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A tale of the low-converting sales page (and how to turn yours into a money magnet)

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So here’s how it usually goes:

An awesome idea strikes you in the dead of night. 3:37am to be exact.

You jolt upright in your bed and Dean (your great dane) jolts up with you. Ready to old-man bark at his own shadow, until he hears you, practically screaming…

“OMG. I’m going to sell THIS thing, Dean. THIS is the best idea I’ve ever had to sell a thing!”

Dean walks over to you – feelin’ cute – and cocks his head to the side how “feelin’ cute” ass dogs tend to do.

“Oh, what is it, you ask? A live online masterclass on how to make Gourmet Avocado Honey!”

Okay. Pause.

Maybe you’re not a white woman in Venice Beach who’s lucky enough to share a studio apartment with Dean the Dane, but you get the point:

You have an idea and you love it.

Dean shrugs off to his water bowl, unimpressed.

Wondering if Dean’s lackluster response is a sign from the universe, you immediately start doing your routine “market research” to validate this product idea.

By market research, I mean you:

  • Tell yourself you’ve been building up this audience online for over 2 years now and – while your other recipe masterclasses have been hit or miss – you KNOW they’ll love this one because now you KNOW your audience.
  • You remember a couple of people asking you about your secret Avocado Honey recipe – obviously they’d be willing to pay for it.
  • If a couple of people will pay for it a million people will, right? I mean that’s definitely not how it went the first time but this time is different. This is the Beyonce of honeys, ok?
  • Just to make sure, you post the following question on Facebook: “If I did an online masterclass on how to make your own gourmet avocado honey, would you buy it?”
  • 7 responses in your Facebook Group of about 10,000 people. That’s just Facebook being shitty about reach right? You’re guessing that only like 10 people saw that post to begin with which means…
  • 70% validated! SOLD! Time to start building!
  • *Makes note to self to strategize growing reach in Facebook Group*

You get to work.

“Okay, I need a membership area so they can watch the replay if they don’t catch it live, and I want to give them a PDF version of the recipe, and…and…and…”

And, finally, it’s time to write the Sales Page.

No big deal. You took that copywriting class from that one guy that one time and killed it. And you write all of your own social media content and usually get a ton of engagement on those and your live streams.

You’ve totally got this.

So you dig back into the archives of your memory to pull up what feels like some juicy tidbits from past conversations.

“Linda asked me if it’s organic, and…Derick asked me what the best place is to source avocados…they’ll want reassurance that it’s a quick fix, and what about objections?

Well Barb said it sounds expensive but like, shut up Barb.”

Dean yawns and lays down on his dog bed.

Three long hours later you have a rough draft of your sales page.

Sleep on it. Wake up. Final Edits.

“Am I being too salesy here or…I think this value stack thing Russell Brunson talks about is way too pushy so let’s cut that and… Oh I know! Let’s put a video up top just kind of explaining the benefits of my Avocado Honey recipe versus regular honey!”

And finally, your sales page is done.

So now – uber excited – you hop onto a live stream in your Facebook Group and tell them about this lovely surprise and encourage them to check out the sales page.

You watch the numbers.

20 visitors…50…100…

1 sale in 3 hours.

1% conversion rate. Not your best – not your worst.

You continue to promote it for 7 days before closing doors. And after successfully shooting 1,500 visitors to the page you got 16 sales on a $97 masterclass.

Which means you made about $1,500 in sales for a week promo that you whipped up last minute on a $97 product.

You’re not one to complain (entrepreneurship has forbidden it – no negativity at the success table), so you say it’s a learning experience and are excited to reopen the doors later because at least people are buying, right?

Sure if you don’t consider one little fact…

The page converted at 1% and made $1,500.

If that same page converted at 4% it would’ve grossed $5,820 with the same amount of work.

What if we shoot for the stars and say 10%? Now we’re looking at $14,550 for a 7 day promo you just pulled out of your whole organic honey-loving ass.

Now, you, yes you the real reader of this.

What’s your current conversion rate on your sales page?

What’s the monetary difference if you add 2% to that number? 3%? 5%?

Bigger than you thought, isn’t it?

So are you sure that hustling a low converting sales page is really the best idea, or do you think it’d be wise to try your hand at adjusting those numbers in your favor?

Yeah, thought so.

So let’s talk about why your sales page conversions are garbage and how you can fix them then, shall we?

You Didn’t Consult Our Lord & Savior, Market Research

YES I DID TORI. I EVEN ASKED BARB!

Calm down Monica. Or Justin. Whoever you are.

I know you searched for answers and thought critically about the answers you got – but the point of any kind of research is that it has to be objective and unbiased.  So can we face a simple fact real quick?

“Objective and unbiased” is not your frame of mind when you’re excited about your new idea.

In all of your excitement, you’re ironically coming at your market like a bitter ex. Twisting the truth instead of searching for it, hearing it, and accepting it fully.

How? Well for starters, are you cherry-picking which people and which answers from those people matter most? Mmmmmyep. Betcha are.

