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Five Headline Writing Ingredients that Improve Sales (taught by this Marketing Master)

Advertising Expert, Copywriter, Teacher, and Author: Clyde Bedell

Advertising Expert, Copywriter, Teacher, and Author: Clyde Bedell

Advertising genius, copywriter, teacher, and author Clyde Bedell, became known as the “go-to-guy” when it came to helping failing businesses with their sales and advertising needs from the 1930’s through the 1960’s.

His consistent sales success catapulted him to become a highly sought after advertising professional that was called on to help some of America’s largest companies survive the Great Depression era.

He taught that you could write the most persuasive, selling copy ever…but if your prospect didn’t make it past the headline, you wasted your time.

Clyde taught what he called, “The Five Headline Writing Ingredients”:

1) Appeal to the prospect – Use words such as “you”, “your”, or words that imply you are speaking directly to the reader.

2) Mention the benefits – People buy products or services for their benefits. Try to mention the primary benefit in your headlines.

3) Use current news in headline writing– You can make a headline sound like a news item to gain reader interest. Using words like “new”,  “now”, “finally”, or “at last” make the headline sound like the copy may be about something new or interesting.

4) Use curiosity – Create curiosity in your headline writing. Ask questions that are relevant to the prospect and his problem in the headline to grab his attention.

5) Mention the product favorably – Show favor toward the product or service you are writing about by using complimentary adjectives in the headline.

Want to learn more about writing headlines that sell?

Want to learn more about improving your business website conversions? Join my FREE ONLINE TRAINING called,
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“Super Simple Website Tweaks that Help You Get Your Customer’s small-super-simple-tweaksor Client’s Attention–and Improve Your Business Profits!”
…learn more…CLICK HERE and sign up!

Is Your Business Website Mobile-Friendly? (if not, new Google updates could hurt you!)

Image courtesy of 'Adamr' at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of ‘Adamr’ at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here we go again…another Google update on the horizon.
(due out the week of April 21st)

With this new algorithm update, Google will be looking closely at whether or not your business website is mobile-friendly–if not, you could be penalized in the search engine results rankings.

The way Google looks at it is that if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, it is frustrating to your website visitors. They want to give priority to and serve up business websites that are paying attention to making it easier for visitors to engage on mobile devices.

What Types of Mobile-Friendly Details Should You Think About?

The following are common types of issues that could cause Google to penalize your business website and/or make your visitors more likely to abandon your site if they are not addressed:

1) Ease of readability: If your visitors can’t read your message because the font size is too small, they will have to zoom into the screen to read it.

2) Scrolling issues: If the content on a mobile device screen is wider than it should be, your visitor will have to scroll from side to side to be able to see your message.

3) Navigation links: If the navigation links are too small or too close to each other–it could cause your visitors to tap on the wrong link/s.

All of these lead to your website visitors’ frustration and may mean there is a higher probability that they won’t stick around to find out what you have to say.

So, Is Your Website Mobile-Friendly…Here’s How to Find Out!

If you want to find out whether or not your business website is mobile-friendly…Google has a Mobile-Friendly Test tool to help you out–click here.

Simply enter your URL and click the analyze button.

Some Mobile-Friendly Solutions

Many business owners are NOT tech savvy and will have to rely on a webmaster to help them out. If you want to look for a solution that is budget-friendly, here is a Forbes article that can help give you some direction.

If you have a WordPress website, there are some FREE mobile-friendly plugins you can download and activate for a quick and easy solution.

Making your business website mobile-friendly will cost you a little money if you aren’t tech savvy, but if you don’t pay now, you could pay later in lost visitors and ultimately lost sales.


Want to learn more about improving your business website conversions? Join my FREE ONLINE TRAINING called,
red-arrow_down
“Super Simple Website Tweaks that Help You Get Your Customer’s small-super-simple-tweaksor Client’s Attention–and Improve Your Business Profits!”
…learn more…CLICK HERE and sign up!

Subheadlines: Why They’re Important and How to Make Them Work!

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.ne

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I write a lot about headlines, but recently I came across a quote by Victor Schwab in his book, “How to Write a Good Advertisement”—it reminded me that I neglect the headline’s “less popular” cousin, the subheadline.

