Landing page copywriting: how to write an irresistible landing page from start to finish

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Lewis Folkard

Suffolk-based conversion copywriter.

landing page copywriting: how to write an irresistible landing page

Landing pages are how you turn a nobody into somebody. And they’re important in all sales funnels. But many don’t execute them well and miss vital conversion pillars. 

The result? Prospects slip away. Leads go sour. And your sales funnel flow slowly leaks away.

Like all sales copywriting, your landing page has a job to do. Persuade. The action you want your reader to take is up to you. But you’ve got to deploy persuasive, direct response techniques in your writing to get the action you’re after. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the fundamentals of landing page copywriting so you better understand how to execute and become a landing page copywriter yourself.

Let’s start simple.

What is a landing page?

A landing page, technically speaking, is any web page a user “lands” on. Hence the name…

However, in practice, a landing page is a standalone page (without a global nav bar) that businesses pair with a campaign or part of a funnel to achieve one specific action. Most often, lead generation.

So, as you might expect, a landing page will then sit in the middle of your sales funnel. With professional landing page copywriting, a low-awareness market goes in, and leads come out. But what’s more, your landing page is also a primary spot of influence because it dictates how many and what kind of leads you attract, which in turn alters how they perform as customers.

For the differences between landing page, sales page and web copy, click here.

How long should a landing page be?

Aaah, the infamous question. The answer? A landing page should be as long as it needs to be to get the job done. 

Getting the job done, however, depends on a few factors:

  • The offer complexity
  • The audience’s initial level of awareness
  • The audience’s scepticism

So, for example, if you’ve already warmed your prospects up (and pre-sold them via email or social ads), they already trust you, and you have a really simple offering… then your landing page could theoretically be really short and only need to capture lead information.

However, in reality, most landing pages don’t have that little work to do. 

Prerequisites for landing page copywriting

Before you craft your persuasive landing page, let’s make sure you have the prerequisites in place. You should:

  • know what you’re offering (e.g. the lead magnet, all its inherent value and ensuring it’s something your audience actually wants)
  • have all your forms of credibility organised together (e.g. reviews, ratings, awards, video testimonials, guarantees, authoritative customers/subscribers).

If you don’t have your lead magnet or you’re worried about its value, follow Step 1 and then revisit it. This article will help you create an enticing lead magnet.

For help on crafting your offer, try this article. It’s geared towards “sales”, but the principles apply to landing page copywriting too.

And then once you’ve got these in place, let’s have a look at the steps to creating your landing page.

The 4-step process to irresistible landing page copywriting

Like most copywriting projects, landing page copywriting has four steps:

  • Research
  • Write
  • Edit
  • Test

This article will take you through these steps. That way, you can follow along and complete them as you go.

Step 1: Your landing page research

Research is arguably the most important step in crafting any piece of high-performing copy – and landing page copywriting is no different. All landing page copywriters should research in these categories: audience, product/market and competition. 

Although finding it might not be, what you’re looking for is simple.

For audience research, you need to find (or crystallise) who you’re talking to, what pains they have, what they’re sensitive to, where they’re looking to go and what that looks like to them. You need to know them better than they know themselves. 

Your lead magnet should then help get them (part of the way) to where they want to be. If your lead magnet already works, you’ll likely know who you’re talking to. If it doesn’t, then maybe revisit these questions and improve your lead magnet.

For product research, which in this case is your lead magnet, you need to find how your lead magnet will best become the vehicle of transformation (from pain to pleasure). In other words, what pain are they currently experiencing and how is your lead magnet going to help them get away from that? Either into a state that’s more pleasurable or less painful. You’ll need to pull out the features of your lead magnet that best support this transformation. 

For competitor research, you need to see what others are saying – and offering – so you don’t do the same. Repeating competitor claims and mechanisms doesn’t help you stand out or make it easy for your prospect to pick you over others. It might feel safe offering the same as others… yet in reality, it’s anything but.

How and where you find this information can be found in this article: How to research for any copywriting project

Step 2: Copywriting your landing page

A landing page, like any sales piece, has a number of persuasive components within it. From expensive courses to free lead magnets, these components are required (to varying degrees) to convince your reader they’re worth it. They are:

  • Make a promise
  • Hit a pain point
  • Tell a story
  • Establish credibility
  • Prove the promise
  • Handle objections
  • Make an offer (increase perceived value)
  • Push for action

You don’t necessarily have to include them in that order, but they need to be on your landing page somewhere. And in some cases, repeated through different mechanisms. 

In this step, I’ll take you through each component. (We’ll then look at page structures/formulas you can use to get you started)

Making a promise

Your lead magnet should already promise some kind of transformation – either from pain to pleasure or pain to less pain. And your landing page should promise the same thing.

But as you move through your page, you’ll likely repeat your promise in different ways. For example, if you’re promising “ease”, you might directly state it, show it in your reviews and highlight the features/aspects of your lead magnet that make life easier. 

