19 Feb

Step-By-Step Landing Page Copywriting

Let me start by warning you: This is a long post. I want to take you through the process of writing and designing the ConvertKit sales page. As you’ll see, I had a huge amount of help from Amy Hoy. Throughout the process she gave great advice on copywriting that I’d like to share here. Besides, what’s better than an actual example?

The short version

The short version is a series of takeaways I learned throughout this process.

  • Make your headlines speak to a pain your visitors have. A good headline should catch their attention and get them reading.
  • Multi-column explanation graphics can be hard to read. Be careful of anything that breaks up the reading flow too much.
  • Don’t be accusatory with your headlines or copy. How would you feel if a random website said you are doing everything wrong?
  • Show, don’t tell.
  • Write your copy first, then design it. It’s hard to write and design at the same time. Definitely don’t design first, then write copy to fill in the blanks. That’s really bad.
  • Try this formula: First write out the pains, then write out the reversal of those pains (dreams).
Read through the post for the details on any of those points. Also, Amy just released her talk on copywriting and selling products. It’s awesome. You can watch it (or read the transcript) here:
A Customer Is Your MVP – A (Video) Talk on Making Products that Sell

From the beginning

To start I opened Photoshop and started writing and designing at the same time. Here is my first draft. There are a few filler elements like the planet icon.


Initial feedback

I sent that draft to Amy and received some great feedback. Here’s what she said:

  • The most effective way to convert your visitors into customers. “Generally, when people hit a landing page, they’re not already looking for a solution. Let’s say they just clicked a link in an email and they’re sitting at their desk sipping their coffee, not thinking of anything particular. Will this headline grab them by the nose and make them sit up straighter?”
  • With most visitors you will never get another chance to engage with them since you don’t have a method to contact them. Plus, you didn’t deliver any value, so why should they return?

    “This is a great pain point. But it’s hiding in the corner!”
  • (Regarding the process illustration)

    “I love the way these sketchy things look, but they are focused on the app and not the customer (before the customer is tempted to care), and they’re hard to read. I & my students have all had bad results with the multi-column “explanation” layouts. They are simply hard to read; and unless people are incredibly motivated, their eyes will just kinda drift around until they decide it’s not worth the investment, and stop reading.”
  • The ConvertKit process helps you build trust with your visitors. Best of all, ConvertKit automates everything for you.

    “Are people going “OMG I GOTTA BUILD TRUST” or “OMG I NEED TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO MAKE SALES”? I’d say trust is a byproduct, but not the one they’re immediately looking for. You have to sell them on trust, too.”

With that feedback in mind I redesigned and partially rewrote the page. The main changes were that I worked on a new headline, changed the order of the elements on the page, and redid the illustrations so that they fit into a single column. Here’s the updated design.

Round Two

The next round of feedback came in the form of a Skype chat. Here’s the transcript.

Amy: So about your new landing page. So much better.

Nathan: Excellent.

It does still feels a bit forced. So I love questions as headlines and the one you have is very painful.

Good. I wrote out half a dozen headlines trying to get at the core pain.

How would you feel, though, if a stranger came up to you and said “You’re losing hundreds of sales.”?

Who the hell are you to tell me what’s wrong with my business…

Right, me too. Not because you’re not interested in getting extra sales, but because it SOUNDS like you’re being attacked.

Good point.

I tell my students to be very careful with statements that might sound accusatory.

So how would you pull it back while still catching attention?

The pain itself — brilliant. just needs to be dealt with a little more obliquely. how about “How many sales are you losing? or… “Windowshoppers who never come back…” not that exact headline but the idea that they lose POTENTIAL customers. “What if you could double your sales?” is something you could use when you have statistics for a case study.


“Are you frustrated by the potential sales you are losing?”

I’m a fan of using emotion words but sometimes they can just be redundant.

“Does your conversion rate keep you up at night?”

I like that.

Generally show, don’t tell… don’t say “you’re frustrated”… SHOW the results of being frustrated. You can have it :)

Is it better to focus on conversion rate or sales?

Now that I don’t know. Depends on a lot of factors. A good target for an a/b test when you have traffic. You’re aiming this at self-described marketers/growth hackers etc. And they are probably used to using the term “conversion rate” instead of “sales”. That’s my guess. But I could be wrong.

Yep, that’s true.

I do know that accusatory-sounding copywriting doesn’t go down well, without having to test. :) Buying involves letting down some defenses so if you get people freaked out first thing, not gonna happen.

