- Convert

How to optimize a sales page for most conversions

If you think that your brand has to be the best at everything you do to attract and retain customers you couldn’t be more wrong.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed. You see competitors who have a broader selection, who ship to many more countries than you do, who offer unthinkable features and who have a better website design and feel there’s nothing you could do to outcompete them.

The truth is you need to excel at just a few things.

People don’t visit McDonald’s because they offer gourmet food, Italian truffles, and gold dust covered ice creams. They do so because these stores are familiar, they’re affordable and customers more or less know exactly what they will be getting.

Familiarity and affordability inform the core of their marketing strategy and drives hordes of customers to them every day.


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If McDonald’s aspired to be a gourmet store— nobody would believe them. They’d die a quick death.

Amazon didn’t establish itself as the most sought-after online eCommerce portal by having the widest product selection or best customer support or even the best prices. They outshone competitors by offering the quickest possible shipping which was further either deeply discounted or free.

Then they built on these strengths.

And that’s the moral of the story. Most successful brands know what they excel at, stick to it and build on it.

On the other hand, most yet-to-be-successful companies fill their sales page with hard to understand jargon, promises, and placeholder text that offer little to no value.

They have features that make them better than any competitor but they won’t think of including them in their sales page.

Your website has to clearly tell visitors what’s your product’s defining feature to make an impression. No one’s going to spend trying to figure it out on their own.

The single most important feature that could make or break your sales process is your value proposition. A clear value proposition followed by interesting content regarding the product is what push sales up.

Let’s start with the value proposition

Present your Value Proposition in the best possible way

Research from the ConversionXL team found the following insights on value propositions:

  • Visitors noticed the value proposition quicker if it had more text. That means if you’re relying entirely on video to make your statement it’ll lower conversions. A video should act as a supplement to data on the page and not the sole information delivering agency.
  • Visitors spent the most time on the value proposition than other text that was on the page.
  • Visitors also recalled more services offered when more services were listed.
  • When more features and benefits were available to read about they recalled more of them.
  • Visitors also preferred information in bulleted lists.

[attention-lead-magnet] Before You Design, Before You Build, Before You Spend… Design Sprint [/attention-lead-magnet]

Let’s understand proper placement with the help of an example.

Down & Feather Company’s value proposition

Let’s look at the case of Down and Feather company.

Many businesses don’t help people see what sets them apart from competitors.

They don’t offer anything on their sales pages to prove they’re better than others even though they could.

You can find more details about the case study at MarketingExperiments. The website was submitted for review to experts at MarketingExperiments.

If you look at the homepage below it’s hard to discern the value proposition from the cloud of text on the site.

The Original Homepage

At the time this is what the value proposition read as:

“We don’t harm the birds to acquire the down and we allow our customers the ability to have their pillow firmness adjusted for one year from the date of purchase for FREE. No one else in the industry provides such service. Pillows are very personal and difficult enough to select at a big box retailer much less over the Internet sight unseen. Quite simply the finest down bedding in the world.”

The actual point that they were trying to convey was buried within a complicated sentence that attempted at saying everything and resulted in saying nothing.

The long, complex sentence ultimately drove away most visitors into skipping that bit. Consequently, visitors didn’t have much idea what the site did.

Have a look at the homepage that was redesigned after gathering feedback from experts.

The Redesigned Homepage

What changed?

  • The real value proposition was now expressed in a single coherent sentence— Uncompromising Quality Made to order Luxury Down Bedding.

  • The secondary value proposition that of 30-day refund guarantee and free pillow replacement for a period of up to 1 year from the date of purchase were placed further down.

The important lesson here is to remember to add lucidity to your offer.

An offer that nobody can understand is the worst offer in the world.

Instead focus on creating an offer that displays the value proposition in the simplest possible language, in a clear and concise manner.

But the sales page doesn’t begin or end with a fixed value proposition. It has to morph in accordance with customer tastes and perception.

The Value Proposition has to keep up with the times

Let’s consider another example, by comparing and contrasting the homepages of RackSpace between 2012 and 2018.

Rackspace in 2012:

On their homepage, the fact that the company makes good on their promise of customer support is peppered throughout.

Back then RackSpace wanted to hone in the idea that a customer of the company wouldn’t be left hanging.

And they did it by mentioning about their fanatical support everywhere. The homepage, most product pages and so on.

Come 2018, the messaging has undergone a seismic shift.

Now it goes as— “Certified to manage world’s leading clouds

Because one size doesn’t fit all.”

Rackspace then mentions and positions itself as a company that was born along with— the Cloud— and as such knows the ins and outs of the technology better than anyone else.

The rest of the copy is peppered with facts and figures

Citing the number of engineers they have, their experience with VM and so on and so forth.

This gives us some key things to mull over.

Why did the message change?

In 2018 almost every brand is fanatical about customer support. A customer paying $100 or more on managed cloud expects great customer support and all web hosts take great care to be at the beck and call of the customer.

There’s a passing mention of fanatical support. So it’s still essential but no longer can stand on its own. A company that offers nothing but excellent support is less than desirable.

Rackspace seems to have understood the flow of sentiments and changed its message accordingly.

