Creating a great landing page isn’t easy. Or is it? There is a famous landing page template that tends to perform as well as most big-budget landing pages—time and time again. You don’t have to be a marketing guru to implement it either, you only need to follow seven simple step by step instructions.
What are the key elements to building lead generating landing pages? A lead generating landing page consists of a targeted headline, supportive subheadlines, a problem solving statement(s), detailed selling points, fitting imagery, a call to action button, testimonials/reviews section, and a final call to action button.
Creating phenomenal lead generating landing pages aren’t hard, but they will take considerable thought. We are going to outline a time-tested method that’s been used successfully over and over again. Let’s jump in and deconstruct this method, step by step.
1. What are the key elements to a great lead generating landing page?
There are a lot of great landing pages out there that have converted visitors to leads like an assembly line. Some have visually striking content while others have slick technological magic behind the scenes. But do you really need to be a top-level programmer to build an amazing landing page?
The answer is no. In fact, some of the best landing pages in the world are very simple. Your job is tell a story about your service or product with authenticity. You can do that with what we call the Golden Landing Page Recipe.
What is the Golden Landing Page Recipe?
The Golden Landing Page Recipe contains 7 core ingredients that you can mix and match in a number of ways. We think of this recipe like Gumbo: there are a lot of ways to cook Gumbo, but you better have quality, core ingredients first.
7 core ingredients to a fantastic lead generating landing page:
- A great headline
- An optional subheading
- A problem solving statement
- Selling points/bullet points
- Call to action
- Call to action
Here are the 7 ingredients in action. As you can see below, I’ve arranged the core ingredients in two different formats. There are thousands of potential formats that you could create.
Let’s dive a little bit deeper into each ingredient to master your perfect lead generating landing page.
2. Create an amazing headline
The first step in creating an amazing lead generating landing page is to come up with a creative, but simple headline. Operative word is SIMPLE. This isn’t the time to go supercalifragilisticexpialidocious with your grammar.
If a seven year old can’t understand your offer, start over. This is critical. There is nothing worse than getting cutesy with your headline and people leaving because they don’t understand your language.
A golden outline for writing killer headlines
- The headline is not for you, it’s for your customer. Unless you are selling yourself as a service, your headline should ALWAYS be focused on your buyer. Every. Single. Time.
- Write out the biggest problem your product solves for your customer.
- Write out the four or five major highlights of your product or service.
- Out of the four or five major highlights, pick the most important one and begin writing your headline by telling us how it solves our biggest problem. Your product + amazing feature +solves our horrible problem.
- Write 15 headlines. Read them out loud. Cross out the 5 worst. Send the remaining 10 to your friends and prepare to hear feedback. They aren’t biased like you and they’ll be honest.
- Keep the top 3 most liked headline in a file, but roll with the #1 for now.
- Visit websites that you know spend WAY MORE MONEY than you ever will on marketing. See what they are doing and identify the anatomy of their headline.
- Don’t know where to look for headline examples? Check Tech Crunch’s recently funded companies. They are growing, are receiving money, and have serious marketing dollars. https://techcrunch.com/startups/recent-funding/
What is the anatomy of a headline?
For the most part, all great headlines have three main parts: an appetizer, meat and potatoes, and the dessert. Not all headlines have all three. You may not need all three. This is where trial and error comes in.
Appetizer: This is like a warm up. It’s usually a little descriptor before your main headline. It could be a description of you are or even a simple “Hey Cat Lovers”. It’s a short block of text that lets people know they are in the right place. It’s typically above your main headline.
Meat & Potatoes: This is the home run statement. It’s bigger, bolder, and flashier. It usually makes a promise, claim, or cure-all type statement. It’s what they can expect to get our of your product or service.
Dessert: Not every landing page will have dessert, but most do. It’s the subheading, bullet points, or accessory details about your big promise.
Here are some examples of how this three-course headline meal might be served up.
Now here’s the thing, we know not everyone can whip up snazzy headlines quickly. Don’t worry, even great marketers stare blankly at the screen from time to time. The following tools can really help you carve a fantastic meat & potatoes headline.
- SUMO headline generator
- Hoth headline generator
- IMPACT headline generator
We use these on blogs and other marketing headlines all the time. It’s important to collect inspiration from any place you can. Start a spreadsheet and write down inspiring headlines.
If you are still stuck and need a little nudge to get the creative juices going, use the following prompts to spur creativity:
- How to…
- The ultimate…
- You don’t have to…
- We help…
- Get rid of…
- One weird trick…
- At last..
- Who else wants…
- The secret of…
- Here is a quick/method…
- Now you can finally…
- What everybody ought to know about…
- Do you make this common mistake…
- You don’t have to be…
3. Write a kick-butt subheading (if you need one)
I covered subheadlines a bit in point #1 (dessert), but it’s worth exploring them a little bit deeper. A good subheadline shouldn’t be overly pushy. It’s a statement that clarifies your main point.