Depending on your audience’s awareness level (see here for more), you might lead with the promise or lead with the pain. Either way, you need a strong, relevant promise on your landing page.

Hit a pain point

Persuasion is about pushing and pulling. The pulls come from the “better” state – your promise. And the pushes come from the “worse” state – the pains they’re experiencing.

Without the pushes, the pulls (and your lead magnet) have less relevance. So you need to agitate them to give them more traction. Also, sometimes, the painful state isn’t clear on its own so you have to crystallise it for your reader (one of the many elements of successful landing page copywriting).

Tell a story

Stories evoke emotion. And emotion changes behaviour. Not every landing page ‘requires’ a story, but the ones that have them generally perform better. So if you really want to make your landing page irresistible, you should seriously consider telling one. 

There are four main types of sales stories. Learn what they are and which one you should pick here.

Establish credibility

What gives you the right to say and promise what you are? Why would people believe you? Your credibility answers both these questions and more. 

Authoritative figures carry more influence, reduce scepticism and make persuasion a lot smoother. So your goal is to prove you have authority in your landing page’s “pain-to-pleasure” domain.

Prove the promise

On a similar note, proving your promise is important too. In fact, your proof will help establish more credibility. For example, you might have hundreds of great reviews for your lead magnet (or related product/service). This implicitly boosts your credibility because others already trust you.

But reviews and ratings aren’t your only type of proof. A story can be very useful too.

Remember, scepticism is natural in any sector. And most readers are not sure of themselves – and whether they’ll actually be able to experience the transformation you’re promising. By proving the promise, you minimise your prospect’s doubts and instil confidence so they believe they’ll get what you’re offering.

Handle objections

Doubts are inevitable. Your prospect is always going to have – or try to find – reasons not to act. It’s human inertia. So you need to anticipate them (research will help) and handle them so you take away those reasons not to.

Make an offer

Your offer is your lead magnet and all the perks that come with it. And landing page copywriting crystallises it. Your prospect needs to know what they’re getting! This is where you maximise your lead magnet’s perceived value and make it look as irresistible as possible.

Framing an offer can be tough to get your head around. And it plays a huge role in whether your landing page converts or not. If you’re struggling, read this to help.

Push for action

And finally, ask for the action you want. Once you’ve made your offer, you should give your reader plenty of options to take action. Remember, there are different types of readers (some scan over the headings while others read the details). So it’s good practice to vary how you ask for action. Use buttons with different copy and then different anchor text too.

Pulling it all together

Okay, so now you know what your landing page needs to include, let’s look at how you might structure it.

There are a number of landing page structures available. And the one you should pick often depends on how start the page. Your lead plays a huge role in the effectiveness of your landing page. If your lead sucks, you can almost guarantee your prospect won’t read much more – and thus won’t take action.

So, before we look at the page structures available, let’s look at lead types.

Choosing your landing page lead type

There are a number of ways you can open a landing page. Your lead is your first – and only – chance to emotionally engage your reader. It’s your foot in the door for future persuasion. If your lead doesn’t grip them, your prospect isn’t going to keep reading. And if they don’t read, they won’t become leads.

The book Great Leads, written by Michael Masterson and John Forde, shares six different types. They’re all applicable to landing pages. These are the six main lead types:

  • The Offer Lead
  • The Promise Lead
  • The Problem-Solution Lead
  • The Big Secret Lead
  • The Proclamation Lead
  • The Story Lead

They start direct and become increasingly indirect. And generally, the level of directness depends on your audience’s awareness. For example, you’d pair a direct lead with a highly aware reader. 

In practice, this might look like the following:

You’re running a social media ad that ‘sells’ a lead magnet. Now, your landing page traffic will be aware of you, your lead magnet and what it can do for them. So they’re highly aware. This means your landing page lead should be direct, making the ‘Offer Lead’ a good choice.

Alternatively, your landing page traffic might come from a search engine. In this case, your reader won’t know about your lead magnet but might be aware they have a pain. Your lead should be more indirect – and likely a “Big Secret”, “Problem-Solution” or “Promise”, depending on the search terms.

awareness and lead type spectrum

Your lead should also message-match its traffic source, i.e. use similar language/pain points/dream states. They need to seem connected so your reader knows they’re in the right place.

I go into more detail on lead types here: How to write the most engaging lead ever

Structuring your landing page: 3 formulas you can use

Many of the great landing page copywriters start with a page formula. They’re proven persuasive structures that get them thinking in the right way – and pull the persuasive levers they need to. 

But the key word there is start. You don’t have to follow them rigidly. They’re a framework that you should adapt to your audience and product’s needs. 

Landing page formula 1: AIDA → Attention. Interest. Desire. Action.

AIDA is a universal copywriting formula that applies beyond just landing pages. And, what’s more, it can be adapted to practically any lead type.

Grab attention with your headline and sub-headline. Pique their interest. Introduce the offer and show off its benefits. And then ask for action. Simple… but always effective.

