I know I wrote that I was closing this landing page series with #10, but due to email issues and because I don’t like to louse up my generally good karma, I’ve added just one more to the series before we close it for good. Cool?
Sherice Jacob and Real Estate Client Referrals, like other real estate-related businesses, has been hard hit by the ongoing downturn in the housing market. Verified/qualified leads are the lifeblood of any business, of course. But in a down housing market edging into recession, they’re even more so. Too much housing inventory chasing too few buyers. That means even their best prospects—top performing agents—are struggling with their own cash flow and aren’t super eager to part with cash, especially when:
- the referral service is small and relatively unknown; and
- they may have been burned by more well-known companies that didn’t deliver the goods on promises made.
So let’s see what we can do for Sherice and RECR to help them pump up the volume on their current subscription rate.
Here’s the background:
- The Goal
Increase service subscribers by 50%.
- The Problem
Tough housing market, prospects cash poor and gun shy about this kind of service, company is not well-known
- The Current Landing Page
- Page/Ad that Generates the Click-Through
This is sent as a direct email to prospective subscribers from a database of US/Canadian subscribers.
- Subscription Cost
$990 to $9900 for X number of qualified referrals
The Maven’s 10-Point Critique
It’s a tough market out there. Acknowledge your prospect’s pain upfront before you start selling anything.
Taking a quick read of your copy—just like your prospect would—I see copy that could have been written any old time. This isn’t any old time. The market is tough and your prospects are feeling the pinch and the pain. Address it, acknowledge it and have your copy flow from a colleague to colleague, smart solution standpoint.
Go for a stronger, more dynamic look and format. Show me your company name and logo in the first screen.
This page isn’t bad looking but it’s dull. You have a big solution to offer that has not been specifically requested, so don’t be afraid to go a little dramatic with the presentation. Also, tell me who you are with your name, logo, and even location. Let me know you’re a real company.
Standardize your use of images/components and fonts/sizes/colors.
There’s a lot of visual clutter going on here that could be cleaned-up and streamlined. Be consistent in your applications. It will make your overall presentation more professional and lend credibility and authority to the message.
If you have a compelling story to tell, tell it up front.
Your letter starts off with a story about Geoff—I don’t see a picture of Geoff in the first screen or anywhere for that matter. I do, however, get Jeremiah’s story several screens down. Testimonials are sweeteners and credibility boosters but are not the core of your message. So get J’s story upfront and with a wealth of testimonials to choose from, choose and reference those for whom there is a photo, story and some attribution. (And find a new photo of J. He doesn’t project authority and he doesn’t engender confidence with the current image.)
Think about 2 different approaches, one for prospects in tough markets and one for prospects in stable markets.
I don’t think in this market one message fits all. Since it appears you’re cold emailing, you have the opportunity to slice/dice your prospects more precisely with a message that better fits their particular situation. From your headline to lead to body copy, recognize that agents in a strong market will view themselves and their situation in a different light than those struggling. However, you can pitch to the strong market agent with the anxiety whisper of bad times happen to all of us. Will you be ready when it happens to you?
Reorganize your copy then edit, edit and when you think you’re done, edit some more.
The organization of the piece is haphazard and there’s just way too much of everything here, including copy, components, and images. Rework the structure of this piece—What’s the Big Idea/Promise and get it in the head … meaty, benefit-rich subheads that can tell a story without reading the body copy at first … a strong, attractive offer … supporting data – charts, testimonials … calls to action … etc. No kitchen sink, throw everything we can on the page here. Peel away everything EXCEPT what will help a prospect make a comfortable, confident decision in your favor.
Simplify and test your offers.
Whoa, there’s just way too much going on here. 3 different packages and price points and I’m still not sure about who you are and why I should trust you with the little bit of marketing budget I have. I’d present one slam-bang introductory offer with a great price with a shorter time frame: XX leads, 3 months for just $XX – guaranteed. Once they sign-up, you can upgrade them to a different kind of package with a longer time-frame. You want prospects to try your service as easily asd possible and with the least amount of risk. You may need to “loss-leader” them in but once they’re in, you have them.
And by all means, test your price points. Ultimately, your sales will be made when the benefit/risk ratio to responding works in your favor.
Make your copy more believable. Put your guarantee upfront and visible.
Copy seems over-the-top and too focused on making a fortune. Even if true, it sounds unbelievable, especially in a tough market. I’d recommend a different kind of pitch—one that focuses on helping you thrive as an agent, no matter what your local housing sales situation. You’re selling hope/comfort enough to ride out the current storm to calmer climes. Smooth your prospect’s journey to YES with a strong, unconditional guarantee. Tell them that you will deliver on your promise to help them do better than tread water or their money back.
Tailor your testimonials to make your company credible and your offer more believable.
You have a ton of terrific testimonials, but since your company isn’t well known and we’re dealing with a prospect base that is struggling, I’d really focus on the success stories of those who are making it—with your help—even when others aren’t.
Don’t use sales aids from 2006—that was several hot markets ago.
All your call-outs, examples, charts, etc. have to reflect your prospect’s current reality. Even when you have a great control piece, you’ll need to update the essentials to have it ring true today.
My thanks to Sherice Jacob for her patience and support of Heifer International.
Launching February 2008 – The New Copywriting Maven “Creative Plan” Makeover Series
As you can see here, many of my suggestions/recommendations really should have been made at the creative plan level BEFORE word one of a landing page was written. That’s why my new series is all about the plan before the page. Makeovers will be done in a similar fashion. Complete a form, make a donation to Heifer.org for the equivalent cost of one product/service purchased and submit and wait to be scheduled. In return, you’ll get a 10-point Maven critique that is published on Copyblogger … and honestly, how cool is that? Watch this space for complete details by Valentine’s Day—and just so you know, I like my chocolate dark and bitter.
But Roberta (:: wrenching sob ::), what about the landing pages?
Oh, I’ll still be writing about them from time to time, but no need to wait on me. If your creative plan is practically “Maven-Perfect” and you just want to craft the best landing page ever, I promise you won’t go wrong when you crack open your own copy of Marketing Sherpa’s Landing Page Handbook 2008 (aff). It’s the most comprehensive treatment on the subject and the one to own if you’re ready to do more than just dump prospects off at your homepage. (If you’d like a private Maven landing page consultation, please email me for details.)