How would you like to sell more of your products or services … without increasing your traffic?
If that’s your goal, then you need to improve your conversion rate. Which is a very wise goal — I know I’m always looking for the tweaks or additions that can optimize the performance of my sales pages.
The slightest changes to a headline, one item in a bulleted list, or the overall picture you paint can pay off in massive ways.
Sometimes even seemingly tiny changes — the headline color or the words you use on your buy button — can double your sales.
A little while ago I performed an experiment in the hope of boosting my conversions. And the results were nothing like I had imagined.
I asked some very talented and very successful people for advice on how my pages might convert better.
The results of this experiment were shocking, weird and entirely unexpected. It’s a simple, but extremely valuable lesson that I think you can benefit from.
The wisdom of the crowd?
Some of my subscribers were telling me one of my sales pages looked “spammy.”
Unfortunately they couldn’t define exactly what it was about the page that smelled so strongly of spam. They just knew it did and by golly they needed to tell me to fix it.
So I turned to a group of marketing-savvy friends and acquaintances for advice for how to de-spamify my sales page.
All the suggestions, advice and critiques were given honestly, generously, and kindly.
Can you guess what I learned?
You can’t write compelling copy by committee.
None of the feedback worked. In fact, it was worse than that. My conversion rate steadily dropped to zero.
Individually the advice might have been valuable, but this is one case where the whole was less than the sum of its parts.
Why this approach doesn’t work
How did a group of smart marketing types steer me so wrong?
- Some good advice is counter-acted by other, contradictory good advice.
- Tips can be technically correct (the best kind) but not correct for your specific product or prospect.
- People will tell you not to do something because it makes them feel personally uncomfortable.
- They will give you advice based on individual preferences or even prejudices.
- Most of this advice will be given with conviction, but based on no valid experience or expert knowledge in your market.
- The people you are talking to are unlikely to be your target market.
All that really counts are data and dollars.
(Actually, of course dollars are data … just a particularly important metric.)
My sales page is now (thankfully) getting healthy conversions again. Plus, I had fun and I learned a lot in the process. So it’s all good.
Getting back to basics
So, what is the correct approach to boosting your conversion rates?
- Use a split testing tool rather than “edit and guess” — Use Google or Visual Website Optimizer.
- Make one change at a time, recording the changes you make and what resulted.
- Take suggestions from two kinds of people: those who are achieving what you set out to do, or those who are in your precise target market.
- Consider advice, but test to verify. Tailor the advice to your particular audience and target market — one size does not fit all.
- Make it easy on yourself to start with proven copywriting best practices and then test individual tweaks for yourself — the Premise landing page system makes this easy.
The bottom line is, you’ve got to be very careful of making changes to your sales pages based on dangerous feedback from the wrong people — even if those people are smart and have a decent grasp of marketing.
To make sure you’re focusing on the right feedback, follow these three steps:
- Know who you’re trying to convince with any landing page (and what, specifically, you want them to do while they’re there).
- Obsessively measure that single action you want the reader to take. It could be sales, sign-ups for your list … whatever your single goal is for that page.
- Systematically and objectively test tweaks to your pages. Only keep the changes that give you the result you’re looking for.
Your audience will tell you if you hit the mark or not … and the way they do that is with their wallets.
If you need help improving the conversion of your landing pages, check out Premise. It not only lets you create great-looking landing pages quickly and easily, it also gives you proven copywriting advice right in your WordPress dashboard, and makes tweaking and testing simple.