We often see great subheadlines with bullet points or a few short sentences to help provoke curiosity. The subheadline doesn’t have a specific length, but it shouldn’t be much multiple paragraphs.
We’ve seen many times where the subheadline becomes a narrative biography—don’t do that. Use bullet points if you need to.
Here is an example of a really clean, simple, and short subheadline from Flexispot. They tell it like it is. We know from the headline that we are looking at an adjustable desk.
The subheadline lets us know it will go from a sitting position to a standing position. Sweet. Got it.
To be fair, many marketing firms have been transitioning away from subheadlines. The reason is because digital art has become so good that it’s much easier for a story to be told with images and videos. Also, with single scrolling webpages, more text can be used to illustrate a product story throughout the page.
It’s not the 1950’s anymore, you don’t have to obey marketing rules. You can skip the subheadline if your main headline is awesome. It’s your world.
Take the company Fully. They use a single, meat and potatoes headline. No subheadline necessary. I know exactly what they do.
A no frills approach can work great if you have good product or service images. Not to mention, millennials will see through your marketing rhetoric faster that you can sneeze. Sometimes simplicity is best.
4. Craft a problem solving statement
Now that you’ve got your knockout headline, it’s time to convince them you can cure their ailments.
Enter the Problem Solving Statement.
The problem solving statement lets them know you are here to help them despite their suspicion. This is the moment after they’ve read your headline and thought, “Sure… heard that promise a thousand times…”
They are skeptical and they’re thinking of reasons not to move forward. You have to take them by the hand and drop the hammer. You are the solution, tell them the solution, and deliver it with Thor-like authority
If your product or service is a good as you say it is, this is where you justify your claims.
- “Product X reduces green house admission by 500000%.”
- “Our patented super duper technology 43% of Reno.”
- “The product X ends the need for batteries because of reason y.”
- “No toilet paper can be made into Zoo animal origami like ours.” Wait what?
What if I already used by best statement in my headline?
There is a chance you’ve already used this statement in your headline, if so, give them a second reason here. Double up your efforts. Remember when I said keep your headlines in a file? This is where you look back at all the problems you solve and talk about them.
Marketing company Moz does this by affirming their industry clout. They want you to know they are the biggest, baddest, SEO specialist on the block. If you had questions before, now you know who you are dealing with. The “problem” they are solving with this statement is a lack of SEO expertise and transparency in the industry—they are the remedy.
Like Moz, Fitness entrepreneur John Romaniello of Roman Fitness Systems demonstrates his industry status and creative comedy to entice you to stay. Roman Fitness Systems is clearly providing a solution to the lack of superhero, ice cream, and.. other topics.
Always be yourself
We really want to stress this point. In writing this guide, we visited dozens of sites to pull examples and were disappointed by how “vanilla” they were.
Nine out of ten companies will play their landing page safely. Too safely. They all started to look the same.
If you have an edge or certain bravado to your company, make sure that same energy is used in your copy. Some will love it and some will hate it, but it’s better to be loved by few than liked by many. Love = customer. Like = window shopper.
5. Bullet point out your major selling points
You’ve given your audience your best headline, you’ve offered them some additional reasons to scroll down (subheadlines & problem statement), and now is your chance to sell your product or service features.
Let’s take a look at a few examples in how you might execute this strategy.
New startup SendView uses the feature method by giving you multiple reasons to choose them as your email partner. Using illustrative graphics and descriptive copy, they give you three features you can expect with their software.
After reading this, I know the problem they are solving: they make it easy to sign up for competitor emails without using my own email.
PeekFeed uses the stacking method and places features on top of each other. Many companies use icons to illustrate their feature points (SendView above), but we quite like that PeekFeed uses real images. It feels more robust. The icon trend started seven or eight years ago and it’s been overused and abused. Thanks Apple.
To make sure you really nail your bullet points, always keep in the mind the problems you are solving. If you aren’t talking about eliminating their pain, then you’re not doing bullet points correctly.
Always keep in mind that consumers are selfish. When they are searching for something, they are searching selfishly. They don’t care about your opinions, they care about solving their own problem and you need to help them do that.
All great landing pages do the same thing: provide a solution to solve clearly identified problems. If you stray from this, turn back quickly and get back to talking about solutions to problems.
6. Call to action #1
Now the fun part. You’ve entertained them, enticed them, and now you want them to engage. It’s time to put a button in place to get them in your funnel.