What’s your brand’s present message? Has it evolved with time or stood constant? Find yours and make sure it’s relevant.

The headline is very clear on what they’re offering. Their claim is supplemented with facts and figures. The key benefits and features are mentioned.

Now that we have value proposition out of the way let’s focus on the rest of the sales page.

Tell a descriptive story

In the 1920s a beer company the called Schlitz Brewing Co. US hired world-renowned copywriter Claude C Hopkins to modify their copy. Primarily because if declining sales. The first thing he did was tour the factory —learning and absorbing everything about the beer making process. He didn’t sit home with just a mere idea of brewing beer but also went hunting for more intricate details include how the water was processed and filtered. When most beer companies boasted about the fine quality of beer they had Claude wrote about the water filtering process and told visitors why the water wasn’t pure but how it was made pure. This single tenet of information catapulted them from the fifth spot to the number 1 spot.

Other brands just mentioned in passing that their water was pure. Schlitz went into painstaking details on the purification and filtration systems, one specific feature being how water was sourced from a 50 feet underground well.

When Claude asked Hopkins the owner of the brand asked why the water purification process was never mentioned he replied by saying that nearly all brands use somewhat the same procedure.

But no one ever told the story.

And that’s where Claude scored with the new copy.

Consider one more example, the creators of Zady— the ethical clothing brand made sure that each of their products came with a rich product description that detailed their cotton sourcing practices and manufacturing ethics.

This was much appreciated by its customers who were big fans of ethically sourced clothing and helped the company quickly capture market share.

Here are a few concise tips on telling a story that would convert well.

A good story taps into two most powerful emotional elements.

  1. Pleasure
  2. Pain

Identify emotions that people resonate with and amplify those emotions on your sales page

And here’s why it works.

People never buy because of reasons to support their purchase. Rationalization comes later. People buy with their emotions.

Honing in on Pleasure

The creators of iPhone are selling an experience. The device itself is secondary.

It’s pretty evident from the introductory copy of their latest model X.

Summarizing the same— The iPhone X is a device that’s so immersive that the device itself merges into the background. There are no buttons on it. It’s an entire screen through and through.

On the sales page the most important ideas are broken down into short, readable sentences that convey everything essential. This is supplemented with rich graphics that make owning the phone a pleasurable experience.

They have further used technical details to portray features and make them memorable.

For instance, Apple talks about the facial recognition feature, something that’s available on most phones in that price range as if it’s something they invented.

They go into the details of how the phone maps your face using 3000 depth points to get an accurate portrayal and use the same to unlock the phone.

They use such visual storytelling to convey deeper meaning and message and turning iPhone into a desirable object.

The next sentiment is pain.

Honing in on Pain

People are risk averse and try to avoid losses at all times.

That’s why you need to overcome objections in the sales page

Objections and pain points have to be addressed in order to make a sale. It’s simply never enough to extol the virtues of your product.

Reassuring customers is key to making sales.

For instance, a potential objection could be if the back of the phone would get easily scratched. This is addressed in the copy below.

The copy says that the back is made of steel that’s the same quality of a surgeon’s knife. You immediately envision surgeons tearing up the skin and imagine the precision and toughness required for that scale of metal which is used in iPhones and is assured that the back would be resistant to wear and tear.

The same holds true for another technical detail— their glass.

But how do you know the objections that customers harbor?

By asking them and learning from their feedback.

You could use a feedback gathering tool like Qualaroo to learn what customers think about your product and then address those concerns.

Ask them questions like:

  1. Thoughts about the product
  2. Fears
  3. Suggestions

Compare and Contrast

Finally, to give a bird’s eye-view of what’s different in this model there’s also an option to see the differences between iPhone X and other models.

Given Apple’s rabid fan base who will throw out their existing phone when the next one comes out Apple doesn’t really need to stack up points on what makes the newest model any different.

Despite all that, Apple doesn’t skimp on comparing past products and following up on improvements.

Clicking on that option takes you to a page comparing model X with iPhone 8 and 8+.

Here you get to see the different features that model X has compared to the older 5.

The retina display is much bigger than what was in either iPhone 8 or iPhone 8+ giving more pixels for users to watch their favorite games and shows.

Recognition is now no longer done on fingerprint sensors. The model X is miles ahead in that respect with facial recognition.

Such comparisons are essential to help the customer understand why and how they’re getting a better deal.

If you lack variants then take to comparing what competitors don’t have and what you have and what makes you different.

Most chart features showing which features competitors have and which they don’t.

For example, look at this one below:

Concluding thoughts

Your sales page should begin with a value proposition that spells out benefits

Ditch long sentences for shorter sentences that convey meaning yet are quicker to process. In simple words say what you want to say and shut up.

If it’s a long sales page add a call to action buttons multiple times throughout the copy.

Why?

Reading your sales page copy visitors are quick to lose attention to whatever it is you’re saying and therefore it is seminal to add your CTA buttons more than once.

A great value proposition and a sales copy that’s based on customer feedback are the best things you could do for improving sales.

Do let us know what you think in the comments below.


George has been blogging about technology, digital marketing, cryptocurrency and a myriad number of topics since the past 8 years. Check his most recent work.

How to optimize a sales page for most conversions

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