How to write landing pages that convert

There is no such thing as a perfect landing page.The real art behind creating landing pages that convert lies in putting something out there and seeing how prospects react. It’s about experimentation.
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With each landing page you create, you’ll collect quantitative data – which explains what happened – and qualitative data, which tells you why it happened.

You need the full picture to create a landing page that works for your business.

Still, it’s always better to have a process to guide that experiment, which is where this framework comes into play.

What Kills Landing Pages?

Tom Waits once said, “We’re all just monkeys with money and guns.” While I don’t 100% agree with that statement, it is true that often, people’s monkey brains are what kills landing pages.

It’s that part of the brain that controls our primal instincts. Fear. Anger. Pleasure. It’s not until your reader engages the other parts of their brain that they activate thinking of a higher order, such as accessing the skills for social conduct or considering something critically.

Writers like you and I are up against billions of years of evolution, and your job is to change your words to fit human nature so your landing pages succeed.

The Framework – Four Layers to Landing Page Success

Four layers for B2B messaging inform the steps you’re going to follow in this framework:

  1. Clarity – What is it?
  2. Relevance – Is it aligned with my priorities and pains?
  3. Value – How bad do I want it?
  4. Differentiation – Why you?

Take your reader through these four layers, and you lead them into either consideration of your offer or an actual conversion.

Throughout these steps, I’ll be using the example of a company that offers AI-generated articles - Penfriend -  without the user having to enter a prompt.

Layer 1 – Clarity

Your landing page reader wants to quickly be able to assess what they’re dealing with so they can make a decision on whether to spend more time with you. If the answer isn’t clear to them in the first 15 seconds, you’ve already given them the answer:

Your landing page is a waste of their time.

When you present the reader with a vague “branding” message as the first thing they see, they’re going to switch off. Take “Life Reimagined” as an example. That tells the reader nothing about what you do, so the first 15-second clarity test is failed.

Think of this initial message as your one shot to get them engaged. It has to be above the fold and feature the following elements:

  • A Bold Claim – Your title’s job is to catch attention and make the reader check out the subtitle. A bold claim – such as “Generate high-quality SEO articles, without prompting” – grabs attention and makes them want to read more.
  • A Believable Subtitle – Use your subtitle to substantiate your bold claim. Provide evidence. Show a result. Aim to earn the CTA click first and, failing that, shoot for a scroll down to the next section of your landing page.
  • Encourage Action – The imperative form encourages your reader to take action. These are verbs that tell somebody to do something. In our previous example, “Generate” is that verb.
  • Share the Outcome – “High-quality SEO articles.” That’s an outcome the reader wants. Whatever your outcome may be, it needs to be in your title.
  • Confront the Objection – In my example, “without prompting” covers the objection. In other words, readers may not want to enter prompts to generate their articles. I cover that. You need to address your reader’s objection.

And finally, you need a CTA button below the title and subtitle. Keep the ACTION framework in mind for this – people ACT when you offer an Irresistible Outcome with No Risk.

Layer 2 – Relevance

Let’s say you didn’t get the click from a reader with your opening title, but you offered enough clarity to get them to scroll down. 

Next up, they need to see relevance.

The trick here is to use problems as a way to make your next chunk of copy relevant. I recommend a section, such as “Who is <YOUR COMPANY> for?” that has six problems or pains listed underneath.

For my example, those pains could be “You don’t have the budget for a dedicated internal writer” or “You can’t get the quality you need with AI.” Each of those pains is accompanied by a little text explaining why the pain matters to the reader.

Pain is the great motivator. Your readers are more motivated by not losing $100 than they are by gaining $100. Expand that line of thought, and you have motivators that show your company understands the reader’s struggles.

Layer 3 – Value

Your value section is the counterpoint to your relevance section. You’ve shown the reader what hurts. Now, you’re going to show them what they get out of your solution and, as a result, how you can heal their pain.

Create a series of six titles that counter the pains you introduced above. For instance, the “You don’t have the budget for a dedicated internal writer” pain is countered by something like “your dedicated internal writer that never sleeps.” So, the reader knows they get an internal writer – at a far lower cost – and can use it whenever they want.

