How to Write Converting Landing Page Copy with 5Ws and 1H Formula

It may seem there’s actually not much difference in writing copy for a landing page and a regular website. Mistake. The character and purpose of the landing page demands a completely different strategy from a copywriter. Why is that so? What should a good landing page copy be characterized by? How to write one? Let me show you.

Website vs. Landing Page

The character and purpose of landing page demands a completely different strategy from the copywriter.The first difference between a landing page and a regular website that can be spotted right away is the size – website has multiple tabs and provides detailed information and lander is usually a single page with limited content. Size isn’t, however, the essence; the purpose is. No matter of the type, the ultimate aim of most landing pages is the same: generate leads by persuading visitors to transaction, contact or subscription. That’s way it has to present the information that is highly relevant to the target visitor. And it has to do it immediately. Contrary to website users, those who land on a page aren’t oriented towards searching, browsing and clicking – they want to have everything they need close at hand.

What Makes a Good Landing Page Copy

Keeping the purpose and character of a landing page in mind, it becomes clear that not all tips on good website copy will apply here. Writing for a landing page, you should focus mainly on making the copy:

  • informative
    In the case of website, visitors are looking for information; on a landing page they don’t want to search, they expect to have it right away. If they don’t, they’ll simply leave.
  • concise
    Not only the space for text on a landing is limited, but also the visitors’ time for reading: the copy needs to be short.
  • straight to the point
    Landing on a page, the user doesn’t expect clever metaphors and poetic similes, what they want are facts.
  • easy to understand
    Landing page visitors don’t waste time figuring out the meaning – complicated terms will quickly discourage them.
  • convincing
    Unlike website, a whole landing page can be browsed in around 5 seconds, if the visitors are to stay longer, they really need a good reason to do so.
  • adjusted to users
    Good landing page copy is one that immediately gives visitors the feeling it’s dedicated just to them. The copy needs to speak the target users’ language.

6 Questions + 6 Answers = 1 Good Copy

The key to good landing page copy is providing users with information they are looking for. User surveys or interviews can be very helpful in determining what the visitors expect to find on the page, but (unfortunately) often there’s simply no time for comprehensive research. And even when there is, the problem appears when the information has to be organized in a logical way. That’s where 5Ws (and 1 H) come in handy.

The principle of 5 Ws has its origin in journalistic reports and police investigations. The answers to these five W-questions are believed to provide a comprehensive picture of the event:

What (happened)?

Who (did that)?

When (did it take place)?

Where (did it take place)?

Why (did that happen)?

Often these are accompanied by one more

How (did it happen)?

Though content writers have not much in common with police officers or reporters, adjusting the questions a bit can prove very useful in copywriting. Providing visitors with answers to these questions will give them the complete picture of the company, service, product or even the landing page concerns.

5Ws and 1H in Action

I provided the Ws questions in the classic order, however, the order they’re answered in the copy can be changed in most cases . It’s also possible that one answer actually covers two questions at one time.

What

What should always be the first question to answer. The purpose here is to give the visitor a clear signal what is the landing page all about. If we’re talking about the company, what could cover answers to questions like: What is the name of the company? What it does? What services does it offer? Part of the answer can, and even should, be provided by Unique Value Proposition that is located above the fold. The remaining part should be answered in the first section that follows. If visitors are directed to the landing page by an advert, it’s also important that the what-section corresponds to the information from the ad. Otherwise, the visitors may feel confused and as a result leave the page.

CleanMyMac landing page copy with what-section.

CleanMyMac provides a clear Unique Value Proposition that instantly tells the website visitor what the product is and what it does.

Who

The answer to who-question can be provided in two ways. Who may refer to the client and specify who is the company/product/service directed to or it can fulfill the function of an About Us section providing the details about the company. Often it’s crucial to provide both sides of who, but the final decision will depend on the character and purpose of a given landing page.

User Centered Design Canvas landing page copy with who-section.

Landing page of User Centered Design Canvas clearly states who is the tool dedicated to.

When

When-question focuses on time and may have many different forms: When was the company founded? When will the product be delivered? When will the event take place? Though it’s actually how long not when, this section can also refer to the period of time, telling the visitor, for instance, how long the free trial will last. The answer to when-question is usually brief and often there’s no need to devote a whole section to it. This information can often be combined with other answers and then included in one section.

Tidal landing page with where section in the copy.

Tidal landing page informs the users how long the free trial is.

Where

In the case of a company that operates physically in the headquarters, where is an important question. The address, map and directions are crucial in such a case. In the case of an internet-only company, the answer to where-question should take a form of the contact details such as email or phone number. And when speaking about the product or service, the answer should clearly tell users where should they click to get or order it.

Basecamp landing page copy with when-section.

Basecamp indicates with an arrow where to sign up for a trial.

Why

In the landing page copy, why should focus on the benefits the user can get from choosing the subject. Why should he/she buy the product? Why is the company better than others? Why is the service beneficial? A comprehensive and convincing answer to this question can often be a conversion deciding factor and so it really needs to stand out. Bulleted lists and badges work here much better than long, tumid paragraphs. Based on valid arguments and facts, why-section should also be supported by reviews or testimonials – a clear proof of the product or company’s value.

Shopify website copy with why-section.

Shopify not only provides data to convince website visitors of the product value but also supports the claim with testimonials.

How

Though how is last, and often omitted in classic Ws formula, in the case of landing page copy, it is usually very important. The how-question focuses on the process and should clearly state: How does the service, product or company’s offer work? Making the page visitor understand the process helps to build trust and so is often a deciding factor when it comes to making a transaction decision. In some cases the process would also have to involve customers or even focus entirely on them. For example, in the case of landing page promoting an online community, the how-section can cover information on how to become a member.

Prezi landing page copy with how-section.

Prezi uses concise copy and images to guide the user through the basic process of creating presentations.

Textual UX

Text as much as image is responsible for positive UX.In the image-focus world, the textual layer is often neglected. That’s a pity since text as much as image is responsible for positive user experience. While designers have grids to make sure everything is neat and ordered, copywriters can rely on the 5Ws and 1H formula. It works out really well especially in the case of landing page copy, where the careful choice of information often decides about the site’s success or failure.

Author: Anna Kulawik