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My step-by-step guide to landing pages that convert

There’s two parts of a landing page: what’s immediately visible (above the fold) and what the user scrolls to (below the fold).

Let's start above the fold. To quote Donald Miller, a caveman should be able to glance at it and immediately grunt back what you offer. Here’s my formula:

  1. Explain the value you provide (title)
  2. Explain how you'll create it (subtitle)
  3. Let the user visualise it (visual)
  4. Make it believable (social proof)
  5. Make taking the next step easy (CTA)

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1/ Title

There’s one hundred ways to write a great title. I'm going to focus on three.

1/ Explain what you do

When your product is unique all you have to do is explain what you do as simply as possible.

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2/ Hooks

Most products aren't unique. So a hook adds oomph. The easiest way to write hooks is to address your customer's biggest objection.

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3/ Own your niche

Some startups transcend hooks. Another pattern is to own your niche in one line. Write with conviction. You're THE solution.

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2/ Subtitle

Subtitles are where you get specific. Introduce the product. Explain how it creates the value in your title.

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3/ Visual

Show off your product in all its glory. The goal is to get as close to reality as possible.

Don't show me fancy illustrations. Show me your product. Or even better, your product in action.

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4/ Social Proof

Social proof (above the fold) adds instant credibility to the value you're promising.

Take Privy for example. Any startup can write “How small brands sell more online”. But it's their “18,000+ reviews” that make you believe it.

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5/ CTA

Your CTA makes taking the next step easy.

Most buttons emphasise action: Sign Up, Start Trial etc. Here's three more compelling CTA types.

1/ Call to value

Buttons which emphasise “value” over “action” usually perform better. The trick is to fulfil the value your title promises.

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2/ Objection handle

Add a few words to your CTA to handle the user's biggest objection to clicking.

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3/ Email capture + CTA

Pair email capture with your CTA to make signing up as easy as possible.

This doesn't mean sacrificing customer info. You can collect during onboarding.

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“Above the fold” recap

In five seconds customers try to establish whether or not you can help them. Make their life easy.

  1. Explain the value you provide (title)
  2. Explain how you'll create it (subtitle)
  3. Let the user visualise it (visual)
  4. Make it believable (social proof)
  5. Make taking the next step easy (CTA)

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“Below the fold”

Above the fold you earn the customer's attention. Below the fold you earn the sale. Here's the last five steps:

  1. Make the value concrete (features and objections)
  2. Inspire action (social proof)
  3. Tie up loose ends (FAQ)
  4. Repeat your call to action (2nd CTA)
  5. Make yourself memorable (Founder's note)

6/ Features and Objections

The first thing you do below the fold is make concrete the value you promise above the fold.

Take Riverside for example. Their title promises “podcasts that look and sound amazing”. Their first two features make this promise concrete.

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The second thing you do is handle your customer's biggest objections. This means talking to customers.

Group together reoccurring objections. Use their own words to handle them.

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7/ More social proof

Above the fold social proof is about credibility. Below the fold social proof is about inspiring action. It's a free pass to sell your product.

Use existing customers to bring to life the value you promise.

  • “Get a smile you love” ⟶ Customers smiling
  • “Email reinvented” ⟶ Customers describing the difference
  • “How small brands sell more” ⟶ Sales numbers

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8/ FAQ

There's going to be features and objections you want to mention that don't fit in neatly above. This is where your FAQ comes in.

Write them down. Reframe into questions and answers.

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9/ 2nd CTA

We've done the hard selling. It's time for our 2nd CTA.

This time we've got the luxury of space. So instead of dropping one measly button remind the customer why they're clicking.

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10/ Founder's note

Finally, you leave the customer with a story that makes you easy to sum up.

  1. Put yourself in their shoes
  2. Explain their problem
  3. Take ownership of it
  4. Show the happy ending

You're walking them down a path they'll want to walk themselves. Oh, and people buy from people.

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Putting it all together

  1. Explain the value you provide (title)

  2. Explain how you'll create it (subtitle)

  3. Let the user visualise it (visual)

  4. Make it believable (social proof)

  5. Make taking the next step easy (CTA)

  6. Make the value concrete (features and objections)

  7. Bring to life your offer (social proof)

  8. Tie up loose ends (FAQ)

  9. Repeat your call to action (2nd CTA)

  10. Make yourself memorable (Founder's note)

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One last thing

Your landing page is your sales pitch. Never forget this. Examine each element and ask:

Would this help me sell if I met the customer in person?

