To be honest, I feel a little sorry for the long-form sales page. Think about it. It’s that one piece of copy that people love to hate, yet works hard regardless of popular opinion. When I imagine the long-form sales page as a person, I can’t help but see that tough, hard-working teacher who is under-appreciated. You know her — she’s the teacher you whined about because she was “too hard” on you or “boring” — until you realized years later that she was the one that got you great results.
Well, the long-form sales page is used to people complaining about how long it takes to read her and how hard it is to write her. She takes the hatred and indifference in her stride. But unlike that taken-for-granted teacher, if done correctly, you won’t have to wait years for your long-form sales page to pay off.
You’ll make sales. Which means you’ll stay in business. Because even though people profess to hate long-form sales pages, when it comes to selling your next offering, it’s worth remembering that results are more important than opinion.
Now, I’m not sticking up for the long-form sales page because I believe it is your only option. Rather, I urge you to make an informed decision around how you will persuade your potential clients to buy your coaching services or programs.
Whether you loathe reading long-form sales page or avoid writing them for your own offerings, my intention is not to convince you of the many benefits of long-form sales pages but to present you with some worthy alternatives.
Video Invitation / Video Series
It’s official. Our dwindling attention spans combined with sheer laziness means watching a video is preferable to reading text. Perhaps because it’s easier to engage with, a video invitation makes a viable alternative to your traditional sales page.
- Your prospective client gets to see and hear you, which increases trust and likeability.
- You capture attention more easily and can break down content into digestible chunks suited to a video series.
- You can add your video to YouTube and optimise it for SEO, thereby increasing visibility.
- With a video sales page, your prospects won’t be able to re-read parts of your offering as they can with a long-form sales page. Not being able to go back over the information can be a drawback because while people will first skim and then re-read the same written information, they are unlikely to watch a video more than once.
- You still need to write your video script (can’t get out of writing, my friend!).
- You will need to invest time in editing your video, which may require more technical support or training investment.
VERDICT: If you have a straightforward one-to-one coaching service, one without a whole heap of features, using a video invitation rather than a long-form sales page makes sense. You’ll still need to write your video script (or hire a copywriter to do it for you), but if you can share a compelling story, clearly articulate the problems you help people overcome, and know how to edit it, go for it!
I highly recommend combining video with copy on your sales page. That way you get the best of both worlds. Not only will you improve your sales conversion by 5% to 24%, you’ll likely limit the usual objections to the long-form sales page.
Same information conveyed via different mediums means you’re appealing to different types of learners. Win/Win.
Short Sales Page
A shorter sales page sounds appealing, until you start to wonder…
a) What can I afford to leave out?
b) What kind of relationship do I have with my audience?
Keep those questions in mind when making your decision.
- A short sales page is a great alternative to a long one when you have an established, invested community of adoring fans through your blogging efforts. Think about the bloggers you follow who come out with the coaching offer you’ve been waiting for. You already love them so it’s a no-brainer.
- If you have a straightforward coaching offering, or if your prospective clients are already quite familiar with how coaching works, keeping your sales page short can position you favourably.
- A short sales page can be ideal if you are testing out a new service or offering. You can always add more copy as required.
- You may discover that potential clients want more information than you have provided in the short sales page, which means you end up responding to email enquiries that could have been dealt with via a long-form sales page. Doh!
- You may not know what to keep or leave out of your short sales page, which means key benefits of working with you might be missed.
VERDICT: A short sales page is a wonderful alternative if you have already built an impressive platform. For example if you grew a huge, engaged list of followers before you even decided to offer paid coaching services then you can probably get away with a shorter sales page. Go you!
This is an effective, elegant option for multi-talented coaches who offer a range of services.
- When you offer a range of services (3 or more), your prospects can view a snapshot of everything you do.
- You can even use a services list to “test” newer offerings. By this I mean, rather than write a new long-form sales page for a brand-new offering, you can provide the basics and follow up with a call to action to get in touch for more information. This may allow you to test several offerings for interest before committing to using a longer sales page for your signature offering.
- According to SEO expert Shae Baxter it’s more effective to have a separate web page for each service. That way you can optimize each page for the right key words.
- If your offering is a considerable investment or is an information product, the services list may not supply sufficient information.
VERDICT: When you offer a range of services at industry-average rates then a services page is a great alternative to several long-form sales pages.
Unless you have a great deal of social proof, I suggest you err on the side of longer rather than shorter copy. If you only want to pitch your offering to people who already know, like and trust you, you can possibly get away with a shorter sales email. On the other hand, if you’re offering something that has a high price tag and takes quite a bit of explaining, seriously consider the long-form sales page.
And remember, even if you personally have an aversion to long-form sales pages, it’s wise to reflect on what your prospective client actually needs from your communication. After all, you want to make it as easy as possible for people to say yes, that’s exactly what I need – sign me up!
