this step, write your P.S,

Here’s what my document looks like,

landing-pages-img17

 

 

Add FAQ’s

If applicable, add answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions as the last element of your sales letter.

If you’re wondering who would take the time to read all of these FAQ’s, the answer is… a very interested buyer.

Keep in mind that failing to address a concern that your buyers will ultimately have will severely decrease response.

So, use the FAQ section to answer those questions.

Let’s take a look at the FAQ’s that we add to the end of a sales letter at Digital Marketer to sell a $7 Execution Plan.

Important:  Notice that we reiterate the offer and add another call-to-action at the very bottom of the page when we add FAQ’s to the sales letter.

landing-pages-img18

 

Strengthen the Copy

Congratulations!  You’ve come a long way!

You now have a rough draft of your sales letter.

Now, it’s time to make it better.

This is the same concept you were taught in the 3rd grade.  Proof read.  Rewrite.  Reword.

Make it better.

Here are some places where you will likely need to spend more time,

  • Rewrite or reword the headline and subheadline – Often, after writing the copy, the headline and subheadline need to be reworked.
  • Add or remove from the lead – The introduction to your sales letter needs to be compelling.  Spend time ensuring that you properly introduce and agitate the problem.  And, be sure you provide a clear solution that doesn’t reveal too much about your actual offer.
  • Add more to your credibility – Your potential buyer will often understand they have a problem but you will need to prove to them that you can solve it.  Make sure you or your organization appear credible and trustworthy.
  • Add or remove benefits – We wrote 3 to 5 benefits.  You might need more, you might need less.  Just be sure that you don’t make claims that you can’t prove.
  • Add proof – You’ll almost never remove proof.  The higher the risk of your offer the more you will want to stack proof into your copy.
  • Clarify the offer – Your potential buyer wants to know exactly what they are going to get.  Don’t skimp on the details.
  • Rework the P.S. – The P.S. needs to sum everything up in a few sentences.  Tighten up the writing by removing any unnecessary words or phrases.

Spend as long as you’d like on reworking the copy but don’t let it keep you from moving forward.

Put the landing page online and start sending some traffic to it.

The best thing about creating digital landing pages is that you can test and change them quickly and easily.

 

4 – Create a Video Sales Letter

 

When To Use a VSL

 

 

What’s Next?

Wow!  You’ve come a long way!  Congratulations!

I bet you’re asking… now what?

Here are the Execution Plans we recommend you checking out next:

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