You’re essentially explaining your product’s features here. But you’re doing it in a way that relates back to the bold claim you made at the beginning and the pain you highlighted in the previous section of your landing page.

Layer 4 – Differentiation

The question you need to answer here is simple:

Why you and not your competitor?

Differentiation is all about specificity and contrast. Combine those two things, and you provide clarity.

In my example, the client not needing to become an AI-prompt engineer to get a great article is a differentiator. Adaptation of the resulting output using AI and SEO is another.

The odds are that your prospect has seen something like what you’re offering before. Your goal at this stage is to show them why you’re different – and better – than what they’ve already seen.

Adding Social Proof

After each of the first four steps, you need a prompt that makes the reader either consider or convert. These come in the form of CTA buttons, with each button being accompanied by something crucial:

Social proof.

Eddie Shleyner’s landing page course highlights this perfectly when he showcases how he sells his free newsletter to his visitors. Layered on the right-hand side of that landing page are videos and quotes from actual users. That social proof is there because most people feel more comfortable in life when they’re following a path that’s already been trodden. 

Take this testimonial from Penfriend as an example:

“With Penfriend, I was able to generate two 3,000+ word articles around niche topics in 10 minutes. AND THEY ARE SO HUMAN.”

Not only does that quote come from an actual user, but it highlights several benefits of the product. Large articles, produced in minutes, that pass as 100% human. Take that example and insert social proof into each of the four layers of the landing page framework.

Non-Negotiables – Handling the Primal Objections

Zig Ziglar, the sales extraordinaire and mentor to Seth Godin, spoke of five sales objections that you need to cover in your copy to make a sale:

  1. No need
  2. No desire
  3. No trust
  4. No money
  5. No hurry

When using the framework, you must cover each of these five needs. They’re non-negotiables - if you don’t confront these objections in your copy, you don’t make a sale.

For need, you position your product as the painkiller. When somebody’s in pain, they’ll pay any amount of money to make that pain go away. In the case of Penfriend, the pain a prospect experiences is that other AI content generators are so low-quality that they’re unusable.

Penfriend solves that problem.

Desire builds on the need, as your demonstration that your solution is the painkiller pushes people to act by creating desire. Then, you run into the trust wall. Your social proof helps here - people are more willing to buy something that others have already used - as do phrases like “proven content strategy.”

No money doesn’t mean that the prospect has no money to spend. It usually means that the solution you’re offering isn’t a priority for potential clients. To overcome this objection, you have to make your solution the priority by showing them that something is going to happen if they spend their cash. For Penfriend, that something is they can fill their website with high-quality content to “out content” their competition.

Finally, no hurry - if they don’t take action today, they’re going to fall behind the competition.

The Value Equation

The Value Equation was developed by Alex Hormozi, an entrepreneur and author. In his book - $100 Million Offers - he offers a framework to define the often-fuzzy concept of value:

(Dream Outcome x Perceived Likelihood of Achievement) / (Time Delay x Effort and Sacrifice) = Value

Your goal is to make the first two parts of the formula as appealing as possible while keeping the time and effort numbers low.

For Penfriend, the dream outcome is that the prospect receives high-quality articles in minutes, rather than weeks. Multiply that by the perceived likelihood of achievement, which is shown to be high because the solution doesn’t require the user to be an AI prompt engineer and has over 10 years of results backing it.

As for time delay, not only does the landing page content point out that the visitor gets articles in minutes, but so does the social proof. The prospect won’t waste tons of time getting this solution running. Finally, for effort and sacrifice, Penfriend can double down on the fact that no prompting is necessary for great articles.

So, the prospect gets their dream outcome and can see there’s a high probability that Penfriend actually delivers on its promise. They have even more reason to buy because the solution requires so little time and effort on their part, all of which equates to massive value.

Take Readers Through the Four Layers

With those four layers, you create landing pages that build convincing arguments for your products. Build social proof into that framework, inserted at every CTA, and you create the trust that leads to somebody buying.

The framework also helps you to confront Zig Ziglar’s five non-negotiable objections, with Hormozi’s Value Equation allowing you to position your solution as low-risk for a very high reward. Get all of these components in place, put the landing page out there, and keep tweaking based on the data you receive to get it as close to perfect as possible.

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