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Lift conversions with these 9 landing page essentials (+ Templates)

Create a landing page that converts visitors and persuades nay-sayers with these templates and examples of the 9 landing page essentials.

May 29, 2020 by Cyn Meyer

Even if you’re using a landing page builder, crafting a landing page that converts well is hard work.

Let me rephrase that: making a landing page that doesn’t bounce higher than a trampoline with conversion rates in the astronomically small is really freaking hard.

You need to know what resonates with your audience to get them to opt in.

Every little detail counts.

To save you from testing pieces until the cows come home (and to avoid entrepreneurial burnout), today, we streamline the trial-and-error process for you. 

We give you the lay of the land for exactly what to include on your landing page. Plus, we even hand over templates to follow for each component. 

Also, we’ve mentioned this caveat before when offering templates, but it’s worth repeating: Templates serve as a great foundation, but work best when they're tested and customized to resonate with your specific audience and brand. 

So, if you’re ready to dive in, let’s get straight to your landing page essentials.

9 landing page essentials + templates for each

#1. Headline

The first essential landing page component is your headline, which is (usually) featured front and center of your page.

With five times as many people reading your headline than your body copy, it’s important to get this right.

A BuzzSumo analysis of over 100 million articles found that the sweet spot is between 12-18 words in your headline. 

That’s the range that receives the highest average Facebook engagements, anyway, and while Facebook isn’t a straight analog for your landing page, it’s such a robust platform that chances are, your target visitors are one and the same.

Of course, writing a killer headline goes beyond word count. 

A powerful tip to follow is to feature a big benefit to your audience. The more specific and relevant to your audience, the better your headline.

Here are a few headline templates to consider:

Learn how to [benefit] and [benefit]

Example: Learn how to network and meet new prospective clients

Get [benefit] without [pain point]

Example: Get fit without having to join yet another gym membership

Here is [method] that helps you [benefit]

Example: Here is the sales email template that helps you win over customers

Get rid of [pain point] once and for all

Example: Get rid of your tech issues once and for all 

Get [result] in [time frame]

Example: Get a brand new website in four days

If your headline alone isn’t enough to stop your visitors in their tracks, and it probably won’t be because buyers are rightfully skeptical, rest assured you have a subheading to reinforce your effort.

That’s, naturally, our next essential.

#2. Subheading

The second landing page essential backs up your headline -- your subheading. It’s a secondary heading that further explains your offer and unique value proposition (UVP), which is a clear statement that describes how you can solve your customer’s problem better than anyone else.

Between your headline and subheading, your goal is to show your visitor, as efficiently as possible, your UVP and the benefit of opting in for your offer. Ultimately, it’s a way to use copywriting to sell your products as they continue to familiarize themselves with your brand.

To do this, use a clear, relevant, and specific subheading to bolster your headline and reduce any friction in converting your visitors. 

When writing your specific subheading, a good formula to follow is the Four U’s:

  • Useful
  • Ultra-specific
  • Unique
  • Urgent

Some subheading templates to couple with your headlines are:

If you don’t [relevant action] now, you’ll regret it later.

Example: If you don’t learn how to write ad copy now, you’ll regret it later.

All it takes it [time frame] to [result].

Example: All it takes is 20 minutes a day to learn how to play the piano.

See how easily you can [result].

Example: See how easily you can write a book.

It’s the only way to avoid [pain point] right now.

Example: It’s the only way to avoid losing money in your business right now.

With [social proof number] others [action], you deserve it, too.

Example: With 1,400 others successfully selling their online products, you deserve it, too.

So, we’ve covered the attention-grabbing section of your landing page as far as big copy goes. Let’s back it up with a matching image.

#3. Hero image

Our next essential landing page element is your hero shot, which is the big image that’s featured in the header of your landing page. 

Here are a few tips to follow when selecting your image. 

1. Be relevant - Just like everything on your landing page (and business), make sure your hero image is relevant to your offer. You’re literally trying to illustrate to your users the benefit of opting in for your offer.

If you do this right, it could boost your conversions -- by a lot. Check out how replacing a hero image that wasn’t as relevant:

To one that more accurately shows off the specific benefit and UVP lifted conversions by a staggering 1,148%:

A pretty big difference for an image swap, right?

2. Include authentic images - If you can avoid it, try not to use cheesy stock photos. They don’t help you or your brand build trust among your audience.

In fact, according to the founder of GetUplift, Talia Wolf, you can increase your conversions by 45% if you remove stock photos and, instead, use images of your own staff.

