Ian Lauder, head of ProposalKit.com, wanted to market his $197 kits to small Web design firms in the US, Canada and the UK. That's a huge marketplace with tens or even hundreds of thousands of firms. But he didn't have a huge budget.
After researching guerilla online marketing tactics, he decided to launch an affiliate program. Content Web sites and newsletters targeted at designers can join the program and use their unsold ad space to market ProposalKit in exchange for a 25% cut of the sales. Almost 400 affiliates joined the program, including the SitePoint.com which tens of thousands of Web designers surf for news every month.
Lauder started to get several hundred sales a month, but he wanted to rev sales higher. What could he do without raising marketing costs?
After reading several articles about the importance of landing page design for conversion rates, Lauder contacted a friend who was an eretail marketing expert. She took one look at his landing page (the Web page that affiliates direct potential buyers to) and emailed back, "Ouch!"
Lauder was pretty proud of the page -- he'd worked hard on making it easy to read with lots of white space, and on adding in graphics such as stars to pep it up. But he agreed to test some revisions. Because he was 3,000 miles away from his marketing expert, they used three types of communication to keep everything utterly clear -- faxed drawings, detailed emailed instructions and phone calls. Revisions took about a week, and involved lots of tweaking that might try the patience of a less even-tempered webmaster. Key changes included:
1. Shortening the landing page's length Lauder's original heavy use of white space, and large typeface may have been easy to read, but it required a lot of scrolling. The page printed out to a hefty seven-pages long. Now it prints out to just two pages, but contains the same amount of key information.
2. Removing excess navigation buttons When you drive traffic to a landing page, you probably have a certain action you'd like visitors to take. If you allow other actions -- such as other options on your navigation bar -- you diffuse visitors' attention, and can lose sales.
Lauder was hesitant to remove his navigation bar at first, but reasoned that he could always put it back again if the test failed.
3. Reorganizing the Sales Copy The original landing page's copy was very strong. Plus, Lauder had great testimonials, including a ZDNet review. However visitors had to click to a second page to get a complete list of product features, while its benefits weren't in any particular order.
Lauder reorganized the copy onto a single page, with the features and benefits that buyers liked the most right at the very top above the fold. Then he moved the testimonials and ZDNet Review, which had been scattered throughout, to one easy-to-skim column at the left.
Last but not least, he punched up the wording of his guarantee headline. About 80% of site visitors will read the headline of a guarantee but not the actual body copy. By changing his headline from "Our Guarantee" to "100% Money-Back Guarantee" he was able to better capture their attention. He also added the same words directly under his "order now" button to entice hesitant shoppers.
After testing the new layout for just three weeks, Lauder's sales conversions rose by more than 50%. So, although the same number of visitors came to his site, 50% more of them ended up buying a $197 kit.
He grabbed the opportunity to rev up affiliates' sales efforts by sending them an email saying:
"We have updated your affiliate pages with a new layout and design. After testing this new layout for the last few weeks our sales are up over 50% and many affiliates are seeing more sales as a result. All of your affiliate links are now using the new layout. This would be a great time to send out new plugs for ProposalKit to your e-zines and mailing lists."
He also plans to continue tweaking his landing page to improve sales further.
Plus, want to learn more about improving online sales conversion rates? We recommend this useful Web site which includes "green" papers and a free newsletter on the topic. http://www.futurenowinc.com
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