What works for landing pages – short or long copy?
‘As long as it needs to be’ is the timeless response, given almost by every writing doyen on the planet.
While that’s true, it’s pretty vague as well, and not helpful for anyone creating copy for their sales landing page. What it doesn’t allude to is how short and long copy works differently to achieve that lovely connection and conversion with your customer.
What I wanted to show you here are examples where each length can work brilliantly for landing pages.
Copy for a sales landing page brings forward the conversation started by email, social media ads or through a Paid Per Click (PPC) ad when your prospect clicked the link. And there’s a good reason the length of your copy has to fit the conversion type.
A customised landing page should be where niche customer traffic ends up at your website. They are tailored towards a unique conversion like an ebook download or service sale.
Short copy is for simple conversions (stuff that doesn’t require lengthy answers to a host of customer questions). Items like ebooks, free downloads or subscription opt-ins that just need some general information like an email address to get a new relationship started.
The commitment is small so the landing page doesn’t need to over-talk the whys and hows. The more succinct and straightforward the copy, the easier the customer is to convert.
Customer Relationship Management software systems provider Salesforce has a dozen short copy landing pages.
Their utilisation depends on the system they are marketing. One page is Salesforce promoting their email marketing campaigns service, Pardot. It barely contains 140 words on its entire page and directs you straight to an action, filling out the form to view their demo video about their service.
It uses social proof by adding reputable marketing brands who use their service and the basic numbers on what benefits their customers will receive using their company.
The short copy smartly keeps the customer on the page, without getting in the road of the video form. It has a lot of fields to complete, more than your usual landing page, which purposely filters through only receptive prospects who complete it right through.
Short copy can steer people the easy way towards a conversion and not overcomplicate the steps.
Another good example is the Computer software for online stores, Shopify.
Their landing page, reached through a PPC ad campaign, throws you to an oh-so-brief landing page which includes social value (over 200,000 businesses worldwide) and basic information on the benefits. But their use of language is sublime.
Terms like ‘Easy to use, customizable design, price as low as, and fully secure’ give affirmation to a prospect that control over their online store is in their hands, without knowing any coding or web developing. And the customer feels secure in doing business from it.
Also, there is the free trial, where only an email address required. Its simplicity in gaining a conversion stands above lots of other landing pages.
Australian company Quickbooks points their niche audience of Australian small business owners towards a bespoke landing page.
Their short copy sums up the benefits of using a mobile accounting system, time efficiency, and specific bookkeeping needs; finishing with a discounted offer for their service.
What I really like about the page is that the copy doesn’t gets in the road of the primary call to action.
The value is spelt out in three quick areas, below the CTA, but the offer stays centre right on the page. The headline tells you like it is. It’s short copy at its most basic, telling you to use it or fall behind.
So what about long copy then?
Long copy –
Long copy is primarily for higher cost purchases with a significant fee for a service or major product. The more money involved, the more questions need to be answered.
The idea is to meet every reservation or concern the potential customer might have about you, your business and your services. So it really covers everything.
Being a global payment system company, Paypal has the reach small business certainly don’t have for increasing a customer base. But their long copy has good pointers for anyone to take away and use for themselves.
Their principal target is small to medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs/startups looking for an easy payment system for their business needs, from anywhere. The headline kicks this off, distilling how Paypal sees itself and, more importantly, how it thinks it should be seen by prospective customers.
The copy is just over 650 words, which isn’t incredibly long copy. It focuses on its key benefits, flexibility in payment options, efficiency and security. The language is quite formal and professional, especially compared with Quickbooks.
It keeps the tone confident and assured; as close to a feel of a major financial institution without being as sterile.
What’s also interesting about this page is the links to other services it has, like business loans. There’s still a major call to action but several different pathways to other landing pages.
There’s no way a small business could get away with multiple landing pages.
We finish on what long copy is all about, building trust and winning conversions. The recipe for SEO success online course is aimed at small business owners or entrepreneurs wanting to learn the best advice on SEO for their business website.
This page juggles just the right amount of everything needed to answer the questions that come forward on this type of course. Getting higher rankings, doing a website audit, setting up and having access to expert advice definitely raises the head of potential customers. Ecourse owner Kate Toon puts as much detail into her answers on these questions and more – that it reassures the potential customer on making the commitment.
The copy length is around 2,800 words and this is a lot of copy. But there’s not a word wasted in knocking any question on its head before it can create a decision roadblock.
The copy drives home the benefits that come from this course and the skills the client will possess after finishing it. Addressing the problem and giving the solution.
The tone of voice is friendly, conversational and has a ‘we’re in this together’ feel across the entire page. I believe this is long copy at its most compelling. Not overstaying its welcome and inviting you into sit down and chat over a nice coffee or tea about SEO.
‘To make the connection and win over the customer’. That’s a primary rule of copywriting in general. The amount of commitment required from them affects the copy length of any landing page. The examples above highlight what works in the extremes of copy length, short or long.
If they’re giving over limited information for a small charge or ebook, short copy rules the roost.
If the prospect will be forking out a lot of money for a product or service, their questions need to be answered, and this is where long copy plays its role.
And yes, there’s no perfection in landing page conversion, only testing. Testing to assess, rewrite and refine your copy. Without that, you are settling for lady luck. And that’s no way to run a content marketing plan!
What experiences have you had with short and long copy for your landing pages? Have you changed your copy length for these pages? What were the results?