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Your startup needs to sell experiences, not features

Published: Jun 16, 2011 2:26 pm

Entrepreneurs often want to highlight every single feature on their landing page. I’ve seen landing pages filled to the brim with cliches, buzz words, and jargon that simply don’t convert visitors into customers. A lot of consumer facing landing pages are focused on the wrong things.

I’ve discovered that’s it not your products features that sell people on your software, it’s their perceived experience with your app. Users are more concerned with “How will buying this app make my life better?”, than “Our new version benchmarks 6% faster”. Giving people an emotional connection with your app is paramount in gaining users.

Give your customers an emotional hook that they can latch on to and own. People are much more passionate about emotions than they are numbers.

Jargon vs. Experiences

It’s tempting to throw in as many buzzwords as you can on your landing page. This might work for a small segment of your users, but it won’t let you build mass market appeal.

Let’s look at a real world example. Shall I Buy It is a fantastic app that helps you decided if you should buy something. They do a great job highlighting the experience of their app without getting bogged down with features. This is what their landing page looks like:

Their landing page wouldn’t have been nearly as effective if they were writing buzzword filled copy. For example it might have said something like “Leverage your social graph to influence purchasing decisions.” Although it’s technically correct, it’s emotionally sterile, and totally forgettable.

How to write great copy: Work backwards

This might seem counter-intuitive, but the easiest way to write great copy is to work backwards. Start with the end goal in mind. After a potential customer sees my site, I want them to have “response x”. Once I know my end destination (“response x”), it makes plotting the course substantially easier. Leave the buzzwords out, and focus on getting “response x”. If my startup was in the SaaS business, my goal might be to have a potential customer visit our pricing page and collect their email (with the ultimate goal being to sell them your service). Once you know what you’re working towards, it gives you tunnel vision (a good thing), and lets you focus on your goals.

Emotion is far more memorable than stats. If you can hook a customer on a feeling (backed by a solid product), you will score a very faithful and passionate user.

Remove as much jargon as possible from your landing pages and sell emotion.

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Hi, I'm Paul Hontz.

I'm a YC alumn and I love startups. I created TSF to highlight companies I find interesting. You can learn more about me here.

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