October 24th, 2021

Copywriting for Landing Pages: A Helpful Guide

Written by Hailey Kragelj

Born and raised just outside of Vancouver, Canada, Hailey has always had the spirit of a storyteller—as a dancer, actor, playwright, producer, avid reader, lighting designer, and now, the head of web copy at Copycat. From her hometown in B.C. to USC’s quintessential college campus and now into the vibrant, creative atmosphere of New York City, she carries her love of narrative (and commitment to her Canadian-ness) wherever she goes.

Mayday, mayday, we’re going down! Brace yourselves!

After you rattle, bump, thunk, and thud your way to a stop, you cautiously peer out your airplane window. You’ve crash-landed on what looks like a deserted island. But with no map, no recognizable landmarks, and no clear signage, you have no way of knowing where you are.

While a landing page feels a little less life-or-death than a nosediving aircraft, you still want the initial touchdown to feel more like the first episode of Survivor than that of Lost. The landscape may look the same in both, but the 16 to 20 castaways on Survivor have something the passengers of Oceanic Flight 815 never got: Jeff Probst leading them through the game, explaining the rules, and promising big rewards.

Here we go. For landing page copywriting that converts, Survivors ready… GO!

#1 “This Is Their Story, This Is Survivor” – Present a Clear Message from the Start

What’s a season of Survivor without Jeff Probst’s opening spiel? 

From the moment they arrive on the island, the castaways (and the loyal viewers at home) are greeted with a detailed explanation of the game, the players, and what’s to come. The word “Survivor” splashes across the screen in big bold letters.

Copywriting for landing pages should feature the same type of clear messaging:

A Compelling Yet Descriptive Hero Headline 

You don’t want your castaways to spend even a moment contemplating what island they might be on. The hero headline should immediately shed light on the purpose of the page in a way that differentiates it from any other service or product out there. For example:

  • “Welcome to Survivor” tells you the name of the show and nothing more. It doesn’t give a sense of what Survivor is all about or why you should watch it (or even that it’s a show to be watched).

  • “Outwit, Outplay, Outlast on America’s Most-Watched Survival Game Show,” on the other hand, includes a brief description of the game’s three-pronged core ideology, a convincing endorsement, and an apt descriptor of Survivor itself.

Words that Complement the Visual Design 

Each tribe’s buffs and flags match the name and location. When writing landing page copy for an existing website or design, create content that complements the page’s:

  • Density – A simple, minimalist design requires matching economy of language, while an elaborate design will leave more space for descriptive paragraphs.

  • Aesthetic – Colorful cartoon fonts pair with silly slogans the way that sleek logos and monochromatic palettes complement streamlined sentences and a sophisticated voice.

#2 “Here Is a Buff and a Map to Your New Home” – Present a Logical Layout to Follow

They may be castaways, but they’re not lost at sea. The survivors start off with a clear map to help them navigate through unfamiliar territory.

Like the map itself, your landing page should follow a logical layout that facilitates easy customer wayfinding. That includes:

  • Prioritizing relevant content – Internet users are notorious skimmers. Start strong by giving them everything they want, right from the top—the most compelling value propositions, details about an upcoming blowout sale, the primary reason they should keep scrolling or otherwise take action.

  • Clearly labeling headers and subheadings – An easy-to-read map will highlight the area’s most prominent landmarks. You can do the same with descriptive headers that guide the reader toward the information they’re looking for since you can already assume they’re not reading every word.

Directing the User Toward a Clearly Defined Objective 

On Survivor, each tribe’s map is pointing them to one very specific destination: the beach they’ll come to call home. When organizing and writing your landing page’s content, you have to first recognize the end goal—are they downloading an eBook, signing up for a free consultation, making a purchase? Each of these landing page offerings corresponds to a specific point in the buyer’s journey and level of familiarity with the landscape. For example:

A downloadable asset like an eBook or white paper is typically for early-stage potential consumers. They may have a problem that your company solves and can learn more by downloading your free resource. Effective copy for this stage would likely be written in layman’s terms, from a solution-oriented perspective, and with a motivational undertone.

A free trial or consultation is usually for mid-stage customers who are familiar with the offering but on the fence about actually pulling the trigger. You can lead them further down the funnel by heavily emphasizing the many benefits, the real-world use cases, and the risk-free nature of the trial—what have they got to lose?

A product or sale landing page is most effective for late-stage leads who are familiar with your offering and the associated benefits. The language should gently nudge them toward the “Checkout” button by providing a definitive picture of how their lives will improve and simultaneously emphasizing the special offer, whether that’s 25% off, one free month when they buy a year-long subscription, or a free gift with every purchase. 