One of the best branding tips for entrepreneurs is to boost your brand equity by building trust and credibility, so be authentic whenever possible.

3. Make sure your image is above the fold - When designing your landing page, be sure your hero shot, plus headline and subheading, are above the fold.

It’s important to feature these vital elements of your landing page, so they can do their job within 1 second. The real estate that’s visible on your screen before your user scrolls down your landing page, a.k.a. the above-the-fold area, gets 57% of the viewing time

As far as hero image templates go, consider using hero shots that:

1. Show people enjoying your benefit.

Example: For a travel agency for digital nomads, this great pic by Edgar Chaparro on Unsplash shows someone arriving at their new destination.

2. Evoke a specific emotion that you want your visitors to feel

Example: For a personal coach, this dramatic image by Jackson David on Pixabay could help evoke a sense of connection or relief.

3. Convey movement or action as is relevant to your products

Example: A digital product entrepreneur who sells fitness products could use this snap from William Stitt on StockSnap.

4. Feature you, your founder, or your team.

Example: Becky Mollenkamp does this well with a (nearly) full-screen banner for her mindset coaching business.

5. Give a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

Example: For a lifestyle blogger or creator who sells info products around content marketing, this behind-the-scenes look of a mother-and-daughter pair working at a computer could do nicely. Credit to Brooke Cagle on Unsplash.

As for where to fetch those images, some of our favorite free unrestricted sites -- and where we pulled most of the list above from -- include:

If you’d rather have more exclusive photos, Envato Elements ($16.50) offers a reasonable subscription fee, as does Death to Stock ($15).

Either way, now that you have your headline and subheading ready to grab your audience’s attention, it’s time to provide a little more detail about your offer -- the fourth landing page essential.

#4. Your offer

Another landing page essential is your actual offer. 

While your headline and subheading should do the initial job of grabbing your audience’s attention, your offer explains the benefit of your UVP.

It could be as straightforward as a bulleted list, like creator Bram Kanstein’s No-Code MVP online course that includes a “Who it’s for” and “This course includes” section.

Or it could include components of your offer that are outlined in their own sections with a complementary image on your landing page, just like creator Mackenzie Child does with his “We will start with the design theory” on his Design for Developers online course landing page:

He follows that section with the next step, “Then we will apply the theory to a real project,” so his audience knows exactly what’s to expect when opting in his course.

The important part is to include supporting copy that further explains the benefits of opting in for your offer.

Templates for further explaining your offer:

What you’ll get inside [offer]: 

  • [detail], so you can [benefit]
  • [detail], so you can [benefit]
  • [detail], so you can avoid [pain point]

Example:

What you’ll get inside Delicious Lean Meals:

  • 15 lean meal recipes, so you can still eat scrumptious meals
  • Food journal, so you can track your daily diet
  • 3 coaching calls, so you can avoid falling off your plan

Here’s how it works:

  • [step 1]
  • [step 2]
  • [step 3]
  • [benefit]

Example:

Here’s how it works:

  • Create an account
  • Choose an event category
  • Submit your budget
  • Get matched up with the right event planner

Here are a few ways people are using [offer]:

  • [example + results]
  • [example + results]
  • [example + results]

Example:

Here are a few ways people are using Copywriting Secrets:

  • Cherry wrote a series of sales emails and closed three deals right away.
  • Jordan reached out to a major influencer and became a guest on a famous podcast.
  • Alex gave his sales page a refresh and doubled his course enrollments. 

Your offer isn’t enough to pull people in and take action, though. You need a good call-to-action (CTA) to do the trick, our next topic.

#5. CTA button copy

Another vital part of your landing page is your CTA button copy. 

As far as what makes your CTA button copy compelling, you’ll notice a theme here: specificity.

Just like you want to be specific and relevant with the other pieces of your landing page, your CTA button copy is no different. 

For instance, examples of generic CTA button copy (a.k.a. what not to do) include:

  • Buy
  • Download
  • Sign up
  • Submit

In a study of 969 CTAs, only 165 (or 17%) of the companies, used vague language like the above button copy.

If there’s a cue to take from this study, it’s to use compelling verbs that spur specific action, which nearly 94% of the companies analyzed did.

And like most everything in your business, if you can personalize the experience for your audience, do it. 

Personalized CTAs perform a staggering 202% better than basic CTAs.

So, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, be specific and relevant when writing your CTA button copy (and anything audience-facing).

