6 Battle-Tested Landing Page Openings That Consistently Sell More

by 12 02/05/2013

Want better results on your landing pages?

It may be as simple as selecting the right opening.

A few years ago, copywriters Michael Masterson and John Forde began studying record-breaking sales letters to see if there was a hidden formula among them.

What they discovered is that it all comes down to the first 100 to 600 words after the headline, better known as the lead.

Think of it as your promotion’s pick-up line: a good one could be the start of a meaningful relationship. A bad one could drive readers away for good.

The six openings Masterson and Forde discovered are so powerful, they consistently convert better and sell more. Which is why they’re now considered basic training in one of the top copyriting programs on the market: AWAI’s Accelerated Program for Six-Figure Copywriting.

These leads can be used as landing page openings, video sales letter openings or any number of other channels where you are making an offer.

Let’s take a look…

1. The “Promise” Lead

The promise lead places your product front and center. There’s no warm up and no need for it.

If you have a big, bold promise, build your whole promotion around it. Put it in the headline. Start your lead with it. Then close your offer with it too.

This lead, from Prevention’s “Brainpower Game Plan” promotion, is a good example.

The Promise Landing Page Opening

Why it works

In this promotion, the promise is given in the headline: 78% better memory in only 28 days. This promise is so clear and compelling, it doesn’t need to be repeated. The lead simply builds on it.

Example of a big promise lead in copywriting

The copy includes phrases that make the promise seem credible: “discoveries in the field of brain science.” And easy to achieve: “day-by-day plan,” “simple,” and “entertaining.”

In addition, the promise is big enough to be worth the investment. Specifics sell, but only if they’re impressive. A 30% improvement might not be worth it, but 78% certainly is.

2. The “Problem/Solution” Lead

The problem/solution lead pushes readers’ hot buttons to generate a strong emotional response.

It opens with a problem that creates fear, worry or unhappiness, then introduces the product as a solution.

Here’s how the Hunger Fix Program does it in its “Food Addiction” promotion:

The Problem Solution Landing Page Lead or Opening

The problem is introduced: weight loss advice doesn’t always work. The problem is agitated with phrases like “big fat failure” and “food addiction is every bit as powerful as one to cocaine.”

Then, comes the solution:

Why it works

A good problem/solution lead removes blame and offers an easy solution.

This one does it well, assuring readers that if they haven’t been able to lose weight, they may be the victim of a powerful addiction.

That sets the stage for the solution, which is information on how to overcome addictive hunger.

Always present your solution as the “savior.” Without it, the problem is overwhelming. With it, it’s easy.

Notice how it’s done here. Phrases like “eliminate your addictive hunger,” “effortlessly lose those stubborn pounds,” and “conquer your cravings” promise to empower readers, so they can take back control and finally succeed.

3. The “Big Secret” Lead

This type of lead gains traction by teasing readers with important information that will only be revealed if they buy the product.

It works particularly well with a breakthrough discovery, unique system, or insider information.

Let’s look at how Natural Health Insiders does it in the “How Carolyn Reversed her Alzheimer’s by Disobeying Her Doctor” promotion.

The Big Secret Lead or Opening

Why it works

Like the problem/solution lead, the secret lead will often focus on a problem. But rather than introducing the solution directly, it teases and hints without ever revealing it.

The goal is to build enough curiosity that the reader can’t resist buying the product to finally get the answer.

Notice that this lead begins by selecting the target audience and identifying its biggest fear. It then agitates the problem.

Words like “breakthrough,” “life-changing,” “maverick physicians” and “revolutionizing the treatment” build credibility. Stories about real people prove that the secret works.

Remember that secret leads need to be believable. Provide lots of proof that the secret is worth the investment: stories and testimonials, scientific and statistical evidence, and teasers about specific information you’ll get if you purchase.

4. The “Story” Lead

Stories are an indirect approach, but they’re one of the best ways to engage readers.

Use a story lead whenever you have a strong testimonial or case study. Use it to explain how and why you created your product. Or use it to add credibility to big claims.

This story lead is from the Miller’s Money Forever “I Was MAD as Spit on a Griddle!” promotion:

How To Open A Landing Page With A Story

Why it works

A good story lead is written in the language of your readers and helps you build rapport quickly. It positions you as someone who “gets” them because you’re one of them.

This passage that paints the author as “Average Joe” appears in the same promotion,

my-name-is-dennis-miller

Your goal is to build so much trust that when you introduce your product, they’re inclined to accept what you say about it and raise fewer objections.