Yeah, I hadn’t read it from that perspective, but as soon as you brought it up I knew what you meant.

Yeah, everybody needs extra eyeballs on their copy :)

So running with the title: “Does your conversion rate keep you up at night?”… Does it need a subheadline?

Which brings us to the next bit of feedback I have! That’s a question you can’t answer without knowing what you’re trying to say & what the customer needs to hear to make a decision. You designed (or repurposed) this page layout before you did the copywriting, right?

I did them at the same time. But the copy has changed a lot, and the layout not so much.

Did you have more of your design hat on, or your copywriting hat?


I can tell :) which is the major mistake I made on http://letsfreckle.com ‘s redesign. but the content is what will sell your product, not the layout. The question isn’t, does it need a subheadline? but rather… what does the customer need to hear?

Agreed. Though that is a lesson I am still learning.

It’s tough. Clearly I am not immune to it. A very famous copywriter once said that the job of the headline is to get you to read the first sentence. And the job of the first sentence is to get you to read the second sentence. So the job of your headline is to get them to read the next sentence… or the subhead. Whatever makes sense, given the “conversation” you’re having with the customer in your copy.

Okay. So would you always write copy as a letter, then design from there?

Imagine if your sales page is a conversation, as it stands, and not a collection of design elements and copy bits. I would now, yes. And that’s the approach that works fabulously for my students, and the one I’ll be using to redo the freckle page as part of a 30×500 project. :)

And I would start with bullet points:


What it’d be like without the pains:

(which I call dream)

Fix: how this product will take the pains and turn them into dreams.

It’s a 3-act narrative structure and it works beautifully for sales, too.

The more immediate the pains are — the more vivid, and recently experienced, and detailed, and urgent — the stronger your persuasion is.

This won’t persuade somebody who doesn’t already experience that pain, however. That’s the beauty of it. They simply will go “Huh. Okay? Not for me.”

Is “I need to build trust” a burning pain? :)

No. At least not yet.

Example: “Does your conversion rate keep you up at night? Me too. After all, what’s the point of driving more traffic if you can’t turn that into sales?”

So the surface pain is poor conversion rates, so we need to get to what is driving that. I think two main issues that prevent sales are not understanding the product and not trusting the seller.

1 sec, I gotta taste the tomato sauce. Agreed, those are major reasons why people don’t buy. Also, they just get distracted and forget. Or you don’t immediately grab them… although that’s not something you can EASILY solve with software. I think those two things (in reverse order) are much bigger reasons.

ConvertKit helps with distraction and forgetting as well.

Yes it does :) “ConvertKit can’t write your sales page for you, BUT…” the question is, are you in the biz of selling them facts about sales, or persuading them?

Persuasion is better.


Poor conversion rates

  • lack of trust from visitors
  • not understanding the product
  • getting distracted and forgetting


  • Ability to gradually explain product
  • Build trust over time
  • Regular followup to stay top of mind

Is something like that what you are thinking?

Getting there! Sorry, then my friends arrived early. So under poor conversion rates, you switch immediately to THEIR *customer’s* reasons… not YOUR customer’s pains.

No worries. I’ll take another pass at it with these ideas.

From my perspective, as a serious potential customer, my pain points are… I know what I ought to be doing (capturing emails when people don’t immediately buy). I’m not doing it because the software is so irritating. Have you set up autoresponders? They’re a bitch.

I hate setting up autoresponders. That’s why I’m building this product.

Right. So what’s your potential customer more likely thinking… “****ing auto-responders,” or “Gee, I really need to build trust” :)

“You know what you should be doing, but you don’t because IT’S SUCH A ****ING PAIN!”

That’s how I feel.

Yep. Not “I need to build trust,” which is TRUE… but nobody is going around thinking that. Therefore it’s a weak sales proposition. The best way to gain trust, btw, is to show the customer you really understand them. Something I hear a lot is, “It’s like you wrote this just for me.” “It’s like you’ve been spying on me.” That == persuasion gold.

So should I explain the process at all? Or just focus on the people who understand drip marketing and don’t do it because of the pain?

Education is great, if you focus on the customer’s immediate pain. which is A) sales and/or B) software frustration. You could be like, “A lot of customers aren’t ready to buy right away. What happens to them? You lose them forever.” The key is to keep the focus on the pain until they’re like, “YEAH, that really IS a problem!”

And you still teach them to build trust but you kinda sneak it into something they REALLY care about. Like how I don’t pitch 30×500 as a big long research project. :)

I guess I’m still not sure which is more important, teaching them how to improve conversion rates through this process, or showing them how this process (which they already understand) is made easier with ConvertKit.

