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Sep 16, 2004
Blog Post

Inspiring Online Marketing Turnaround Tale from Texas

SUMMARY: No summary available.
Like many marketers working for venerable brick and mortars, Shane McGlaun had to pitch long and hard to get his boss at Tyler Texas' Goods Pharmacy to let him experiment online.

After three years' persistence, Shane got the go-ahead to launch an entirely new site to try to take the 68-year old pharmacy nationwide online. The new business, launched this January.

30 days later, Shane had to report "miserable failure." The site had only made one single sale despite receiving thousands of visitors from SEO and paid search efforts.

"We had an attractive site, but it just couldn't sell anything. Visitors didn't go any further than the page they landed on, and most pageviews didn't last but a second."

Instead of giving up, Shane analyzed the data, pitched his boss for a bit more time and budget, got help from expert Steve Jackson at, and worked long hours for two months to launch an entirely revamped site. "The color scheme is the only thing we kept."

Now he's getting a .8% conversion rate from visitor to sale. And, as he puts it, the battle is only started. I bet he'll hit 2% before the end of this year. What helped?

-> Promoting the phone number more prominently.

"Probably half the orders call and ask a lot of questions. They want to make sure what they are buying is going to work for their loved one, and that they are reading the information correctly. They don't believe the price and description, so they call to verify. It's been an eye opener."

-> Highlighting key words and adding white space in heavy copy areas. You need detailed text to explain many of the products properly, and Shane wants to make sure folks who don't read everything can get to the important parts.

-> Retooling product descriptions so they describe benefits, rather than relying entirely on the manufacturers' feature-focused descriptions.

Example: "Instead of just saying 'It weighs four ounces', now we add, 'and you can carry it in your diaper bag quite easily.' That makes more sense to moms."

Shane also discovered that by adding a question box asking "What is your top concern?" to his newsletter sign-up form, lots of visitors would submit ideas. "You'd be amazed at what people will put in that blank -- some their life stories."

The results have helped him create a newsletter that readers find truly compelling. (Great idea - we may test that ourselves!) Shane's a personal inspiration to me because he didn't give up when things looked bad, and he didn't blame the medium. I figured you might find him inspiring too....
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