What Words To Say To Influence Customers To Buy – Pt 3

Here’s part 3 from my previous post:




Years ago I started an online business selling horse training information.  I knew almost nothing about horses or horse training.  My first product was a horse training manual written by a then-famous horse trainer in the 1890’s named Jesse Beery.  Because the book was written prior to 1926, I could legally republish it with no copyright infringement. (This law has changed slightly since then)


I created a website with a special sales page for this book.  Once ready, I bought and sent traffic from Google to the webpage.   At first my sales for an entire month were approximately $500.  That was not paying my bills.  So I edited the ad copy to make it more appealing and hopefully sell more. (Copy is the wording, the salesmanship in print).


No matter what changes I made, the results were no better or worse.  Eventually, I set up the website so I could track when a person would click to page two, then to page three, then to the last page.  In other words, now it was possible to see how many people read each page and where I needed to make changes.    Surprisingly, almost no one went to page two and certainly no one went beyond page two.  As disappointing as that was, it was important to know.  Since most did not go to page two, it made sense that there was an issue with the ad copy on page one.  I edited and tested several changes but the results were no better or worse.


One day in deep thought, I carefully mulled over the marketing information I had studied over the years.  The big idea that became clear was to test the headline.


The headline of an ad works identical to the headline of a newspaper article.  When you read a headline you know immediately if you want to read the article.  Similarly, the ad headline sets the tone for the entire sales piece.  So I decided to test headlines for my sales piece.  Ten different headlines were created. One headline per every 3-4 days was tested, making sure each time each headline generated about the same amount of traffic to it.  Headlines 1-6 either made sales worse or no better.  Yet, it was headline seven that changed everything.  When checking the sales the next day after implementing headline seven, I could hardly believe my eyes.  Over one thousand dollars in sales from that one headline occurred that day.  It was so shocking, I thought something was wrong.  So the remaining headlines were tested and sales dropped again to prior levels.  Then headline number seven was reinstated and sales immediately increased again!


Then I thought if I create a headline better than my best one, more sales would come.  Thus, there were multiple tests done but that headline was never beat.  Periodically, I tested more headlines because ideas worth testing would come to me but to no avail.  The winning headline became “the control”, which means it was the reining headline that was used unless it could be beat by another.


That is when the “power of words” became an epiphany for me.  It drove Gary Halbert’s advice deep into my being.   My spine still tingles thinking about it.


Here is something else that may be of interest.  Remember I was tracking when readers went from page to page.   With the winning headline, more readers went to page two but the amount going further were no different.  That astonished me because so many readers were purchasing my book.   I then understood that the headline set the tone for the entire ad.   They did not have to read the entire sales piece because the headline alone told them what they wanted to know.


By the way, you may be wondering how they could buy the item without going to the last page.  In every page I inserted at least two buy links so they would not have to go to the last page to purchase.   I was able to track which buy link they used to buy the item.  I also tested the colors of the buy links to see if one caused people to click more than another.


These illustrations show how important words are.  Never write ads without carefully thinking through what should be said.  This is a crazy-cheap marketing method because words do not cost anything unless the wrong ones are used all the time.


What’s more, if you test your usage of words, you will find ones that work much better than others.  When you do, keep using them in everything you do from ads to employees to answering the phone when customers call.


So how can you use this trick to boost your sales?   There are several ways and here is an example.  When creating coupons, half of them should have offer one and the other half should have offer two.  For example, if you are testing “Half Off” against “Buy 1 Get 1 Free”, then tabulate the results and you will know, scientifically, which is the best way to advertise this type of offer.  If “Buy 1 Get 1 One Free” is the clear winner because more of those coupons were used by the customers, make sure your employees know to say “Buy 1 Get 1 Free” when speaking with customers.  Insist they do because sales will otherwise be needlessly lost.

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