- By Cathy Goodwin
- Published 01/16/2009
- Writing for the Web
Independent professionals often struggle to develop landing pages that converts browsers to buyers. Their biggest mistake: They want to display their creative talents here. Professional copywriters are more concerned with results than creativity. They follow formulas that have been tested over and over again. They use very specific copywriting and design techniques. And they are completely open about their purpose: getting visitors to take one specific action before leaving the page. A landing page (also known as a “sales page” or “squeeze page” has one purpose: to sell a product or service. By comparison, if you have a traditional website, your home page is designed to motivate readers to click away to other pages. The home page introduces you to your readers, but you present your services after they get to know you. So in a traditional site, a service professional will want visitors to go to the “about” page and the “services” pages. Your landing page works the opposite way. You “squeeze” visitors. They have 2 choices. They can buy your product or leave completely.
Begin by deciding exactly what ONE action your visitors should take. Do you want them to sign up for your ezine? Buy a product? Call for a free sample consultation? Develop the page to motiv
ate readers to take that one action. And while you’re at it, help them resist temptation to click away to another page. Remove everything that doesn’t help sell your product or service. No menus, links off the page quotes from famous people or beautiful photos of your favorite vacation spot. Keep the reader’s attention focused entirely on on your copy, supporting graphics and your offer. Create an invisible design, i.e., a design that readers won’t notice because they’re so busy reading the message. Choose black type on a white background. Use images to direct readers to follow the message you create in your text: arrows, underlines, big exclamation points. Handwritten marginal notes will be effective (if you don’t over-use them). Make the copy — the words that sell your product or service — easy to read. Use bullets, lots of white space, colors and headlines. On the web, most readers will scan your copy. Some readers will just skim through the bold and highlighted copy, all the way to the end. So apply bold type to the phrases you want your readers to notice. Then read through the copy to see if your bold text makes sense without reading anything else.
And believe it or not, good copywriting is invisible. That means readers get the message. They don’t stop to think, “Wow…what a clever headline!” or, “Brilliant metaphor!” They don’t notice the copy at all.