6 Copywriting Tips for Creating Persuasive Landing Pages (and Converting More Visitors)

5 · 27 · 21

As a modern marketer, you’re expected to be a multitasker with a diverse skill set. “Multiple hats … love ‘em!” In reality, though, it’s a pretty tough gig.

So, of course you’re constantly looking for ways to shrink the workload—and that includes beefing up your landing page copywriting skills to maximize conversions. What are the highest-performing landing pages doing that makes them so effective? 

Though the world has changed, this question comes back to the same stuff that Greek philosophers were preachin’ back in 350 BCE. See that confident-looking guy in the middle draped in baby blue?

Raphael’s School of Athens ft. Aristotle

Yup, that’s Aristotle. He argued that persuasion consists of three appeals: emotional, ethical, and logical

You may be wondering what he can teach you about landing page copywriting. Surprisingly, a lot. Much of what he said centuries ago is true today. To start, we’ve narrowed it down to six quick and effective copywriting tips:

Approached with these tips in mind, every element of your landing page copy can be an intentional play towards winning more conversions. From your headline to your call to action (CTA), sometimes all it takes is swapping one word for another to turn more of your prospects into leads, sales, and sign-ups

What’s more? These tips aren’t going anywhere any time soon. We think it’s safe to say that many of Aristotle’s persuasive techniques are timeless. (No, not your mother’s 70’s wedding dress kinda timeless.) Let’s explore how you can apply them to your landing pages.

The Emotional Appeal (Pathos)

When people talk about adding emotion to their copy, it becomes a bit of a guessing game in terms of which emotion we should appeal to. Should we tug at their heartstrings? Scare them into buying our product? Make them laugh so hard that their fingers slip and press the “Buy Now” button?

According to Unbounce’s 2020 Conversion Benchmark Report, it really depends on the industry. Medical practitioners tend to use words associated with sadness and fear, for instance, while marketers in finance and insurance rely on trust-related language. Take a peek at the full report to see all the industry-specific data.

But for now, I’ve got a coupla Aristotelian tips that are foolproof across industries.

Tip 1: Write like a human (with empathy).

How can you do that?

Image courtesy of HomeLoanGurus and Conversion Lab (Click to see the whole thing.)
  • Use hypophora to frame the problem: Hypo-what? Hypophora is a rhetorical device used when a writer raises a question and then immediately answers it. It’s a great (non-aggressive) way to remind your audience of their pain points, that you totally get it, and you have the solution to fix it. 

    Like Symmetrix does in this supporting copy, by listing off customer pain points in the form of questions: “Were you going to the gym but didn’t know where to start when you got there? Do you want to save yourself the extra time of driving to the gym and getting changed when you arrive?” (As I sit here in my pajamas staring out at the Vancouver rain, the second question speaks to me.)

This image is a landing page example that demonstrates hypophora.

But be wary of…

Tip 2: Encourage action. 

How so?

  • Focus on concise, powerful action verbs: It’s tempting to dust off the adjectives when hyping up your product, but make sure your copy doesn’t digress. It’s not only hard to follow (and convert), it also may come off as disingenuous. (Think of those long-winded explanations to your parents when you came home past curfew. “You’ll never believe this, but there were no cabs … and then I realized I left my purse back at Jim’s house…”) 

    Since the goal of your landing page is to increase conversions, keep your copy purposive and give your prospects clear direction on how to get there.

    Actionable CTAs are especially important for conversions. Check out this CTA copy from McDonald’s—we can’t say we’re lovin’ it.

    From the hero image, the audience can see the landing page is promoting its coffee. However, how the prospect gets the coffee—through the CTA—is pretty weak. “Find a Location” just adds another step for its caffeine-starved prospects. Instead, we would’ve connected prospects to its delivery service right away: “Order McDelivery” gives prospects a clear direction to a sweet, sweet cup of Joe.

Image courtesy of Mixmax (Click to see the whole thing.)

Want a quick assessment to see if you’re on the right track? Snag a personalized analysis of your landing page copy here using our Landing Page Copy Analyzer.

The Ethical Appeal (Ethos)

Aristotle described ethos as persuasion through character. In other words, you need to demonstrate to the audience that you’re a credible source of information. For your landing page, we’ve got a couple of ways to increase authority through copy—and it actually requires less writing.

Rather than spinning a big story, show confidence in the value you bring by being transparent. Keep your copy short and simple, and use social proof to uphold your promise. Let’s break it down.

Tip 3: Be clear and concise.

How can you achieve this?

  • Use fewer words and simpler language: In almost every industry we analyzed in the Conversion Benchmark Report, the reading level of the copy and the total word count are both related to better conversion rates. 

