How to Create a Solid Landing Page
Without wasting time on trial-and-error
An interview with Designer Laura Elizabeth
It’s not too late to enter ConvertKit’s Landing Page Challenge and be in the running for the $10K grand prize! This conversation with Laura Elizabeth will help you catch up — or get ahead.
Laura and I agree that the best way to create a high-converting landing page is not some marketing hack or copywriting trick. You could have a landing page full of every technical optimization on the internet — all the right colors, photos, and keywords — but if it doesn’t sound like you and it doesn’t resonate with your audience no one will sign up. The way to get conversions is to provide what your audience wants.
So Laura, how do you figure out what your audience wants?
If you have no audience and are starting from scratch, I recommend getting a landing page up as quickly as possible. Make your best guess when you’re writing your content and focus on getting your first subscriber. Once you have that one person you can start interviewing!
If you have a small audience you can interview existing subscribers on a call. You won’t get a wide pool of data, but you’ll get much more in-depth insights from those conversations.
Make sure you ask permission to record the call and then use a transcription service like rev or temi to get a written copy afterward. This means you won’t have to worry about taking notes and you can focus on having a good conversation with your subscriber.
Ultimately you really want to gather as much raw data as possible before creating your landing page. The goal of this step is to find out what your audience is struggling with so you can write in a way that appeals to them. This is an ongoing process.
When people opt in to your list ask them what brought them were and what they’re currently struggling with. Here’s an example of the welcome email I send to people who opt in to my free course on learning the basics of design:
Welcome to the 6 Principles to Learn the Basics of Design crash course.
The first lesson should be hitting your inbox within the next 15 minutes.
While you wait, could you answer 1 question for me?
Reply to this email and let me know:
What is your biggest frustration with design?
In other words, what one thing bugs the hell out of you? And if I had a magic wand and could make it go poof — what would that do for you and the projects you work on?
Enjoy the course!
This gives people a sounding board to vent out any frustration they have with design. Some people reply with one-sentence answers, others write paragraphs. You can collate all these replies into a spreadsheet and mine them when you need to write your landing page.
You can also email out a broadcast to your list with this exact same question if you need a lot of data quickly and have a list started. However, be sure to set up the welcome email to go out immediately to any new subscribers as it’s best to get people’s thoughts when their frustration is raw :-)
How do you know what feedback from your audience is worth listening to?
I tend to follow a mixture of going with my gut instinct and listening to feedback that’s repeated often.
It can be tempting to follow every bit of feedback you receive thinking that because it’s coming from a potential customer they must be right but people are different. While one person might love the colour red another may despise it. You want to be looking out for themes when people are giving you feedback. Is this something you’re hearing a lot? Then look into it. Otherwise if it’s working and you only have one complaint, leave it for now.
The only time I don’t follow this advice is when my gut tells me not to.
Sometimes one person will write in about something that’s been nagging at me for a while and I decide to change it. That’s okay! Sometimes you need to trust your gut.
Is it okay to use direct quotes from these calls and email responses?
Yes, absolutely. If it’s a testimonial you will need to ask permission but I often use quotes from customers to create compelling copy.
Instead of taking a quote word-for-word I try to look for themes in what my audience is saying and come up with copy based around that.
For example, I have a lot of subscribers who know good design when they see it but can’t replicate it so I made my main headline this:
I know good design when I see it. I start every project thinking “this is going to look so slick and awesome’ …and the results are just completely underwhelming.
This isn’t a quote from one person, it’s a mixture of quotes from many people.
Do you have any tips for using direct quotes from your audience?
You can edit quotes if they haven’t been worded correctly but remember that you want them to sound authentic. Don’t be afraid of including filler words like “just” or “actually” — it’ll sound much more natural.
I recommend formatting your quotes and putting the impactful parts in bold or a colour so takeaways are easy to see.
How long or short should a landing page be? Is there a good rule of thumb?
Not at all. Some landing pages work with just a few compelling sentences. Others need thousands of words to get people invested.
As long as your landing pages is compelling, easy to read, and gets the point across without too much fluff you’re good to go. Try experimenting with different lengths and see what works for you.
How do you actually use the information you have gathered and apply it to your copy?
I tend to start with a google doc and follow the Pain -> Dream -> Fix copywriting formula.
The idea is you start with describing the pain your audience has (“It’s raining and I’m wet”) then you describe the dream (“I’d like to be warm and dry”) and finally you present the solution (“Buy my umbrella”).
This almost always yields a compelling landing page. I then scatter around other elements like testimonials, the nitty gritty about the solution, and call to actions but starting with the Pain-Dream-Fix formula always gives me a good starting point to use the data I’ve collected.
That formula is great!
Having a basic framework of an outline to begin with really helps to eliminate writer’s block. Thank you so much for sharing that and all the other great advice. Where can people find you online?
You can follow me on Twitter @laurium or check out the landing pages for my three products!
One final note from Jordan:
If the Pain-Dream-Fix template was helpful to you, be sure to sign up for our free training in February. Paul Alan Aspen and I will be going over The Story Circuit Method — our formula for writing copy that converts without being sleazy or salesy. You will also have the opportunity to get access to a whole collection of templates that will save you time whenever you have to write something new, from social media posts to sales pages.