Tackling Calls-To-Action & Landing Pages: Writing Stellar Website Copy, Part 7
This article is an excerpt from “The 8-Part Guide To Writing Stellar Website Copy”—you can download the full guide here. (It’s free!)
A call-to-action (CTA) is a “callout” that directs a reader to take a particular action. And a landing page is where a reader “lands” so they can take that action. Easy enough right?
Well… not really.
Tackling CTA and landing page copy isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to grab a reader’s attention right away, get them to click over to another page, describe an action you want them to take, and do that well enough that they actually take action. But don’t worry! If you follow the best practices in this article, you’ll be ready to tackle these tricky (and important) pieces of content.
Before we go any further, it’s important to note that landing pages and calls-to-action (CTAs) are two completely different things—but more often than not, a CTA redirects to a landing page, and the two are often related in content. For that reason, we’re explaining them together—and walking through best practices for each—below.
Call-To-Action (CTA) Copy
A CTA can be effectively broken down into three parts: the heading, the subheading, and the download button.
This is your chance to grab your persona’s attention, so don’t waste it.
- Make your heading brief and direct. Your persona may not care for witty or eye-catching statements but prefer a more direct approach. If so, cater to them! Examples:
- “The Cover-All-Your-Bases Handbook”
- “Free White Paper: White Paper Title”
- Relate to the persona’s pain points. Inbound marketing is effective when it solves a problem the persona has. If you can immediately identify this problem, you’re headed in the right direction. Examples:
- “Frustrated by your reporting process?”
- “How much could ignoring export regulations cost you?”
- “Wish you could figure out if HubSpot would work for you?”
- Provide a benefit right from the get-go. As previously mentioned, your ideal persona wants to know right away what’s in it for them—so use your heading to speak to that! Examples:
- One of our client’s CTAs has a 90% click-to-submission rate—which is phenomenal. The heading—“Build a winning export strategy!”—is simple and effective, with a clear benefit to the persona.
- “Spend less time analyzing results and more time managing them.”
You’ve now caught your persona’s attention with your heading. The subheading is the only sentence (or two) you have to close the deal, so make each word count.
- Use the headline of the deliverable.
Example: “How to determine if you need an export license.”
- Tell them about the deliverable.
Example: “This 16-page guide explores use cases, fundamental concepts, and leading technologies of low power, wide-area networks.”
- If you ask a question in your heading, answer it.
Example: “Download this extensive list of customer measures to find out.”
We use “Download Now” as our go-to download button text. It’s simple, immediate, action-oriented, and has worked very well for us.
If your CTA isn’t for a downloadable offer, keep your language concise:
- “Begin Free Trial”
- “View Calculator”
- “See How”
- “Learn More”
Calls-to-action are extremely important on your website’s homepage—so you’ll want to offer multiple CTA options. For example, they may not have enough “pain” to go right to the bottom-of-funnel solution, but they could be looking for guidance in how to solve the problem they’re experiencing on their own.
Offering high quality additional content is great for the “DIY”-type persona who still wants to learn more before taking the plunge with your product or service. Over time, they’ll realize they need your help, and when the lightbulb goes off, they’ll reach out.
A landing page is the web page your visitor “lands” on that has a single focus: getting the persona to perform the action you want them to take. According to Search Engine Land, “The top 10% of landing pages are converting at a rate 3 to 5 times higher than the average.” Wouldn’t it be great if your landing pages were seeing results like that? These tips may help you get there:
- Make sure your copy passes the “head nod” test. Everything written on a landing page (and every web page for that matter) should lead the persona to nod their head in agreement and think, “The obvious next step for me is to fill out this form and get this thing.”
- Create a sense of time sensitivity and scarcity. Classic sales methodology says that time sensitivity and scarcity convert. (And it’s right.) For example, “For the next 24 hours, you have access to this—then it’s gone!” and “There’s only 15 left!” But this is difficult to do with a free, always-available downloadable item like an inbound marketing offer (i.e., a piece of content you offer your prospects and leads for free in exchange for information about themselves.) To accomplish this, we use implied urgency. Remind your persona that the more time that passes without a solution to their problem, the worse off they are. Explain that this ebook or guide can help them see results immediately (if that’s true, of course).
- Do what you can to overcome friction. Every action has a certain amount of “friction” associated with it. According to Copyhackers, “Friction words are words that describe things people have to do – not things people want to do. They cause cognitive friction. Web copy that converts is focused on what people want to do.” If your reader feels that performing the action on your landing page is going to be a waste of time (or just plain unpleasant!), that means your language is causing friction.
- Example: If I’ve created an employee handbook that you can use for your own company, that’s an incredibly valuable asset. But my persona needs to think that the information I’m asking for in exchange for that handbook is perfectly reasonable in order for them to move forward.
- How Much Copy Should You Use On Your Landing Page? (Copyhackers)
- Avoiding Friction Words In Your Web Copy (Copyhackers)
Download Now: The 8-Part Guide To Writing Stellar Website Copy
Tackling calls-to-action and landing pages is just one of eight critical parts of writing great web copy. Want to see them all? Download the free guide below—it will help you hone in on what’s important so you can write copy (for any industry) that gets results.