As Schwab put it,  “Subheads are like ladder rungs which make it easier and more inviting for the reader to keep going down through more of the body matter of an advertisement.”

He goes on to explain that the weaker the rungs—the more likely your prospect’s interest will drop and you’ll lose him, as he will abandon your copy.

Ways to Make Your Subheadlines Work

Here are 4 subheadline tips to help make your copy stronger and keep your prospect engaged longer so you can persuade him to take action.

1) Use subheadlines to make your body copy appear more inviting

Too much text bunched up into long paragraphs can be unappealing to the eye and make your copy too overwhelming to read.  Use good subheadlines to break up the text so the prospect will want to continue to read your message.

According to Schwab,  a good rule of thumb is two short opening paragraphs and then your first subhead.

2) Use subheadlines to give your prospect a sneak peek of what’s about to follow in the next paragraph

Many times a prospect will just scan the subheadlines to figure out if he wants to continue into the next paragraph/s or use them to select what parts of the copy he wants to read.

You can write a subheadline that acts as a “teaser” for the copy to follow.
(hint: insert a benefit!)

3) Ask your prospect a question in your subheadlines to gain curiosity

Preferably ask a question that he would like the answer to immediately…(of course you need to answer it in the following paragraph)

4) Make your subheadlines stand out physically on the page

You can make your subheadlines grab your prospect’s attention more easily by making the font slightly larger and/or bold.

If your subheadlines are crafted just right—these little guys can be really powerful elements that keep your reader engaged.

Use subheadlines to walk your prospect through your copy step by step—and ultimately to get him to take the action you want him to take!

 

Why This Mobile Video Sales Page Was Able to Improve Conversions by Over 50%

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do you use video on your web sales pages? This week’s post is about some interesting test findings regarding video and its use on mobile web sales pages…

According to a blog post on Video Brewery,

64%

“That’s how much more likely website visitors are to buy a product on an online retail site after watching a video. In addition, visitors who view videos stay on the site an average of 2 minutes longer than those who don’t view videos, comScore says.”

Now, let’s take that a step further and think about incorporating video into your mobile strategy…the following test results reveal that it might be something to consider.

Austin McCraw, Senior Director of Content Production, at Marketing Experiments MECLABS revealed some test results that showed how the use of video on web sales pages for mobile increased conversion by over 50%.  His conclusions showed that it isn’t just the use of video that is important–but also where the video is “placed” on the page relative to other page elements.

TEST GOALS:  The goal was to improve the number of landing page membership conversions on mobile devices. (they tested smartphones & tablets)

They did two different tests for each mobile device using the same exact video across all of the various test page layouts.

TEST 1: Mobile phone device with various landing page layouts that included the same  video

The original version of the page (the control) used this basic layout sequence:

* Headline
* Subhead
* Video
* Copy

There were 3 different new layouts (treatments) that were tested against the control…and the WINNER (Treatment A) boosted conversion by 34%!

Then a similar test was conducted for mobile tablet devices.

TEST 2: Mobile tablet device test  with various landing page layouts that included the same video

The original version of the page (the control) used this basic layout sequence:

* Headline
* Subhead
* Secondary Headline
* Video
* Copy

There were 2 different new layouts (treatments) that were tested against the control…and the WINNER (Treatment A) boosted conversion by 52%!

Now, here is WHY…

All of the treatments added an element that the original versions DID NOT have, a well-known, recognizable authority in the industry. They added her picture with some copy to the treatments, but they found that in both cases the WINNING versions “outperformed” the other Treatments even though they also used her picture…but WHY?

Video placement may have been key in the results…

It was important HOW the “sequence” or order of the elements were actually put on the page that boosted conversions in the WINNING sequenceversions.  McCraw said that the winning pages made it a priority to display the main content only AFTER building the problem and establishing authority.

In other words, in the cases where they introduced the video BEFORE the authority figure, conversions weren’t as good. It was important that the authority figure was shown before the video to build the product’s credibility.

THE CONCLUSION: “Sequencing is important in conversion improvement.”