#3 “Come On In!” – Use a Welcoming Tone & Accessible Language

Landing page copy should welcome the user to the page, the way Jeff Probst welcomes in the survivors for each upcoming challenge. That means:

  • Focusing your message on your audience, not your company, and using second-person pronouns, direct addresses, and thought-provoking questions to reflect that

  • Using language that your target audience will understand and connect with, given their demographic and stage in their buyer journey

  • Answering potential questions before the user has a chance to think them

  • Writing clearly, simply, and descriptively

And when Jeff Probst dropped the time-honored “guys” from the end of his classic catchphrase in a move toward inclusivity, he likely had no idea just how applicable his new saying was for us landing page copywriters at home. 

Your copy shouldn’t just welcome users to the page but should do so in the most inclusive and accessible way possible. 

Just like our ol’ pal Jeff, you may have to widen your understanding of who you’re talking to. 

If a user lands on a page and is clearly left out of the company’s messaging, they won’t stick around to learn more about a product’s benefits or the company’s mission statement. They’ll bounce right off the page and find one that says come on in and actually means it.

#4 “Worth Playing For?” – Clearly Lay Out Your Value Propositions

When Jeff Probst asks, “Worth playing for?” no one ever says, hmmm, let me think about it. They don’t have to hem and haw over whether they’d like flint and fishing gear, a fat slice of chocolate cake, or to spend the afternoon with their loved ones sipping champagne. 

The answer is always a resounding yes.

And that’s because their trusted host and guide presents not just the rewards but their inherent value in the game.

In marketing, this is what’s known broadly as presenting benefits rather than features—a must-use tactic if you’re wondering how to write copy for a landing page.

What’s the difference? Well, Survivors, we’re glad you asked:

  • Features – Features are facts. This blog uses the typeface Karla. The reward is two spears, a scuba mask, and flippers. We provide copywriting services.

  • Benefits – Benefits are what you get from the feature. Karla’s simple sans serif letterform is visually appealing and makes for easy reading. Fishing gear allows one tribe to catch protein-rich meals, giving them the massive advantage of physical strength going into each subsequent challenge. And our copywriting expertise can revolutionize your business’ SEO rankings, customer credibility, and brand recognition.

Presenting features asks the reader to draw conclusions for themselves—ones they may not ever arrive at. Presenting benefits does the work for them. 

#5 “Survivors Ready… GO!” – Urge Visitors Toward Action with Click-Worthy CTAs

When Jeff shouts “go” at the beginning of that high-stakes rewards challenge, every survivor takes off at full tilt. That’s because they know exactly what they stand to gain by the time the race, fight, or puzzle begins. 

If you’ve done your job as the copywriter, the same should be true for your customers.

The final push is a compelling, carefully crafted CTA button. The boilerplate options certainly serve their purpose—Learn More, Shop Now, Schedule A Call—but how can you do a little more with your CTA copy? 

  • Uplift and motivate – Like tribemates shouting “you got this!” and “you’re almost there” from the sidelines, you can always choose to inspire and empower your customers with your CTA choices:

         “Step Toward Greatness”
         “I’m Ready for More”
         “Become My Best Self”

  • Instill absolute confidence – When one survivor says to another, “Stick with me and you’ll be in the final four, guaranteed,” they have no way of guaranteeing such an outlandish feat. But the sheer confidence is enough to inspire belief in even the most cynical of allies. The same can be true of CTA buttons:

         “Your Future Starts Here”
         “The Last App You’ll Ever Download”
         “Your New Favorites”

  • Give a little kick-in-the-pants – Jeff never hesitates to point out when one team is trailing behind, losing their lead, or even giving an abysmal performance. While shaming your customers is never the right choice, you can think of your CTA copy as the gentle “tough love” nudge they need to make a change:

         “Stop Wasting Time”
         “Keep Up With the Competition”
         “Don’t Miss Out”

#6 “Tribe Has Spoken” – Be Definitive With Your Messaging (and Fast)

In the immortal words of Jeff Probst, "Once the user makes an initial judgment about your company, the decision is final; the person will leave the landing page immediately.” 

Close enough, right?

The point is, users make quick, snap decisions about a company based on their initial impression of the landing page. They may read a few words, glance over the photos, then cast their vote—whether to kick you off the metaphorical island known as their mind or keep you around to play another day.

Give them more than enough reasons to keep you on their team:

  • Speak—write—confidently about your offerings and their value
  • Present solid evidence to support your real-world applicability
  • Appeal to their emotions as well as their logical sensibilities
  • Highlight past successes and future potential
  • Use your alliances—your loyal customers—to your advantage  

Outwit, Outplay, Outlast with Copycat Copywriters

In Survivor, alliances are everything. In the game as in life, you need a team of trustworthy, proficient allies with diverse skill sets and a shared goal. 

Like the Aitu Four, Stealth R Us, or the Black Widow Brigade (minus all the backstabbing), Copycat Copywriters is an alliance worth joining. We work our magic on keyboards, not challenge courses, and we deal in ideas, not immunity idols, but our minds are sharp, our drive to win is immutable, and our hearts are in the game. 

Stick with us and you won’t just make it to the final four, you’ll take home the million—guaranteed

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