You’ve Got the Traffic, Now Get the Sales: CRO Guide (Part 1)
Part I – Traditional Sales Copy Strategies
Traffic is flowing through your site and all the indicators are pointing to good numbers from search engines, increasing return visitors and a lot of buzz, energy and excitement is generated. Now you have two things to look at to increase revenues – increasing traffic while maintaining conversion rates, or improving your conversion rates with the traffic you currently enjoy.
Of the two, increasing the rate of conversion is the simplest and fastest win for your site – it is cheaper to achieve and the results are immediate. It’s simply easier to sell to a customer who is already standing in your store than one who has yet to learn you exist!
Conversion Rate Optimization Issues
Broadly, there are two categories of techniques for improving conversion rates:
- Traditional sales copy strategies; and
- On-site/online techniques.
In this first of two-parts, we will be focusing on traditional sales copy strategies.
Think “selling” in the real world – direct sales copy, mail shots, sales postcards, TV infomercials and newspaper ads. These direct sales efforts have the same problems you have with a website – they are seeking to attract attention, gain the trust and confidence of the prospect and motivate the prospect to become a customer, i.e. make that sale.
Online traffic conversion techniques have developed to deal specifically with the challenges and opportunities presented by selling on the web. Obviously, there is a lot of overlap, but it doesn’t matter as long as you remember one sales rule – “Always be Selling!”
Traditional Sales Copy Strategies
The challenge is how to make a sale out of a stranger with little or no direct human contact. This is something traditional or real-world ad agencies have been doing for decades and out of this experience has emerged several main themes:
AIDA – Attention, Interest, Decision, Action
- AIDA keeps you focused on making the sale and applies across the entire sales and marketing spectrum. Make sure your landing pages are impressive and interesting (you only have seconds), provide enough information to make the reader want to explore your site and allow them to make a decision on buying from you.
Build Trust & Confidence
- Your copy and presentation must establish you as a brand to be trusted, not simply with buying your solution for making life easier or happier, but also that buying from you online is safe. You need a professional looking site, well laid out and easy to navigate, but you also should take every opportunity to demonstrate your state of the art security for processing payments and maintaining client confidentiality.
Sell Benefits not Features
- No-one gives a hoot about specifications, except engineers and product reviewers, so don’t “tell” people what the product “is” – show what buying your product means to that individual customer. This product is XYZ which means that it saves you money, saves you time, makes you look beautiful, healthier or happier – what does it actually mean for the person who buys it? Buying is an emotional decision (even for engineers and geeks) which is justified by logic and objectivity after the fact; features are great for doing just that, but the buying decision needs to hit the emotional buttons of the consumer first.
- Words are more important than any other aspect of the copy – words have the message which turns a nobody into a valued customer. Focus on the words with these copy techniques:
- Active Voice – the active voice puts more action into your words (compared to the passive voice) – this is not an English lesson but using the active voice for most sales copy is important because it reads better, flows much more smoothly and prospects are more likely to buy from active voice copy than passive;
- Headlines – headlines have one mission – get the reader to read the first line of the copy; the first line of copy gets the reader to read the first paragraph and that paragraph is there to hook the reader into the rest of the copy. Make good use of them and arrange your copy using headers and sub-headers so surfers can quickly skim your web page (most surfers only skim content unless they get hooked by great headlines);
- Embrace the Customer – scan your copy for the use of “I”, “we”, “our”, “us” or the name of your company – every time you see it, think about how you can substitute the phrase “You”or “Your” instead. Your copy should embrace the customer so you are addressing them directly and are not referring back to yourself; and
- Cut, Cut, Cut – can you say the same thing using less words? Take out any verbage which doesn’t contribute to creating a positive mental picture of your product or business. Use power words such as “Exclusive”, “Free”, “Guaranteed”, “Safe”, “Security” or “Fantastic” but always think about the clarity of your message. Don’t use complicated or lengthy words, steer clear of jargon unless “street cred” demands it and always strive for clarity in your message and the value you offer.
In the second part of this two-parter, we will be covering the on-site/online techniques for improving your conversion rates and maximizing sales revenues.