Though there has to be a way to do both, but I’m not seeing it.

They’re not two different things. :) If you go with “They’re not ready to buy right away… you lose them… what if you didn’t?” in a broader outline, you could easily pivot.

Got it.

The pivot could look something like this: “Now I bet many of you already know this process works. So why don’t you use it? I know the reason I didn’t was because it is such a pain to setup.”


That leads beautifully into talking about a few features that make life easy. Easy landing pages, autoresponders, etc. Now I see it. (Also, I don’t want to keep you from your friends…)

Yup, no problem! I’m ALSO talking about furniture with my friend Ilya.

So if I were gonna give you homework, it’d be to work on an outline, vivid pain points, and that pivot in an outline… and then just write pure copy. Then let that show you how the page should be laid out.

Copy and furniture. Two of your favorite things.

TRUTH I’m in hog heaven. And they brought guac!

Happy to help you when you get that outline ready. You don’t need to go through the whole process before asking for more feedback. But, again, I’d just like to say that you did make huge improvements from the first design you showed me, to the second.

Perfect. I’ll write that and send it to you. Thank you very much.

I think to really make it perfect, you’ll just need to step back some.

You’re welcome! It really is a pleasure to help somebody who helps himself.

:) Have a good evening!

You too! ciao

Time for a rewrite

That was a long conversation. I learned a lot, but the major takeaway was that it was time to rewrite from scratch. Or at least, try a new format. This time I turned to Google Docs and wrote in plain text. By getting design out of the way I was left to focus on convincing the visitor with content, rather than getting caught up in the design.

Here is the version I wrote:

Does your conversion rate keep you up at night?

Me too.

I constantly worry about the hundreds of visitors who come to my site and don’t make a purchase. Especially because most of these visitors will never come back.

If you don’t capture their attention on that first visit, you lose them. But what if you didn’t?

Your current sales process

I’m guessing your current sales process looks something like this:

1. Visitor comes to landing page and is asked to purchase a product.
2. A few are convinced and purchase, but most hit the back button and never return.

Ouch. That’s not good. Remember all those hours you spent writing blog posts and building traffic? Most of that’s wasted by poor conversion rates.

Luckily, there’s a better way.

Sales pages are like an awkward conversation

Imagine you and I met for the first time on the street. After a quick introduction I ask, “Do you by chance work with software?”

“Yes, I’m a developer.” you respond.

“Perfect! I just wrote a book about designing better web applications. Would you like to buy it?”

That’s awkward. Right then you are probably thinking that we just met 30 seconds earlier and you have no reason to trust me. What indications do you have that I even know anything about designing software? It’s probably a good time to say something noncommittal like, “I’ll check it out,” and find a way to exit the conversation.

This scenario seems completely ridiculous when described in person, but it actually matches the sales process I described above.

When selling products visitors often come straight to the product sales page. This could be from a link on Twitter, an ad, or something else where they have never heard of you before. So why are you asking them to buy right away?

A better way

Instead, let’s teach this random stranger something. Provide them value, help them accomplish their goals, and build trust before asking for anything from them. Here’s how it works online:

    1. Visitor comes to landing page and is offered a free eBook.
    2. The eBook is emailed to them. Clicking the link to the book confirms their email address.
    3. While subscribing they were also given an opportunity to opt-into a free 30 day email course.
    4. As you deliver more valuable content for free over email, your subscriber’s trust in you increases.
    5. Only after the subscriber has gotten to know you and understands the value of your product do you ask for the sale.

Using this process you capture more leads up front, have more time to talk to the visitor about your product, and only ask for the sale after they have a reason to trust you. Best of all, if they forget about your product, which is likely, you have the opportunity to remind them in a future conversation.

Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if you read through that saying, “I already knew that.” If so, I’ve got one quick question: Why don’t you use it?

If you’re like me, it’s because it is really painful to set up, between designing the landing page, coding a way to gather subscribers’ information, automating the delivery of an incentive, and then finally creating and delivering a course. You can code your own solution or combine a bunch of different web applications to get it done.

No matter how you do it, the process is time consuming and very frustrating. What if it could be easy?

That’s why I made ConvertKit, to take this proven marketing process and automate it with a single tool.

    1. Start by creating a new landing page in seconds. We take care of the design and layout, so you can focus on writing compelling content.
    2. Once the page is in place, upload an incentive, like a guide or training video, to give your visitors for subscribing.
    3. Set up an email course that will teach your subscribers. Our interface makes it easier to write a course as a series of lessons. Easily refer back to what you said in the previous email, and move ahead to write the next one. Auto-responders and email sequences have never been this easy.

