Our first makeover focused on the high visibility SEO-focused site, SEOmoz.org. Rand was looking to generate paid subscriptions from “cold” prospects, visitors who generally didn’t have a SEOmoz relationship already established.
Today’s makeover is for Brian Armstrong’s book, Breaking Free. Although his page is converting at a pretty respectable rate, he’d like to sell more books, and why not!
Here’s the background:
- The Goal:
Increase total ebook and print book sales of Breaking Free. (The author didn’t give me a specific here, so let’s use a modest bump of 1%.)
- The Problem:
Of the total visitors to the website, only 0.24% purchase. (However, 7.6% of those who actually visit the landing page do, in fact, purchase.)
- The Current Landing Page:
- Page/Ad that Generates the Click-Through:
There’s a link to “Book” on the blog.
Let’s see what we can do to help Mr. Armstrong sell more books.
The Maven’s 10-Point Critique
#1 – Remove all the blog boilerplate from your right-hand column. (Leave the banner image on top as I like the overall branding appeal and because it speaks to your value proposition.)
That right column is filled full with distractions that will move visitors away from your primary sales message. (If you can’t hang a plainer page off your blog, host a page somewhere else.) Because you’re using a one-column, long-form sales letter you want to have plenty of room to add the usual letter accessories and widgets to your promotional piece.
#2 – Revise the current prehead “Introducing Breaking Free, the book…” where you’re leading with the product and start setting up the promise of your offer right from the get-go.
Start building your momentum right away and give your visitor the proper context for the rest of your message. “Tired of slaving 12 hours a day making someone else rich?” or sentiments to that effect.
#3 – Strengthen your current headline to focus not on the facts of working for yourself, but the ultimate benefits of working for yourself – building wealth, financial security, personal freedom, etc.
Working off the example pre-head, “Learn the XX proven ways people just like you are using to say goodbye to the rat race and building successful businesses – on their own terms, in their own way.” Keep focused on the core benefits of working for yourself and how your book can help readers make the transition easier and with less risk.
#4 – Make the book image smaller and put your Brian Tracey testimonial adjacent to it.
While you want a strong “hero” shot of your book, putting a major name testimonial right next to it ramps up your credibility immediately.
#5 – Start your letter with your story.
One of the most important copywriter tricks I know is this: after writing your first draft, go back the next day and see what happens if you simply eliminate the first 1-3 paragraphs. Chances are your true lead is further below being pushed back by initial “warm-up” copy. Your story is true, genuine and compelling. It does a nice job of setting the stage. What’s more, a good story is one of the strongest openings you can have. Don’t squander its power so far down. Open with it. (And keep the photo.)
#6 – Speaking of testimonials, intersperse them throughout your copy. Don’t segregate them at the letter’s end.
Match your testimonials to the point you’re looking to make. That way you use the testimonials to emphasize those points with clarity and enhanced credibility. Use of logos and photos are fine, but feel free to edit the testimonials tightly. You don’t necessarily need 5 lines when 2 or 3 will do. (And get rid of the green type. Too hard to read. Use black or deep blue for text colors. Use a background color if you want to add visual emphasis.)
#7 – Enhance your letter’s overall readability and increase the point size of the text, reduce the line lengths of your paragraphs, and use bullets.
Also reconsider your font choice. Verdana and Georgia are two fonts developed specifically for the web. They offer great readability in both small, large, and generally standard point sizes. Edit your copy tightly and move copy points to bullets where it makes sense. Your reader is scanning more than they’re actually reading. Make it easier for him/her to assimilate your message.
#8 – Don’t use images as eye candy. Make sure every image is working toward advancing your message.
The traffic directional image doesn’t add anything to your message here. But you could use the same concept and provide the offer “sweeteners and risk reducers” as visual relief boxes, e.g. bonus gifts, guarantee copy, or an audio/video clip where you can use your “big boy” photo.
#9 – Keep the copy “you” focused and yes, spelling counts.
Rewrite every single line where you begin to let the I/We voice creep into your copy. Sloppy spelling will cost you credibility points — and sales — especially in big fat subheads.
#10 – Rewrite your guarantee headline with the caption you’re using for the seal image. Pop the “Add to Cart” buttons with a bright color so folks can see them and know what to do.
The caption language is a stronger, more compelling statement than “Outrageous Guarantee.” Everyone has an outrageous guarantee, but not everyone offers to buy back the product if it fails to satisfy. Also, the copy in this section needs a lot of pruning. Think tight, concise and not one word wasted. This is your close, this is where you have to get the reader to do something or poof, they’re gone.
- Don’t use underscores in your copy. Folks will think they’re links and try to click them. And yes, that’s another distraction from reading your message.
- Minimize the use of ALL CAPS. Be VERY selective in their use.
- Bold every mention of your book’s title in the copy.
- Eliminate the “Got A Question?” or in the very least, put it at the very end of copy.
- Change “Congratulations” to something like, “If you’ve read this far, you’ve already taken that first important step toward financial independence.” Remind them of the benefit of acting now — and speaking of acting now, work in a deadline with an expiration date.
- Add your logo or other branding device to your shopping cart page. “Your Shopping Cart” reads like someone forgot to change the placeholder logo.
My thanks to Brian Armstrong for his support of Heifer International.
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