“Why Isn’t My Sales Page Converting?”
It doesn’t matter how great your product is…
It doesn’t matter how big your email list is…
It doesn’t matter how well your Facebook ads are working…
If your sales page isn’t optimized, you’re not going to get the results you want (not to mention the revenue you want!).
When we talk about “conversions,” we’re talking about the number of people who actually take the desired outcome (in this case, purchasing your product). Your conversion rate, then, is the number of people who purchase divided by the number of people visiting:
3 purchases/100 visitors = 3% conversion rate
Your conversion rate matters because it directly impacts your sales.
If you can get more sales (i.e., increase your conversions) from the same number of visitors, you’re getting more bang for your buck. And if you are PAYING for those visitors (via Facebook ads or other paid traffic sources), you’re also reducing your customer acquisition cost. (That’s a good thing!)
When it comes to sales pages, there are a lot of trends in sales approaches, copy, and design, from the “sideways sales letter” (h/t to Jeff Walker), to video sales letters, to long form sales pages. While trends come and go, certain “laws” remain constant.
Read on for a list of 11 (actually, 12!) ways you can make your sales page convert better.
11 12 Reasons Your Sales Page Isn’t Converting… and What to Do About It
□ ONE: Do you have a compelling headline?
Your headline serves as the “welcome mat” to your page. Does yours say “Come on in!” or “Go Away!”? Make it compelling, clear, and disruptive. It needs to let people know they’re in the right place, and make them want to read more.
As Dave Navarro writes for Copy Blogger,
“If you don’t nail the headline (the single most important part of your sales letter), no one will stick around for the rest.”
In the example above from Scott Oldford, it’s super-clear what you’re getting and why you should read the rest of the page. And the down arrows keep you scrolling.
Speak to your customer’s pain points. Let them know you get their frustration, wants, or needs… and you have the answers!
□ TWO: Do you include an eye-catching image “above the fold?”
In newspaper talk, “the fold” is the place where the newspaper is folded when people read it (back when we used to read newspapers!). In our Internet world, “the fold” is what people can see without scrolling down further.
On a landing/opt-in page, I coach my clients to include a direct call to action (CTA) above the fold, but on a sales page, that’s usually not ideal as your visitor will need to experience more (of you and your product) before they’re ready to buy.
Just as newspapers put a can’t-miss photo in this area of prime real estate, you need a graphic or (preferably) a photo to grab attention.
Talk about grabbing attention! Here’s the above-the-fold image for Bushra Azhar. While not everyone’s style, this image is completely on-brand for Bushra’s in-your-face personality… and definitely leaves no room for wishy-washy.
While you don’t have to have as bold an image as Bushra does, you should have something to engage people and make them know they’re in the right spot (or not!). Particularly effective are photos of people — we naturally seek out other faces to connect with!
□ THREE: Do you tell a story?
The best way to create a structure and flow for your sales page that seamlessly conducts people from one section to the next is by telling a story. People respond emotionally to stories, and emotion is what you want to bring out with your sales page.
Writer Maria Popova says,
“…even the simplest narrative can elicit powerful empathic response by triggering the release of neurochemicals like cortisol and oxytocin.”
Research shows that stories also merge the left and right hemispheres of the brain, which make us more engaged, more likely to keep reading, and more likely to create a bond with the storyteller… all great pre-cursors for higher sales.
□ FOUR: Do you use proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar?
There’s a trend in these days of texting and auto-correct to say that punctuation and grammar are not necessary. I disagree – strongly! Yes, the rules of grammar have been loosened, but if your goal is to communicate clearly with your prospects, why would you ever do anything that would get in the way of them understanding your message – and ultimately clicking the “buy” button?
Not only does poor spelling and grammar make it harder for people to understand you, it also sends the message that you don’t care about the details. If you don’t care enough to proofread your work, where else are you cutting corners?
You don’t have to go back to English class, though. Pick up a good guide like Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and sleep with it next to your bed. It’ll do you more good than that copy of the Four-Hour Chef you’ve been trying to get through for the past three months.
□ FIVE: Do you break up your text with images and sections?
No one wants to read unending paragraphs of text – particularly on mobile devices, where half (or more) of your prospects are coming from. Divide your text with supporting images, headlines, bullet points, colored sections, and divider lines.
Even the dictionary includes columns, images, and bold and italic text treatments to break up the monotony. Surely you can be more interesting than Merriam-Webster!
□ SIX: Do you include testimonials?
The biggest fear people have about buying things online is that they’ll be ripped off. You can alleviate this barrier by adding solid testimonials, success stories, and case studies.
Make sure you use photos – or even better, video testimonials!
While you should never tell people what to say or fake testimonials, do give them some guidance.
Take a tip from the late-night infomercials and have people share — on video — their own stories of transformation. Ask them to talk about what was going on with them before they invested in your product or service, how it worked for them, and what the specific results were.
Above you can see the testimonials section for Brendon Burchard’s Experts Academy. He’s done an amazing job of soliciting seemingly honest, powerful testimonials from his course attendees. They seem all the more real because they’re “man on the street” style, not in a studio.
Internet marketer and entrepreneur Neil Patel advises,
“A good testimonial says something nice about you or your company, but a great one explains the benefits of your product or service. So, instead of just trying to get short testimonials that don’t contain much substance, try to get ones that contain facts and hard data.”
□ SEVEN: Do you promise a transformation?