Notice how this lead pulls readers into the story. It’s not just about the writer. It’s about us. Because we’re in this together. That’s one of the keys to a powerful story lead.

A couple tips: Keep the story short, and keep it tied at the hip to your core idea.

5. The “Direct Offer” Lead

The direct offer lead gets right to business, placing the offer front and center.

In many cases, the offer, price, discount, and other bottom-line elements are in the headline and repeated in the lead.

Nightingale-Conant’s “Healing Power of ONE” promotion does it well.

The headline has a starburst call to action that states, “Act now. Save 59%.”

Example Direct Offer Headline

The offer is then presented in the second paragraph of the lead:

Why it works

Usually, direct offers are given to people who already have relationship with you. There’s no need to waste time introducing yourself, so you can get to the point more quickly.

Readers may have, for example, already purchased a similar product, so the promotion may only need to present the offer, explain why it’s valuable and overcome objections.

6. The “Proclamation” Lead

The proclamation lead opens with a startling or bold statement intended to get your reader’s attention.

My favorite example is Al Sears’ “Lies, Damn Lies, and Cardio” promotion.  This lead is startling coming from a doctor:

Why it works

Most people think they know what you’re going to say before they see your landing page. If you say something unexpected, you can often jar them out of complacency and make them curious enough to keep reading.

To have a doctor denounce cardio certainly gets attention. But in this case, the proclamation is especially good because it resonates with the target audience.

Most people hate cardio.

To use the proclamation lead, find a startling statistic or breakthrough discovery that people want to know more about.

But don’t be shocking for its own sake. Back up your statement with lots of research and proof to keep readers engaged.

Choosing the right lead for your landing page

Sometimes the choice is obvious. You have a powerful statement, a compelling story, or a breakthrough discovery that naturally lends itself to a particular type of lead.

But other times the choice isn’t clear.

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try out different types of openings to find the one that fits your promotion best.

And remember that you can blend these approaches to come up with your perfect lead. So you might combine the problem/solution and the promise. Or tell a story to tease about a secret.

The good news is, once you find the right way to start your promotion, writing the rest of it is easy. Just present your sales argument in a way that aligns with the type of lead.

Add a good headline and offer, and you’re all but guaranteed to get good results.

About 

Kathryn Aragon is editor of The Daily Egg, publisher of the C4 Report and founder of Top Marketers Only. She is committed to helping businesses communicate, connect, convert... and capture their market. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.

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12 COMMENTS

Iain Ferguson

Some really good ideas here. The summary really highlights the importance of context when choosing your Call to Action strategy.
Experimentation, and different strategies for different target audiences are what makes a great CTA. We all have slightly different audiences and are trying to achieve slightly different things, so analysing what does and doesn’t work can really make your CTA strategy fly.

February 5, 2013 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    You’re so right, Iain. There’s no such thing as one formula for copywriting success. It all boils down to trial and error, better known as testing. Thanks for sharing!

    February 5, 2013 Reply

John Forde

Hi Kathryn,

Nice article, nice summary of the book… thanks for the plug!

John F.

February 11, 2013 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    You’re welcome, John! It’s an awesome book… one that ought to be among every copywriter’s resources.

    February 11, 2013 Reply

Francis Fox

Pardon me for saying so, but I find this a very intelligent, very practical and deftly handled compilation of some great strategies. I will certainly be applying some of the tips I’ve gained here. Two questions: what is the name of the book alluded to? And do you know a program one can download to edit PDFs and drw arrows and things on them such as you have done with the Brainpower example?

March 1, 2013 Reply

    Russ Henneberry

    Hi Francis — the program that was used to create those arrows, etc is called SnagIt.

    March 1, 2013 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Thanks, Francis. The book is called “Great Leads” and you can find it at Amazon. Check it out. I think you’ll like it.

    March 1, 2013 Reply

Ken Williams

Hi Kathryn,

Good examples here, and thanks for mentioning Dr. Sears. It’s easy to sound genuine and direct in our letters when we have the very genuine Dr. Sears talking about these issues with us all the time.

— Ken W.

July 8, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Your welcome, Ken, and I completely agree. The genuine voice of Dr.Sears is a huge asset.

    July 8, 2014 Reply

Alex

There really is no shame anymore.

September 19, 2014 Reply

    Kathryn Aragon

    Sorry you feel that way, Alex. Helping people find good solutions to their problems is a good thing. These techniques make it possible.

    September 19, 2014 Reply


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