    Rule of thumb? Try to keep it under 300 words and written at a middle-school reading level. (It’s always “use”—never “utilize.” Don’t write “circumlocution” when you can just call something “unclear.”) For example, in the graph below you can see SaaS conversion rates increase as copy becomes shorter and easier to read.

Not in SaaS? Check out your industry’s performance in the 2020 Conversion Benchmark Report.
  • Bullet points or lists: Make it easy for your reader by using lists of bullet points. Aristotle would’ve called this “eutrepismus,” but following our discussion on reading ease, we’re gonna take our own advice here and keep it simple. Bullet points and lists are especially great for laying out all the juicy benefits of your product or service. Like what Caneggs does for its protein-packed pancake mix:

Tip 4: Validate your copy using social proof.

Yes, you really shouldn’t be writing social proof yourself—see my point above about being authentic—but curating the right testimonials and reviews can do loads to validate and support your landing page copy. In a 2019 survey, 91% of respondents said positive reviews make them more likely to use a business’ services or products. But how do you source and edit your social proof so it’s as persuasive as possible?

How to optimize your social proof:

  • Source testimonials from your top customers: You may have a ton of customers, but which ones would go to bat for your brand? Using customer engagement tools such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) survey helps you identify your biggest fans. If they’re clickin’ 9 or 10, you can depend on them to leave a rave review. So follow up with an invitation to leave one!
Image courtesy of Woolx and Ad Logic. (Click to see the full thing.)
  • Use relevant endorsements: Social proof can also be in the form of a relevant expert or influencer endorsement. On its landing page, Woolx highlights five outdoor magazine features and includes a quote from Backpacker Magazine. With over 500k Facebook likes and 150k followers on Twitter, Backpacker Magazine says Woolx is the warmest wool they’ve tested?! To some, this endorsement means nothing. To others, Woolx is droppin’ all the right names. 

But be mindful of: 

The Logical Appeal (Logos)

While our emotions dictate a lot of our buying behavior,  we all like to believe we’re making smart and logical decisions. So to round out your landing page copy, tap into this consumer tendency to look to reason. (Awkwardly, this just taps into another emotion: trust.) If you can validate your pitch with a statistic or fact, they can validate their purchase and convert. Win-win!

Tip #5: Use statistics strategically.

  • Incorporate the framing effect: As objective as statistics may seem, we can actually frame the same information in various ways to create different effects. Take the earlier example of America’s recycling habits. We could call out the 65% of Americans that aren’t recycling. Or, we can applaud the 35% that is. But is 35% something to brag about? What if we reframe it as 114.87 million Americans recycled in 2019? Much better. And that, my friends, is the framing effect. 

    The purpose of the framing effect isn’t to manipulate, but to express numbers in a way that resonates with your audience. The Ocean Cleanup does a swell job demonstrating how each sale contributes to its cleanup operations on this landing page:

    Each pair of sunglasses sold will help clean over 1.5 miles of ocean—which is a lot, but hard to picture if you’re not the nautical type. The organization uses football fields as the metric to show the impact of just one sale. (Now you’re speakin’ our language.) And it seems to be working—there’s over 162, 440 football fields of ocean already clean.

Tip #6: Argue a strong value proposition.

What makes a value prop strong?

Persuasion: A Tale as Old as Time

Taking the time to understand how to incorporate persuasive techniques into your landing page copy is worth it. Although we feel like some of Aristotle’s terminology could use a little updating—procatalepsis sounds like something that’d send you to the emergency room—you now have six simple copywriting tips in your back pocket for your next landing page.

After you start seeing the conversions roll in, you may be curious how your mastery of persuasion stacks up against the rest. Check out the competitive landscape in our 2020 Conversion Benchmark Report.

This content was originally published here.

About me

+61 410 327 824

Queensland, Australia


I'm Currated Post

Product designer

Related Posts

3 Reasons Why Your Marketing Needs Unbounce’s New Smart Builder

3 Reasons Why Your Marketing Needs Unbounce’s New Smart Builder

Whoever said, “life is a journey, not a destination,” clearly wasn’t a time-strapped marketer trying to dig themselves out from under a mountain of tasks by the end of the day. (The quote is often attributed to the 18th-century poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo...

Product Marketing Month: Why I’m Writing 30 Blog Posts in 30 Days

We Have 1.06 Products. Do we suck at product marketing?I wrote that statement on a whiteboard at the start of a website brainstorm session. What does 1.06 products mean?1.06 sums up my frustration at the adoption rate of our new products. Yup, Unbounce is now more...

I Wanted to Convert on Your Landing Page, But I Couldn’t. Here’s Why.

I Wanted to Convert on Your Landing Page, But I Couldn’t. Here’s Why.

Hey there, marketer. Let me introduce myself. I’m your target market. I’m actively looking for what you offer. I just Googled your solution, clicked your ad, and I’m on your landing page. Right now, I’m somewhere between interested in and desperate for what you’re...