An abundance of testing and analytics services now makes it all too easy to test everything about your marketing, yet lose sight sight of the fundamentals?
- The things that will make the most difference?
The offer you make to your prospective customers is the one thing that will make or break your campaign.
In this article
- Why testing can be misleading
- Are you making an offer they can easily refuse?
- Why love is not enough
- 8 tips on how to create an irresistible offer
- How to tell if you have a winning offer
Is Too Much Testing Misleading You?
Stephen Covey told us all to focus on the big rocks first. That is put the big things that will make the biggest difference in place first.
Unfortunately in our present data obsessed world, it’s all too easy to start majoring in minors, filling our time up with small, urgent but non critical tasks.
The daily data deluge can drown us in details while starving us of the main meal.
This is especially true for landing page and conversion rate optimisation.
There’s a wealth of advice out there on how various companies have changed colours and layouts and gained significant increases in business. What's often missed is the thousands of tests they've done beforehand to get there.
The variety of inexpensive testing solutions now available makes it easy for anyone to start testing. Unfortunately most of the popular tools are pretty blunt instruments.
Choosing between two different coloured buttons, or deciding where to place the enquiry form or graphical elements on a page is an easy concept for anyone to understand.
So rearranging the way a page looks becomes an easy marketing activity to do. And unfortunately it becomes an activity that takes the place of productivity.
To get back to the main course you need to focus on one thing:
What's Your Offer?
To attract the buyers and not the tyre kickers, you need to make the right kind of offer first.
And your offer starts with your headline.
The purpose of a headline is to pick out people you can interest. You care only for those people.
Create a headline that will hail those people only. - Claude C Hopkins
In fact 80% of your result will come from your headline offer.
- Your offer is the meat, everything else is just gravy.
Unless you’ve crafted a compelling headline with an irresistible offer, then testing the visual elements of a campaign such as layout, colours, images, graphic design, the speed of your site etc will have limited benefit.
It’s not that these other elements won’t make a difference; it’s just that they will make an even bigger difference if the fundamental offer has been worked out first.
All of the great copywriters and ad men have repeatedly stressed the importance of spending most of your time working on your headline.
Even today's online marketing, SEO, social media and blogging experts say the same thing - Write headlines that get people interested in reading more.
Unfortunately today it’s all too easy to get carried away with testing the minor elements.
Testing what colour your Add to Cart or Enquiry button are on your Landing Pages is only going to make a difference if your marketing attracts the right kind of prospect in the first place.
Otherwise you can end up optimising for people who aren't buyers or your ideal customers.
For example the word "Free" is a well known way to attract more people.
It's easy to do but you end up attracting people who want something for nothing and aren't prepared to pay you.
Are You Making An Offer They Can Easily Refuse?
As I said, your offer starts with your headline, and then you must build on it by creating an irresistible offer.
Yet doing so is notoriously hard. Just look at how much cringe worthy advertising is out there.
A great offer must answer two questions:
“If I am your ideal customer why should I buy from you and not from any of your competitors?”
And the customer’s ultimate question: “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
If you ask most businesses these questions, they will say something like: "We’re the best at what we do and we offer a quality product and value for money".
To which the prospect will inevitably respond: “So what?”
Unless you've told them exactly what you'll do for them, they aren't interested.
Why They Reject Your Offer
Saying you’re the Best Doesn’t Cut it
As I’ve said in another post, saying you’re the best just makes you sound like everybody else. And so that’s exactly how your prospect labels you: Just another hustler.
Quality and Value for Money are Just Entry Money
These days, that’s what all customers expect. It’s taken for granted that that’s what you’ll provide, and heaven help you if you don’t.
Love is Not Enough
Many companies are so in love with their product, that they can’t understand why nobody else can see their brilliance and not be as equally in love.
This attitude is especially prevalent in start-ups and tech companies. Their marketing usually boils down to: “Just pay me” or “Pay me ‘cos I’m brilliant.”
Cue sound of chirping cicadas.
Such marketing is too easy for your prospects to ignore, which they do. If you want them to pay attention to you, you have to do some work.
How to Craft an Irresistible Offer
How to make them pick you over your competitors.
Coming up with a compelling offer is hard work. It requires you to think about your customers and what your product is going to do for them.
How is it going to make their life better? What real problem does it solve? What problem keeps your customers awake at night?
You must come up with specific answers to these questions so that your customers choose you over everybody else.
Ultimately you’re probably going to need professional help to develop your offer, especially if you’re in a competitive market, but below are some tips to get you started.
8 Tips for Crafting Better Offers
When creating any form of marketing offer, whether it be a landing page or emails, brochures, offline ads, there are eight key things you should address first.
Main Benefit First
Starting with your headline, it should state the biggest benefit that a customer will get from working with you. In order to get their attention it must also offer some sort of reward for reading the rest of your ad, blog post, email etc.
Then expand on the benefit. Fill it out and then state the next most important benefits.
Use the customers' language. Don't try and be clever, just tell them what they'll get, how they'll benefit.
Try to get them nodding as they read. Imagine them mentally saying: "Yes this is what I want."
Tell them exactly what your product will do for them. Give details of what it’s done for existing customers. Give them useful details and information.
Make it intriguing and believable enough to keep them reading.
And above all avoid negativity, it just confuses your customers. If they have to think too hard about what you really mean, well they won't - think.
Give a demonstration or an example such as a video, case study or free trial.
Provide testimonials and certifications.
Emphasize What They’ll Miss Out on
Tell them what will happen if they don’t use your service. The fear of loss is often greater than the desire for gain.
You must appeal to their self interest. Tell them what they will gain or lose because of their choice.
Repeat Their Benefit
Repeat your offer, that is the main benefit they will get from working with you at least three times.
Trigger those emotional responses a prospect already has about the problem your solving.
Demonstrate how these benefits are unique to your service and nobody else's.
Ask Them to Take Action Now
You must create urgency. Get them to act now. Once they leave your page or store, they are unlikely to come back and seal the deal. Even with the best of intentions, life is too busy and other stuff will simply drown out your message afterwards.
You must ask for the sale/ deal/ enquiry.
Make it Easy for Them to Act.
If you put obstacles in their path or make it difficult for them to do business with you, well then guess what: They won’t. Look at your buyer’s journey and remove anything that creates friction for the customer.
Offer a Relevant Incentive
That is, sweeten the deal. Make it so compelling that it seems like they would be mad not to do business with you. Offer a free trial, a money back guarantee or a bonus product.
How to Test if You’ve Got it Right
The pub is your best marketing research lab.
Go to the pub or your next social outing and try your offer out on a few people.
If they say, “That sounds nice or good”, then you know it’s failed.
If they say: “Where can I get some of that?” then you know you’re on to a winner.
Another way to test your message is with online advertising.
Channels such as Google Adwords and Facebook ads give you an inexpensive way to see what sort of messages your prospective customers really respond to.
Have a look at the online ads run by your competitors. See if any of them really make you want to click them: Probably not. This is your opportunity to gain an advantage over your competitors.
See if you can create something better, test it and see what you get. Then you'll know what really works, or not.
What You've Just Learned
If you really want to improve your enquiry rate or response rates, then you need to start working on the offer first.
Once you’ve got all of the above parts of your offer worked out and fine-tuned, only then can you start looking at things like button colour and element placement.