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12 tips for improving your landing page in less than an hour

9 min read

You just released the landing page for your latest and greatest business idea. Yay! All the grinding and anticipation is over, now it is celebration time, right? So why aren’t you poppin’ the champagne bottle just yet? In a corner of your mind, you still feel your landing page is a bit off, but can’t quite put your finger on it. Am I right? And it is bugging you. The worse thing you can feel is knowing something is off, but not knowing what it is, and what you can do about it. Like having an itch and not knowing where to scratch…

Making your page resonate with your viewer becomes a no-brainer, once you know what to do. But you are neither a copywriter, nor a designer. How do you get there?

The secret is you don’t need to be a designer, nor a copywriter. You only need to identify the elements of a successful landing page and learn how to apply them. And  from there it is pretty straightforward stuff. And it really doesn’t take more than an hour to improve your landing page significantly. So let’s examine what principles effective landing pages revolve around.

Understand their needs = Get the leads

It is all about your audience and their needs. So if you want to convert your audience into leads, you will need to exercise empathy:

  • Understand how they feel
  • Understand what problems they are facing
  • Show them a world where their problems do not exist any more
  • Position your product/service, as the bridge that would take your visitors from the problem to a world without this problem.
  • Give your audience reason to believe you a.k.a credibility
  • And all of the above points should be properly communicated not only trough the copy, but also the design of the page.

And since principles are hard to grasp, if not illustrated by an example, I give you OffNDrive.

before

OffNDrive are a immediate-access peer 2 peer vehicle marketplace that eliminates awkward, in-person physical key hand-offs while also excluding the need for an auto-mechanic installed remote access device.

Does not sound sexy, when explained this way, right? However when I first saw their website, I noticed they have a very specific and purely practical offering. They phrased a core problem very well. They empathize with guys who want to take a woman on a nice date. And as a guy, who is their potential customer, I can see they are offering something of value to me. They have all the essential ingredients of a good pitch there – a specific problem, a good non-generic call to action. They eliminate objections. It’s all gold. However it is not showed in the right order and priority. It is not communicated effectively.

Through applying the principles I am about to share with you, I managed to improve their page design significantly in a matter of an hour. See for yourself.
after_shot

Even though I am not much of a copywriter, I know the elements of an effective short form pitch. So I took my shot at editing their copy and making it more effective. And after that I took things even further by tweaking their design, to make sure the message is effectively communicated to their audience.

Make your pitch a journey

  • State your viewer’s problem: What you need to start off with is the core problem of your viewer. This part should be a first priority. In this example:
    Your visitors wants take a woman on a nice date. A grown, mature woman, and not a teenage girl. Find a message that will resonate with his current situation. This statement makes him feel you get his pain.
  • Take him to a Dream state: Next you will need to show your viewer a world, where his problem does not exist. This should be a close second priority. In this example:
    A world where your visitor can take his date, not just on a simple ride, but on an adventure. Make your viewer feel like he is capable of organizing an exciting date.
  • Give him the solution: Place your product or service as the solution, that would help your viewer jump from the problem to the dream they have. Keep cool with the statements. Don’t shout it out. Whisper it, as if you are giving advice to a friend. If you impose too much, you will look like you are trying too hard. And being a try-hard can actually hurt your credibility. In this example:
    So our visitor just need a car, and he can take his date anywhere. Anything is possible. And the landing page gives him this solution. We know all objections a visitor may have, and find ways to solve them, before a visitor even thought about them.
  • Guide his next action: After the visitor is on board with your solution, tell him what to do in order to solve his problem. Give him a non-generic Call to Action. The CTA must reflect his current state of mind and awareness. Don’t make him do anything, he is still not ready or convinced to do. In this example:
    Forget about “Subscribe”, “Sign up”, “Learn more”. Give him what he wants: like for instance – “Up your game”.
  • Convince him to share: Don’t just put a bunch of social buttons there. Give your viewer a persuasive reason to share with friends. In this exampe:
    Make him feel awesome for helping a friend impress his date.
  • Gather a bit of credibility: Giving a copyright notice and a Privacy statement, makes your viewer feel a bit more at ease with your solution.
    Pro tip: Want to take it up a notch. Share your audience testimonials, once you have some. Your viewer should feel like you are not anonymous, and you stand behind what you are proposing. He should see people like him have already trusted you.

It’s not about what you say. It is about how you are saying it.

First off, let me say, that even though I am a designer, I firmly believe, that no amount of design genius can save bad content writing. Period. Polishing a terd just does not make it gold. Design has the power to increase emphasis, improve credibility and reinforce the message, but only after you already have a text that is convincing and striking. Once you get to a stage, where you have a convincing copy, here’s how you can make sure your messages is communicated effectively to your viewer:

  • Make use of whitespace: First problem I see in a lot of landing pages is the lack of white space. Text is so tightly written, that there is no space for the eye to breathe, let alone get to the next line of copy. The result of lack of white space and proper line height looks:
    • cheap
    • sloppy
    • hard to read
    • hard to comprehend

What you can do is leave bigger margins around the text.  Also give the text enough line height in order to read well. This will help your viewer focus on the message behind your text, and comprehend it with ease.

Pro tip: Want a way to test whether your line height works. Try this: step 2 meters away from your monitor. Squint your eyes. Are you able to clearly discern the lines of text? If so, they have enough line height.
Also take note of your line lenght. An optimal line of text should be 50-75 characters long.

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  • Emphasize on the Problem and Dream state: Next thing that can help greatly is emphasis and visual hierarchy. Think about a good actor. Do all the words he says sound with the same intensity? No. That’s because good actors are masters at using emphasis. And you can master it too.
    Make the most important points of your pitch stand out from the others. Specifically, emphasize on the problem, dream state, and call to action. Your viewer needs to physically feel the pain. Your dream state also needs to have a visual impact and be very easily seen. Without emphasizing on the problem and dream state, the viewer will never trust you for a solution. You need to “shout” the pain with all the tools you have – contrast, size, font weight.
  • Take it easy with your solution: In the solution step you already have the viewer hooked, and listening. So don’t “shout” your solution to them. You have to be casual about it, and not pushing your logo and pitch in their face.
    Remember, you are just there to help. The best way to pitch a business is by pitching the benefits of it. People don’t care about your features – they care about the benefits they get from using the features.
  • Emphasize on the CTA: After your viewer trusts you to give him a solution, you need to show him what is the next thing he should do in order to get closer to your solution. This happens with an engaging Call to action button. Also known as “BIG F*CKING BUTTON”.
    Pro tip: Best way to test if your CTA button has enough size and contrast is to imagine your viewer was far sighted… and drunk. He still needs to be able to see your call to action and press it anyway.
  • Associate your logo with the fix: Put your logo next to the fix you are giving. In this way your viewers will associate your business with the solution, and not the problem.
  • Use the right photo: Use a photo relevant to your visitor’s context. Something generic is the worst thing you could use. You have to be selling a specific emotion to your viewer. In this example:
    In this scenario I would use a more ironical and cute approach. I would find a stock with small kids, having fun on a bike. I would age the photo through filters, as if it is a dear and old childhood memory. In this way you will make your viewer laugh at the paradox, and understand that he is a grown guy, looking for something completely different.

Found those tips helpful? Be sure to share them with friends. I would love to hear your result, once you put them into practice.

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