Here are some CTA button copy templates to consider:

Create my [brand] account

Example: Create my Codersville account

Start my [trial period] trial

Example: Start my 14-day trial

Get my copy of [specific offer] now

Example: Get my copy of the Seller’s Playbook now

Click to try [offer] for free

Example: Click to try Plant-based Recipes for free

Subscribe to [offer] to get [specific offer detail]

Example: Subscribe to Delicious Desserts to get free recipes

Preorder my copy of [offer] now

Example: Preorder my copy of Brand Growth Secrets now

Shop [product category] now

Example: Shop online courses now

Get instant access to [offer]

Example: Get instant access to Coding Secrets

Activate my [discount detail] discount right away

Example: Activate my 20% discount right away

When it comes to your CTA button, the copy isn’t the only thing that matters. The copy around it can make a dramatic difference, too.

#6. CTA button supporting text 

The final landing page essential for your CTA button is supporting text. It backs up the copy on your CTA button and further reduces any friction that may stop your visitor from clicking on that button. 

For example, if you’re asking your audience to opt-in to a form and submit their contact info, it’s a good idea to include a guarantee their information is private and safe once they subscribe.

Why? Because users care. Adding “We guarantee 100% privacy. Your information will not be shared” helped a conversion marketer land 19.47% more signups than a form that didn’t include the supporting text for his ecommerce client. 

By the way, everything deserves a test. In the above example, including the word “spam” -- as in “We’ll never spam you!” -- cut conversions by 18.7%.

Like with all of these landing page component templates, the best supporting text will, of course, depend on your industry, product, and audience, but it’s still worth gleaning some ideas from these supporting text templates to include near your CTA button:

For signups:

Don’t worry, we keep your info private. 

Enter your email to get [specific benefit/offer].

Sign up takes less than [time frame].

Example: Sign up takes less than 7 minutes.

For products and trials:

Use code [discount code] to get [discount].

Join [social proof number] other [customer type].

$[amount] per [time frame]. Cancel anytime.

No credit card needed.

Example: Use code DISCO20 to get your 20% off discount.

OK. Since there’s so much riding on getting your visitor to click on your CTA button, we’ve got one more component for your CTA -- the button design.

#7. CTA button design

The next tip for creating your landing page is to include a CTA button that’s optimally designed.

If there’s one takeaway to remember for designing your CTA button, it’s to create a button with color contrast. That means an obvious color contrast between the button color and the background and a significant color contrast between your button color and CTA text color.

An example of a low-contrast button:

An example of a high-contrast button:

See the difference? Trying to find the first would be like looking for a slightly-darker-than-normal piece of hay in a haystack, while the second is like finding an anvil in one.

It doesn’t hurt to test the shape of your button, too. 

In fact, in one case, changing both the color and shape of a CTA button to make it pop more from the background increased product sales -- which is much more significant than the click-through rate -- by an impressive 35.81%.

If you’re looking for a free tool to help you gauge whether your CTA button colors contrast enough, you can use tools, like WebAIM and Contrast Checker, both of which let you type in hex colors to see if your contrast ratio is high enough. 

It goes without saying that this is likely the template that needs the most customizing and tailoring to your specific brand. 

But, for the sake of a few more general contrasting examples, check out these few color templates:

Background HEX #ffffff

CTA button HEX #6286ee

CTA button text HEX #ffffff

Which looks like this:

Background HEX #aacdf8

CTA button HEX #faf37d

CTA button text HEX #000000

Displays like:

Background HEX #aaf8e7

CTA button HEX #f6650d

CTA button text HEX #ffffff

Will publish as:

By the way, love the look of those buttons? You can design one for yourself -- alongside the rest of your landing page -- with Podia. See how easy it is for yourself and sign up for this two-week free trial.

Phew, now that we’re past the CTA button, we’ve got two more landing page components for you, both of which also help reduce friction for clicking your CTA button.

#8. Testimonials

Another essential landing page component is social proof, which you can do by including testimonials.

The purpose? To build credibility and trust in your brand’s offer, of course. 

After all, people trust reviews and testimonials from other customers.

In fact, a whopping 97% of customers claim testimonials and peer recommendations are the most reliable form of content.

If you’re wondering what makes a convincing testimonial, it’s one that’s authentic. 

In other words, you have to use real testimonials from real customers.

And don’t go overboard with the number of featured reviews. They start to lose their shine, and credibility, after about five reviews.

