These guys test the hell out of landing pages and they are masters of online sales conversion

We call them affiliate marketers, infopreneurs or online goo-roos. They push health care products, supplements, exercise tapes, and get-rich-quick schemes. At their best they are sophisticated landing page optimizers and savvy search engine technicians. At their worst they are spammers, forum trolls and comment leeches. These are the “bad boys” of online sales conversion (and they’re not all boys).

While many of us wouldn’t want to associate the hard-hitting big-promise experience with our brands, there is much to learn from these pages, and I tackled the task of cataloging some of the best techniques in my short presentation for the Uber Advanced PPC Panel at PubCon South in Dallas.

Affiliate Marketers Conversion Tips to Improve Online Sales Conversion

If you’re in the uber advanced PPC session, I am assuming you have the basics of conversion wired.

Your ads are driving people to landing pages and not the home page. The words in the heading on the landing pages match the words you used in your ads and you are doing perhaps some sort of testing to find that combination of things that works best.

When you increase your conversion rates, it makes your PPC math work better. If you can double your conversion rate from one to two percent, you have fewer acquisition costs so you can plow that money back into your bids or just reduce your spend because it doesn’t cost you as much to get a customer or lead.

So, if you are doing those things, I thought we would look at some more advanced things.

We call them affiliate marketers, infopreneurs. Some of them give the industry a bad name. But one thing is for sure, these guys test the hell out of their pages. So I thought we would look at some of their pages and review some of these affiliate marketers conversion tips.

I call them the bad boys of conversion.

Overcome your fear of long-form copy: Squeeze pages

This is a gentleman named Perry Belcher. He was indicted for selling health supplements that were ineffective to elderly people. Or at least that’s the way the DEA spun it. He received a 10 year probation, six months banned from the Internet. Shortly thereafter, he had like fifty thousand Twitter followers. This guy knows how to build an audience.

And these are the guys that get the bad reputation. But I’ve had the chance to meet Perry. He actually lives in Austin and he tests the heck out of his pages.
Let’s look at his sales page or squeeze page.

We associate these pages with spam because there are people out there using spam to drive traffic to these pages. Most of these information marketers actually build very qualified lists, and that’s why they get conversion rates as high as 70 percent on these pages.

But these are all squeeze pages. They’re called squeeze pages because they are designed to get an email address, they are designed to build their lists.

Understand the incredible importance of the headline

This particular page is from a gentleman named Ben Settle. He’s a copywriter and teaches people how to create copy on landing pages that convert well. This was 20,000 pixel high. And this is kind of the rule.

What can we learn from them, though?

Number one, the hard hitting headline in red and centered. This may not work for our clients brand, but a hard hitting, active headline is a great way to get people engaged in the page.

If we have soft headlines, they won’t read the rest of the text. The job of the headline is to get them to read that first paragraph, and then your copy can carry them along. Be clearly relevant.

And in the case of pay per click, make sure that your headline is relevant to the ad they clicked on. You want to keep your promise.

A study of four diets reveals the key to weight loss success isn’t the diet, but how closely you follow it.

Properly bolding, highlighting can boost your online sales conversion rates

This is for hypnosis products. And this is what I’m seeing a lot. The alternating bold, not bold bulleted lists being used all over the place by people who know how to convert.

The key here is to help your reader through the copy so you don’t have to necessarily use the alternating bold list. But using subheads frequently down the page allows the scanner to get into your message and pick the parts of the page that they’re particularly interested in and increases your conversion.

Check out this article for the 8 elements of a high converting squeeze page.

From the Master of Direct Mail Sales Conversion: The Johnson box

Frank Johnson, was the creator of the Johnson box. He also created the 3 page direct mail letter.

You’ve got the cut out, the coupon style look.

I’m an Aggie, which is Texas version of Polack, and I’ve actually tried to cut them out of my screen before. It isn’t pretty.

The take away here is that we want designers to make us look cool and unique from a conversion standpoint. The designer has to be good at getting the eye to our primary messages.

And inside the Johnson box, you put an important copy point. That’s where you put your offers because it is just tested and tested to continue to pull the eye. How can this be effective? It continues to work.

Explore the magic of testimonials

Testimonials will work in almost any industry. There is a science to the testimonials. The pictures will significantly increase the value of the testimonials, especially since we’re all looking for avatars in our social media.

Use testimonials. Testimonials work. Add them to your landing pages.

The guarantee or risk reversal

Zappos has this amazing guarantee. “Return the shoes at any time in a year and we’ll pay shipping both ways.”

They make it easy for you to buy four or five different sizes of the same shoe, keep the one you want and ship all the others back.

Risk reversal. Have a guarantee or a promise that removes the risk from the person taking action.

We respect your privacy is an example of risk reversal and lead generation. That tells me, “oh, the risk is lower because these guys have a privacy policy and they’re not going to spam me or sell my name to somebody else”.

One of the most tested calls to action on the Internet: The Belcher button

Or the buy button. This is the Belcher button. He claims that this has been tested through five million or more impressions and this is the control that continues to work.

Test your buttons and your call to action to increase online sales conversion rates.

Test your buttons and your call to action to increase online sales conversion rates.

So, you’ve got the price crossed out, new price, add to cart this color specifically, that particular shade, the credit card icons have to be there. And you also have to have the link below the button.

This is actually a full image, but people recognize the underlying as a link. So they know that there’s something to click there, whereas they might not recognize the button.

So, test your buttons and your call to action and you might consider starting with this design. Notice it’s in a Johnson box.

Boost your Online Sales Conversion with Lead Generation

If you’re selling something, you might consider putting something early on, something that will generate a lead. If they’re not going to buy, you might as well go ahead and get the lead.