So let’s put this into perspective:

Remember that time your ex picked that ONE bad thing you said in that novel text and turned it against you, in turn missing the actual point of what you said?

Yeah cherry picker, you’re that annoying kind of asshole right now.

And are you digging into your memory banks, taking the bread crumbs you find there and applying context to them without actually fact-checking?

More perspective:

“But babe. You said you love Batman. That’s why you have those pajamas!”

“I said my dad got me these pajamas even though I don’t even like Batman and I just wear them because they’re comfortable. Thanks for being just like him.”

Yeah that’s you too^

Look, I know you don’t want to be that person, and better yet, you don’t have to be. You can do objective market research. And it’s simple. But you have to trust the system because here’s the thing:

When it comes to marketing, the market is God and you have a decision to make:

Be the kind of Christian who cherry picks which verses to follow, twists the truth, and gleefully ignores the others that don’t appeal to your ego, or…

Take it all in the context that it was actually given to you, and trust it to lead the way to the pearly gates of high conversion heaven.

Which one do you want to be?

No, I’m not kidding. Every time I see someone skip or muddy this step it’s like watching the conversion rates make a beeline for hell before they even have a chance.

“Okay Tori, with all your weirdo analogies. How do you suggest I do market research then?”

There’s an article for that. Enjoy.

Moving on.

You Skipped Foreplay.

I’m going to assume here that you’re more experienced with sex than you are with marketing so we’re going to take the easy way out with this explanation.

Now, you probably know that it’s important to make sure sex is welcome before the pants come off, yeah?

In fact.

It usually helps to engage in a little foreplay first.

Don’t get caught up in the details here. If your version of foreplay is a vanilla make out sesh I’m not judging you.

The point is that you’re engaging in some sort of build up before you start pulling out the goods.

Now, consider Dean’s mom’s marketing strategy up there ☝️

What’d she do?

Throw up one low engagement post that asked if people would want it…

And after the post was all but rejected, sprung the goods on the whole gang anyway with no further warning or warm up.

Here’s the fact:

Getting your sales page to convert is about more than what’s on your sales page.

A lot of it is about having your audience pre-framed and ready for the sales page before they actually reach it.

And that, my friend, means you need to start taking foreplay very seriously.

Whether you’re running hot traffic to the page or not – you’re going to need some pre-hype before the pitch, unless you’re selling a $15 Harry Potter hoodie from AliExpress (in which case, please stop reading this).

Action Step: Use that market research you did in the last section to tease your audience about your offer before they get to see it.

The bigger the hype, the higher the conversion rates.

Unless…

You’re “Hooking” The Wrong Spots

Is your page written to hook your readers in from the start?

Do you know what that really even entails from a persuasive copywriting perspective?

In a nutshell – it entails understanding exactly what your audience wants, and hates, and how to stab at both of those things in as little as a headline.

I like the way Travis Sago explains the hook.

He says something like this:

There’s a hell island that your readers are running from, and a heaven island that your readers are running to.

You need to put hell island and heaven island in that hook.

(Are you kind of starting to realize there’s a lot less guesswork to copy than you originally thought? Conversion copywriting is crafted from formula, not fantasy).

Now, you’ll see a lot of hooks these days that use “How to _[make it to heaven island]____ Without __[falling into hell island’s trap again]___”, but that’s not the only formula there is.

For instance, there’s this guy, his name is Gary Halbert…just an industry legend and all, no big deal.

Anyway, one of Gary’s famous headlines is, The Amazing Money Making Secret of a Desperate Nerd in Ohio!

An amazing money making secret sounds like a glimpse of heaven, yeah? And a Desperate Nerd in Ohio? Sounds like hell (unless you live in Columbus, like me. Columbus is actually pretty awesome).

Anyway, now here’s the thing to remember: you don’t guess what heaven and hell are for your reader. Consult the market research.

What frustrations do they have?

Fears?

What are they saying is hell to them?

What about heaven? Goals? Desires?

They literally hand you these pieces.

All you have to do is weave them together in a way that grabs attention and pulls them down the page.

Speaking of pulling them down the page…

You Didn’t Shine Up Your Bullets Before Shooting Them

First Off: Do you know what bullets are? In copy-speak, I mean?

Bullets are the literal bullet points that break down what you get in the program. Think of a list of “features” or the breakdown of the course modules. Only, this isn’t all they are.

Bullets are incredibly important. Because at this point, your reader is making a crucial decision of whether or not they’re emotionally sold on what you’re selling. If you can get them emotional enough about your product they’ll rationalize their way right into debt to give you money for it.

I’m not condoning this, I’m just pointing out the truth. Don’t slack on your bullets. Make them shine.

Now, I’m a big fan of shining up some copy in general.

No one makes it through a boring read.

No one remembers a predictable movie.

And no one – and I mean no one – trusts an insecure sales person.

So I didn’t name my group “Content Marketing for Entrepreneurs”.

It’s “Content Mastery for Entrepreneurs”.

Module 1 of your course? It’s not called “Setting Your Foundation for Paid Speaking”.

It’s called “Creating Your Hype-Hub”.

