25th Feb 2018 –
Then all of a sudden, something seems off. You’re a bit confused as to what you’re getting into. You’re not sure what they want from you, you’re not clear where this is headed, they listen to a lot of ska music, they’re a cat person.
No, what I want to do is “Start my Free Trial.” And your button’s only job is to make that next step sound clear, and painless.
Your link out to that important, topic-relevant, well-crafted blog post, is definitely another goal.
Scrap it. All of it. Please. I beg you. I’ll give you a puppy and an icecream cone. Anything.
In other words, you have a super compelling landing page, and your site visitor was pretty convinced. But the call-to-action hints that they’ll have to go through a complicated install, or a difficult sign up process, or go to brunch with him and his mom on Saturday when you already had plans and…
What does it communicate to the people on your page?
There are all sorts of case studies on this (our friends over at ConversionXL pulled a few of them here). And they found that, across the board, and across industries—slider headers make your audience say “goodbye forever.”
You see this all the time. “Check it out,” “Discover Whatever.” The straight up, no context: “Do it!”
They want you to be specific, direct, and interesting.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to make sure your hero section contains your unique value proposition.
Problem #1: Your page has more than one goal.
Always have a CTA within a reach.
“Why push my audience to convert, before they’ve sifted through all my fancy persuasion copy?”
There are two major problems you’ll come across with CTAs, and they’re kind of like the two problematic relationships you had in college. One got a little high maintenance. And one got a little…well, weird.
The internet is full of adorable babies playing with cats.
So let’s be honest, huge conversion upticks don’t usually come from changing a button color. I mean, it might matter—but that’s already if you’ve done a lot right.
That professional stock photo you bought for your hero image. The guy in a button up who’s way too excited about a graph. Or the back of someone’s head looking at a mountain.
Keep your CTA copy focused on the benefit.
In other words: the button copy doesn’t tell you, clearly, and easily, what happens when you click.
Shame on you—you know better.
And it makes sense doesn’t it?
Think about your prospect, and be nice to them.
Problem #2: Your call to action expects a lot from me.
Sometimes, you might want to qualify your prospect. You might not want anyone who can let autofill sign over their name and contact info to end up on your list. More fields = more invested leads.
It’s practically tattooed on my lower back.
They want to be able fill out your form fast. They want to find your dang button. And they want your dang button to remind them of why they’re bothering to click.
Why? Maybe because people will see it right away. Because this section of a page grabs 80% of our attention. Because the “how” will stick in their head, as copy compels us to scroll down and read “why.”
They don’t want to hear your sales pitch; they want to invest in a thing that’ll make their life better.
They may have begged you, they may have pleaded with you. “One page, one goal,” we all cry helplessly, while our clients continue to say “but wait, what if…”
So pick your strongest image. Pick your strongest headline. Pick your strongest subhead. Test it. Trust it. Let it do your heavy lifting. And give your audience the chance to soak it up.
Quick example. The team at Gocardless has a solid case study, where they saw a 139% conversion increase—just by switching “Request a Demo” to “Watch a Demo” on their buttons.
Vanity doesn’t sell. Guesswork is for chumps. Here, we talk studies. Here, we talk testing.
Old school copywriters (the Ogilvys, the Caples, the king himself—Eugene M. Schwartz)—devote more than half of their teachings to headlines. Because it’s more than half the battle.
But don’t kill your other buttons.
Problem #3: Your call-to-action is just confusing.
I don’t want to “discover” anything with you. What do you mean “discover?” Do I have to bring bug spray? Will there be WiFi there?
In case you’re wondering “Where do I start, though. What do I test first”: I’m obsessed with Angie Schottmuller’s 7 Factors for Persuasive Hero Shot Images.
Because in a perfect world, your UVP is what your ideal prospect should be interested in—and it should already be phrased specifically, enticingly, and directly.
Pro tip here: one of the biggest mistakes I see in button copy is that it tells your visitors what they have to do—not what they get. Would you rather “submit your email” or “download your free guide?”
So give them that. Do those things. It’ll take less than an afternoon. And it might make a world of difference.
You want to know what impression they’re making. So rev up your A/B testing software. Or spend a few bucks on a 5 second, impression test.
Problem #4: Yo, where even is your call-to-action?
They want you to tell them what they’re getting.
High maintenance button copy is kind of a let down. You were on the same page, you liked where things were going, and you were about to take the next step when…wow, they sure seem to be expecting a lot of you, all of a sudden.
You won’t click it. That was the point.
Why. Do. You. Still. Have. A. Slider?
