In 2012, online advertisers spent a grand total of over £64 billion, cementing the industry’s status as a cornerstone of modern marketing. With budgets for Internet advertising campaigns increasing across the board, many small businesses that are accustomed to low CPCs (cost-per-clicks) are growing increasingly worried about their margins.
Internet-based advertising campaigns are renowned for their exceptionally strong return on investment. This is made possible by the fact that online advertisers can track virtually anything. From day parting to location tracking, getting a feel for your audience is much easier when you’re advertising on the Internet.
If you’re struggling to achieve the same profit margins that were possible during the last decade, try these six time-tested conversion-boosting techniques. From proven sales copy tweaks to ugly truths about design, these six tactics could increase your profit margins from online marketing and secure your spot as an industry leaders.
1. Embrace the old-fashioned sales page
There’s a reason so many classic products were marketed using sales copy that’s several pages long: long copy works. As silly as a twenty-page sales letter looks, an incredible amount of products and services have been sold to ice-cold leads using engaging and convincing long-form copy.
21st century design trends and the modern obsession with abbreviating everything – thank you, Twitter – have made long sales copy seem obsolete. The reality, however, is that long-form sales letters are every bit as effective today as they were when the pioneers of advertising (like David Ogilvy) wrote them in the 1960’s.
One of the reasons long-form sales pages are so effective is that they immediately alienate visitors that aren’t interested in what you’re offering. While you may think this is bad, it’s actually quite the opposite. Despite alienating uninterested readers, long-form sales copy draws in readers that were on the fence about your product.
The end goal of any sales page is to convert as many readers as possible into loyal customers for your business. As such, your focus should be on maximizing buyers, not on appeasing non-buyers. Make your copy longer, make uninterested readers even more annoyed, and make your real prospects more convinced than before.
2. Don’t try to make ‘good looking’ landing pages
Very few people would try to argue that a Toyota Corolla is better than a Porsche 911. After all, the Porsche has sleek lines, a beautiful interior, and an engine that’s frighteningly powerful.
Many people would, however, argue that a Toyota Corolla is a far better product for Toyota than the 911 Carrera is for Porsche.
The reason the Corolla is so popular is that it appeals to the everyday user. It’s easy to use, it’s affordable, and it looks good. If you’re selling a product to a mass audience, these are the characteristics that should define your landing page.
Modern web designers have often been instructed either explicitly or implicitly to make everything as smooth, shiny, and sleek as possible. As a marketer, your job is to convince them to instead focus on making things simple and user-friendly.
The truth of marketing is that ugly sometimes works better than beautiful, and that ‘bad design’ sometimes beats world-class design in sales performance. When it comes to sales-driven landing pages, ugliness is often a better choice than beauty.
3. Don’t be too clever
Have you ever stopped to look at an advertisement, only to realise that it contains a truly fantastic pun? If yes – did you buy the product in question? Our personal opinion on what is and isn’t ‘good’ advertising might reward creativity, but it doesn’t always align with our sense of what drives us to purchase a product or service.
The Father of Advertising, David Ogilvy, was known to deride advertisers that focused too hard on being ‘clever,’ claiming that they were more concerned with their egos than with the accounts of their clients. He was right – sometimes, a clever ad won’t perform as well as a bland one, and a good advertiser should know which one is the best choice.
4. Combine online lead generation with offline sales techniques
Some of the web’s most effective advertising campaigns don’t close a single sale in a web browser. Instead, they capture phone numbers from users and follow up using a sales team to confirm interest, provide assistance, and close the deal on the phone.
If you’re struggling to generate interest with lengthy sales forms and clumsy user registration pages, try cutting your forms down to size. A three-field name, email, and phone page supported by a phone follow-up can often produce better results than a twenty-field web-based registration page.
5. Search for unusual metrics that improve your sales
Some of the best direct response television campaigns are broadcast in the early hours of the morning. Why? Well because that’s the only time of day when media costs are low enough to make them profitable.
By closely analyzing your tracking data, you’ll be able to find time periods, search keywords or display placements that have a similar effect. They may be so cheap that any conversion rate is profitable- or just amazingly effective at producing sales.
Whatever their reason for success, looking through your tracking data to find these ultra-successful outliers is often the behaviour that separates a great campaign from a failure. Check all of your metrics, no matter how unusual, and you’ll find a variety of hugely effective ways to improve your conversion rate.
6. Build on the successes of your competitors
While it’s highly unethical to copy your competitors’ advertisements and steal their ideas, drawing inspiration from their successes is the norm in any industry.
One of the best ways to stay at the top of your industry (or reach the top, if you’re not yet there) is to remain aware of what your competitors are doing. In the online marketing world, this means knowing where your competitors are advertising. Just think of yourself as a spy for the day!
Every week, set aside a short block of time to spend looking through industry trade papers/magazines, search for high-traffic keywords, and browse industry blogs. If you spot an eye-catching advertisement from a competitor, take a screenshot and pass it on to your own company’s advertising department for analysis.
This can also be done with direct marketing materials and outbound lead generation techniques. Sign up for your competitors’ mailing lists to get an idea of when they’re in the process of launching something new, and plan your own efforts accordingly.
This article was provided by Custard Media, the leading specialists in search marketing services. Websites that don’t convert are a waste of your time. We provide great on-site SEO that supports a vast array of other techniques, including link building campaigns. We can boost your conversion rates.
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