6 Landing Page Copywriting Mistakes That Are Actually Conversion Killers

Post written by Alexa Lemzy
On Tuesday, October 30th, 2018

Writing good landing page copy doesn’t have to be hard.

One of the great things about creating landing pages is that you can easily make multiple versions to test which copy converts best. If one of your variations turns out to be a complete disaster, you can easily scrap it and move on.

Even the best copywriters have to experiment. So don’t worry if your conversion rate isn’t stellar at first. Having said that, there are some mistakes that will absolutely kill your conversion rates unless you take steps to avoid them at all costs.

In this article, we’re going to tell you about these killer landing page copywriting mistakes and give you examples of what NOT to do and what to do instead. Ready? Let’s get started!

Mistake #1: Writing way too much

Don’t make landing pages with big scary blocks of text.

Your copy should be broken up into digestible chunks that are easy for readers to scan. Paragraphs should consist of one to three sentences max.

This doesn’t mean you can’t write long landing pages. The general rule is the more expensive your offer, the more copy you need to convince buyers. But most landing pages are used for lead generation, not sales, so they should be relatively short compared to a sales page.

It’s also a good idea to avoid using multiple columns of text. This can slow readers down. Organizing your copy into a single column makes it much easier to read – especially on mobile devices. That’s crucial, because most browsing is now done on mobile devices.

Below is an example of a landing page with way too much stuff.
Chase – Too many options on one page

This old landing page from Chase is overwhelming. It gives the reader too many choices. And it forces you to scan the page to hunt for the link you’re looking for.

They recently cleaned up their act and replaced the page above with this one:
Notice how this new page has a clear main call to action (CTA) asking readers to learn more about their Freedom Unlimited credit card. And the section below is nicely organized you can easily find the product you’re looking for.

Further down the page they present secondary CTAs in a smart and logical fashion. Notice how they stick to one column of text to make it easier to read.
Overall, a huge improvement.

Let’s look at another bad landing page.

Pick a cruise – any cruise!

This landing page is a mess. It’s as if the creators of this page were just hoping that visitors would find something interesting enough to book. There’s no clear indicator of what they actually want readers to do on this page.

It needs to be redesigned so that the focus is on the main copy elements – a headline, CTA, and appropriate subhead lines. It should be laid out top to bottom so the reader doesn’t have to figure out where to look, with the most important messages at the top.

More whitespace would be a good idea as well. Less is often more.

Shopify example
Shopify did a beautiful job with the landing page above. Notice how easy it is to figure out what to do. The copy is brief and the CTA is simple. The three benefits at the bottom of the page are clearly presented. However, they could be bit shorter. And they could have organized them in three rows rather than three columns. But overall, it’s well done.

Bonus Tips & Tools

  • Try the 5-Second Test to check whether your copy is easy to scan
  • Use the Hemingway App to grade the readability of your copy. Shoot for a Grade 6 level or less

Mistake #2: Mentioning every feature of your product/service

Don’t expect readers to make the connection between the features you have to offer and the benefits they can achieve. Instead, show them how you promise to benefit their lives. That means using real-world examples and numbers, if possible.

You can still discuss the features of your product or service, but they should be mentioned in the context of a particular benefit you have to offer. Tell your readers WHY your offer is valuable to them.

It helps to put yourself in your reader’s shoes. Imagine what it is that brought them to your landing page. What do they truly want to get from this exchange with you? If you’re not sure, try interviewing some of your customers. Ask them what they like best about your offer. You might learn something surprising.

And a final note about benefits: it’s best if your landing page focuses on one major benefit. Don’t make the mistake of diluting your message by trying to say it all.

Let’s look at an example.

DIRECTV Whole-Home DVR makes watching TV confusing …

This page is stuffed with features. After reading it, you have a good sense of what they offer, but you’re left kind of confused about how to get it.

Where is the main CTA? How do I start recording my favorite shows? How long will this process take?

The reader is left with so many questions that there’s a good chance they’ll give up and try to find an alternate service. Maybe Netflix?
At least here you know exactly how to get started. And the benefit (instantly watch as many shows and movies as I want for $7.99 a month) is clear as day.

Bonus Tip

  • Not sure whether your copy is focused enough on benefits? Try the “so-what?” method. Simply read a sentence you wrote and ask yourself, “so what?” If the answer isn’t abundantly clear, then answer the question directly in your copy.

Mistake #3: Focusing on the wrong customer persona

This is a big BIG – and very common – mistake.

You need to develop a clear understanding of the type of reader you’re targeting with your landing page. In other words, what stage of your sales funnel are they in?

If this is your first interaction with a reader, don’t throw sales-oriented copy in their face. Slow down cowboy! You need to nurture the relationship first. This is especially important if you have a relatively expensive offer.