See what I’m getting at? Make it confident. Make it compelling. Make it shine.

Oh and I’ll tell you a secret: The quickest way to lose an audience is by telling them the nuts and bolts of what they’ll get on the other side of the payment line.

One more time: The quickest way to lose an audience is by spelling out for them the nuts and bolts of what they’ll get on the other side of the payment line.

Think about predictable movies. Would you pay theatre prices to watch Endgame if they spoiled the outcome of it when you watched Infinity War?

Doubtful. You’d Redbox it, or wait for Netflix.

The same logic applies to your sales pages. There’s a delicate balance where you want to set expectations for the outcome they’ll receive without spoiling the experience they’ll have.

So, the quickest way to win an audience is by building up excitement and wonder about what they’ll get on the other side of the payment line.

How do you do that? Show them the shine, and tell them to pay to find out where it’s coming from.

You Don’t Understand A Converting Sales Page Structure

Believe it or not, your sales page needs to be structured in a really specific way in order to convert like the greats.

There’s physics in this shit. A law of gravity, if you will. There are certain ingredients written a certain way that pull your audience in.

And if you look at expert-crafted sales pages you’ll notice they all follow the same basic structure.

  • Headline
  • Open
  • Credentials
  • Offer
  • Bullets
  • “Choice of One” (see: David Garfinkel)
  • Price
  • Guarantee
  • And so on.

And you’ll of course see more modern variations of these pages. We’re always testing and refining the formula – but the thing to understand is that there is always a formula.

When a sales page lacks a formula, and a structure, it lacks a solid conversion rate.

Please remember this.

You See “Engaging” As A Feeling Instead Of A Psychological Reaction To Well-Placed Triggers

I’m a survey kind of girl. I love to survey audiences and get their take on things. So not too long ago I surveyed one of the biggest SEO groups on Facebook.

I asked:

“What does “engaging” actually MEAN to you?”

The answers varied from “getting readers to react” to “getting attention”, “holding attention down the page” and so on.

Not bad. But I followed up with the real question:

“Do you have a system for engaging readers?”

And every single one of them said “well no, not really.”

I want you to do something if you ever hire a copywriter who promises you engaging content:

Ask them what their step-by-step process is for creating engaging content.

Mine? Simple. The same thing I’ve been preaching all along.

Consult the market research. Pull from it. Riddle exactly what they say down the page.

Let’s be honest, the best content, jokes, movies, songs, are those you feel like you can relate to.

You relate to their struggles, and long for their happy endings.

In the market research, your audience is telling you exactly what they relate and aspire to.

Think about it: I didn’t just pull that story in the intro out of my ass.

Avocado Annie from Venice was handed to me by several people who’ve written their own sales page copy and watched it flop. All I did was add some elements of drama, and voila. Look at you. Still reading now.

In fact, one person who read the intro before publishing said, unprompted, “I felt like this was about me. Which is probs good. It is spot on how I would do it, but I would talk to my plants.”

There is no guesswork to engaging your reader. None. Zilch.

You’re Refusing to Face What This All Boils Down To

If you’re still reading this, congratulations. It’s a lot to take in. And while you can apply these strategies to your own sales page and certainly see an improvement, what you learned here isn’t even half the battle when it comes to crafting a converting sales page.

There are books written on how to do this. I couldn’t get it all out in an article if I wanted to.

It took me 8 years to gain the kind of experience to consistently do this….

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And this….

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And this…

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Over and over again, predictably.

And even then, it requires my clients to be fully on board with playing their role (like pre-hype, and targeting the right traffic, having the right sales page structure like no distracting “navigation menus”, and so on).

Which means this…

The real, #1 reason your sales page is converting like garbage?

The real reason you had to cringe at the difference between what a 1% and 5% conversion rate looks like on your own page, and how much money that means you’re leaving on the table…?

Love, if I’m being honest, it’s because you’re insisting on taking the hard route instead of leveraging the power of a copywriter who is skilled at writing to win.

I mean, how many times have you been that person who says “Well, I can just do it myself.”

And how’s that really working out for you?

But when you try to find a writer – or talk to others, there are horror stories of those who submit crap copy, don’t match or even care about your voice, or just plain suck at writing.

You’re right, it’s tough to break through the noise to find the golden few who…

  • Know and care about staying on brand and matching your voice (because yes, this impacts conversions).
  • Will take the time to get the page converting right so you can focus on other things.
  • Who studies the actual craft of copy, and has a refined system for every inch of the screen they touch. A system they can easily recite to you on a call and show you the results of its labor.

And, if you want some over-deliverance…

  • A sales page writer who will guide you on how to set your audience up for the offer when it’s your turn to take the ball and shoot the traffic to the page. So you don’t have to guess at how to get the right audience on board, hyped up and ready to be sold on what you’re offering.

It’s hard to find that writer. But hey guess what? In case you couldn’t tell, you finally did.

So, now the question is…

How long are you going to wait to see your income finally to match the impact you’ve been busting your ass to deliver to the world?

My advice? Don’t.

Let’s chat.

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