How to make a high-converting landing page design in 5 steps

…including 2 steps you don’t need, but you’ll do anyway.

By Stephen Pratley

  • Posted October 14, 2021

If you're trying to come up with a landing page design for your new product, you've already seen a bunch of software to create them.

Tools like Unbounce, Leadpages, Instagpage and a whole bunch of others that have the words “High converting templates” somewhere in their marketing copy.

These tools are great in one way – that they let you build pages fast without needing to get designers and developers involved.

But I'll let you in on a secret.

They contribute next to nothing to your conversion rates.

The decisions that make the big impacts are made well before you fire up your landing page software.

Let's take a look at the big 5 that will really make a difference…

1.What is the offer you’re making?

Offers are promises to fix a problem.

It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, buried in there somewhere is a promise.

It might be to teach something (like this post), or it might be a benefit that your product brings them.

Work out what promise you’re making before you do anything else.

2. Who are you making the promise to?

When your offer is clear, so are the people you are selling to. They’re the people with that problem, and the money and motivation to solve it.
But it’ll also tell you where you can find your prospects.
Are they on Facebook or LinkedIn?
Are they on their phones, or at their desks in an office?
Do they read or watch video?
All these will have an impact on how and where you present your offer.

3. What copy are you using?

Copy is the words you use to get your prospect excited about your offer, and to act on it.
This is where the idea of a “template” starts to fall apart.
Depending on where your prospect came from you either have a lot of work to do, or very little.

If all they’ve seen of you is a Tweet, you have a lot more selling to do.

If they came from an email, they know more about the offer and you have less to do.

If they came from a webinar, they know everything there is to know and you can pretty much send them to the checkout.

You can literally stop here, throw up a page with just the text on it and a link to a checkout, or maybe Calendly to book a call, and start to judge how good your offer is.

Even the late Great David Ogilvy wouldn’t invest in colour print for his ads until the black & white version had shown it could make some sales on its own, and his clients were mostly luxury goods companies.

4. What images are you using.

If you’re selling a physical product, images are everything. Your images will demonstrate the product better than words ever could.

(One of the few exceptions are supplements, where that little white bottle isn’t telling you a lot.)

If you’re selling a service, or something invisible, like consulting or information, your images are there to paint a picture of what life looks like when the prospect takes up your offer.

The before/after photos in fitness & weight loss programs are the most common version of this, but so are pictures of private jets & Lambos, or just happy faces giving testimonials.

At a minimum, your images will help reinforce the mood that your copy creates. Professional, rebellious, scary, hopeful. Whatever it is, your images need to be in tune with that mood.

Now here’s what that marketer’s not telling you.

At this stage you could string together a decent landing page using a Google doc.

I’ve seen loads that just use a Notion page or plain text.

A good landing page design will help, but if you can’t get sales from something more simple, the final design steps aren’t going to save you, and they’re sure as hell going to slow you down and burn money you could have spent on traffic or better copy.

5. The last step is what you get from a template.

The layout of your text vs images, the styling of your fonts, colour choices, and the graphic flourishes like icons and what your buttons look like.

There’s a mass of tiny decisions to make when you design a landing page, but hopefully you can see how they’re all easy to make once you know:

If you’re starting with an off the shelf template, how can someone else possibly have made those decisions for you?

“But these templates are ‘ranked by conversion’, how can they be wrong.”

Let me say it again. It’s the offer that matters.

All it takes is for one customer to post an offer that’s a killer offer, great price, zero risk, and pitched to an audience that trusts them, like maybe, someone who already bought from them?

That template will shoot to the top of the chart.

Most offers convert in spite of their design, not because of it.

It’s like picking your beer based on what Warren Buffet drinks.

He’s successful in spite of the beer, not because of it.

“But designing a custom template is hard and expensive.”

I hear you this one, but jumping straight to a template, expecting it to make your offer is going to cost you in a bunch of other ways.

First off, if you follow the steps above, you can start testing your offer as soon as you get your copy in place.

I’ve seen plenty of offers pitched from Google docs that have worked just fine.

In fact I’ve seen them pitched from Tweet threads, and Facebook posts, and straight to a checkout or PayPal page.

How much design input can you have in a Twitter thread?

Zero.

So start simple.

If you get some interest, move forward with the investment in images and design.

If you do want to leap ahead to a more visual landing page design, at least you’ll be in a position to pick one that actually suits your project, and not one that was designed for a different audience.


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