Now, the downside of that is they fill out their information as a lead could actually reduce your buy conversions. Make use of pop overs, literally putting a box, something that has a higher contrast, that will draw the eye. And incidentally, there has to be some sort of an offer there. So you want to deliver something white paper, promise of a newsletter. There has to be something of value in that.

Capturing abandons

So they come, they don’t take action and they’ve decided to go away. Can we get another shot at them? If they try to close or navigate away from the page, they get an on exit intent message. Ask them once again, are you sure you want to leave? And you have to use these according to how easily irritated your audience is.

The abandoned cart email

If you can capture the information about the person when they clicked add to cart, if you require an email address, you can then use that email to get another chance at them.

“Hey, we saw that you left your card empty.” You can sweeten the deal with a discount. Very, very effective. A great way to get more out of the traffic that you’re driving to your site with pay per click.

Leverage Ad Retargeting on your Paid Campaign

Surfers are five to 80 times more likely to click on an ad after they’ve been to the site.

For each visitor that clicks on the ad, five to ten will come back through search or type your brand name in or your domain name in, within an hour of seeing that ad.

So this stuff can be very, very powerful. Again, you’re taking your investment in PPC and you are just making sure that that visitor has every opportunity to buy your product because it’s in their best interest.

So real quickly, the takeaways from this. Don’t be afraid of long copy and storytelling, great copywriters do an amazing job of this stuff on these long pages.

Consider asking for contact info even when if you want the sale. Pop overs might be something you want to try.

Consider offers for information as well as promotional ads. So just like the newsletter that you’re starting to get a lead, consider doing that instead of just asking them to buy the product.

Use design to draw the eye to your offers. Our friend the Johnson box is an example.

Every communication is a test. And these guys got good at this because they tested. Everything you send out should be a test, at least measure it. And if you can, try doing two versions of it. And I’m talking about emails, web pages and ads.

Don’t sell products that don’t work or you’re going to end up like this guy. And as I was doing some research on Perry, I came to this law resource. And what did I get? I got a pop up.

Don’t be fooled by the panel name. Christine Churchill, David Szetela and Wister Walcott dove deep into PPC topics. My angle was that improving conversion rates means more to spend on PPC.

Listen for yourself.

Enjoy the full audio right here.

Either way, I promise you will immediately find some new things to test on your pages.

Subscribe to The Conversion Sciences Podcast

Brian Massey
12 replies
  1. Ryan Healy says:

    Great presentation, Brian. Some of the best stuff is right at the end (re-targeting). I’m going to read your article on ClickZ.
    A couple things I thought of while I watched:
    1. Most of the “bad boys” measure results (conversion rates, acquisition cost, etc), but very few actually go to the trouble of split-testing. I know this firsthand. One guy I know will write and rewrite his sales letters, but never split-test. Hasn’t stopped him from making a few million in a couple years though.
    2. I decided to split-test the Belcher Button. In one case, it beat a different order button used by another Internet marketer. But when I tested the Belcher Button against a plain blue underlined link, the link won. So it’s a good button, but definitely test it. It only took me two tries to beat it.
    Ryan

    Reply
  2. Ryan Healy says:

    Great presentation, Brian. Some of the best stuff is right at the end (re-targeting). I’m going to read your article on ClickZ.
    A couple things I thought of while I watched:
    1. Most of the “bad boys” measure results (conversion rates, acquisition cost, etc), but very few actually go to the trouble of split-testing. I know this firsthand. One guy I know will write and rewrite his sales letters, but never split-test. Hasn’t stopped him from making a few million in a couple years though.
    2. I decided to split-test the Belcher Button. In one case, it beat a different order button used by another Internet marketer. But when I tested the Belcher Button against a plain blue underlined link, the link won. So it’s a good button, but definitely test it. It only took me two tries to beat it.
    Ryan

    Reply
  3. Oli Gardner says:

    Great breakdown of the anatomy of a sale letter landing page Brian. I really appreciated the insight into *why* each of the elements is used.
    The pop-over point is one that still sits funny with me. I believe in their effectiveness – but I’m torn about the brand impact of stooping to that level.
    I guess at the end of the day it depends on how long your customers are going to be in your brandsphere. If it’s a one time purchase or lead-gen experience then I suppose you have very little to lose. But seeing respected brands trying it is surprising. Feels like a step back a few years to the popup days. I wonder how long until these are seen as too harmful.
    Thanks again.

    Reply
  4. Oli Gardner says:

    Great breakdown of the anatomy of a sale letter landing page Brian. I really appreciated the insight into *why* each of the elements is used.
    The pop-over point is one that still sits funny with me. I believe in their effectiveness – but I’m torn about the brand impact of stooping to that level.
    I guess at the end of the day it depends on how long your customers are going to be in your brandsphere. If it’s a one time purchase or lead-gen experience then I suppose you have very little to lose. But seeing respected brands trying it is surprising. Feels like a step back a few years to the popup days. I wonder how long until these are seen as too harmful.
    Thanks again.

    Reply
  5. Naomi Niles says:

    I just wanted to add a quick note to say I loved this. And, I’m happy that I’m not the only one who’s been studying these sales and squeeze pages even though they make my eyes bleed!

    Reply
  6. Karen says:

    Fantastic information here. This is exactly what I was looking for. The challenge is balancing what works with what’s on brand. Thanks Brian!

    Reply
  7. Krista Goon says:

    Thanks. Enjoyed your presentation. Short, useful and engaging. Will be following you on Twitter. Great stuff!

    Reply

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