1: Reiterate Your Main Drivers
There’s nothing worse than clicking on a specific offer (20% off for Cyber Monday, for example), and seeing only the generic website with no mention of the special offer that drew you there. Pages should reiterate the original reason people were drawn to your page. Pages should also reiterate the keyword that drove people to your page.
For example, if a PPC ad drove visitors to the page, specific keyword term(s) from the ad should appear in the headline to provide good keyword scent (from ad to landing page) and boost conversions. In general, continuity is #1 in terms of lift.
2: Make A Quantifiable Claim To Downplay Risk
Someone is considering joining your “club” and spending money with you. It can help to know that others have had measurable results from doing just the same. Combining quantifiable results with the bandwagon effect can be just the reassurance that skittish prospects need.
50% of all people find jobs
2/3 of our members find everlasting love
3: Incorporate Benefits Clearly & Proudly
Benefits speak specifically to a consumer’s need and can remind the visitor of why they were interested enough to follow your ad in the first place.
Compare how Sears and Dyson Canada present information about Dyson vacuum cleaners. The Sears site downplays the product description, while the (prouder) Dyson site makes it easier to see rich product descriptions that make it crystal-clear why the vacuums are considered an elite product.
Above the add to basket button, the Dyson site states unequivocally that there’s free shipping, while the Sears site places limitations on free shipping (located in “details”) to “products under 65 lbs.” and forces users to do the math. And, for heaven’s sake, don’t mouse over “All Departments” by accident on the Sears Canada site, or the resulting navigation bar that pops up will cover up the Dyson product description you’re currently viewing!
By contrast, the Dyson site is totally in control. The user can see the product do a sophisticated little 3-D dance, in keeping with its engineering focus, high-tech image, and the company’s TV ads. Sears just looks like… Sears. It’s clear Dyson is more motivated to sell Dyson vacuums than Sears is.
4: Long Or Short Headline? Find The Best Headline
Is the length of the headline really the issue?
Below are some variations from tests we ran (I changed company name to protect the innocent). Read each over and guess which performed best. Answers are below. No cheating!
- Headline #1: Rita’s Hanging Basket Wholesale Offers 30-60% Off Always and Free Shipping On Any Order Over $50
- Headline #2: 30-60% Off A Wide Selection of Hanging Baskets
- Headline #3: Trusted Online Hanging Basket Wholesaler Since 1998
Which one do you think converted best?
If you guessed that #1 converted best, you’re absolutely right. The brief headlines were trumped by important, salient information added in the most visible place on the page. It’s important not to bury compelling information on pages.
The best place for compelling information on a page is the top left hand side of the page where people start reading and where the headline is located. Don’t be afraid of headline “length” if it works, and if it helps you to reduce clutter elsewhere.
Not unrelated to this is the amount of white space that appears around the headline. In our testing, more white space worked best. The headline is less crowded by other images and words and it makes the headline pop.
5: Highlight Leads, Not Sales, For Long Cycle Items
You’re not going to get anyone to buy a fleet of jets on their company credit card right now. It’s an extreme example, but too many high-ticket products are sold using “all or none” style pages online – this only creates quick bounces.
Depending on what you’re selling, consider breaking up the sales process. Instead of asking for an online sale, provide rich information on the site, and also make it clear that for even richer information, you’ll need to provide email address. Continue the sale via email, a phone call, etc. This is particularly effective if the sale is complex or if people have a lot of questions during the buying process.
The point is, you want some kind of conversion rather than none at all. Asking them to buy on the spot often results in a considerably lower conversion rate.
6: Incorporate Urgency
Incorporate a sense of urgency into your headline to encourage people to buy now rather than later. At this time of year, Christmas specials work well. Here are some examples:
Holiday offer ends Dec. 10
Gummi bear stock is limited: order now while they last!
7: Appropriate Tone In Copy
Depending on what you’re selling, try a different tone (particularly effective in headlines) like informal, playful, etc. But be sure that the tone matches up with your vertical and target audience in general. For example, try a playful tone to sell toys to children or the parents of children. On the other hand, using a playful tone to sell an enterprise B2B solution would not be a good idea.