Landing page formula 2: QUEST → Qualify. Understand. Educate. Stimulate. Transition

To explain in more detail… Qualify your prospects, and let them know they’re in the right place. Can they relate to your copy? You can be direct or indirect in your qualification, so this is great for any awareness level and hence lead type.

Understand where they came from and what they’re going through. Empathise. Build rapport. Remember, you can also prove your understanding by agitating their pains, showing you know what they’re going through and how horrible it feels.

Educate them on a better way to do whatever they’re not doing (well) now (i.e. whatever is causing them the pain they’re in). This is where you introduce your lead magnet.

Stimulate their desire, their hunger for your better way. This is your chance to show off all the features and benefits of your lead magnet. You might also agitate the costs of alternatives to better position yourself too.

Transition them from a prospect to a lead. Or, in other words, ask for action. You should summarise everything your prospect is getting here so it’s at the front of their mind.

For further reading, I’d recommend Michel Fortin’s explainer on QUEST.

Landing page formula 3: PASIWTA → Problem. Agitation. Solution. Introduce. Why. Try. Action.

This works as follows… State or hint at your reader’s main problem. Agitate it and make this persuasive push as strong as possible. Hint at a solution or a better way. Introduce your offer and everything that comes with it. Dig into why they should buy from you (e.g. all the benefits and also handling the objections). Encourage them to think about trying your offer or visualising life when in use. And then finally ask for action.

This is generally better suited for more “pain-aware” audiences, so you’ll likely be using the “Problem-Solution” lead – and below.

But what if your audience is highly aware? (One final structure)

If you have a highly aware audience and you’re using a direct lead (e.g. an “Offer Lead”), then you can simply state the solution (your lead magnet) and capture their information. 

However, great landing page copywriting means you should still message-match, and you’ll likely have agitated some pains somewhere in your funnel/prior to this landing page. So you can use PAS (Problem, Agitation, Solution) instead.

Or you might choose to lead with the solution… so something like SPAS… and then play with the problem in the subheadline.

Copyhackers have a great article on other copywriting formulas. Some of these might better suit your style.

Integrating the other sales components

“But what about those other sales components?”… I hear you ask. Yep, they’re still needed. And in most of the page formulas, you’ll have included most of them already. 

The ones you haven’t, however, still need to make their way in. So see what you’ve currently written and see where they naturally fit.

For example, if you’ve stated your solution or stimulated desire, have you included reviews that prove your promise and establish credibility?

Or, if you’ve educated your prospect on a better way, have you mentioned the costs of the alternatives or educated them on reasons why others struggle (i.e. common objections)?

Where to put CTA buttons

Many landing pages move the reader through awareness levels. And you should never ask for action before your reader knows what they’re getting. 

Premature CTA buttons encourage curiosity clicks – where your reader feels curious to see what you’re offering, but they haven’t been “sold” on it. If you want the best possible leads (and hence customers), you need to sell the lead magnet fully first.

When you have, ask for action in multiple formats (e.g. varying buttons and anchor text).

Step 3: Editing your landing page

Now you’ve written your landing page, it’s time to edit. This can take some time, and you need to be ruthless with yourself and your work. Here’s what you need to check:

  • Have you tapped into the key pains and desires?
  • Is everything you’ve said honest? I.e. is your copy compliant?
  • Is your landing page suitable for scanners? Do your crossheads and images fit the narrative so scanners understand the story without reading the full piece?
  • Does your copy flow? Are the transitions smooth from section to section? Does each line pull you into the next?
  • Does your proof support the transformation? If you’ve used weak proof, can you replace it? If not, have you sandwiched it between stronger proof?
  • Is your headline and lead suitable for the traffic source?
  • Does your landing page look easy to read?
  • Is your copy as short, sharp and clear as it can be?
  • Are you using low-effort language?
  • Have you handled all objections and anxieties?
  • Have you included lots of call-to-action buttons and in-text links?

Landing page copywriting and editing are intentionally separate steps. They shouldn’t overlap. So you create space and can view your work with a fresh perspective. Edit aggressively, cut out anything you can that doesn’t reinforce your core message.

Step 4: Testing your sales page

The final step is to test. Once your landing page is live, change elements and see how they impact performance. Conversion rate optimisation is an iterative process. So really it’ll never stop.

What should you test?

Well, only one thing at a time to identify its impact. Elements could include headlines, button copy, images, lead type and traffic sources. Of course, there are many more.

You can then compare your new landing page’s performance to your existing one’s to isolate your change’s impact. Generally, it’s best practice to carry forward the elements that work best.

On-page analytics, like heat maps, can be useful to show where you’ve got drop-offs (and areas to look at improving first).

Go generate leads

And that’s landing page copywriting summed up in one post. You know how to research, write, edit and test. You know the core elements of any sales message and how to integrate them into a landing page – and make it irresistible. Now go get ’em.

If you want help on your own, my inbox is always open. Or, if you want to learn more about my landing page copywriting services, you can here.

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