Adapted from my answer to this question on Quora: What are some current startups in Alpha/Beta with a killer landing page?
The killer landing page that this post is going to examine in detail belongs to HotJar.
Since they used to be in Beta up until Jan 2015, you can no longer see the exact same text on their website live. Luckily, I have all the screenshots.
Here’s what HotJar’s landing page looked like:
What makes this particular page so awesome?
Yeah, hundreds of startups say they offer “early access” and are in “closed beta” but are they really using these phrases with purpose or are they just stitching them together because everybody does that?
More often than not, it’s the latter.
The beauty of the HotJar’s landing page lies in the fact that it presents giving up your email as something you benefit from doing.
Here are the subtle details that help HotJar convince you to give up your email:
Motivation to sign up
First motivator: Unique offer
HotJar’s unique offer is clearly communicated by the headline + subheadline.
The headline tells you what you will gain by using the software.
The subheadline clarifies the headline. It explains exactly what they mean by “insights” and why you need them.
Second motivator: Exclusivity
They promise you’ll get early access to the “Closed Beta”. Note that you are “requesting” the access. It’s not even sure that you’ll get it.
There is a “queue” and you have a position in the queue.
These are all signs that you’re applying to join a group of the privileged few.
Why is this working?
Because people like being on top of the list, people like feeling privileged and special.
It’s for the same reason that private clubs and college sororities and fraternities work.
Third motivator: Incentive
You’ll get FREE access. Meaning that the app is going to be paid soon. Okay, why not?
Fourth motivator: Urgency
The offer is time limited. At the end of the month they cut the free invites. Save your spot or you lose it.
This is one of the oldest tricks in marketing.
If you don’t make a decision now, you will lose the opportunity. This works because we care much more about preventing loss that we do about gaining something (a.k.a. loss aversion).
How can you build a landing page as good as that of HotJar?
1. Create a clear and unique offer (value proposition, UVP)
You can read more about what a unique offer is here: http://sansmagic.com/can-new-startup-battle-competition-examples/.
Basically, the unique offer occupies the top portion of your website. It’s usually communicated by:
- the headline
- the subheadline
- the key benefits
- the hero image (a relevant image that visualizes how people benefit from using your product)
- social proof, if you have any
It’s not necessary that all of these elements are there.
For example, HotJar’s unique offer is contained in a headline + subheadline. No hero images and key benefits.
How do you decide on a headline or subheadline?
The purpose of the headline is to make people read more of the text on the page.
Since your visitors only care about their issues and desires, your headline, as well as your entire landing page should not be about your software.
Your best bet for a headline is to tell your visitors in 2–5 seconds what benefit they are going to get or what they can do with the software, and why this is important to them.
This is what the headline should do.
The purpose of the subheadline is to reinforce the message from the headline and clarify it.
If there are unclear terms in the headline, the subheadline can expand and explain what they mean exactly.
For example, what HotJar did: Headline is “Unlimited insights from your web and mobile sites”. Subheadline explains what “insights” means and why you need them.
2. Create a sense of exclusivity.
Sometimes a few words here and there can make all the difference.
Do what HotJar did:
- Mention that “Access to closed beta is by invitation only”.
- Use text like “Request free early access” for your button.
- Create a queue like they did and make your future users wait to be allowed to access the app.
Note: You can use the created sense of exclusivity further and ask your new users to share a link to your page to move closer to the top of the queue.
3. Add an incentive.
Give something away if you want to get something in return (e.g. an email).
HotJar are giving away free invites.
That’s not a real thing. They could let all of their users in (probably), but limiting the availability of the service allows them to give away invites and make you feel like you’re getting something in return for your email.
4. Optional: Add urgency.
Urgency tells the visitor why they should take action now.
Often urgency comes as some sort of time limitation.
Like limiting the free invites giveaway for a strict period of time.
5. Optional: Add scarcity.
Research has proven over and over again that limited supply of a resource makes it more desirable.
For example, you can motivate people to sign up by telling them that you’re giving away a limited amount of invites for your private beta.
- Stop talking about your app on your landing page. Your potential customers only care about themselves.
- Create a unique offer. When you’re writing the text (copy) for your landing page, think about what your potential customer wants, how you make their life easier and what they are going to get when they sign up.
- Use an incentive to gather emails. Tell people that you’re giving away something in exchange for their email.
- Limit the availability of your incentive. Use time and quantity limitations for your incentive.
- Change your mindset. Right now you might be thinking something like this: “I need emails to validate my idea. I’m desperate to get people to sign up.”, but you don’t want people to know that. Try to shift your perspective to this: “I’m making something awesome which is going to help a lot of people. I’m going to make money from it. I will give it for free to several people just to get their feedback.”. Think that you’re giving away something special and valuable for free. So, the goal of your landing page is to notify people of the awesome thing you’re giving away. Believe it or not, changing your perspective will help you create a landing page that motivates people to sign up.
- Use exclusivity on your beta landing page. Talk about how access to your beta is restricted.