With all the technical challenges taken care of, you are free to focus on delivering value to your readers. This will increase your readership, build trust, and ultimately increase sales.

Bad News

Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news for you. ConvertKit isn’t quite ready for you to use it yet. But trust me, I’m sick of implementing this process with clunky software, so I’m just as eager as you for ConvertKit to be ready.

In the meantime, I’d like to teach you other ways to improve your conversion rates.

I want you to be able to fall asleep at night thinking about happy customers and money in the bank, not crummy conversion rates. So I put together this short guide on 10 ways to improve your conversion rate. Download it now, and I promise I’ll let you know when ConvertKit is ready.

[Download form]

Want to be first?

If you’d love what I just shared and want to be very first to use ConvertKit, you can preorder it today. When you preorder your first 3 months I’ll also give you one month free. Plus you’ll get a 25% discount for life. Not bad, right?

[Preorder pricing]

[Followed by an FAQ]


Reworking the rewrite

I sent that off to Amy and she made quite a few more changes. She kept a lot of my ideas, but often changed out my plain words for something more meaningful. Watch for words like “sabotaged” and “drove.” Also note that she cut a lot of content. Mine was far too long and she got rid of the extra fluff.

Does your conversion rate keep you up at night?

Like you, I run a product business (with two ebooks and counting!). I’m always on the lookout for ways to improve my conversion rates. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and researching.

Here’s what I see as the fundamental problem:

Your funnel has a hole in it

Imagine you and I met for the first time on the street. After a quick introduction I ask, “Do you by chance work with software?”

“Yes, I’m a developer,” you respond.

“Perfect! I just wrote a book about designing better web applications. Would you like to buy it for $39?”

How many sales do you think I could make this way?

This scenario seems completely ridiculous… but isn’t it exactly how we expect things to happen with our web-based sales pages?

We expect a stranger to buy from us the very first time we “meet.” Usually, they don’t.  And that’s it. Then… you lose them forever.

Ouch. All those hours you spent writing blog posts and building traffic and tuning your landing page, sabotaged.

A way to fix a leaky funnel… and capture sales from wary visitors

But what if you didn’t lose them forever? What if you had the opportunity to persuade them over and over again, over a period of weeks? To build trust and demonstrate why your product is right for them?

Imagine if your sales process looked more like this:

  1. Your would-be customer hits your landing page. She’s not ready to buy, but look, what’s that? A free ebook? A set of tips? A recorded interview? Unsubscribe at any time? That’s not much of a commitment, she doesn’t lose a thing, and hey, free stuff.
  2. She receives your free goodie (ebook, report, tip #1). Clicking the link to the freebie confirms her email address.
  3. She enjoys the freebie. And so you email her a few more useful tips, here and there. Every email shows her that your advice is good, and you know what you’re talking about.
  4. Once she’s tried your free advice for herself, and she’s seen the quality of what you create — you ask for the sale. You’re not a stranger anymore, you’re an advisor. She is five to 10 times more likely to buy.

Do this, and you’ll have managed to turn a potentially creepy sales scenario into a valuable, trust-building conversation. This also means your would-be customer won’t simply forget about you (which I believe is a major reason for low conversion rates!).

“I already know that.”
You probably do already know this is what you “should” be doing. You also know that this kind of process can be a pain in the butt to implement.

You’ve got to design your landing page, code a way to gather your would-be customer’s information, automate the delivery of your first incentive, then finally write (or record) and deliver a set of follow-up tips, lessons, or sales pitches.

Whether you custom-roll a solution or try to integrate with existing tools (which don’t handle email courses very well), you’re going to spend a lot of time and annoyance on setting this all up.

So you haven’t. Yet.

What if it all you had to do was supply great content?

All of the above drove me to design ConvertKit.

I knew I should be using that sales process. But setting it up was a major pain.

I wanted to make it as easy as writing the content, to implement this proven marketing process.

When you use ConvertKit, all you have to do is…

    1. Create a new landing page in seconds. We take care of the design and layout, so you can focus on writing compelling content.
    2. Upload an incentive, like a guide or training video to tease your visitors into subscribing.
    3. Write a few helpful emails that’ll teach your subscribers (and one or two that ask for the sale!). Our interface makes it extremely fast to set up a sequence of emails to deliver an email course, or set of tips, in order. Auto-responders and email sequences have never been this easy.

