Landing Page Makeover Clinic #13:

Landing Page Makeover

This is another addition to our ongoing series of tutorials and case studies on landing pages that work.

Lucky Makeover #13 is our first makeover out of the gate for 2009 – and we’ve got a top-rated author who knows how to sell books about using Crystal Reports software but can’t seem to move his fans from “one-sie” book sales to full-fledged membership.

You’d think the opportunity to get a ton of new material – before official publication – and direct access to the author would make for a profitable conversion rate. Yes, you might think that, but alas, author Brian Bischof says, “Nope. My landing page just isn’t converting well.”

So let’s take a look and see what seems to be the problem.

  • The Goal
    Increase number of subscribers, no % given
  • The Problem
    Great organic traffic from top-ranked keyphrases but the traffic isn’t converting to membership sales.
  • Cost
    $24.95 for a 3-month membership

The Maven’s 10-Point 5-Point Critique

Maven Fans, please note: As you all know, I almost always do a 10-point landing page critique. Sometimes, with so much more to add, I’ll even throw in a few extra points. However, this makeover will cover only five. My reasons for a shorter makeover will become apparent as you read below…

Crystal Reports BookClick image for larger view

#1 – To sell a membership, you have to let your prospects know you’re selling a membership.

I think what we have here is a failure to communicate. ~ Cool Hand Luke

Your current headline, the copy, the testimonials, and just about everything else refer to books. What I don’t see is a SINGLE mention of the words “member” or “membership.”

No wonder prospects click through to the payment page and think, “Whoa, Dude! What’s all this about 3-month membership?” and bail. So, first things first. Let’s make the landing page all about the exciting benefits of becoming a member — and make sure all the banner/text ads talk/walk membership.

#2 – To sell a membership, you have to make a strong, compelling case why membership is a better idea and smarter investment – especially in tough times like now – than just buying your books from Amazon.

Now, making believe for a moment that the current page focuses on membership, you’ve got to make a strong, provable case that there’s something valuable to be gained as a member rather than as a book buyer/reader.

Remember, your prospects can already get your information in book form. I’m not sure that getting chapters early is all that compelling (the chance to be part of an ongoing collaboration, however, could be.) But what certainly is special is personal access to a well-respected expert. Consider focusing your copy this way:

Membership gives you direct access to Brian Bischof in a private, members-only, password-protected forum. A personal consultation with Brian could easily cost you $XXX per hour, not to mention his day rate. Join Brian in his own Crystal Reports MasterMind Forum and you’ll also get…

The key here is to highlight the benefits of membership that you CAN’T get from books alone.

#3 – To sell a membership where the primary benefit is access to Brian, show Brian.

Since we’re looking at a “cult of personality” membership club, Brian – show yourself and talk directly to your readers and prospects with a nice You-Tubey video. You don’t have to sell, just tell your audience why you want them to join you. This video, in addition to plain old, benefit-rich copy, will surely give you the membership pop you’re looking for.

#4 – To sell a membership, you have to get the right testimonials on the page.

Strong book testimonials are great, but what you need here are testimonials from members joyful in the knowledge and experience that they enjoy with ready access to the master. As I said in my last makeover, “Let these folks do the heavy selling for you, peer to peer.”

#5 – To sell a membership, you need to make a compelling offer.

I have to admit I find the quarterly membership awkward as a standard offer. It can also be a bookkeeping hassle. Why not turn it into a introductory charter offer, a sort of mini-membership — a low-key ‘try before you buy.” Once on board you can convert your mini-members to regular, annual-subscription members. Guarantee member satisfaction? Even better.

Since there wasn’t enough material to do 10 points at first pass, I invited Brian to make the changes I’ve recommended, analyze the results, and come back – if need be – for another 5 makeover points should he need them.

Take a look at Brian’s revised landing page for yourself here. What else should he do, if anything?

My thanks to Brian Bischof for his support of Heifer International. Look for my next makeover in approximately 2-3 weeks.