If not, remove it. If you don't know go out and sell to customers in person.

You'll learn that fancy words and random images of people shaking hands don't get you far. More importantly, you'll learn the attitude of your customer and the words you need to convince them.

Thanks for reading

Phew! That was a long one. You made it!

I won't lie this took me goodness knows how long. If you found it useful I'd really appreciate it if you could share with a pal, on social media, slack, wherever. Here's the link.

If you'd don't want to miss more marketing guides (like this one) please do join the newsletter on Indie Hackers :)

Or head to Marketing Examples to browse all the previous case studies :)

Over and out

  1. 12

    Thank you! really useful tips here. Sometimes it's easy to remember a few of these things but as you keep building pages, you start to get the hang of it.

    Side note:
    I can't help but laugh when I see one of my best friends on that smileclub direct landing picture. He tells me it's a great company and product.

    1. 5

      Haha! Cheers. Well I hope he or she has nice straight teeth now!

      I wonder if they ask people to send photos in. Or how they get them .

    2. 3

      That's funny, I always assume those things are just paid/stock photos

  2. 4

    Looking forward to applying these lessons to our landing page at OpinionX, Harry. It's long overdue a good landing page and your guide gives such a good detailed breakdown that I can see a lot of obvious 'quick fixes' that we've stuck into it over the last few months that don't really work.

    1. 4

      Cheers Daniel. Just took a look. Good luck with it. “How it works” section isn't a million miles away. I think the title could be a bit clearer though. Work on simplifying that I think. What's your one liner. This is a cool exercise to try.

      1. 1

        Love the tips Harry, thanks for the specific feedback!

  3. 3

    UPDATE ===========================================================
    After following this guide, I almost tripled my conversions! Thank you @HarryDry!

    😳

    1.15 to 1.22
    548 unique page views
    10 newsletter sign ups
    ~1.8% conversion rate

    1.22 to 1.29
    567 page views
    29 newsletter sign ups!
    ~5.1% conversion rate

    I put more detail in a thread on Twitter!

    ===================================================================

    Thank you SO much for this guide. It helped me rethink and redesign my landing page.

    I'm using your tips combined with things I've learned from @amyhoy's blog posts.

    I applied your tips on the "above the fold" section and used Amy's Pain, Dream, Fix method.

    Running an experiment to see if it will increase conversions to my newsletter signup.

    Included some before and after shots 👇

    https://retro.app

    Before
    Retro's old landing page

    After
    Retro's new landing page

    1. 1

      Hey, How did the experiment go ? Excited in knowing the results. Thanks.

      1. 1

        Hey! It went really well. I almost tripled my conversions. 😳

        1.15 to 1.22
        548 unique page views
        10 newsletter sign ups
        ~1.8% conversion rate

        1.22 to 1.29
        567 page views
        29 newsletter sign ups!
        ~5.1% conversion rate

        1. 1

          @farazamiruddin
          What is 1.15 to 1.22 and 1.22 to 1.29 ?

          1. 1

            The date - Jan 15th to 22nd and Jan 22nd to 29th.

        2. 1

          Wow that's really great, this is great news I'll make it a point to refer to harry for all my landing pages.

  4. 3

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing!

  5. 3

    Golden advice once again! And timely since I was about to do an update to my landing page this week anyway!

    1. 2

      Cheers Timo. Appreciate it. And good luck with it :)

  6. 2

    Something I haven't seen An answer too regarding landing Pages. What if you are a brand new start up and can't provide social proof, throw a number at happy customers you've helped or showcase a lot of examples? That's what i'm struggling with.

  7. 2

    Easy steps and whole content. Thanks to share it!

  8. 2

    This is great! I spent a few hours browsing https://marketingexamples.com/ and the quality is outstanding. Keep up the great work 🙌

  9. 2

    Great post! Do you have tips on how to show objections as selling points? I always get stuck on just naming the feature...

    1. 1

      Best advice is read Privy's website.

      It's never just “abandonment cart emails” it's “Stop losing money on abandoned carts”. They're so good at twisting features into benefits!

  10. 2

    Great guide, thanks for sharing. What would be a suggested replacement for social proof when you are pre-release? I’ve recently thrown up a landing page and will start actively capturing emails / signups but don’t have any customers or old employers I could use to fake it for now.