With ConvertKit taking care of the technical challenges, you can focus on delivering value to your readers. Capture drive-by visitors. Build trust. Create sales. Double or triple (or more!) your total conversion rate.

Be the First to Fix Your Funnel with ConvertKit

ConvertKit is currently under heavy development (not quite ready for you yet!). I’m just as eager as you for ConvertKit to be ready… and sick of the tedious work of setting up this sales process with other generalized tools.

While you wait, I’d like to teach you 10 other ways to improve your conversion rates.

I put together this quick guide to help you get started making more sales today. It’s free. All you need to do is enter your email address and it’ll pop straight to your inbox:

[Download form]

There’s no obligation, cancel at any time, never spam you ever, etc.

(And you’ll be among the first to know when ConvertKit is ready!)

And… a special opportunity for a lifetime discount.

First; try my free conversion rate optimization guide. See what I’m up to.

If you love the the idea of making your sales funnel leak-proof with ConvertKit, and if you want to be very first to use ConvertKit, you can preorder it today.

Preorder just your first three months and you’ll get one month free. Plus, as a thank-you for your support, you’ll receive a 25% discount for life. (Starting at $x per month, forever!) Making more money and saving money? Not too shabby, right?

[Preorder pricing]

[Followed by an FAQ]

As I read through Amy’s changes I found myself nodding my head with each change. The new order made a lot more sense, the sentences she removed were redundant, and the length was perfect. I recommend reading through them both side-by-side to compare!

With a few minor changes that is the version we went with. You can see it live on ConvertKit.com. If for some reason the page has changed when you are reading this you can find a version of the design below.


Looking at this page now it still has a few issues, but in the interest of shipping software, I decided to go live with it anyway. Amy pointed out that my design of this page breaks up the reading flow. So even though I wrote it first as a letter, people may not read it that way. The solution would be to add fewer lines, font changes, and other designy elements. I mostly agree…

So far 6,397 people have visited the page and 228 people have subscribed to the email list. So a 3.6% conversion rate. Not as high as I would have liked, but a lot of that traffic was from Hacker News, which always converts a bit lower.

I hope you enjoyed reading through this process. Since you made it all the way to the bottom of this post you obviously care about marketing and copywriting (or you’re just obsessed with me… which is weird), so you should sign up for the mailing list on ConvertKit.com. I’ll be sending out a lot of great related content.

If this resonated with you and you want to improve your marketing, preorder ConvertKit. Seriously, you’ll love it!

Enjoyed the article? Follow me on Twitter or with RSS.

57 Responses to “Step-By-Step Landing Page Copywriting”

  1. Wow Nathan, as usual a brilliant article. You may not know if, but there are many of us who are completely cued into this process that you are engaged in (transparent product development) and are learning tons of things from it.

    Quick question though, what have the results been like? How many people have signed up so far? Have you received any other feedback from people besides Amy?

  2. Nathan, this is an awesome, and powerful article. Thanks for putting it together.

    One observation on the pricing table, and how some of the copy erodes trust in my opinion.

    If this is a new product, and you’re pre-ordering the product – how can the price “normally” be $50, and so on.

    There is no “normally” in my mind because it has yet to exist as a public offering, and thus takes away from the sincerity of the copy, imo.

    Looks like a killer product.

    Can’t wait to see more.

    • I agree with this.

      Also, the 3-month pricing seems to be off by a few dollars.

      And it was jarring every time I saw that pricing because I didn’t initially read the preceding paragraphs (which many people won’t). I think you need to be explicit, saying “Pre-order 3 months for $___.

      Instead of $3_/month….pre-order now for $12_

      Thanks for sharing Amy and Nathan! Very helpful as always.

    • Teej says:

      I agree. This made me think twice. I understand why it’s there, and as a follower of your work I have enough trust to understand that it’s not meant to deceive, but someone who isn’t a fan and is literally just looking for a product to buy might find it odd. Maybe reword it a little.

      Also, I agree with someone else’s comment about the non-traditional prices. You could round them up and still probably sell more, so long as they end with a 9. It’s silly, but such is the way of the world.

  3. matt says:

    akkk – I beg to disagree with whole approach. You’re just shadowboxing with an idea of what the customer is thinking – and not testing it.

    I will give you kudos for the clean and restrained design, however. That is one area where I felt you excelled at.

  4. Jack says:

    Huh… I’m feeling like the original site is better than where you ended up.

    I’m a fan, Nathan, but this article (and especially the resulting site) leaves me less confident in your advice.