But what is your button supposed to do? We recommend an appropriate exchange of value. The text on the button should indicate you are about to give them something of value. Here are few options of what you can give them:
Email in exchange for helpful material
This is probably our favorite exchange. If people give you their email, you will send them something in return. It can be a helpful PDF guide, a link to a beneficial video, or even a useful excel spreadsheet. All of these are great options.
We’ve seen websites go as far as offering more value up front such as a free mini course. The more value you give away, the more likely you are to walk away with their email address. And as Ben Franklin once said…
Contact information in exchange for your time
This can work if you are offering a personal service. We’ve seen this work successfully for agency services, consulting models, and high-end coaching.
It could be as easy as, “Schedule your free 15 minute phone call.” The exchange is simple: your valuable time for their contact information. Just be careful here with your closing rate. Your time is valuable and you want to make sure this volume of inquisition isn’t going to sink you.
We feel a sample of 100 sales appointments should yield a 10% close rate on the low-side, 15% on the moderate side, and 20% on the growth side.
Email in exchange for a waiting list
This is really interesting one. If you offer a service that requires a hand-holding service, a waiting list call to action is a really cool play. The fact that you aren’t taking just anyone clearly elevates your brand as a premium offer.
Your website visitor is thinking, “Man, this must be good. The doors are closed. What makes this special?”
In exchange for their email, you’ll put them on a waiting list while sending them valuable emails along the way. They’ll feel “included”. Nothing validates something as important like things you can’t have right now.
Email in exchange for email content
This is the most popular call to action. They give you an email and you give them weekly or monthly emails. It works fine, but it’s overused and too predictable.
If people are landing on your website, they’ve just met you. They don’t know you from Adam. So why in the world would they want your lousy email campaign?
Think like a consumer. If you enter into a store for the first time and you’ve only walked past the greeter, would you give your contact information in exchange for boring store emails? Probably not. The value isn’t high enough.
Now, if you walk past a greeter and she requests your email in exchange for free donuts for your kids (who are screaming in the shopping cart), you’d probably give up your email.
The value is higher to you right now. You don’t know the store, but you need donuts—so you cave. This is like giving a mini-course, document, spreadsheet, or other useful tool.
The “Learn More” easy road
This isn’t our favorite route, because there isn’t a true exchange of value for getting them to click the button. But, many websites use this to navigate to a page that has more information. We feel “meh” about this road. It can work if your service or product has multiple layers and depth and require more information, but we always suggest a more substantial exchange of value.
They don’t need you yet. Your job is to convince them they need you. The best way to do that is to get them to commit to your free information. Give a lot to get a lot.
7. Display your best testimonials/reviews
Now it’s time to bring out the big artillery. Nothing shows you mean business like customer testimonials and reviews. It says people are socially vouching for your product or service. After all, who would question Becky from North Dakota when she says you’re the best?
If you don’t have testimonials, go collect them immediately. They add more value to your website than anything else.
People need the affirmation of what other people think. There is a reason for the popularity of Yelp, Amazon reviews, Rotten Tomatoes, Facebook ratings, Trust Pilot, Angies List, Consumer Reviews, or just social media in general (that’s a topic for another day).
The best thing to ask for is a testimonial/review with your name/product inside of the testimonial. Reach out to your past clients and ask for a review if possible. Double up and have them leave the review on your Google business page/Facebook page/or other social platform. Then copy that review into your website and marketing content.
8. Call to action #2
This is the final step, the last call to action. If they’ve made it this far, they’re loaded with purchase confidence. They know who you are, what you are promising, what features come with that promise, social proof from others who have purchased from you, and an opportunity to get a piece of you for a simple exchange of information.
Now give them a way to receive more—call to action button (CTA) #2. You can use the same button as the one up top or you can be quirky and vary your message slightly, but with the same offer as CTA #1.
Again, your goal is to give them something of value in exchange for their information. Try not to compromise with a “learn more” or “mailing list” style button. Give them a free course, PDF, spreadsheet, or exclusive access to something of value.
Build a tribe. Give a lot to receive a lot.
What type of testimonial is most powerful? A video testimonial is hands-down the most powerful testimonial you can have. Nothing converts faster than video on the planet. It’s engaging, increases story depth, and provides rich content.
You can also use video content across your social channels and within your content. It’s not hard to ask for an in-person video testimonial when you are with a client and you have a modern smartphone. New iPhone’s are shooting in high definition 4k now.
Is it faster to use a landing page software like Clickfunnels or Leadpages? Yes it is faster. But we don’t recommend it out-the-gate. It’s like hiring the 15 year old jock down the street to mow your lawn. Sure, you can hire it out, but everyone should mow a lawn a few dozen times to appreciate how to do it right.
We believe building a landing page is easy enough in WordPress for anyone to do it. Once you master building landing pages in WordPress, feel free to drop $99/month on Clickfunnels or $40 per month on Leadpages if you still think you need it.