Here’s your chance to be the Copywriting Maven’s next landing page makeover!

Got a landing page that’s more poop than pop? Willing to share with Copyblogger readers? Prepared to put a little of your own “skin in the game” for a Maven Makeover? Then follow your click to Maven’s Landing Page Makeover page for all the details.

(The response to the return of the Copywriting Maven Makeovers has been tremendous – thank you! The downside is I’m booked for new gratis critiques until 3/1/09. If you’re interested in a private critique/makeover or other services, please email me directly.)

About the Author: Roberta Rosenberg is The Copywriting Maven at MGP Direct, Inc.

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Reader Comments (29)

  1. says

    These copy suggestions make a lot of sense. Value prop is very clear now. The visual design of the page seems less than compelling to me. I think adding in a crisp design with your copy suggestions would add credibility to this page.

  2. says

    Membership programs seem to be all the rage right now, so its nice to get an idea of how to promote it, the best promotion is probably great content also, im in a few memberships myself, some of which deliver slower than DHL!.

  3. says

    The trial period is way too short. Over 1200 pages of material and only 3 days to review it? If they sign up at all, they’ll rush to see if it will be useful, then rush to cancel.

    Give them at least 30 days. First, your conversion will go up because people will think they have time to review it. Second, your retention will go up. If I’ve got three days, I’ll be thinking about that deadline the whole time. Give me a month and it’ll slip my mind.

    Also, you’re hiding that time frame in tiny type way at the bottom. Instead you should brag about it. “Take 30 days to decide it it’s right for you! And when you see how great it is, all you have to do is keep using it. We’ll hook you up with the quarterly membership.”

  4. says

    I agree that these tweaks help a ton. As far as what else could be done, I’d change the “Retail versus Online Access” section (on the revised page) to a grid-like format — and definitely add the membership price side by side with the higher price so you can actually compare them. That would make the pricing part A LOT more appealing.

  5. says

    There’s still one major problem – the old “only $9.95″ with an asterisk, then in VERY small print, the autorenew at $24.95 per quarter. This bait-and-switch is an autoturnoff. Why not be upfront, and sell the membership at $8.95 per month. Once prospects are convinced that’s a value, then give them a trial. If the $8.95/month requires a commitment, say so, and then “but try it for a week – if you cancel by then, your full membership will be refunded no questions asked”
    It’s the G Generation. You have to give to get. And above all, be honest.

  6. says

    Specify Brian’s hourly rate (not $100s, but $250, or whatever the number is).

    Rather than “access to chapters as they’re written”, say something that sounds more important, such as early preview, or exclusive first look.

    Posting questions or suggestions for the books sounds like help for the author (rather than the customer). How about “get tough questions answered directly by Brian,” with examples of what they might be (learn how to do X or Y).

    I second the comment that three days is too short. Make it 30 days for $24.95 up front. And highlight a “risk-free” guarantee. “After 30 days, if you’re not satisfied, let us know and we’ll refund your money. Offer something they can keep regardless.

  7. Carissa Faye says

    The asterisk is ALWAYS a turn-off for me because it just screams, “We’re trying to get one over on you, steal your money and send you to the poorhouse without you ever knowing it.” The 3-day trial and auto-renew suggests the same thing.

    I understand the auto-renew from a sales standpoint (hey, maybe people will forget!), but it always strikes me as sneaky, sneaky, sneaky, and also that it’s a product the seller isn’t convinced the buyer will want if all info is clear and upfront.

    Drew’s suggestion tempers the sneakiness a bit (spin the auto-renew as a benefit to the customer, not the business), but I would still shy away from it unless the product was something I was hands-down convinced I needed–like access to understanding how to be a better copywriter (oh, wait).

    Also, the color scheme makes my eyes burn. In fact, the page layout in general makes me a little stressed out.

    But, props for posting your page for everyone to see. It’s not always easy being constructively criticized, but it’s almost always beneficial.

  8. says

    I love these so much.

