6 Mortal Sins of Landing Page Copy

I just recorded this video as part of an ongoing series to help women entrepreneurs.  This one is called, “The Six Mortal Sins of Landing Page Copy.”

Find out:

  • why you need a landing page
  • how a boring headline can kill your sales
  • the reasons your landing page should barely mention your own name or company
  • why you need a copywriter (rather than doing it yourself)
  • the most common mistakes business owners make when promoting their products


Once you watch the  video, click here for a free mini landing page review.

How to Write a Landing Page Guaranteed Not to Sell

No SaleEver wish you didn’t have to bother with a landing page?  They’re sooo much work.  Writing them.  Designing them.  Tweaking them.  What a pain.  And if  you make a sale, well you might actually have to do something.  Ugh.

Don’t worry.  Here are 10 tips on how to get a bad landing page that will hardly ever sell anything!

1. Don’t use one

Why bother anyway?  Just send everyone right to your home page.  They’ll eventually find what they want, or maybe they’ll just leave your site completely and not bother you.

2. Write a boring headline

Use something like “20 Years in Business” or “We Stock Computers.”  If you don’t stand out, or give any sort of benefit, your headline, and the rest of the page, will be ignored. It’s hard to write headlines your readers can’t resist.

3. Talk mostly about yourself

Your visitors came to your site right?  They must want to know all about you then.  Tell them about your new puppy, or that great new cereal you had for breakfast.  And, of course, don’t forget to include the details of your recent colonoscopy. Never run the one-minute marketing test.

4. Never discuss what the reader gets

They’re here to find out about you (see point #3).  Why bother talking about what  your visitors will get from  your product?  Just tell them how proud you are about making it and how long it took.

5. Outsource design to an 8-year-old

A trained designer is too expensive.  Hey, your nephew is into the Web, why not let him take a crack at it? Tell him to use really small, light-colored type.  The closer they have to look, the more attention they’ll pay to your words.

6. Write the copy yourself

You learned how to write in second grade.  Anybody can put words on a screen.  Writing doesn’t matter, why not save some money and do it yourself.  And, who knows your products (and how great they are) better than you?

7. Sell to everyone

Picking a niche market is for sissies.  Everyone will want your product!  Who wouldn’t want tap shoes for cats?  Don’t try to pick just one niche, that’s way too limiting.

8. Gobbledygook for the win

The more jargon and insider words you use, the smarter you look.  Pepper your copy with lots of buzzwords and phrases like “forward-looking companies invest in three-dimensional management resources.”

9. Don’t use testimonials

Real opinions from real people never swayed anyone.  And never include pictures either.  They’re not terribly believable.  Neither are full names.  If you must use testimonials, just the initials are fine.

10. Write big blocks of text

Put it in big, long paragraphs.  Run them all together on the page, and use lots of complex sentences.  Go crazy with commas, semi-colons, and colons.  Show off all those fancy words you learned in school.  Never say “confuse” when  you could “obfuscate.”

What?  You’re not buying any of this? Good! Check out these pages to learn how to write landing pages that do sell:

The Simple Five Step Formula for Effective Landing Pages
How to Write a Landing Page
What do Landing Pages Have in Common with Grade School?

P.S. Thanks to Lorraine Thompson for the inspiration.

Do You Make These Common Landing Page Mistakes?

An eye-tracking Heatmap showing where a subjec...

Image via Wikipedia

Ever wonder why your marketing campaign isn’t doing as well as you’d like?

You’re getting plenty of visits, but nobody is signing up, or downloading.  Your conversion rate makes you want to weep.

Maybe it’s your landing page. A landing page that’s confusing, hard to read, or hard to navigate can turn a great campaign into a hot mess.

On the other hand, a page that’s easy to read, easy to use, and compelling will turn a failed campaign into a roaring success.

Here are five common landing page mistakes  (and what you can do to fix them).

1) Not having one

The first step in a successful landing page is having one. Many companies forget to do this. Even big ones. They invest lots of money in Adwords, banners, and social media marketing – and then forget to make a landing page. Visitors get confused and discouraged, and then leave without buying anything.

2) Drinking your own Kool-aid

Sometimes we get so caught up in our products we forget what other people might think. Do they care that your widget has 1,047 different uses? Or are they mostly interested in just one or two of those? And why? Sell the holes.

3) Too many choices

I confess, I did this once, with snail mail.  I listened to my then boss and included both a cheaper book and an expensive training program in the same offer letter. Guess which one people bought? Ugh!

