How Much Copy Should You Use On Your Landing Page?

landing-pagesToday Joanna is presenting at one of Unbounce’s popular “unwebinars”. Her topic? “Copywriting That Converts”, of course. If you’re unable to attend, there’ll be a recording made available afterward.

In advance of the session, the folks at Unbounce gave all registrants the opportunity to ask Joanna a specific question about her topic… and 460 people decided to chime in. That’s a lot of questions.

Joanna shared some of the questions and comments from registrants with me, and together we noticed a recurring theme.

People wanted Joanna to answer the question, “What is the right amount of copy for my landing page?

To an experienced copywriter, that’s like asking, “How long is a piece of string?” – however, since most of the unwebinar attendees are not trained copywriters, the question is perfectly reasonable. It’s a perfectly reasonable question to which we would respond:

You’ll need to provide sufficient copy to tap into the visitors’ motivation for coming, and amplify that motivation so they take your desired action. If you provide too little copy, you may not adequately answer the visitors’ questions; too much and you risk turning them off.

It may not be as specific a response as you might like, but that’s because there are tons of successful landing page designs, and so making broad statements about drawing people down the page wouldn’t account for that fact.

Something we can do here on the Copy Hackers blog – to get more specific about the “right amount” of copy – is point out a great example of a landing page. And that’s what we have for you today…

The landing page I’ll walk through below is written for a soon-to-be-launched automotive product called “Automatic”, an app and companion hardware device that plugs into your vehicle. It’s such a simple product name — with an equally simple domain name that likely came with a substantial price tag!

Here’s a full view of the home page:

automatic-shot-full

As you can see, the team at Automatic have chosen to use a long-form landing page, but without the long-form copy (something we’re seeing more and more).

There is a single call to action, placed at the top of the page in a fixed-position header (i.e., a header that remains visible as you scroll down the page).

We suspect (we can’t know for sure, as we haven’t chatted with the Web site team) the page was written to highlight the most compelling aspects of the product, while still answering common visitor questions and overcoming their potential objections. Hopefully this was all accomplished using the [smart] copywriter’s best friend, user research. :-)

 

automatic-shot1

We don’t LOVE everything about the page design though. Before I launch into the Automatic copy love-fest, I suggest they re-think their decision to use a hero section slider. Sliders move at their own pace – but scrolling is completely within a user’s control. I prefer relying on the latter every time.

Instead of a typical, less user-friendly slider for the hero section, I’d love to see a high-level value proposition for Automatic positioned alongside the existing video.

The spokesperson in the video says this in the first 10 seconds:

“Unlock your car’s potential and redefine your relationship to driving”

That’s a great starting place for some new hero section copy!

 

automatic-shot2

Each section of the home page follows a similar format, which is nice because it sets an expectation with the reader. In most cases, knowing what to expect is a good thing.

The cross-head (“Your Car and Smartphone, Connected”) is clear… and it’s not trying to be clever. The sub-head is packed with vital information about how the product works. The supporting image reveals Automatic’s appealing design and its size, and the supporting copy mentions iPhone and Android platforms.

And finally, the call to action gives visitors a chance to engage and receive a positive response, as almost all cars 1996 and later are supported.

With the large typeface and adequate whitespace, the volume of copy seems about right. The copy is very easy to consume, and it might even be enough to get some visitors to click the pre-order button.

 

automatic-shot3

This section is certainly meant to address potential concerns about the product. And it does a fine job with just 3 sentences.

With any new automotive product, people will want to know what’s involved for correct installation. And while not everyone may wonder about Automatic’s impact on phone battery usage, the copywriter is being proactive at addressing the question. Further to that, I would suggest a sentence about how Automatic will avoid running your car battery down!

 

automatic-shot4

This section is the most copy heavy on the page.

The cross-head (“Drive Smarter, Save Big”) is specific and the sub-head is magnificent. It tells visitors what the product will DO for THEM. These guys understand how to write value proposition messages.

The 3 supporting sections are fairly concise, but the “Rough Braking”, “Speeding”, and “Rapid Acceleration” sub-sections would ideally be expandable (via DIV tags or something similar) to keep the word-to-meaning ratio high.

 

automatic-shot5

If everything else to this point wasn’t enough, the copywriter now chooses to focus our attention on a major safety feature, turning it into a powerful benefit statement.

Personally, I think the “… Calls for Help in a Crash” and “… looks out for you…” phrases include some carefully chosen words. Those words are short and easy to understand – they’re words we use everyday.

Does the imagery support the copy? I think it’s brilliant.

In case any visitors are skeptical, the supporting copy briefly expands on how this feature works. And the Automatic Web team finishes it off with an emotion-based statement about texting your loved ones.