    It’s funny how you can obsess over a page and work on it and put everything into it, but a fresh set of eyes (especially fresh eyes with a lot of experience in this area) will find so many opportunities for improvement.

  9. says

    This is a tricky business alright. Dozens of people have visited my Squidoo lens on REMO, but only 2 have joined through me. Yet I suspect others are joining directly, as REMO is steadily approaching 40,000 members & my designs are flying out the door as their free signup gifts! This gives me a warm fuzzy, but it ain’t feeding my pets. My (futile?!) quest for the right formula continues…

  10. says

    Carissa, I know it can seem like spin, but I’m not talking about “tempering the sneakiness”. I’m saying don’t be sneaky. Change the offering so that it actually is a benefit to the user.

  11. says

    There is a respectable art to all of this..what was it Andy Warhol said? The greatest art is making money. These are terrific practical tips that we will file away for future use for our clients.

  12. says

    Thanks for the tips.

    Landing pages are something I need to learn more about if I’m going to make any money when I jumped into affiliate marketing sometime this year.

  13. says

    Great post. The new landing page is much more compelling:

    – If access to Brian is a big part of the sell, we do need some personal connection with him. Even if not a video, maybe a photo. Definitely a first-person quote:

    “Hi, I’m Brian Bischoff. If you join me, then I can offer you…” etc.

    I don’t like that the sign-up button is right at the very bottom of the screen. That feels weird to me. Let us scroll a bit further so that the sign up button is nearer the middle of the screen.

  14. says

    great makeover & some excellent comments here

    the other thing I’d add to the page would be a yes-yes price grid based on sean d’souzas ideas.

    check out products for sale on to see what I mean…
    get’s them focusing on value rather than price
    by offering something of very high value for a tiny increase in price

    example in this case
    the $8.95 trial
    or $9.25 trial that includes a couple of bonues (eg interview, video, glossary or spreadsheet worth another $39)

  15. oz says

    One thing else that may help boost some conversions is simply adding more easily visible signup buttons; say in between the ‘Retail vs..’ and customer testimonials.

    Am definitely a fan of the LP Makeover series. Excellent read.

  16. says

    How about that, I just rediscovered a principle from the world’s first professional copywriter, John Powers.

    Me: “Change the offering so that it actually is a benefit to the user.”

    Powers: “The next thing is to stick to the truth, and that means rectifying whatever’s wrong in the merchant’s business. If the truth isn’t tellable, fix it so it is. That is about all there is to it.”

  17. says

    Roberta, thanks for sharing…great stuff. A quick summary of my issues (some from above), based off of the new design:

    a. Lime green is bad. This is an easy change and definitely should be done.

    b. Image needs to be improved. You can have a new, professional looking image created for $100, it is well worth it. You will get a huge pop just from a good image alone. Seriously, this image just makes these books look boring and unreadable. Where’s your picture? It should be there. Why don’t you use screen shots of the pages of the books showing diagrams, charts or something relatively exciting from inside the book?

    c. Your offer is not clear. $9.95 for what? Try what? Is this a membership site? Do I get hardcopy books or PDFs? I have to work way too hard to figure out what you are selling and what I get.

    d. Price grid needs to be fixed. YOU are valuable. More valuable than the books. YOU need to be listed on this price grid somehow. Old books or books on the version of CR that I am NOT using really are of no use or value to me. I will instantly discount that value you in my head. I get free shipping from Amazon, pay no taxes at Amazon and can have a hard copy book in 2 days. YOU are valuable. Start selling yourself.

    Overall, if you want me to spend $9.95/month (and stay subscribed), the only way it is happening is if you (or other forum members) are there for me to help out answering questions. Otherwise, I am probably done after one month…a hard copy book is of more value to me.

    Good Luck,


  18. says

    I know it can seem like spin, but I’m not talking about “tempering the sneakiness”. I’m saying don’t be sneaky. Change the offering so that it actually is a benefit to the user.

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