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The one where I talk about dating sites, weirdos and sales pages

By April 22, 2015Values

Have you ever used a dating site?

They’re fascinating.

My experience so far has been akin to a massively overthought social experiment that’s gone worryingly wrong (read: I’m attracting the special ones) since I seem to be using the site for anything but going out on dates multiple times a week.

(my self-preservation skills at work, folks)

One thing that’s glaringly obvious is that the majority of suitors (Emily Bronte would be proud of this word being here) rather conveniently fall into a set of distinct categories.

And since I’m in the mood to share far too much about my personal life, here are the categories I’ve witnessed so far:

The blatant – makes his intentions clear by asking if you’d like to have sex in the very first message

The taker – only answers your questions and doesn’t ask anything about you

The chancer – lives on a different continent to you, yet thinks in-person dating’s a real possibility

The procrastinator – exchanges friendly messages for what seems like forever but never actually asks you out

It’s this final one that’s the most frustrating.

He’s the one that gives you all the signs that he’s interested, but when it comes to closing the deal? He just kinda goes limp (<– apologies for the visual there).

So I’m now wondering:  how many of us are doing this in our businesses – not asking for the sale, like, ever?

Or worryingly, asking for the sale and doing it in the worst way possible (á la The Blatant).

Which then lead me onto analysing a gazillion (I rounded up) sales pages to see when selling’s done well, and when it ain’t.

This could well have turned into an article about sales page rules, but where, pray-tell, is the fun in that?

So I figured a good ‘ol demo of how sales page editing works would go down a treat.

Since sales pages are typically lengthy, let’s focus on the introduction only. It’s arguably definitely the most important part of the page to draw people in and make reading the page irresistible.

A brilliant web design teacher I know (hi Marianne!) got in touch with me recently about her sales page.

She’s selling a book that teaches you how to design and develop your own website (no mean feat) and we decided to edit the copy to increase sales.

Here are some before ‘n’ after snippets to see what I rewrote:

intro beforeafter

 

If there’s one thing I’ll repeat over and over until my face has turned an unflattering shade of blue, it’s this:

80% of the work is done before you sit down to write

Whether it’s a blog post, a sales page, or any other page on your website.

80% of your work (the planning, the customer research, the wine binge) is done before you sit down to write.

And this is exactly the theory applied to the rewrite of this sales page intro.

Once Marianne sent me the page, I asked her to send me transcripts of all the customer interviews she’d done in the past (she then conducted some more).

I then set to doing a ton of research by going to websites where her target audience hangs out.

My job was to pick out all the words her audience uses when describing the problems they face when it comes to website design and development.

8 hours, many empty wine glasses, and coupla red eyes later, the sales page edits were done.

Here’s why the edits happened:

after analysis

It’s pretty clear –research played a far bigger role in writing than anything else.

We have a ton of deets on how we conduct customer research in our digital guide More Clients, More Money, More Freedom. If you haven’t already, download your copy here.

 

Question for you: What are the main takeaways for you in the edits? What will you apply to the edits on your next page?

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4 Comments

  • Julie says:

    This is excellent Raz! Love all the new edits to Marianne’s content. I was already a huge fan of her book, but just seeing the specificity you brought to the content is amazing.

    I loved what you said: “80% of your work (the planning, the customer research, the wine binge) is done before you sit down to write.” This is SOOOOO true. From research, socializing, brainstorming, and good old life experience – all that has to happen before I even begin to write and format my content. It shows how important paying attention to your community and engaging online and offline is as we curate our content.

    Thanks for the great post!

    • Thank you for such a detailed comment, Julie. You’re one of the few who does this consistently across both blogs and social media sites. Hope you spearhead the revival of this practice !

      Especially with sales pages, it’s easy to suffer from writers block when you sit with a blank page in front of you. But if enough research has been done upfront? It doesn’t take long for creativity to start flowing.

  • Marianne says:

    Oh this is awesome Raz! I love how you showed the reasoning behind your choice of words. Funny, I just took what you gave me and didn’t give it a second thought, haha! Now THAT’S trust right there! 😉

    This was really great, i feel like I kinda know what fears to look for and how to answer them now. Headlines, yeah… brilliant. Cool!!

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