4) A weak guarantee

Offer a strong guarantee – and stand by it. My favorite is the backwards and forwards guarantee: if you don’t find your purchase useful, return it for a refund (just ask). Send the product to someone else you think can use it. Let me know why it didn’t work, and I’ll improve it for the next version or suggest other people or resources that may help.

5) Fancy wordplay

I love words. I do. But when you’re writing a landing page, keep it simple and direct. Not everyone may know those big words. You don’t want them stopping in the middle of reading to click on a dictionary widget (or, gasp, grab a book off the shelf). If you have to, run your text through a reading level analyzer.  Most word processors have them built in, and if you have the Yoast SEO plugin, that will check your blog posts.  You want a higher number score.  For example, this post clocks in at 81.5, which is roughly 8th or 9th grade level.

10 Steps to Landing Page Failure

abandoned stone stairs image

Image thanks to: abcdz2000

Even the most experienced marketers can mess up a landing page.  Sometimes, it’s trying to meet a tight deadline. Other times, there are too many people (client, designer, writer) clamoring to make changes.

On other occasions, it’s simply being “too close” to the project.  When you know how everything is supposed to work, it can be hard to realize that an outsider could easily be confused or distracted.

Here are ten key things that can mess up your landing page (and how to fix them).

1. Lots of other content

I just looked at a landing page with links to sub-topics. blog archives, top posts, and a store. It also featured ads for other products, some of them animated. It was confusing and distracting.

Make your landing page distraction-free.  Remove all the navigation links, the link to your blog, anything that isn’t absolutely necessary.  Some people even make the landing page its own domain.

2. Sharing buttons

Sharing is great, but it’s not your first priority for a landing page. You want people to take a specific action (buy something, or sign-up). Don’t distract them with Twitter links. They buy from the landing page, not Facebook. You may get a new Twitter follower or two, but that’s not a sale.

3. RSS feed

Sure you want more subscribers to your blog, but this isn’t the place for it. You want to zero in on one thing – getting more people to download your book and subscribe to your newsletter.

4. What’s in it for me?

I saw a blurb recently with information about the sources for an e-book’s content, but very little about what that content actually was. Tell readers why they will want to read what you wrote. What will they get from it?

5. Dull title

Calling your book “Dinner menus” won’t attract much interest. Instead call it “Dinner in 30 Minutes.” The title should attract attention, arouse curiosity, and encourage readers to want to learn more.

6. Too vague

Share some hints about what’s inside. Continuing with the cooking theme (I must be hungry), list some of the recipes: Chicken in Basil Cream, Almond-Coated Trout with Sage, Linguini with Pesto Sauce. Be as specific as possible (without giving everything away).

7. No authority

Be clear about your credentials to discuss and advise on the topic. In this case, it might be parent of three children, or testimonials from previous subscribers about your great recipes.

8. Ads for irrelevant products

A banner ad for car insurance won’t help you get subscribers to your Android apps newsletter. Neither will your twitter stream or recent blog comments. Keep those things for your normal blog pages (not landing pages).

9. No clear audience

Who is this for? The likely audience for our hypothetical cooking ebook is busy moms. Talk in terms that will appeal to them.

10. No benefits

Tell them why they need this book. “Get dinner on the table fast. Delicious, quick meals your kids will actually eat. And, they’re so good, you’ll love them too. No more making separate dinners for each member of the family.”

Do You Make This Common Online Marketing Mistake?


You carefully set up your online marketing campaign, selected “your people“, offered solutions to their problems, designed eye-catching graphics, and sent it out into the world.

And it went splat.

What happened?

You missed an important step.

When you create an online campaign, there are three places you can send people.

Home pages

Your home page is the “front page” of your web site.  The door where most people enter your site.  Check your stats; it’s probably got more visits than the other pages.  It’s great as a general introduction to what you do and to invite people to explore your site further (here’s mine).

It’s not so good as a direct sales tool.

Product pages

Then there’s a product page.  That’s a page that’s talking about a specific product or service you offer.  It can be a selling page, or informational (like this one on Amazon).  This is better as a sales tool, and but there’s a better choice (especially for services).

Landing pages

Finally, there’s a landing page.  The landing page is a special page (or sometimes a mini-site) set up to sell something, encourage sign ups (to a newsletter), or encourage visitors to download information.

Landing pages have fewer navigation buttons, so that visitors concentrate on what’s in front of them (and don’t wander off elsewhere on your site).  The goal is for visitors to arrive, read what you have to say, and take action right there.

There’s a fierce debate on the web about long vs. short copy, but landing pages tend to be long in order to answer questions and explain everything about the product (since you can’t do that in person).

When you run a campaign, send people to a landing page.  Tell them what they need to know to buy your product.  Don’t distract them.  Get more sales!

Image:  jyri