It’s good practice to have different landing pages for potential customers at different stages of your funnel. For example, some readers might still be in the top of your funnel, unaware of the value you can offer. And others might be in the middle of your funnel – they understand the problem you’re trying to solve but not the solution.

Make sure each landing page is laser-focused on one type of reader — one persona. Give them all the information they need to complete the action you’re asking them to complete. And think about what your reader wants to hear, not what you want to say.
SAP – why am I here again?

This landing page tries to cater to every reader under the sun. It’s like a choose-your-own-adventure story rather than a guided journey. And as far as CTAs go, all they have is a contact us section.

This page could benefit from some specificity. It should be more focused on their target reader and include a clear CTA.

Bonus Tips & Tools

Mistake #4: Copying strategies big companies use

Your business probably isn’t as popular as Facebook, Apple, or Twitter (yet). So don’t even think about stealing their landing page copy!

Sure, you can use their landing pages for inspiration. But remember Mistake #3 above: you have to consider who you’re trying to convince and what they might already know about your offer.

Many big companies realize that most of their visitors already know about them, so their copy is often brief. But in your case, you’ll have to make an effort to educate your readers before asking them to take action.

Mistake #5: Focusing only on positives

Fear and other negative emotions are often more persuasive than positive emotions.

This doesn’t mean you should get all dark on your readers. Not at all. It’s just that most people tend to write in a strictly positive tone. It’s as if they’re afraid of turning readers away by being too negative.

However, flipping a positive into a negative can actually boost conversion rates.

For example, if your product helps save time, it’s also true that it helps avoid lost time. If your service saves people money, it also stops people from wasting money.

See the difference? The negative statement is often more compelling.

Sometimes people buy something not just because they want/need it but because it can help them avoid pain and discomfort. Psychology tells us that emotions associated with the fear of loss are more powerful than feelings about the opportunity to gain more of something we already have.

If you’re not sure whether to use a positive or negative spin, try testing a positive and negative version of your landing page and see which one works best.

Mistake #6: Confusing the reader

All your readers should easily understand:

  1. What you want them to do, and
  2. What happens when they follow your CTA

For example, if you want readers to fill out a form with their name and email, be explicit. Don’t leave them with any uncertainty about what to do next. And don’t be deceptive. Tell your readers exactly what happens when they sign up.

If you think your offer might be too confusing, get some feedback from friends and colleagues. If anyone has trouble easily understanding your offer (within seconds of visiting the page), make it clearer.

Another trick is to read through your copy as a person who has never been exposed to your company before and think about the questions that come to mind. Make sure these questions are answered in the main copy or – if it’s not a critical issue – in an FAQ at the bottom of the page.

Let’s look at a landing page that’s just too confusing.
Frontier Communications – ?

This landing page might be somewhat clever, but it’s confusing. Instead of giving readers clear direction about where to look and what to do, they play a little guessing game with four speech bubbles that have a “?” appear inside them when you mouse-over. You have to click the bubble to find out what the mystery is all about.

Nobody has time for this! Get to the point already.

Also, why are they asking readers to “Buy Now” without describing their products and what customers should expect when they get started. They should begin with CTAs that require a little less commitment, like “Learn more” or “Start here”.

Here’s another confusing example.
“Say Hi” to The Content Folk

Sure, the headline is clever, but where’s the CTA? Oh, it’s at the top of the page, camouflaged as a regular navigation link.

Are they trying to prevent readers from following through?

This landing pages gets an A+ for creativity, but an F for conversions. And conversions, as any business owner knows, are what really matter.

Check out the example below of an artsy page with a good conversion score to boot.
PeekCalendar – aesthetically pleasing and effective

This landing page is straight to the point. You can watch a video to see how the app works, or you can click the “GET IT” button to download the app.

There are two CTAs, which is sometimes a bad idea, but it works in this case since the CTAs are not mutually exclusive. You can watch the video then download the app, or download the app right away if you already know you want it.

Bonus Tip

  • Most landing pages ask readers to input an email address to get started. But you might also consider asking for a phone number so you can send SMS messages. This works well if you’re offering an app, because you can send a download link directly to your reader’s smartphone. If you’re interested, here are some SMS marketing and SMS copywriting tips to consider.

Conclusion

As you surely know by now, landing page copywriting doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, some of the biggest landing page fail examples in this article probably occurred as a result of overthinking it.

Remember to keep it simple! You now have the knowledge you need to avoid totally messing up your conversion rates.

Still have questions about landing page copywriting? Feel free to ask away in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help you out.

About the Author:
Alexa Lemzy is the customer service manager at SMS marketing software TextMagic. She loves to research and write about the ways mobile technologies and mobile marketing transform modern businesses and customer experiences. You can check out her profile on Twitter.

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