  5. Stephan says:

    By the way, I cannot seem to find the RSS feed to this site. Does it exist?

  6. Wow. Probably the best post on landing page copywriting I’ve ever read by sixteen miles. I so love this back and forth.

    I plan on coming back to this several times.

    Funny thought I had just now: I would have bought this post as an ebook, just to have a way to keep it in a reference collection more usefully than

    Also: “Like you,” is my absolutely favorite way to begin a lead-in sentence in order to gain immediate rapport.

    Funny thing: years ago, one of my advertising professors insisted that “like you” is typically a mistake in an ad because you’re going to be wrong a lot of the time and people may be turned off by the invasively casual familiarity. (In his defense, he was talking about writing ads for national brands with very broad markets—not copywriting focused on a niche audience, but still.)

    The neat thing about “like you” is how handy that polarization is for the sender and recipient of the message. Either they quickly aren’t like you and they can piss off because the product isn’t for them, or they *are*, so they nod their head and get in deeper.

    Please keep sharing your stuff. You’re both so very awesome in my book! <3

  7. Ha! I see I did that thing where I was writing two thoughts at once and left one of them unfinished.

    “Funny thought I had just now: I would have bought this post as an ebook, just to have a way to keep it in a reference collection more usefully than…”

    …more usefully than just adding it to my bookmarks, which I have not actually looked at in six years. It just made me realize that if I totally would pay a few bucks to just have it as a PDF, there’s likely some value in doing that with lengthy, detailed blog posts. I hadn’t actually thought about the “thingness” of a PDF vs a blog post having value in this way until this minute.

  8. Great article Nathan, it seems like the overall process was very useful not just in creating a landing page, but also in creating a blog post that, somewhat brain-twistingly, does what it says you should do: provide your readers with value.

    That said, while I like (actually love) the balance of your final design, I’m not a fan of that tagline. It’s got two qualities that I personally don’t like: a buzzword (conversion rate) and it’s melodramatic (keeping you up at night). I suppose that appeals to a shallow (fond of buzzwords rather than understanding) and neurotic (obsessive about failure to the point of insomnia!).

    You identified the central pain point. It’s not that people don’t know what they should be doing, it’s that it’s a pain in the ass to do it. So why not go with a tagline like, “You know drip marketing drives sales, but it’s a huge pain to setup and maintain. ConvertKit makes it easy.” Yes, ‘drip marketing’ is still a buzzword, but personally I like the phrase on it’s own as rather evocative. And the double whammy of implying that I know what it is (even when I don’t) inspires my vanity to inspire my reading the rest of your page. :)

  9. > So far 6,397 people have visited the page and 228 people have
    > subscribed to the email list. So a 3.6% conversion rate. Not
    > as high as I would have liked, but a lot of that traffic was
    > from Hacker News, which always converts a bit lower.

    *insert signup box here*

  10. Nathan, great article! I will definitely be referring back to this.

    I do tend to agree with some of the others that your end product, while it does tell a great story, does not resonate like your second iteration.

    When selling software, especially pre-sale where you cannot show screenshots of the product/UX itself, it’s important that you paint a picture of a aesthetically beautiful product in your landing page design and couple it with an amazing story.

    That said, I think the bigger lesson here is that you should always be testing. This article(and your conversion rate) could have had a bit more impact if you A/B tested v2 and v3. Testing is where true learning happens.

    Anyone who has done enough conversion rate optimization will tell you that it is almost impossible to know what will resonate with your customers without creating assumptions and testing them.

    Either way. I love how hard you are pushing and I think that ConvertKit will be a hit.

  11. Jerry says:

    Well, I’ve been with you up to here, but this post makes as assumption that giving you my email is free. IT’S NOT! Typing in forms is annoying, especially on mobile, and it creates pain for me in the form of newsletters and other crap I later have to delete. I hate giving out my email address just to get access to content of well, dubious value.

    Chances are, if I came to your page and you asked for an email, I would either a) leave or b) give you a mailinator web address, collect your ebook and now you have a worthless email address.

    You can’t claim you want to build trust and then work to surreptitiously capture their email address. That’s not trust, that’s spam.

    If they managed to find your page once, what about GIVING them the choice of either a) providing an email address or b) no email address, maybe just a bookmark?

    So is there some reason you have to give them a PDF/EPUB version of the ebook? Why alternatively point them instead to that ebook delivered as a series of web pages at a URL completely specific to them that IS the opt-in course you are offering?