    Here’s my landing in case anyone want to have a look

    https://www.metastash.io/

    1. 4

      Good question. One option is yourself.

      Just add a little something telling me why you're building this with a link to your Twitter page / LinkedIn. Something with a real face behind is instantly more credible

    2. 2

      Is anyone external beta testing it for you (if not, how are you validating your fit?)? Ask them for a comment you can use.

      1. 1

        Excellent idea, I'm not at the point of being able to offer testing yet but once I am I absolutely will do that.

        Validation thus far has come from my previous employment, many of the clients were looking for a solution like the one I'm building. Amazingly, my suggestions to build similar features were rejected by my former employer. Oh well, more money for me if the service I'm building goes well!

        1. 1

          Sounds like you've got a potential source of proven pain points there. I don't know if you're using a methodology to map these out, but I found using Strategyzer's Value Proposition Design useful here, for mapping out their pains and gains. You then map features you're planning against those, to ensure you've got a good fit to actual problems, not just what you imagine to be their issues, or what they might have told you anecdotally.

  11. 1

    Wow, what a lovely design. This is really looking so amazing and lovely. I want to make the same for my blog. You can see my blog here https://pescobill.pk/

  12. 1

    Hi Harry, I need to contact you, what is the fastest way to send you a message that you would read? @harrydry . I tried your twitter, but the DM is not open.

  13. 1

    I love the practicality and examples. I applied them right away!

  14. 1

    very practical and detail oriented. Thank you for sharing.
    I recently redesigned mine including 1,2,3 in the hero section Tappy
    #5(social proof) in the hero section might be too much? Do you have use case for social proof in the hero section?

  15. 1

    Hello Harry. Permit to ask, as a newbie online. In this context, what is the difference between a Sales Letter and a Landing Page?

  16. 1

    My Step-by-Step Guide to Landing Pages that Convert is the best I've read on the subject my miles. No fluff. To the point. Well illustrated. Harry nails it as usual.

  17. 1

    @harrydry Thanks, very good value provided here.
    I would just try to add a bit (I run a performance marketing agency, so landing pages our at the core of what we do).
    The next steps would be to test out different versions of the landing page and see how they are performing against each other.

    Try different images, different copy, different flows and test out what works better in term of conversions. You just can’t know if you’re operating in the most optimal way unless you’ve got data points to compare.
    We are also building an easy-to-use and affordable tool that will make split testing accessible for everyone.

    1. 1

      I believe this idea falls under split testing. And you can split test anything, not just landing pages. Best

  18. 1

    I am looking for a bookmark button. I came directly from an email.

    This is value. Thank you.

  19. 1

    Hi harry, as always, impressive article. I have actually read it on your twitter thread yesterday. I really like your writings and I always suggest it to friends. I was wondering if there is a way to contact your directly? I can't DM you on twitter, I am not sure if it is open but even though I am a follower, I still can't find it?

  20. 1

    Thanks for all the tips! We're looking to launch our landing page in a few weeks and I really got to put some more time into it now.

  21. 1

    Just awesome, your posts are always packed with so much value.

  22. 1

    This is genius, thanks for summarizing this and making it so clear. I will totally revamped my landing page following your advices.

  23. 1

    Really, really nice post! Congrats!

  24. 1

    Thanks Harry, I see the need to adjust quite a few thinkgs on my landing page for AeroInside Pro https://www.aeroinside.com/p/pro :)

  25. 1

    Amazingly useful tips here. Thank you so much Harry!

  26. 1

    Aow. I'm the 99th to upvote, which mean I won't be the 100th.

    1. 1

      Hahahah! Cheers for the support!

  27. 1

    This is brilliant. So much value in one post!

    1. 1

      Cheers for reading!

  28. 1

    Thank you for the useful tips! This will help us a lot!

  29. 1

    Awesome read as usual, Harry!

    I trust you're doing great!

    1. 1

      Hey Welly! Long time. Congrats w/ Birdsend!

      I'm doing okay thanks. looking forward to the weekend and the FA cup games. Hope you are too!

  30. 1

    Love the visuals on you post man!

  31. 1

    Awesome post and great tips @harrydry. 👏

    May I ask what do you use to generate these image examples with comments? They look really nice.

    1. 2

      I use Sketch with loads of rectangles and opacity, and artboards!

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