Testing the Words on your Website to Gain Clients
Whether you’re a plumber, HVAC contractor, dentist, chiropractor, or mechanic, the wording on your website is enormously important because “what” you say can either repel or attract customers. This is one of the most important yet overlooked considerations when it comes to marketing your business online. Let me explain.
Years ago I started a horse training information business online even though I wasn’t an actual horse trainer and knew little about it.
Initially, I discovered a horse training manual written in the late 1890’s that became my first product. I created sales copy for it and put it on a web page. At first, sales were dismal. I tweaked the copy here and there to no avail. I needed to know why sales were poor. So I separated the sales piece into three separate web pages. To read page two, you had to click on a link. To read page 3 you had to click another link. By doing this, I could tell how many readers I was losing for each next page they went to. I discovered almost no one was going to page three. This was alarming but enlightening.
The Importance of Headlines
I started changing the ad copy. I discovered no matter what I did, it didn’t increase sales. Then it occurred to me that I needed to change the headline of the sales piece. Headlines are one of the most important things you should do in your marketing.
When you read a newspaper, you don’t read any story until you first read the headline. In seconds, the headline tells you whether or not you want to read or skip the article. The reason people read a headline is because they’re busy and don’t have time to read everything.
If you look at your website analytics, you can tell how long people stay on any page of your website. You’ll likely see for yourself people aren’t reading everything. In fact, I’d bet they’re reading very little. With my horse training site, my analytics told me that most people aren’t reading all my information. I know this because I timed how long it took to read my information and compared it to the average time people stayed on the page. What’s especially interesting about it is this is a topic that horse owners are passionate about. You would think they’d read every word, but it turned out they didn’t.
Now going back to the horse training example, I created 10 different headlines to see if any of them would inspire people to read and buy my training manual. The first six headlines I tested made no difference and a couple made the sales even worse. When I tested the seventh headline and checked my stats the next day, I was amazed to find my sales increased 27 percent overnight. At first I thought it was a fluke so I tested the remaining headlines and none performed as well as the seventh. So I reused it and the sales darted back up.
This is how I discovered the power of words. Ultimately, words can create or repel customers and therefore profits. This is so important, in fact, that you must carefully consider your wording before putting it on any sales material online or in print.
Which Words to Use
So how do you know what wording to use on your website or Facebook page? I’ve found the best approach is to figure it out as scientifically and inexpensively as possible.
Google’s pay-per-click ad system is the fastest and least expensive way to figure out your sales message. You can start an account and set up your live campaign within just a few hours. Plus, you can tell how many times your ad has been seen versus how many times customers sought out further information. You can’t do that with TV, newspaper, or radio. Often you can discover what wording to use by spending $50 to $150 in Google’s advertising. With TV or newspaper, it’s much harder, more expensive, and painfully time consuming to hone your sales message.
Here is a simple and quick way to advertise on Google.
Once you establish an ad account on Google, set up two different ads. Before creating your ads, brainstorm every possible reason people would want to do business with you. Then order them according to the most appealing to your customer.
Next, create ads 1 and 2 according to your assumptions. Next, set ad 1 to go to a page on your website that is congruent with your ad. For example, if your ad says “Flat Fee Pricing,” then the page they end up on after clicking your ad should also discuss Flat Fee Pricing. Ad 2 should do the same for its unique content.
Now we have to track which ad, if any, gets people to call or email you. When customers click your ad and get to your web page, they should see your “tracking” phone number or a form, or both, where they can enter their names and email addresses for you to contact them. Your website form and phone number should track the customer’s response from the moment they click your ad. Thus, ad 1 corresponds to phone number 1 and email form number 1. Ad 2 corresponds to its phone and email tracking.
Once set up, let your ads run and check the results daily. If one is out-pulling the other, you’ll see the difference in your stats. Try to get at least 50 to 100 clicks on the winning ad before declaring a winner, because that will be a more reliable statistical sample.
Next, just because you found a winning ad between the two does not mean you found the best sales pitch. Test your winner against your other sales pitches to see if it is the best pitch.
Once you find your best pitch, use it on every sales piece including business cards, stationary, emails, Facebook page, website, and so on.
Know that you may not find your best sales pitch the first few tries. You may also find that two or more sales pitches are roughly equal in response. If so, carefully tweak each pitch and test one against the other to find a winner.
Results Can be Surprising
Which do you think is the best offer?
1. “Half Off”
2. “Buy 1 Get 1 Free”
3. “Save 50%”
When I tested the above three offers in my own business, number 2 received 34.7 percent more sales than any of the others. I’ve since tested it more and it remains the top performer.
Now imagine if I would have lazily decided to use number 1 or 3 and not test anything else. Think of the sales I would’ve missed out on had I not used the winner over several years time. Just by changing the wording I increased sales.
Lastly, resist using clever word plays, humor, and platitudes. Instead, find out what phrase your customers respond to and give it to them.