    So you then offer them:

    1) Enter your email address here to receive our free ebook, OR
    2) Begin reading our ebook here online, it’s the first class of our free online course. Our online course is complete with content, forums, and wiki.

    Then at the end of the ebook, or when they want to take the rest of the course, that’s when you can ask for their email address. And that’s when you can claim to have acted in a trustworthy fashion, by giving them something of value and not taking their email address prematurely.

  12. Nathan this is a great article.

    I get the impression that convertkit applies mostly to products being sold such as eBooks instead of a web application. Is this the case ?

    • Nathan Barry says:

      You can use it well to sell any product online. Though it works best on products where you can really educate your customers first. Lots of SaaS apps use this model as well.

      • Actually, I was confused about which kind of product it aims to help with as well. So maybe this is something that could be made more clear. Otherwise: Thanks for the interesting article!

  13. Your letter convinced me better than the designed page ;) Beautiful insight though. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Great stuff here! One minor thing I noticed about your copy was the pricing schemes $37, $183, $97 etc. I read a book called irrationally predictable, where he talks about how psychologically, those price points might look more appealing if they were something like $39, $179, and $99 etc… something about having a 9 at the end, makes it seem like a much better deal. Anyway you should check out the book.

  15. Ironically that article will probably sell you more copies of the ebook than the landing page itself.

    Really good stuff there Nathan, thanks for taking the time to share the process.

  16. Thanks for the great insight, Nathan. That was really interesting!

    Definitely lessons I’ll keep in mind in case of a redesign (with copy first) or a new project.

  17. Hi Nathan, this is a great post, thanks for sharing. There’s a lot of awesome copywriting and CRO advice included, and yes, I read through the whole thing. :) I really like how this page gives people enough to read and learn about your product AND that it doesn’t end with a hard sell but practices what you preach and gives people an opportunity to sign up for an eBook. This process is really valuable, and the fact that it’s new makes it seem like it should get good results, which may change if every company starts using the exact same funnel process. Until then, I’m going to look into where to implement this type of funnel and may sign up for ConvertKit along the way. Good luck to you!

  18. Hey Nathan, excellent article! We’ve had issues with the landing page of our site as well. Everyone who comes to our site goes: “WOW this is cool. But, what does it do?”

    I think your points about relating to the pain of the user are very insightful. We’ll be redoing the site based on this article. Thank you so much!

  19. I’m a bit late to the party but – that’s for the write up. It is really enlightening. Unfortunately I can’t help but think this is still not a good design. It seems like I need to page down three times (or read a few thousand words) before a real call to action and an actual text box to put my email in.

    Am I missing something or am I wrong or just insane?

  20. that’s = thanks. You might want to allow comment editing.

  21. If ConvertKit makes it easy to set up A/B testing, then I’ll buy it.

    Setting up A/B testing is a huge pain in the ass…huge market opportunity right there.

  22. Great article. DO you have a contct for Amy? I could use her advice.

    • Nathan Barry says:

      That’s not for me to give out. Your best bet is to ask her on Twitter.

  23. Justin Piatti says:

    Not sure if this was intentional but on convertkit.com at the footer, you do not actually link to anything regarding who you are.

    “Who’s behind this project?
    ConvertKit is a project by Nathan Barry, author of the popular books Designing Web Applications and The App Design Handbook.

    You can learn more about him, and the development of ConvertKit on NathanBarry.com”

    From many reasons, make sure you actually link it all so people can click through.

    I’d like to think that was an oversight…


  24. Justin Piatti says:

    typo = sorry… “From” => Meant “For”..

  25. Jammy says:

    Hi Nathan, I am not a designer & not even start a new site by my own . but just share some personal experience about the sales page. First,when I open the web site at the first time , I just ignore the headline “Does your conversion rate keep you up at night?” , I think this is because almost all the headline of the websites just a name of the website itself,as it is meaningless , user like me might habitually ignore it . Second, the whole page seems be too many text and too less image , the rhythm seems not so good and the similar thing on color, the background is either white or grey, for me it is a little boring, also make it more like a blog site then a product sales page.

    • Jammy says:

      and thank you for all these post, learning tons of things from it.

  26. […] of the early hours working on it. I finally had a chance to review the copy, mostly motivated by Nathan Barry’s post, in particular this […]

  27. Nathan,

    Great insights. Thanks for taking the time to share the thought/revision process.


  28. Great post. FYI – the link to convertkit takes me to a page that has no email signup.

    RE: this section
    Since you made it all the way to the bottom of this post you obviously care about marketing and copywriting (or you’re just obsessed with me… which is weird), so you should sign up for the mailing list on ConvertKit.com. I’ll be sending out a lot of great related content.

