I spent this previous week going through Landing Page Optimization by Michael Aagaard & Product Messaging by Momoko Price through CXL’s Growth Marketing Mini Degree. There’s a ton of great content in these courses and I’m grateful that both Michael and Momoko put these courses together very well — I’ll give an overview of each and my thoughts for them.
Landing Page Optimization
First up, we have Landing Page Optimization by Michael Aagaard. Michael does a great job going over a wide range of topics including understanding landing pages and what they should accomplish, psychological understanding of marketing, copywriting, and design.
First up, understanding landing pages. Michael gives a good description of what a landing page is: a page that a user lands on, which is an entrance from an ad source that’s independent of the rest of the website. The goal of the landing page is to be focused on one goal or conversion, it should speak to the user’s motivation and address barriers as well. Finally, it should answer important questions and create clarity. Simply put — when a user comes to a landing page from an ad source, it should line up with what your ad source promised and encourage them to convert (depending on the step in their journey that they’re on).
Up next, let's talk about cognitive systems & reward mechanisms. In order to be a good marketer, you need to understand the psychology behind human behavior and how that applies to each interaction they have with your site (landing page or not). For example, Michael talks about Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking Fast and Slow,” in which he lays out the different systems for thinking that humans tend to use. System 1 and system 2. System 1 being the “default,” in which humans make quick associations and assumptions based on prior experience. Whereas system 2 is the analytical and deep thinking system which also uses up a lot more energy. You’d use that system for making complex calculations like 347 x 853.
Understanding these systems is important because humans will always resort to the law of least effort — they will do the thing that will take the least amount of effort, or give up if they can’t.
Michael also talks about how to use both quantitative and qualitative data to optimize your landing pages. He gives a ton of good google analytics custom report links that you can take and use in your own dashboard to collect data that would be relevant to your landing pages. For example, how many users are going through your landing page and on which device, what’s the second page they visit, and where do they exit.
Of course, for qualitative, you need to talk to users to understand how they feel about your landing pages. Michael gives a spreadsheet in which he listed out a ton of questions that you can ask someone after they saw your landing page for 5 seconds first, and then for a more detailed analysis and after they had a chance to explore it further.
Finally, Michael talks a lot about how often copywriting and design aren’t made together when in reality, they should be. Whenever you’re writing copy for a landing page, the design should be working alongside it to make sure you’re not trying to fit a ton of copy into space not designed for it. This becomes a big issue when a certain product requires more copy to be effective but the design doesn’t allow for it.
Up next, I’ll talk about Momoko Price’s product messaging class. She does a fantastic job breaking down the different aspects that go into copywriting and auditing your copy. She also gives a ton of resources that help with each of the things she mentions. Some (not all) of the ideas are how to conduct a copy teardown, how to message mine, and how to craft unique value propositions.
Momoko explains how to conduct a copy teardown in very simple terms and how she usually does them. The first principle she goes through is MECLab’s Conversion Sequence Heuristics, then she audits it with Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion, and finally Claude Hopkins’s Scientific Advertising principles. All of these principles are pretty easy to find online so I won’t go in-depth into them here but the structure makes a lot of sense.
Up next, Momoko breaks down a few methods to message mine. Meaning, where and how do you find good quotes and phrases from your customers to use in your own copy. This is a really effective method to write good copy because the customer already understands what value they got from the product so it’s much more effective to use their words.
Depending on your product, there are a ton of different places where you can find customer quotes. For the sake of an example, if you’re selling a SaaS product, you can easily go on G2 reviews and see what your customers are saying about your platform. Taking those reviews and using them in your copy is going to make it much more effective in convincing new customers to talk to you.
Finally, unique value propositions. Value proposition has become a bit of an overused phrase in the industry, so another way to look at it is by asking a few questions like: What are the reasons to buy? What’s in it for me? Why should I choose you over X? etc. After you have this nailed down, you should understand that the building blocks of a great value proposition is an overlap between what your customers want, what your product is/does, and what’s unique about your product.
Wrapping it up
Overall, from these two courses, Michael and Momoko do a fantastic job of presenting how to optimize landing pages and write good copy for your product messaing. This is a theme across all of the courses on CXL so I’m not surprised that the quality is this high, but I’m enjoying the courses a ton and highly recommend them.