Why is it that we’d hire a flashy advertising agency to create a single print ad, but we’re happy to let Greg from sales write our landing page copy in a single afternoon?
In June some of our team attended Unbounce’s CTA Conf and, while there, were lucky enough to hear Amy Harrison give her talk titled: Is your copy underselling your brand?
We thought we’d spread the love and share some thoughts and ideas on writing landing page copy that actually sells.
Your landing page copy is good, right? You wouldn’t have put it up there if you didn’t think it was, but chances are your copy is underperforming and that’s because – well – it’s cheating on you.
Let us explain: cheating copy is copy that is so common you could also see it all over the web. Although this may seem innocent enough, if your copy is being used by other brands it then it’s a sure sign that it’s not differentiating you, and that’s a bad thing.
Good copy makes your business, product or service stand out. It tells customers exactly why they should choose you instead of another business. It conveys your unique selling point (USP) and tells customers exactly why you’re different/better than your competitors.
Underperforming or ‘cheating’ copy doesn’t help you stand out from the crowd. It may not be ‘bad’ copy, but it’s not as effective because it doesn’t differentiate you and make an impression.
It’s the copy equivalent of beige: it looks fine one everyone but outstanding to no one.
The trick to writing copy differentiates you is to be more specific. That’s really all there is to it.
Most of the time cheating copy is made up of generalisations we call ‘umbrella terms’: terms that try to encompass all your benefits in one bold headline. These terms are so broad that they’d work for any product or brand, and often do.
For example, you might own web design company that provides customers with beautiful, functional websites, and you’re especially proud of that fact that you also offer excellent customer service and very fast turn around.
You obviously want to include these features in a headline so you write:
Outstanding Design. Outstanding Delivery.
*Boom*, you think.
While this does encapsulate your two selling points in a broad sense, your customers are going to struggle to visualise it and it doesn’t really bring it home. It’s a classic umbrella term and if you Google it, you’ll find it splashed across landing pages all over the web.
The trick is to stay specific, no matter how many great features you have or benefits you offer.
Think about what you really want to say (and what your clients want to hear) to avoid going for something that hints at everything but says nothing.
The first step is to make a long list of all the benefits you offer and highlight the ones you think are unique to your company and that you do better than anyone else.
In the case of our web designer above, he knows he offers great design, but what he thinks sets him apart is that he delivers faster than any of his peers and his agency offer fantastic customer service.
The selling point that really resonates with people is going to be one they can identify with, and this doesn’t come from thinking about the solution – it comes from thinking about the problem.
Medical companies are often good examples of this. You won’t find a headline saying ‘we cure your cold’. You’ll find they’re much more likely to focus on the specific pain points.
What’s the absolute worst thing about having a cold, they’ll ask.
If you don’t know what your customer’s pain points are, here are 2 easy ways to find out:
Obviously, asking people directly is a great way to find out what they’re looking for and what their biggest pain point is.
You can either ask your existing customers or set up a simple survey on your website.
Use the answers you get to help you pick out keywords, descriptions, adjectives and phrases that help you get a better picture of the symptoms you should target.
Surveys are great, but they’re also a lot of work. A simpler way to find this information is to use social media.
Listening in to the conversations (or complaints) people have about your industry is a great way to gain insight into which of your benefits are likely to appeal most to them.
Search themes, topics and hashtags related to your industry, have a look at competitors’ social media pages and even ask questions directly. Usually, people are only too happy to have an opportunity to vent their frustrations.
After writing down all your benefits and matching them to your customers’ pain points, you should have a better idea of what is going to be your best selling attribute. However, to make sure it’s completely unique you’ll have to take it one step further.
For example, the ad above tells us that Sinutab are aware that the worst thing about a cold is the stuffy nose, but they’re not the only stuffy-nose company to realise that.
So instead of leaving it there, they’ve focused on the pressure that a stuffy nose gives you. Very slight difference, but for someone with a head cold it’s more likely to be that specific symptom (pressure) than the more general ‘blocked nose’ that gets them to identify.
The same goes for our designer friend. He decided to ditch ‘Outstanding Design Outstanding Delivery’ and go for ‘A beautiful website in just 3 weeks.’, because he’s found out this speaks to his customer’s pain points. However, for truly loyal copy he’ll need to go one step further.
Not only is ‘beautiful’ used by a lot of his competitors, but ‘3 weeks’ doesn’t really hit home.
Why do people want a beautiful website? Is 3 weeks really that fast? By going one step further he comes up with:
‘A conversion-optimised website, in 25 days or less’.
Now that’s more like it.