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He looks more like a creature from a Sci-Fi Channel original movie than a human being. His skin is flaking off, and snot is dripping down from his nose and onto his upper lip. He’s dressed in a dirt-crusted jacket that smells like crap left on the concrete. He stumbles towards you and smiles through a couple of holes in his mouth.
Then he says: “Hey dude, TAKE ACTION TODAY and join my mailing list!”
Yeah, there’s zero chance you’re giving him a dollar, your email address, or a second of your time. In fact, you’re probably reaching for the pepper spray.
But the same people who wouldn’t buy a hundred dollar affiliate product from a creepy hobo…
Are the same people who try to sell products without hitting the basics of online conversion.
No matter what business you’re in, your writing is your sales system.
Customers don’t WANT to read what you have to say. They don’t want to be sold stuff, either. They don’t have time.
That means your writing is what will convince them to stop watering their Facebook crops, listen to what you have to say, realize your product is more important than their daily BS, and take the action you want them to take.
If your writing is trash, your results will be trash.
Breaking your back driving traffic will be like standing next to that hobo with one of those stupid spinning foam arrows and a megaphone.
Useless content can ruin any system, and great content can make any system work. So if NOTHING has been working for you online, and you’ve actually been putting effort into it, your problems might stem from your content and language.
It doesn’t have to be perfect. But you can get twice the results from your website… with the same amount of effort… if you make small improvements to a few vital areas of your website.
When you run across an advertisement that brags about increasing sales 300% by making one five-minute change, you better believe they’re talking about one of these things.
Today, I’m going to show you EXACTLY what those areas are, and how to get started fixing them.
Grammar That Passes The Smell Test
I know, people hate hearing this.
No, you don’t have to be a “grammar nazi” in order to make a sale on the internet. I’ve made plenty of sales with throw together, ugly looking sales pages. I’ve had $50,000 launches with more than a few typos in the sales copy. And my own mentor once launched a product with a glaring typo in a sub-headline!
I’d rather you got something out there than let it rot on your computer.
If you’re doing your job, people aren’t focusing on your typos. They’re focusing on their own wants and desires. But there is a breaking point. Don’t slap your customers with mistake after mistake. And don’t make it hard for them to actually read your message.
The sales game is all about communication. So spend a little time proofreading your work. And if you don’t write well, hire someone to review your work.
A Strong Headline And First Paragraph
Your headline is the first thing most of your visitors will read. 80% of the effectiveness of your website comes down to a headline that delivers a promise and supporting text that delivers on your promise.
The art of writing a good headline could be a blog post by itself. But there are a few basic guidelines that will make sure your headline is decent.
Become a student of good headlines in your niche. Look for magazines that excite you and grab your curiosity, and remember that behind all of those headlines is a person whose job depends on getting attention. You can also look at headlines on advertisements, blogs, and websites. Whenever you see a headline, ask yourself:
Does this headline “grab” my prospect and force them to read?
Does it ask them a question they’ll want an answer to?
Does it teach them something they want to learn, or need to know?
Does it point out a danger they’ll need to stay away from?
Does it explain the benefit they will get from reading on?
There are lots of great headlines in every niche. But you can stand out from the crowd. Make sure that your first paragraph or two delivers on the promise of the headline. If you can describe benefits or ignite curiosity, you can make them want to read more.
Calls To Action That Close The Deal
The words you use to get people to read, subscribe, and buy is very important. Subtle differences in wording have a big impact on whether people take the plunge. Explain the value of your offer, what they’ll get for their action, and provide a guarantee (if you’re asking them to pay for something.)
Design Makes You Credible
According to “What Makes Websites Credible?”, a study by Stanford University, 46% of sales are lost because the page itself doesn’t generate credibility. Those needs are different depending on the niche and target market (a gold buyer will need more stamps and testimonials and stuff than a typical Amazon affiliate).
Elements like background colors, buttons, the placement of images, and your prices all have an impact on conversions.
And higher prices sometimes have a higher conversion rate! You never know until you test.
Skim-Friendly Bullets And Postscripts
The body of your text doesn’t mean squat to someone who hates reading. That’s why you shouldn’t just make sure that your copy reads well – make sure that it skims well.
That means that you should make bullets as catchy and attention grabbing as headlines – making a promise, and giving some curiosity grabbing detail. And your subheaders shouldn’t be bland – instead think of them as a chance to tell the story of your product in broad strokes.
And make sure your postscript is a quick line that restates the main benefit and/or the main reason why your prospects should get off their butt and become customers.
Small Improvements Add Up!
These elements aren’t just important in direct response writing. They can improve your blog, your affiliate pages, your emails – everything that represents you online.
Just think – if you make these each of these elements of your page 20% better, you’ll have a tremendous impact on the effectiveness on your webpage. But… where does all this percentage stuff come into play? Well, marketing is all about testing. Next time, I’m going to talk about low cost methods for setting up testing that really works on your site.
Micah Medina is a marketer, foodie, and copywriter who splits his time between Boston, MA and Atlanta, GA. When he’s not fighting his way onto a plane or helping writers get their stuff together at MicahMedina.com, he mixes an incredible Whiskey Sour.