But if you have a page that’s doing “kind of okay” and you want it to convert at its potential—here are some things you can fix in an afternoon that may boost your sign ups, registrations, or purchases.
No, new internet friend. They don’t. If they do, you need to write better copy—the kind that gives them all the info they need on this page to convert, without going elsewhere first.
What does “request” mean? Do I have to talk to someone? Do I have to wait? Do I have to beg or compose an ode or submit a credit rating—what does this request entail!?!
Marketers, meet the fold. There are some things that should just be above it.
There. Are. Exceptions. To. This. Rule.
And please dear god, don’t say because your product or service is “fast” and “easy” and “affordable.”
Why is this more worth my time?
Psssst…Are you in Europe, or marketing to Europe? Or are you in general concerned about data privacy laws? GDPR has some rules about using forms to collect email addresses. You can read them here.
Skip this if you’ve heard it before.
Problem #5: Your hero section just needs to chill out for a second.
Side note: if it’s clickable, and doesn’t lead to your visitor to take your intended action, it’s another goal.
Social media icons are another goal.
Give the people what they want.
Test. Your. Images.
Problem #6: Your headline and subhead need to get to the point.
“Hey!” they say “There are no easy conversion wins. You have to test everything. Best practices might not be best for your audience.”
I know, I know. Every WordPress demo comes with one. But they’re confusing. They split your audience’s attention. They hurt you. And because of that—they hurt me.
- Remind your reader that they’re in the right place.
- Give them a taste as to why they should stick around.
Here’s an explainer for the folks too lazy to read at the link:
Whatever the reason, having a button before the fold, can work wonders.
If you have a page that’s not converting—you have to do substantive tests, work harder to understand your audience, look at your messaging hierarchy, and solidify the relationship between your ads and your landing page.
Sometimes, having more questions in your form increases your credibility. For example: if you’re promising to send someone a detailed quote, but all you ask for is their email….that seems off.
And then, on other hand, you have your “weird” button copy.
I so know.
I don’t want any of nonsense. I want to watch a demo and I want to watch it now. Set me up with a play button, stat!
Speaking of that headline and subhead: what’s yours up to?
Don’t believe me? Listen to these folks. And these. And these and these and these.
- Steal from your reviews (and your competitor reviews). When you’re writing copy, you’re mostly trying to pull out “what do my prospects want from me!?!?”. Almost no one can describe that better than your customers.
- Start with a formula. It’s not cheating. It works. And no one is here to give you bonus points for creativity. We’re here for conversions—and tried and true methods often beat reinventing the wheel.
- Write it last. Your headline has one job: to make someone read your subhead. Your subhead has one job: to push people to your body paragraph. And so on and so on until your call-to-action. If it helps—focus on your body copy. Get your benefits out on the page. Then come back to your headline, and ask yourself, “What would push a reader to read on?”
Problem #7: Your images weird me out a little.
A few tricks if you’re stuck on a headline.
This is complicated. This could be a whole book on it’s own. (In fact, there are several). But in a nutshell, these two crazy important lines of text need to:
Because if you listen closely, you can hear the chorus of boo’s now.
Pretend you’re a potential lead, and this landing page and you are on your first date. At first, you’re excited. All things indicate that things are going well—your visions seem aligned, you’re headed the same direction.
And I get it. “Mac,” you say. “My page is different. To convert, my audience might need more information. Or access to our social accounts. Or a puppy and an icecream cone.”
So go ahead, push it up. Give it a test.
Because, really, the first thing I want to know when I land on a page is—what makes you so special?
Problem #8: Your form is a pain in the butt to fill out.
We’ve heard that. You’re better than that.
Humans are lazy. If someone would pay me to sit on the couch forever and watch Friends reruns—I wouldn’t have written this post. To make people click, don’t make them work.
But if you’re looking to see a conversion uptick, stop collecting phone numbers you don’t need. Or asking a company name if you don’t use it. Because there’s a decent amount of evidence to suggest—the easier is to fill out a form, the more likely people are to do it.
Really, it’s simple.
Because if you’ve talked to any CRO-minded copywriter, and you’ve violated this rule, lord knows you will have heard it.
And there’s a fair bit evidence, that your CTA should come before the fold.
To sum it up:
Remember, one person’s: “woman grinning about your award winning customer service team” is another’s: “woman laughing menacingly about the threatening email she sent to your customer service team.”
So you’re looking for some easy conversion wins.
“My benefit statements are so pretty. They should come first.”
I’m going to be honest with you, as a copywriter—this best practice didn’t initially make sense to me.
People hate scrolling. People hate effort.
Your “subtle” footer menu is another goal.