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All, Content Creation, Content Tips, Website Tips

A Shakespearean Guide to Writing Killer Landing Pages


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“My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go.”

The playwright behind this quote and many other famous lines of speech is none other than the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare's home
The house where Shakespeare was born and grew up in.

Like most of his plays and poems, this quote from Hamlet still holds meaning some 400 years later. To a content marketer, for instance, it means don’t create empty messages. Tell stories that resonate with your reader and provide something worthwhile in exchange for their time.

While landing pages may not have been on Shakespeare’s mind in 1599, his writing continues to inspire people in an infinite number of ways.

One way it’s sparked my imagination is by prompting me to share three tips for creating killer landing pages – with a Shakespearean twist.

So, without further ado:

1. Keep thy language consistent

No matter how a prospect finds your landing page, whether it’s via an e-newsletter, online ad or social media post, it’s important to keep thy message consistent.

The headline of your outreach message (email, ad or social post) should match the headline on your landing page. They don’t have to be a perfect match, but the more the two are alike, the better.

The closer the match, the better. (Photo: Twins from The Comedy of Errors)

Why should they correspond to each other? So that the prospect doesn’t get confused and lost and in the worst case, leave your site.

When you keep the language and look and feel of the ad/copy the same as your landing page, it’s easier for your reader to engage with and see the benefit of your offer.

And remember, your offer doesn’t have to be sales-focused. Landing pages can be a way for people to sign up for your newsletter, watch your latest video or access a free trial of your service. They can also act as content hubs that house blog posts by topic.

Landing pages are fantastic at focusing your audience’s attention and encouraging them to interact with your solution. Once you’re ready to promote the page, simply keep thy language consistent.

2. Make thy message clear as day

“Brevity is the soul of wit.”

Hamlet gets at the heart of the matter yet again. For when it comes to landing pages, write as clearly and concisely as possible.

Get to the point right away and support that point and only that point throughout the page.

Persuade your visitor with punchy phrases, not flowery ones. If you snuck in a pun or thought your prose was a creative triumph, best to leave it out. Now’s not the time to let your inner Shakespeare shine.

Don’t mislead your audience. Stick to your goal. (Photo: Hamlet and Polonius)

A clean, easy-to-follow layout goes hand in hand with straightforward copy. That means:

  • Using white space to let your message breathe
  • Putting the most important information at the beginning of paragraphs
  • Breaking up text into bullet points (see what I did there?)

How you design the page can be as powerful as the message itself. Because if everything is presented in a clear way and flows in order, your solution sinks in quicker with your reader and gives them a better chance of signing up to your service.

Shakespeare urges thee, be brief and clear as day.

3. Entice thine audience to take action

What’s a landing page without a call to action?

A whole bunch of missed opportunities to get closer to your community.

That’s why a prominent call to action in the form of a button or bold linked text is so important.

How do you seamlessly encourage your prospect to take the next step? Make sure to:

  • Design the button so it stands out and is instantly recognizable
  • Use copy that aligns with the page’s headline and overall message
  • Only ask for essential contact information (The fewer forms they have to fill out, the better)
  • Repeat the call to action (One button should always be visible as the visitor scrolls)

It helps to think of the call to action as a door lock. Your reader holds the key (i.e., contact info or payment details), they just need to be enticed to unlock it.

OK, Shakespeare would’ve come up with a much better analogy, but all this Hamlet talk is beginning to rub off on me.

So before I start rattling off soliloquies and pitting life’s woes against each other (“To be, or not to be?”), go forth and create landing pages that will really win your crowd over.

The stage is yours.

Via Giphy.

All, Community, Content Creation, Content Tips, Website Tips

This Content Checklist Will Make More People Want to Visit Your Site


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Bathing suit…check.

Passport…check.

Boarding pass…check.

If only improving your website’s content was as easy as preparing for a trip to the coast of Italy (I may be going there this weekend and it may be consuming all my thoughts).

Well, if you knew how to prep your content and had a focused checklist to follow, I think it could be as hassle-free as flying into the Tuscan sunset.

The real challenge is figuring out how to make your website dispense gelato and pasta carbonara on demand.

gelato
Content goals: To make your website as irresistible as gelato.

For now, though, let’s get to that content checklist so you can create a customer journey that people are excited to be a part of.

#1 Does it make sense?

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that other people aren’t living and breathing your brand like you are. Whether you founded the company or recently joined the team, it’s likely you know a great deal more about the service or product than the casual web browser.

That’s why it’s important to put yourself in their shoes and ask if the content on your homepage and landing pages makes sense. Equally important is making sure the visitor clearly understands the purpose and point of your newsletter, about page, blog post, etc.

These  questions are a good place to start when determining if your content will easily click with your reader:

  • Is the brand statement, or the core of your business, prominently conveyed on the homepage and/or about page?
  • If this is the only page your visitor goes to, does it give enough background information on the product or service you offer and describe its benefits in a straightforward way?
  • Is your content inviting and accessible? For instance, do you use sub-headlines and bullet points to break up text? How about visuals to give your audience a clearer idea of whatever it is you are promoting?
  • Do you use industry jargon that others might not understand? It’s best to rephrase in those cases.

#2 Is it attention-grabbing?

One of the best ways to capture and keep your audience’s attention is with an enticing headline. That can mean the title of a landing page, a headline of a blog post or the subject line of an email.

These helpful descriptors have the power to make someone click, open, share or skip completely, so it’s always worth getting the headline right.

Here are some pointers on how to do exactly that:

  • What is your reader getting in exchange for their time? Put the benefit in the title and tell them right off the bat. This will intrigue them to click and find out more.
  • Is the headline an inside joke only your company would understand? Or, are you trying to show off your creative writing skills? Remember, it’s always best to leave puns or clever phrases out of headlines. The clearer the better.
  • “How To” or list headlines (“3 secrets to healthy-looking skin”) are great ways to structure a title because they make you think about the reader and the value you are providing.

#3 Do your readers know what to do next?

Before hitting publish on a new landing page or sending a sales email, make sure to include a clear call to action (CTA) in every piece of content. After all, the point of your business is for people to buy your product, sign up for your service, share your article, etc.

In order to get visitors to take that next step, your CTAs should be eye-catching and benefit-driven. It should be a no-brainer why you would click on a button to register for an online course or download an e-book.

Below are some tips for crafting effective CTAs:

  • Visually, does the CTA button or sign-up form stand out from the rest of the page? Putting it in a bright color or using bold text could really make it pop.
  • As for the copy, does it tell your visitor exactly what they will receive after entering in their personal information? Author Jeff Goins is really good at this.
  • Consider adding a photo of the e-book cover, screenshots of the online course or any other visual that helps give your reader a better idea of what they will be getting.

This checklist may be more detailed than the one you have for an upcoming weekend trip, but if you let it be your guide when publishing content on your site, your audience will enjoy the final destination (your digital storefront) a whole lot more.

P.s. If you would like help improving your website’s content clarity, headlines and CTAs, my free custom marketing evaluation is for you. Get a leg up on the competition and sign up here.