Every entrepreneur and business owner needs to have an email list. As a sales conversion copywriter, one of my main jobs is to write copy for landing pages that entice a specific target audience to willingly hand over their email addresses.

So … give me your email address and nobody gets hurt?

No no no. I said entice, not coerce.  

Oh, okay. Yeah, that’s so much better.

I know, right? 

Building an email list – also referred to as lead generation – should be a main goal of every entrepreneur and business owner. After all, once you have the email, you own the traffic – and owned traffic is better than borrowed any day of the week for several reasons:

  • Sending email is cheaper than buying paid traffic.
  • You can say more in email than you can in a Facebook or Google ad because you don’t have to worry about Facebook and Google’s advertising policies.
  • Members of an email list are warmer traffic and can be more easily nurtured.
  • Email is a more effective way to build a connection with an audience than paid traffic.

The thing is, my clients don’t want to spend an arm or a leg on paid traffic. They also don’t want to spend all their free time trying to get the right kind of people to opt in. My goal as a sales conversion copywriter is to create copy that will get as many qualified leads for my clients as I can as quickly and cost-effectively as possible.

​No matter what type of traffic they use though, there’s one common denominator that can be the make or break of the whole lead generation system – the landing page.

Having a high-converting landing page that captures attention, nurtures connection and clearly communicates the value of the offer is the key to cost- and time-effective lead generation. So let’s dive into my four steps for writing landing pages that convert like crazy!

Step #1:  Know the Target Audience

I know I’m always preaching on knowing the target audience, but it really is one of the most important things a sales conversion copywriter must do in order to get results for their clients. In order to run successful lead generation that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg and attracts the RIGHT kind of audience, a client must:

  • Know WHO the target audience is (their ideal clients and customers)
  • Know WHAT result they can help the audience achieve 
  • Know HOW to get that information into the audience’s hands (digital file? video?)

Step #2:  Offer Something Valuable

Lead generation is all about exchanging value. 

Think about it like this. Your client is asking the reader to give them their email address. This is information the reader considers to be rather personal, and they’re not going to do it unless they feel they’re getting something they value more than keeping their email address private in return. 

I’m not saying my clients should give away the farm or anything, but they do need to consider what they can offer their target audience that they want. I also encourage them to offer something that doesn’t require any personal time or energy on their part besides the initial creation of the lead magnet. Some examples of lead magnets that tend to convert well are:

  • Checklists
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Free Reports
  • Case Studies
  • Swipe Files
  • E-books

Step #3:  Write a Compelling, Results-Driven Headline

The first thing a visitor sees when they click on a landing page is the headline. If the page doesn’t capture the visitor’s attention in the first three seconds, they’re gone, so honestly, the headline has a pretty big job. In fact, some landing pages ONLY have a headline and an opt-in. So the headline has to capture attention, and it has to do it well.

My favorite way to write headlines for lead generation landing pages is to just get straight to the point with the result the reader is going to get if they give their email.

Notice I said RESULT. Not the actual download or whatever the lead magnet is. The result is where it’s at – where the true value lies. Without the result, the lead magnet is just another file cluttering up their hard drive.

The image above is an example of a high-converting landing page. This lead magnet was run from March through May. It generated 1500 leads at around $1.20 each and converted between 60-80%. Dang, that’s good. The lead magnet wasn’t anything special really. It was just a list of my 10 favorite free tools that I use every day in my online business. Note how simple the headline is.

“Working From Anywhere Just Got Easier With These 10 Online Tools”

This is a very results-driven headline, and it worked because I knew who my audience was and took into account current events. I launched this lead magnet right as everything shut down because of the global pandemic. So let’s run through this so you can see the thought process behind the headline.

What does the audience want? Business (aka money). They are afraid their business is going to suffer because of social distancing. They want to keep their business alive, and they know online is the only way that can happen right now.

What result am I giving them? “Work from anywhere”. I’m giving them a list of tools that they don’t have to go hunting for that will help them set up their business remotely, making their lives easier and their business feel more secure.

I almost always use the result-driven headline for lead magnets, and there’s a reason for that. Sure there are other types of headlines. I could use a pain-points driven headline or a super crazy attention-grabbing headline. Ninety-five percent of the time though, I go with results-driven headlines for lead generation. Why?

Because the promise of a result they want is enough to hold their attention and get them to trade their email address for it. You don’t need to bring in the pain points – not yet. Not until you want to convince them to whip out their wallets. A crazy headline is great for ad copy, but can be confusing on a landing page. Results-driven headlines are where it’s at for landing pages.

Step #4:  Use Sub-Headlines Sparingly

I rarely use sub-headlines for lead gen landing pages. Most of the time it’s just not necessary, but because I was running completely cold traffic, I knew that the sub-headline I used here would add to the value of the offer by giving it street cred. Check it out.

“These Tools Are The Tested & Proven MVPs In My Remote Business … And They’re FREE!”

It helps the reader to know that these tools are being used successfully inside a remote business already, and the reminder that they’re free really dials in on the fact that the reader only stands to gain by opting in.

Step #5:  Keep Copy Brief

Landing pages for a free opt-in do not have to be long. In fact, short and to-the-point landing pages almost always outperform longer ones. Here’s why I think that is. If you have something that’s valuable and free, you shouldn’t have to talk the reader into it. It should be a no-brainer for them.

Most of the landing pages I write for have a headline, a short piece of text or three bullets that clearly outline the result they’ll get, an image of the lead magnet, and the opt-in. That’s it. I don’t even encourage clients to include a bio or About Me section. Short, sweet, and to the point is all it takes to get readers to convert to a free offer if steps 1-4 are already in place.

More From Christa Nichols 

Ready to try out these tips on the next landing page you write? Awesome! Before you do, click here to grab my FREE targeting guide. It will help you zero right in on exactly who your client’s target audience is so you can craft the exact message they need to read.

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