That’s what researchers found when they tested them out on American retail company, Hammacher Schlemmer, who also happens to claim the mantle of American’s longest-running retail catalog.

And since they’ve had the ability to collect product and company reviews since 1881, they had a lot of testimonials to choose from -- but they, and subsequently you, only needed five to get the max benefit.

Of course, it goes without saying that to publish an authentic testimonial from your customers, you can’t just make up their quote, and you can’t force them to say anything, either.

But, you can guide their comment by asking the right questions. 

Some questions to ask your past clients when asking for a testimonial are:

  • What were the big challenges that made you look for a solution?
  • Why did you pick our brand over your other options?
  • What benefits did you experience from using our solution?
  • What would you say to other people struggling with the same thing you did?

Once you have their answers in hand, you can pull out a sentence or two to spotlight in your testimonial section, just like the creator of Signature Edits, Ryan Breitkreutz, does on his site.

You can also pair up your testimonials with more social proof if it’s available. Notice how Ryan couples a social proof subheading, “Helping over 100,255 photographers (and counting!)” with his featured testimonials, plus images, to add extra credibility.

Here are some more examples of testimonials in action for successful creators:

1. Accolades for Reuven Lerner, who went from an offline teaching career to online instructing.

(Want to know more? You can read Reuven’s story here.)

2. Praise for Justin Jackon’s Marketing for Developers online course on its landing page. 

(Curious about Justin? Learn how he made over $100,000 on Podia.)

3. Testimonials for Ryan Kulp’s Learn to Buy, Grow, and Sell Small Companies online course. 

(Yup, we have his story, too. Check out how he made $20,000 in two weeks with his first online course.)

You get the idea. Testimonials can be one or many, and finding the individual sweet spot for your business can’t be done without testing and time, but if you’re looking for a place to start, five testimonials should yield you good results.

OK. On the topic of credibility, we’ve got one final credibility-building component for you today.

#9. Short bio

Finally, our last essential landing page component is a brief bio that lets your audience know a little bit more about you -- a.k.a. the human behind the scenes.

Including a headshot with your bio is equally important. After all, a photo on LinkedIn receives up to 21 times more profile views and up to 36 times more messages, so it’s worth getting a decent headshot done.

Check out how creator of the Ultimate WordPress Website Online Course, Andrew Martinez, includes a short bio and headshot to add an extra personal touch to his site.

Or how Chris Oliver, creator and founder of GoRails, adds a small bio and image to the bottom of his Payments with Ruby on Rails Master Class site. 

Adds a personal touch and builds credibility, right?

Bonus landing page element: Include your contact info -- address, phone, email, social sites, and et cetera -- at the footer of your landing page to give your site even more credibility. 

To your audience, it’s an added insurance that your brand is a legit and accessible business operating in the real world. 

Back to your bio, though, consider using these templates:

The multi-faceted bio:

[founder name]. [business title]. [personal role]. [personal role].

Example: Brett Simpson. Founder of Brett Photography. Donut lover. Deep sea diver. 

The purpose bio:

On a mission to help [audience] [solve problem], [founder name] created [brand].

Example: On a mission to help bloggers earn a significant monthly income, Sheila Jones created Bloggersville.

The friendly bio:

Hi, I’m [first name], the founder of [brand]. I’ve worked on [topic] for [time frame] and am here to help you [results]. 

Example: Hi, I’m Ashton, the founder of Noodler. I’ve worked on illustrations for 12 years and am here to help you learn how to easily sketch and draw. 

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Land an abundance of opt-ins with these landing page templates

While creating a high-converting landing page requires a bit of customization, testing, and iterating, including these nine landing page essentials in your design will help you convert more visitors -- especially if you use our trusty templates.

To recap the nine essentials:

  • #1. Your headline is the first thing people see and read, so make it a compelling case.
  • #2. Your subheading works in tandem with your headline and further supports your UVP.
  • #3. Your hero image is the visual version of your headline and needs to draw people in.
  • #4. Your offer is your chance to feature UVP details and convince people to opt in.
  • #5. CTA button copy that’s action-oriented and specific converts better than generic copy.  
  • #6. Your CTA button supporting text is another chance to reduce friction and sway people to opt in.
  • #7. The design of your CTA button should pop and grab your visitors’ attention.
  • #8. Testimonials help build trust and credibility and reduce friction for opting in.
  • #9. Finally, including a short bio also builds trust and credibility and supports your landing page goal.

May you convert as many visitors as you can handle.

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