  29. Hi Nathan,

    Thanks for this article – you’ve put a lot of thought into this. Do you have any advice for landing pages viewed on mobile devices? I think that with smaller screens it actually makes it easier (as well as more important to have one key message).



    PS – I also wrote a more basic article with 5 top tips for writing landing pages and would love some feedback.

  30. My goodness this is good. Thank you. I have been struggling with my landing pages for weeks, but this is getting me in the right direction!

  31. Hey Nathan, this post is great. Hey one question because I noticed a change in language on your https://convertkit.com/ I see that you took the personal approach away from the beginning.

    I’m referring to the part where you mention, “Like you, I run a business….” Did you remove this type of person-to-person language for any particular reason? I actually liked it in that it felt more like you are talking to me

  32. Incredible work. Thank you for sharing.

  33. Hey Nathan – awesome post. I noticed that your current iteration of the ConvertKit homepage veers away from the pain-first, long form sales letter style. You’re now back to the benefits-first style (“Capture more leads, sell more products”).

    What made you change?

  34. Aaron Posehn says:

    Just what I needed to read for some of the projects I want to start soon. Very timely and very much appreciated. I also signed up to your mailing list for the 30-day course, only after realizing that I had done it because I was so convinced by your article. You’re doing something right!

  35. Hi Nathan, today first time I opened your site after listening one of your interview (postcast) with PAT of SPI. I like your website. And this guide is incredible.

    I am planning to launch my First eBook and reading many sites for guidelines, tools and everything that could help me in marketing my books. I would follow your instruction to increase my email list by offering readers a free eBook first.

    Thanks a lot.

  36. Thanks a ton for sharing this, Nathan – it’s incredibly valuable as I’m starting to build landing pages for my products.

  37. Thank you for clearly pointing out these guidelines. I just started learning about PPC and with my self-confessed still-thin understanding of its concepts, even an effective ad copy becomes useless when its corresponding landing page doesn’t sell.

  38. […] is an experience designer from Boise, Idaho. He does iPhone and software design. View Course […]

  39. […] Nathan is an experience designer from Boise, Idaho. He does iPhone and software designhttp://nathanbarry.com/step-by-step-landing-page-copywriting/ […]

  40. Fred Guth says:

    Hi Nathan,
    great article…VERY helpful.

    As it is already more than 1 year old and it is one of you top posts so far, I was wondering if it is not time to do a follow up article on this.

    Things I would love to know:

    – Have you improved the 3.6% conversion rate?
    – How long did you keep this landing page and how many people pre-ordered your product? When did you decided it was validated?
    – Why did you changed the main headline in the current version of the landing page?

  41. […] “Step-By-Step Landing Page Copywriting,” Nathan Barry The process of writing great copy for a landing page is covered step by step. […]

  42. Your style is really unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff
    from. Many thanks for posting when you have the opportunity, Guess I will just
    bookmark this site. /frauende/blog/1928044/Das-Beste-was-einer-Frau-passieren-kann

  43. This is brilliant! I’m a copywriter myself and always read these sorts of how to articles with interest… this is one of the best I’ve ever read! I do also find it’s hard to write for your own projects as you’re often so close to them that it’s hard to take a step back… getting that extra pair of fresh eyes is invaluable!

    Thanks Nathan for sharing this process :)


  44. […] Step-By-Step Landing Page Copywriting […]

  45. […] Barry has chronicled his fantastic journey to improving the copy of his landing page on his website. Another example of a website acting as a sales person is this landing page from CopyBlogger […]

  46. John Simons says:

    I spent a lot of time looking for a way to create a landing page with minimal effort and found this universal template http://justpx.com/just-lp-free-wordpress . I hope you’ll find my comment helpful.

  47. Fateh says:

    Great post, but this is such a smart way of inbound-marketing too. Through this blog post is such a great way of conveying your potential customers the value of your product over an attention span much larger than you get on a landing page. You’ve also build up trust and displayed expertise. Bravo, this is genius.

    Did this blog post lead to a spike in your conversion rate

  48. Wow this was cool to see the progression and what you’re doing today in 2018.

    I really enjoyed the content that Amy wrote, but I found it very hard to get into it when you put it back in the design.

    I guess that’s a good point of why you want to minimize frills, and use a single column.

    It was verry readable as a single document, but when chopped up, my mind zoned out and I couldn’t read it easily.

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