Kate Erlenbusch is a writer, teacher and the force behind Word Love, a digital copywriting service and virtual playspace for creatives, coaches and big-hearted business owners who want to sell and serve with soul. When Kate’s not searching for the right words she’s searching for her car keys, or the meaning of last night’s dream. Download Kate’s free eBook 7 Cheeky Secrets of Writing that Sells & Serves at wordlovebykate.com.
You know need an email list, right?
In case you’re still holding on and hoping this “fad” will disappear soon, I’m here to tell you that your email list and a huge lifeline for your business. At least for now.
Your list helps you:
- get your business in front of more people (with less effort)
- connects you to your dreams clients
- and helps you make more money
So let’s fill your list with happy subscribers.
The best way to do that is by offering a “freebie” in exchange for their email address.
Not sure how to get started?
Here are 4 steps to create an irresistible opt-in offer:
1. Narrow down your dream client
This is where you’re going to have to do some homework. Identifying the perfect person you want to work with will create the foundation of all of your marketing strategies and business growth.
Once you know who this client is and what they want, your message will be laser-focused, you’ll be clear about who you’re selling to, and you’ll be able to create an opt-in offer to match your dream client’s needs.
To help visualize this, you can create a collage, doodle, or make a sweet desktop background of your dream client so that you can see them as you’re creating your offer.
2. Brainstorm freebies
Based on everything you know about your dream client, what would she most like in exchange for her email address?
Some customers want a discount code for your coaching services, while others will want an eBook, a checklist, or a printable calendar. Some will want a video to watch and others will want a podcast.
Think about your dream client and brainstorm 3 types freebies she’d most like to get her hands on.
3. Create stellar content
Now that you have a good idea of the type of freebie you’ll be offering, it’s time for the fun part- the content!
What is your dream client’s biggest struggle?
What recurring patterns and challenges do you see in your clients?
What are your areas of expertise that your dream client would love to know more about?
4. Write a magnetic headline
Your headline is the title of your opt-in offer. It should be short, sweet and to the point. And the more concrete your language, the better.
To make it extra juicy, consider the emotion you want to tap into or the psychological impact you want to make. How do you want your clients to feel?
If you want to create a sense of urgency, use these words: Now, Discover, Only, Quick, New.
Or if you want to highlight the pain points, use these words: Failure, Stress, Alone, Guilty.
Want to reassure your clients? Use these: Guarantee, Proven, Simple, Safe.
Bonus tip: Think about what words tend to draw you in as a potential customer!
After you follow these 4 simple steps, you’ll have an opt-in offer that will attract your dream clients and fill up your subscriber list. Now it’s time to start booking some clients and celebrate!
Ashley Wilhite is the founder of Your Super Awesome Life, where she helps women live a life they love while creating a freedom-based business. You can find Ashley on Twitter, Facebook and get your free copy of “The 5 Things That Hold You Back From Living the Life You Love.”
3 Ways to Kick Start Your Email List Growth: Your Most Important To-Do (Part 2)
In my last post, I emphasized the importance of email list-building for your growing coaching business. If you ever want to move beyond the time-for-money game and move into impacting more people using less of your time & energy, you must have a vibrant list of prospective clients who are interested in your work.
Maybe you’ve had some success at list-building in the past but things are stalled out now. Maybe you’ve been so busy getting your new coaching business started that list-building has seemed like the least important task on your list. Maybe you’ve been busy coaching, feeling like things are finally getting easier… and then you realize you don’t have any prospects. And your list is no bigger than the last time you made an offer.
So how do you jump-start your list growth? How do you attract new leads after a fallow period?
1) Attract the right people.
Consider the direction you’re taking your business. Are you looking for more of the same? (The answer may be “yes, please!” It’s not a trick question.) Are you moving from 1:1 services to leveraged offers? Are you looking to shift the perception of your brand? Focus on a product you’ve been working on? Honing in on a new market segment?
Trust me, you don’t want anyone & everyone on your list. Even if your goal is scale, it just doesn’t make sense. Having the “wrong” people on your list skews your data, undermines your understanding of what your customers need from your business, and misdirects your marketing. Yes, the “wrong” people will unsubscribe. But if you’re too busy trying to please them, the “right” people will unsubscribe first.
If you’re using an incentive to attract prospects to your list, make sure that incentive is something people who want (and need) to pay for your services actually want. Taking that idea quite literally, I updated my own email list incentive 2 months ago to The Perspective Map. It’s actually the tool that my clients & I use most often, with the greatest impact, in our work together. Since I want more of the same clients, offering this tool as an optin incentive makes a lot of sense.
Since I introduced The Perspective Map as my incentive in July, I’ve added over 1300 subscribers to my list. I know those people are the right people because the landing page for the Map is designed with their specific problems, specific goals, and specific perspective in mind. It’s kind of the point of the whole thing, really…
When I re-launched my coaching program last month, I knew that 650 had not seen that offer because of the list-building I had done between July and August. In addition to people who had been considering it from May, I could count on a certain percentage of new people being interested. The Perspective Map was designed to make the most impact on business owners who were right for this offer, too.
