25 Apr The Core Of Any Successful Brand Is Testing
One of the core values at BMC SQR is “Test everything; assume nothing!” That’s because we know that after all these years on the internet, you just never know what strategy or angle is going to work best for you…until you test it. This applies even to your star-performing strategies, because there’s always room for improvement.
The bottom line is, testing is the only way to discover what works–and what doesn’t
On your website, and it’s the best way to start increasing your sales exponentially. And if you take the plunge and use just one of the following tests, you’ll learn just how true this is, especially when you start seeing a dramatic improvement to your brand.
Offer just one product or service on your home page. Do you sell a number of products or services on your website? If so, I’d strongly recommend you test whether or not this is the best strategy for you. We’ve found that offering fewer products in one place with more copy describing those products always translates into higher sales.
It’s all about focus. Instead of trying to please everyone who visits your site by offering a large range of products with minimal detail about each one, if you offer just one product–or one set of related products–you can really focus on one key set of benefits and answer all the possible questions and doubts your visitors might have about your product. And you don’t have to stop selling your other products–you can always offer them to your customers from other web pages or by using follow-up offers
Of course, the only way to find out for sure if this will work with your target audience is to test it! Write a sales letter for your lead product, and put it on your home page. Then run the test for a week or two to see how it increases your sales.
Reposition your opt-in offer to boost your opt-ins and build a bigger list of loyal subscribers. Your opt-in offer is your tool for gathering your customers’ e-mail addresses and building your e-mail list, which allows you to regularly keep in touch with your subscribers, build relationships of trust and loyalty, and sell them your products or services.
But did you know that where your opt-in offer appears on your site can have a huge impact on how many subscribers you attract?
If you don’t use a long sales letter, test placing your opt-in offer in as prominent a position as possible on your home page–the top left of a page is where visitors’ eyes are often drawn first. At the very least, test placing your opt-in in the “top fold” of your home page–the area of screen first visible to a visitor before they scroll down the page.
If you have a long sales letter, you should test placing your opt-in offer within your second “page” of text–after you’ve grabbed your visitors’ attention by identifying a problem they have and established your credibility by impressing them with your credentials, experience and glowing testimonials from happy customers.
You should also test placing your opt-in offer on every page of your site so it’s always in front of your visitors, and try placing it in a “hover ad The more sign-up opportunities you provide, the more subscribers you’re likely to get. Test it and see.
Add impact to your promotions with hover ads. I’m sure everyone’s familiar with pop-ups: They’re the small windows containing a special offer or other information that sometimes “pop up” when you visit a website. Love ’em or hate ’em, pop-ups have been a very useful, online marketing tool for years. However, because a percentage of internet users disliked them, Google, AOL, Netscape and others developed pop-up blocking software to combat them.
Of course, internet users should be able to choose whether or not they want to view pop-ups. However, much of this software automatically blocked pop-ups, meaning visitors to a site started missing out on valuable information that could benefit them.
But that was before we discovered a very impressive technology that actually lets you use ads that behave like pop-ups but that aren’t pop-ups–so they don’t get blocked. They’re called hover ads, and they’re well worth testing on your site.
In fact, when we tested adding a hover ad to our site, sales increased by 162 percent! These ads are effective because they put important information, such as your opt-in offer or a special limited-time promotion, right in front of your targeted visitors.
You can test placing your opt-in offer in your hover ad to see if that boosts subscription numbers. When we did this, 86 percent more people subscribed to our newsletter. You can also test how many more people click through to a special offer page on your site through a hover ad vs. through a regular link on your home page.
: Feature different benefits in your headline. Your headline has a huge impact on your sales. It’s often the first thing visitors to your site see so it must grab their attention and compel them to read your sales letter.
A successful headline should highlight a problem your target audience faces and stress the main benefit of your product or service in solving this problem. Let’s look at an example that illustrates how a headline can be changed for maximum impact.
One of our clients was using the following headline on his site: “Box4Blox–The Amazing Toy Storage Box For Lego.” The problem with this headline is that it tells you what the product is, but not what it does for you. It doesn’t give a visitor any good reason to continue reading the rest of the page.
Contrast that one with this: “Finally! Discover the Secret That’s Got More Than 50,000 LEGO-Crazy Kids Worldwide Actually LOVING Clean-Up Time!” This headline presents a major benefit of the product and a solution to a problem–in this case, how to get kids to clean up after them and actually enjoy it.
Establish a problem in your copy and show how you can solve it. In the first few paragraphs that appear on your home page, you need to go into more detail about the problem you introduced in your headline–showing your audience that you relate to them. (Only when your audience feels you understand their problem will they feel confident that you can solve it.)
Once the problem is established, you can then begin introducing your product or service as the solution to this problem. By emphasizing exactly how your product or service will solve your reader’s problem, you’re guaranteed to see a boost in sales.
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