The Marketing Experiments video that showcases this test is just the tip of the iceberg…McCraw taught so much more in his presentation. If you’re interested, you can view it here!

What is the Best Day to Send Out Your Sales Email? These Results Might Surprise You!

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

There is nothing more disappointing than spending a good amount of time trying to craft the perfect email promotion just to have it ignored by your audience.

One of the questions that is always asked is, “What is the best day/time to send out my email promotions?”

The folks at Sidekick, (free email tracking software), recently analyzed over 6 million emails to try and gain insight into what factors have an impact on email open rates.

One of the factors they examined was what days of the week are the best to send out sales emails for improved response/open rate.

Here is what they found:

** Don’t give up on weekends when it comes to sending out your email sales messages!!

Apparently weekends are a good time to send your emails messages because everyone else thinks it’s not a good time, but the irony is that this means you’ll have less competition to fight in terms of getting your prospect’s attention and your message noticed.

Sidekick: “We found that 80% fewer emails are sent over the weekend.”

So what does this mean? Because of the lower volume of emails your prospects receive, they may be more likely to open your message since there is less email clutter for them to wade through on the weekends.

Their results show that when emails are sent over the weekend they are 10% more likely to get opened.

According to Dave Chaffey of Smart Insights, emails sent on Tuesdays have a chance of getting higher response because it is typically the highest web traffic day; however, it also means you are competing against more messages, so there is more traffic to beat out.

On Mondays people are just gearing up for the week and when they are bombarded with so many emails, they may be looking for messages to delete just to be able to plow through the stack.

The theory is that Tuesdays through Thursdays are best because everyone is back to a sort of “normal routine”.

Less email is sent on Fridays because the thought is that people are busy trying to tie up business before the weekend and/or distracted because the weekend is on the horizon.

Chaffey says, “Sending emails on Friday could be good since there is relatively little competition and you can pick up at home use. This is when we send our weekly roundup emails – it fits what we want to offer too.”

In my opinion, it all boils down to your audience. Trying and testing different days/times is the only way to find out what truly works best for your list of prospects.

You can read more about the results from Sidekick’s  2014 Email Open Rates Report here.

 

How to Start Small with A/B Testing…and Improve Your Online Response !

 A-B TestingYou probably spend a lot of time crafting your online messages in order to persuade your prospects to take the action you want them to take—sign up, buy a product, get more information, etc.
But…how much time do you spend finding out whether or not those messages or other elements on your web/landing pages are actually working for you…OR whether or not they could be improved upon to get even more response?

If you aren’t doing any A/B testing, you could be leaving money on the table.

Who should do A/B testing?
Anyone that has a vested interest in improving online response from his/her web or landing pages—this would include online marketers, small business owners, copywriters, non-profits—anyone with an online business presence or purpose.

What is A/B testing?
Running an A/B test or split test is simply comparing two different versions of a web/landing page to see which version of the page garners more response such as more clicks, more sign ups, more purchases, etc.

The following elements are just some that you can test on your pages:

* headline
* image
* copy
* call-to-action
* bullet points
* button colors
* forms
* price
* promotion types
* overall page layout

…the list is endless!

You can test one page element or several different elements.

A-B testing of overall page layout

A/B testing of overall page layout.

For example, if you are testing a product page, you can test just the headline using different headlines for each page version, OR you can test both the headline and the product shot. (i.e. maybe one product shot is a person using the product and the image on the other page is a close up of just the product)

New to testing?  Start small!

When you are just getting started in the A/B testing world, it might be easiest to start small and just test one major element at a time. My favorite is the headline because I think this is the easiest thing to change and it should be the first and foremost element on the page that grabs your prospects’ attention.

Here are some variation/testing ideas you can implement with the headline:
– test a long headline against a short headline
– test a problem/solution headline against a feature/benefit-rich headline
– ask a question headline vs. make a statement headline

…the variations are infinite because you can take each idea above and make two different versions of the same headline type and/or mix headline types.

If you’ve never run an A/B test before…make it easy by picking a simple element to test out and see which version performs best. There are plenty of tools available online to help you—a FREE resource I recommend is Unbounce’s “The Ultimate Guide to A/B Testing.”

How to Do Business Better Online