Bootstrapped startups and the shit I learn in therapy

Ever go to write a landing page and feel...stuck? Flustered? A sudden urge to clean your desk? 😐I know I do. Often.

We’re revamping some landing pages at Krit, and I know I’ll face these emotions. But I also know I have everything I need to move through them.

See, I’ve been collecting copywriting advice from the pros for years. 📚When I’m not sure how to move forward, I turn to their advice. Since you’ll face landing pages at some point in your founder journey, here’s what you can bookmark for your stuck moments.

Getting unstuck: our favorite conversion copywriting tips 🚀

If you haven’t heard the term “conversion copywriting” term, here’s what it means. Conversion copywriting is a type of writing designed to get readers to say “yes!” to a specific offer. It shares a lot of stuff with other forms of copywriting (what you see on billboards or in ads), but it’s hyper-focused on persuasion. So, you see it a lot on landing pages.

Now, folks have written entire books on this topic, and I can’t cover it all here. But I’ve outlined some core nuggets below you can use for your pages.

P.S. The last product landing page I wrote with these tips made $10k in 24 hours. There are several contextual reasons for that, but these tips had something to do with it. 👇

1. Start with a very SPECIFIC why 🤔

Most pages start with a vague why. For example, “I need to sell this to people” or “I gotta tell folks about my product.” This isn’t specific enough. Keep in mind, the whole point of conversion copywriting is to get someone to say yes! to something. If you’re not sure what the reader needs to say yes! me, they’re not going to know either.

Here’s an example of a better why:

  • I’m launching an automated editing service for photographers. I need a landing page that persuades swamped, profitable photographers to switch from editing their photos to using my product.

Get granular with your why—it’ll anchor your page and every other step.

2. Do your research (and organize it) 🤓

Your product isn’t for everyone. It’s for a specific someone—aka potential customers. And this means your landing page is for a specific someone, too.

To learn more about this type of person, your best bet is to:

  • Interview customers or potential customers
  • Observe potential customers online (twitter, forums, slack groups, reviews, etc)

If you have time, I recommend both.

Ideally, you’ve already done some of this research for your product. What you may not have done is deliberately gathered something called “voice of customer data” (VOC data). VOC data is a fancy way to describe the snippets, phrases, and vocabulary your customers use. That stuff is gold. 💰

As you talk with and listen to customers, identify unique ways they phrase their pains, hopes, motivations, and triggers. Then, store and organize those snippets.

The last time I did this, I took a bunch of screenshots (from online observations) and organized them into Google Drive folders.

This can work, but fair warning: it’s hard to browse later. My preferred approach is now organizing everything in an airtable. It’s more upfront work, but it’s also more evergreen and efficient down the road. Meaning, you can revisit it for future landing pages and social media copy.

3. Use a proven framework to build your outline

There are a ton of copywriting frameworks you can find online. I’d strongly encourage you to use them to organize your thoughts. Two of my favorites are:

  • PAS: Problem, Agitation, Solution. Outline the problem potential customers face, agitate that problem by digging into why it sucks, present your solution.
  • Pain-sad-happy-how: This is a variation of PAS, and it’s what I used on my last landing page. Start with a strong hook that hits the pain. Then, agitate this pain by painting a picture of “the island of sad,” which is where the reader is stuck. Next, paint a picture of the “island of happy,” which is where the reader wants to be. Then outline how they get to the island of happy, which is via your solution. (Shoutout to Janelle Allen for this one.)

Pick a framework, and build a bullet-point outline around it.

☝️ These first three steps are so important, copywriters often spend +50% of their time here. Don’t skip them! Trust me, I’ve tried.

4. Write a crappy first draft 💩

Once you have an outline, it’s time to put words in your Google doc. Joanna Wiebe (one of the original conversion copywriters) has great advice on getting started. She recommends you empty your mind of everyone the page isn’t for: “The naysayers, grumblers, unsubscribers, etc. will mess with your head. You don't need them in your mind when you're writing. Shove them out of your mind, focus on your one reader, and write entirely for that one reader.”

To help me with this, I copy and paste VOC snippets (from my airtable) directly into each section.

Then, I write a crappy draft incorporating the VOC. I say crappy because everyone writes a crappy first draft. To get through it, set a timer and force yourself to draft the page in 2 hours. Or, if that’s too long, do 30-minute increments per section.

Then walk away from it. Seriously. Leave it sitting there.

5. Sleep on it, then clean up the crap with these tips ✍️

Once you’ve “let the body heat go out of it” (E.B. White) for at least 24 hours, pull your landing page draft back up. Yes, you’ll wince. Yes, you’ll lament how horrific you are at writing. That’s fine. Because once you make it through those emotions, you’ve arrived at the fun part—making your page a LOT better. Here’s how to do it.

Make several sweeps, aka read-overs, of what you’ve written. Ask yourself, is what you’ve written:

  • Clear? Is it obvious who this page is for? What you’re offering? Why someone should care? If not, rework it.
  • Compelling? Joel Klettke (another conversion all-star) advises, “For every section, ask ‘So what?’” If you can’t answer that, make it better, or get rid of it. Also, if your description matches anything you read in this tweet...that’s a good sign it’s not compelling! 😉
  • Concise? If you cut a word, sentence, or paragraph, do you harm the argument? No? Get it outta there!
  • Specific? I swear, if you use “solutions for businesses”.... you can do better. Give your reader details. Help them see and feel what you describe.
  • Driving toward one goal? Remember, every single section should work together to get your reader to that “yes!” moment. Don’t dilute your page with multiple goals or incohesive sections.
  • Thorough? Have you left the reader wondering what next or how to take action? Have you addressed their biggest concerns and worries? Don’t leave them hanging.

6. Have someone else look at it 👀

After a few sweeps, you’re going to go cross-eyed. You won’t know if the comma goes here or there. Or if resource is better than solution (neither, btw).

This is normal, and it’s one of many reasons editors exist. But most people don’t have editor on-demand, so here’s the next best thing you can do: share it with a few folks who are good at this whole copywriting or landing page thing. Ask them to suggest improvements, and make your page even better from there.

From there, you’ll need to build the page and get it live...but that’s another topic for another day. 😉

In the meantime, if you need more guidance on the words part, here are three good copywriting resources worth your attention:

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