 

automatic-shot6

Do you see the pattern here? We’re seeing concisely worded benefit statements and supporting copy. The section headline (cross-head) and sub-head provide a ton of useful information. The supporting copy builds on the lead copy. It’s all connected, and everything has room to breathe. Nicely done.

 

automatic-shot7

It feels to me like this section is meant to be a real “delighter”. We all hate the idea of losing our car in a busy parking lot. And the copy here addresses that common fear of embarrassment.

That cross-head is very reassuring… “Never” is a long time. The sub-head makes it sound like Automatic is your intelligent friend, always looking out for you.

 

So there you have it. Automatic has created a landing page that I believe will be highly effective at driving people toward that pre-order button. Their copy works so well within the page design.

Automatic leadership team, you’d better hang on to that copywriter. Your team member probably deserves a raise, too, because s/he has managed to convey a ton of value about your new product with relatively few words – not a simple task.

Let’s take a second look at my response to the question about “how much copy” from above:

You’ll need to provide sufficient copy to tap into the visitors’ motivation for coming, and amplify that motivation so they take your desired action. If you provide too little copy, you may not adequately answer the visitors’ questions; too much and you risk turning them off.

Does Automatic’s home page accomplish this in your opinion? Please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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  • Andres Caro

    To keep my comment simple… If I were living in the US I would have bought this product.

  • http://twitter.com/automatic Automatic

    Hey guys. What a thorough write-up — thank you! We spent *a lot* of time crafting the words in the site and it’s really nice to know it’s appreciated. Granted, it can always be better, your suggestion for an expandable DIV tag is awesome. By the way, we’re a small team and all of the copywriting was done the same two designers who made the site.

  • http://www.toppingtwo.com/ Lance Jones

    Hi, Stephanie! It is indeed a rare thing to find someone on an internal product/marketing team who can actually put themselves in the shoes of a first-time visitor/user.

  • http://vvego.com/ Vvego

    Lance, I learn more from you & Joanna each week…many thanks. By no means am I a qualified copy writing critic, but one thing that jumped at me on AUTOMATIC’s site was this–I wasn’t really sure what this device is or what it does as it was presented “above the fold”.

    I get that they explain it further down the page (and do a stellar job)…but how about giving me some clarity about the device out of the gate?

    Maybe, SAFETY, RELIABILITY AND FUEL SAVINGS RIDE WITH YOU 24/7…AUTOMATICALLY

    My 1st thought was this device is some type of GPS…or enhancement for GPS.

    It’s a lot more.

    My two cents,

    Robert
    Vvego International

    • http://www.toppingtwo.com/ Lance Jones

      Robert, your two cents is greatly appreciated! And you’re definitely picking up on the need for an over-arching value proposition at the top of Automatic’s home page. It seems apparent to me that the reason they chose to use a slider in the hero section is because they weren’t sure how to talk about their awesome product at a higher level (than just its features). Your suggestion for a more concise statement about what the product will do for you is right in the ballpark!

  • http://twitter.com/OnlineBen Ben Chadfield

    I agree that the copy is great. I was compelled to pre-order. Pity I’m not in the US.

    One possible issue is that there is too much copy, or it’s not in the best structure. Reading through the whole page leaves me a little overwhelmed with what the product can do. I might pre-order, because it’s very impressive, but I would struggle to explain the key features to a friend. For example, it wasn’t until I was writing this comment that I noticed the app tracks trips, like a running tracker for my car. That’s amazing! But from the landing page design it seems the ‘add-on’ features (auto-emergency call and car locator) have equal importance in the app.

    • http://www.toppingtwo.com/ Lance Jones

      Hey Ben! Thanks for being the first commenter! I’m not in the US either… :-(

      I agree with you about a potential layout issue. On the one hand, I believe a lot of visitors to automatic.com wouldn’t necessarily pay attention to every section of the home page — but instead, just read the sections which “jump out” to them (based on their image or headline). In other words, this post dissected their entire home page, so readers of the post are experiencing a sort of forced scenario that may not resemble their typical reading pattern for a Web page.

      On the other hand, the existing page layout does suggest that [perhaps] the Automatic team isn’t quite sure how to prioritize their product features… and they end up throwing everything at visitors. This is a recurring theme for home pages! You could say that each section was designed as its own standalone page, but that’s not how we feel once we’ve scrolled past all 7 sections. :-)

      I’d recommend 2 things to them:

      1) Create an over-arching value proposition for the hero section
      2) Conduct A/B tests to discover which sections/features are most important, and create a hierarchy of features based on those results

      Lance