Should You Always Use Benefit Headlines In Your Landing Pages?
What else can you use instead?
A bucket, a hammer and a toilet seat. A door lock, a kitchen faucet and a paintbrush.
Whenever you stand inside a hardware store, you’re surrounded by solutions of every kind.
And if you’re the owner of one, like my dad is, you’ll quickly get into the habit of helping people find the right solutions to their problems.
Like the lady who came in one day with a busted looking door lock.
And that was because somebody tried to get into her house.
She was coming home from grocery shopping when she heard the noise of somebody running closer to her.
*BANG* went the impact as a man tried to force himself in through the door. It turned into a power struggle of who could push harder.
Fortunetly, the woman won and the man ended up running away.
Unfortunetly, because the door was still in the “locked” position as all of this happened, it did a number on the lock.
One of its crevices was wide open and both the handle and the latch bolt…
Hold on, here’s a diagram or you won’t know what I’m talking about.
The latch bolt was torn clean off.
And this happened 45 minutes ago, so the woman’s hands were still shaky.
So I called my dad and asked him if we had the same type of lock for her.
And well, we didn’t.
That wouldn’t have been a problem, cause we would’ve pointed her to another place she could go to get a new lock. Except that she both:
a) Didn’t bring enough to buy that type even if we did have it.
b) Couldn’t go far cause it was already pretty late and most places would close in 15 minutes.
c) Needed it today or else her door would be with a lock of any kind.
So she was in quite a pickle.
We didn’t know what to do, until my dad took a good look at the lock.
“This won’t be an issue.”
And then he just fixed the lock!
He grabbed a hammer and used it to close the crevice up.
The latch bolt was used to keep the door closed, NOT to lock it.
The door handle wasn’t needed either. Once you have the door in the unlocked position, because of the missing latch bolt, it would open easily.
All you had to do was aim well and make sure the deadbolt fell into the hole.
The woman was relieved. She could sleep well tonight at least. And tomorrow she has the time to buy a new one with the right time and money.
Hardware stores like a special little world of marketing, where people who have problems know where their solutions are.
They might not know what the best solution is, but they know where they can find it.
And thanks to people like my dad, that tradition still holds true.
But then if we think back to landing pages…
What happens when the solutions aren’t as obvious?
The User is My Mom is a service where some guy’s mom gives your website a UX design review.
It’s been mentioned in a bunch of publications for how unique it is and for the great service. (Their landing page is pretty good too).
I mean who wouldn’t love a 70+ mom rating your site?
Their idea is this — if she can understand it, anybody can.
But it isn’t the most obvious solution when you think of “improve your site’s UX”, is it?
Sometimes, the best solution isn’t the most obvious one.
Should benefit headlines always be used for landing pages?
Well, it might be trickier if your offer is more on the unique side.
So today, let’s explore a few other types of headlines you can use and when it’s a good idea to use benefit-first headlines.
And it all starts with awareness
How well do your to-be-clients know about you when they walk through your door?
- Do they know what you’re selling?
- Have they ever heard of you before?
- Do they know other alternatives?
- Are they even aware of the problem your solution can fix?
These types of questions help give you an objective look on what marketers call “buyer awareness level”.
It’s a neat little concept that helps pinpoint how close your lead is to the final sale (or if it will ever happen at all)
A nice little metaphor they tend to use is to think of your leads as people “on a journey”.
- They find out they have a problem.
- They try to find different solutions to their problem.
- They find your solution.
- They learn more about it before deciding to buy or not. (Here is where free trials/samples/consultations help)
- They decide to buy so their problem gets fixed.
Notice that depending where your lead is psychologically on this scale, the more or less you’ll have to do to get them to the next stage.
If your product is a bit more abstract or harder to explain, the more you’ll probably have to do to convince them to get from one stage to the other.
That’s why “using a benefit-headline” isn’t always the most optimal solution. Everybody isn’t always ready to listen to your offer right away.
Which makes you think…
When should you use Benefit headlines?
Let’s take a look at a few big company landing page/home pages and see how they use benefit headlines:
What these pages tend to have in common is:
- They’re usually well known or easy to explain (awareness isn’t usually an issue)
- The pages are usually for leads in the “learn more about it so let me try before I buy” stage
Which makes benefit headlines work GREAT in this context.
But what if you’re in a completely different stage? Either very early or pretty late in the process?
As a rule of thumb, let’s see 2 alternatives.
- If your lead doesn’t know about you yet but they’re looking for a solution to a problem - Present the problem as the headline. And then go into the solution.
- Need a babysitter? This is what 1000 happy parents have said about us.
- Page not getting traffic? Get improved SEO rates or your money back.
- Here’s an example from Modern Fertility
2. If your lead knows about your solution but is on the fence about it, you can still use a benefit headline, but a good testimonial headline could work just as well.
- “The biggest thing that stood out to me about this book is how easy it made following the process. It’s doubled my work flow in a week”
- Here’s an example from Chowdown:
So while benefit headlines are great in the right context, they might not be the best fit depending on where you lead is in the moment. So never forget about other alternatives, test and what they can do for you! Get insightful landing page ideas every Wednesday
I’m a front-end developer and digital marketer. My newsletter "In One Snap" features weekly insights to help marketers, designers and devs increase conversions on landing pages. You can get my free landing page swipe file (and sign up to In One Snap) by going here → http://bit.ly/Free-landing-page-swipe-file