In previous articles I led you through how to construct a sales page. From the heading, presenting your offer with body copy, and then rounding off the sales process with your guarantee and calls to action:
Part 1: How To Nail A Killer Headline
Part 3: The Art Of Good Storytelling
If you were like most marketers you would probably leave it there.
But I know the readers of Entrepreneurs Journey are a savvy bunch and will want to know how they can take their sales letters and refine them for maximum sales. How do you refine a sales letter and boost sales?
I still find myself flabbergasted at the lack of testing (or more correctly total absence of testing) that most of my consulting clients perform. If you have gone to all the trouble to set up business, brand yourself, get a website designed and pay for a copywriter, but then you haven’t thought about testing – then that really is ‘a fumble in the end zone’.
And I see this time and time again. I cringe the most when I hear it from my clients that are spending money on PPC. If you are spending money on PPC, and not split testing the page you are sending visitors to, then you really are leaving money on the table. Because with PPC you are now talking about a direct return on investment per visitor and it is just common business sense that you would want to maximize your return on investment.
Back in the day with direct response advertising and mail outs, testing was expensive and would have been a nightmare. But nowadays, if you are doing things on the Internet, there really is no excuse not to be testing.
Split testing can be set up with a few clicks of a button (depending on the software you are using). And the software will automatically split traffic evenly between pages you want to test, record conversions, graph them and let you know when there have been enough conversions to determine if one sales page is a statistically significant winner. You would be amazed at what the best split testing software can do.
There is software that can do the complicated multivariate testing where you are testing multiple variations and combinations. This would have been very difficult to do before the Internet, but with websites and the right tools this can be pretty straightforward to set up.
While I totally respect that you want to portray your business a certain way and the tone of your marketing has to be in line with your business, lots of times I still find business owners thinking they know best when it comes to general marketing principles.
“It’s not about what YOU want, it’s about what works and delivering what the customer wants.”
I have spoken previously about delivering what your customer wants, needs or desires and not what you want to deliver. Here is a common example that I encounter:
“I don’t like long sales copy.”
OK, I will be sure to tell all the Clickbank sales pages that have generated close to $1.9 Billion dollars in affiliate sales that YOU don’t like long copy. I will also tell the largest direct mailers in the world like Phillips, Agora, KCI, Rodale, Boardroom and Weiss Research (companies that probably spend more on research and testing in one week than most companies turnover in one year) that YOU don’t like long copy.
In all seriousness, the above statement is often followed with, “whenever I see one of those long sales letters, I never read them and just close the browser”. The assumption being that because you don’t read them because other people don’t. But here is the big problem. By doing this you have totally stepped out of the shoes of the prospect, you are no longer thinking like a fish.
Have you ever had the emotional urgency or passionate irrationality that your prospects possess? Can you think like them? Can you imagine having an itch that needs to be scratched so badly? What if you were the teenager with bad skin and acne and you saw a page with an acne related headline and following text promising to rid your face of pimples and make it beautiful, do you think you would read it? You would at least start reading it out of curiosity.
Obviously if long copy is well written, engages the prospect and pushes their “hot buttons” it will be devoured by the target audience.
Remember the saying:
“There is never copy that is too long only copy that is boring.”
But time and time again I hear business owners tell me “I don’t like this or that”. It is not about that at all. It is about using time tested sales methods that work. And time tested sales methods will work in your niche, sometimes they just have to be tweaked a bit. That is why I recommend testing.
Testing too many things at once: I see this all the time. If you change the heading, the price and extend your guarantee and you saw a 5% increase in conversions, which change was responsible for the increased conversions?
If you are not running a proper multivariate test, which most people who do these haphazard changes aren’t, then it is impossible to know.
So what I advise is a simple split A-B test. Where you change one variable and only one variable. So you may just change the headline and that is it. Or just the price and that is it. And you run the two variations against each other with all other things being equal. Which brings us to the next point.
Not running true A-B tests: For a true A-B test, all other variables not being tested must be equal.
On the Internet the biggest difference probably would be traffic sources. You cannot run one variable one month and then test the next variable the next month, that is not a true split test. For consistency it should be done over the same time period. Even though it seems obvious I need to point this out. You cannot test different sources or quantities of traffic (PPC versus search) against each other haphazardly. Unless of course the traffic source is the variable you are testing.
The path that people took to get to your sales page is part of the sales funnel and can influence buying behavior. So you need to keep that constant for tests.
Not keeping proper records of what you have tested: If you go through a testing process do it methodically and record the variables you are testing and the changes you have made. Start a spreadsheet and start recording things. Sounds obvious, but you would be surprised how quickly things can add up.
For example, over a period of a few months slowly a few things on your website changed. You stopped running PPC, you changed the headline and added in a bonus and all of a sudden you decide to check your conversions and you notice they have dropped by 0.5%. Mmmm when and how did this happen? Without accurate records and proper tracking software you will be plain guessing. And when it comes to making money, I don’t think it is smart to guess.
So that covers the most common mistakes. Next week I will talk more about what is important to test and what changes can make the biggest impact on your conversions.