People will buy your product or service because they trust you can get them from where they are now (pain) to where they want to be (pleasure).
Whether you’re offering a fitness program, bookkeeping services, relationship coaching, or no-smear mascara, people want to know what investing in your offering will do for them. Make it abundantly clear what they’ll achieve by working with you. Play up the “before” and “after.”
□ EIGHT: Do you cover the bases – but not go on too long?
The old-school long-form sales letter is dying. Instead, provide just enough information for people to trust you and understand your offering. Tell them a good, strong story – but cut all the “fluff.”
Remember, over half the traffic to your site is via mobile with small screens. Reading down-down-down a sales page that seems to go on forever is a recipe for someone saying, “I’ll read this later…”
But as we know, once we leave a page, the chances of us returning are slim. There are too many other calls for our attention — even if we have the best of intentions.
Instead, why not capture them immediately?
David Risley of Blog Marketing Academy says:
“People want transparency. People want to know you’re real. People want to know, like and trust you. If you do a good job with all of that, then you don’t need to use a big long sales letter and break their scroll wheel to sell them something.”
Risley says — and I agree — that if you don’t have a pre-existing relationship with your website visitors, your sales page may need to be longer to develop the necessary trust to lead to a buying decision.
The best advice is to think about where your traffic is coming from, and what they already know (and don’t know). (NOTE: if you have different traffic sources, send them to different sales pages! Don’t be lazy now.)
□ NINE: Do you make a clear call to action?
Ever have a conversation with someone where you know they want something from you, but you have no idea what it is? You get an uneasy feeling because you’re waiting for the “ask…” but it never comes!
Be upfront and clear about the next step your prospect or lead can take to achieve the transformation they desire.
Let your prospects know EXACTLY what to do next (“Click Here,” “Buy Now,” “Register for More”). And note that calls to action (CTAs) should be ACTIVE.
Look at this example from Tony Robbins… How much more “active” can you be? He’s definitely tapping into an emotion and getting his site visitors to see themselves in a certain light.
□ TEN: Do you introduce yourself?
You’ve likely heard that people will buy from those they know, like, and trust. They can’t know, like, or trust you without knowing who you are! Make sure you include a short “about me” section and tell readers why YOU are the one to lead them through the transformation they desire. And include a headshot!
This element is especially important if you are telling your own transformation story, or refer to “me” and “I” throughout your sales page. Let everyone know who YOU are!
This also helps with the “will they rip me off?” uncertainty mentioned above. The more they feel you are a “real, live person,” the more they’ll be willing to make that buying decision.
□ ELEVEN: Do you sell the “steak” or the “sizzle?”
A common mistake for businesses is to focus on the features of their product or service, rather than the benefits their clients or customers will receive. No one really cares that your membership program is developed on Drupal, Joomla, or WordPress: They just want to know, “Is it easy to use?”
Focus on the BENEFIT to the end-user, not on the bells and whistles.
If you’re having trouble distinguishing between the two, use this exercise from Enchanting Marketing. Make a list of the features of your product or service (on-demand, comes in 6 colors, easy to install) and then ask yourself, “So that…?” about each one. (EM actually asks, “So what?” but I like, “So that” better as it gets at the real benefit behind the feature.)
So you might say:
“The service is on-demand SO THAT you can tune in at your convenience.”
“The unit comes in six colors SO THAT it blends with your car’s interior for a low profile.”
“The software is easy to install SO THAT you don’t have to spend time or money for an engineer.”
See how much better the resulting list of benefits is? (If you need help with this step, let me know. I love doing this exercise!)
□ BONUS! TWELVE: Do you infuse your personality on the page?
If you are a solopreneur or a small business owner, your business’s personality is a subset of YOUR personality. Make sure you share your passion, your loves, your uniqueness through your copy. Don’t try to be “corporate” or sound “professional” (unless, of course, you ARE “corporate” and “professional…” in which case I’ve probably already offended you seven ways to Sunday!)
Instead, sound like YOU, not your bank.
From your headshot, to your call to action, to the fonts and colors you use — don’t create a “safe” sales page that blends in… stand out so your target market knows immediately that you are speaking to them.
Kimra Luna is a seven-figure online marketer who has blasted her way to success by letting her punk rock personality shine. She stands out immediately in an industry that is known for copying the “gurus.”
You do NOT have to water yourself down for the masses. The beauty of the internet is that you can easily reach what Kevin Kelly calls your 1000 true fans, with proper targeting.
Here’s the bottom line: A lot of sales copy is dependent.
“It depends…” on your market.
“It depends…” on your style and brand.
“It depends…” on what you’re selling.
“It depends…” on the trends of the day.
BUT… there are some tried-and-true rules that will, trend-in and trend-out, help your copy convert better, regardless of what industry, brand, market, or year we’re in.
My suggestion: Download the free copy-conversion checklist I’ve created that will give you a walkthrough of these 11 (12!) elements. Print it out, and have it next to your little hands while you review your sales page. See which ones you’re already doing, and which ones you could improve upon (and trust me, we can ALL improve!).
Then change just a few things (if you’re the nervous nellie type) or the whole shebang if you’re bold and ready to make some serious improvements.
Let me know if you’d like me to take a quick look and give you my feedback (just leave a comment below).
I live to serve! (And for Mexican food. But that’s another story.)
Download a PDF checklist of these 11 (12!) steps so you can make your sales page convert like a beast!