2) Get focused.
At this point, I hope you can see just how important list-building is to your business. Even if your goal isn’t volume, if instead you’re aiming for a steady stream of leads for more 1:1 or specialized services, list-building ensures that you can spend less time and energy on sales.
So is the focus of your website building your list? Do you have a way to focus traffic from interviews, media appearances, and in-person gigs onto your list? Is your call-to-action focused on the story that is growing your business?
No, I didn’t think so.
It takes surprisingly little to redirect the focus of your activities onto list-building. You just need to make the intention to do so.
Start by creating a landing page for your optin form. This is a page that’s one & only focus is getting people on your list. Whether you’re espousing the benefits of receiving your weekly emails or sharing what your prospects will learn in your free optin incentive, this page is designed to “sell” your list. It’s like a sales page where the only cost is an email address.
Therefore, it has a similar format. In a recent podcast with Derek Halpern, Mike Del Ponte shared a great framework for any sales letter. You can use this as a cheat sheet for creating this kind of page. He breaks it down into 4 P’s: Promise, Picture, Proof, Pitch.
Check out my email list landing page and you’ll see this basic framework in action. The Promise is in the headline; I suggest that you really can know exactly what your customers are thinking. I describe the Picture from both the before and the after side of things through a series of bullet points. I offer the proof that this is my “go-to tool,” that my work has been featured in a number of high-profile publications, and that a very satisfied customer had something super nice to say about it. And finally, the Pitch is the call-to-action in the optin form.
But I don’t stop at the landing page, the main “action area” of my website is a graphic that advertises my list. All of my bios have been rewritten to direct people here. And it’s the first thing I talk about when I get a chance to tell people where to find more of my ideas when I do an interview.
You might need to refocus the main action of your site on list-building by moving your optin form from the footer to the header or creating a feature area between your logo and the main content. But there is almost no good reason why making a big play for a prospects email address isn’t the best thing you can do.
3) Pay for leads.
Who pays for advertising in the age of social media?
I’m busy. I don’t like to work all day. I haven’t had the itch to do much in terms of guest posting, telesummits, or even networking lately. So I’ve been driving traffic to my email list landing page through paid advertising.
In the past, I’ve advertised (always free incentives, never paid products) on blogs that fit the audience I’m aiming to attract. But lately, I’ve been buying advertising at Facebook. First, to build up my new Facebook page (I’m late to the party). And second, to gain exposure for my email list incentive.
A hearty portion of the 1300 subscribers I’ve added in the last 4 months has been through this paid campaign.
There’s little point in paying for leads if you don’t have “Attract the right people,” and “Get focused,” down first. But once you do, paying for leads can free up your time, boost your list growth, and bring in the kind of prospects you need to keep your revenue streams humming.
It should also be noted that advertising and social media can work hand in hand. By making sure my optin incentive speaks to my Most Valued Customer and that it’s free training they’re going to want to talk about, I ensure a bigger return on investment through word-of-mouth. I also work in social sharing (like Click to Tweet) to the product page for my incentive.
Bonus: 4) Stick to one thing.
One of the best things you can do for keeping that list growing, getting people to talk about it, and continuing to get open & click rates that drive sales is to stick with one thing per email.
Often, marketers try to jam too much stuff into each email. That decreases the frequency with which they’re willing to send emails, de-incentivizes them toward list-building, and reduces the relative value of each email to their readers. That’s a recipe for disaster, my friends.
When my clients and students switch to one-thing-per-email, they are more excited about emailing their prospects, more focused on building their list, and their readers are happier with each email. And that’s a recipe for success.
As you might have noticed if you’re a subscriber, I send out each & every one of my blog posts as the main focus of the vast majority of my emails. Most of the time it’s the full text of the article and sometimes it’s a teaser or special intro with a link to the article. But the focus is always the article.
I often add a promotional block beneath the article for a workshop, a teleseminar, a program, or a product. I think of those as “reminders,” not the core of my sales process.
When I’m ready to really sell something, I send out a dedicated email.
As an aside, another problem I see with “failed” launches is that the business owner never sent dedicated sales emails to their prospects. You can’t expect to sell if no one knows you have something for sale.
What will you do today?
I trust I’ve made the case for making list-building one of your chief priorities. It’s time to stop saying it’s on your list and time to start doing something about it.
What will you do today to jumpstart your list growth?
Tara Gentile is a business strategist, the creator of the Customer Perspective Process, and the ambassador of the You Economy. Her work has been featured on Forbes, US News & World Report, and in the NY Times bestselling book, The $100 Startup. Get her FREE tool to know exactly what your customers are thinking: The Perspective Map.