When it comes to selling anything online you need to have a great sales page or landing page to move your product.
Test a video version
Video can boost conversions – and long form sales pages are no exception here.
While video-only sales pages can be successful at times, in most cases video should be supplemental to text. Most people will NOT watch the video (but the most interested people might), so the text content should be created with this in mind.
We recently tested 2 “text-only” vs “video+text” long form pages against each other.
In the first test, sales pages were identical except for one thing – one had an image above the fold (left) and the other had a video (right):
Result: video version drove 46% more sales.
The second test was similar – everything the same except for the above the fold area.
Result: The version with the video got 25% more sales. (And hard to believe, but auto-play converted 13% better here than “click to play”).
Don’t leave the page
Sometimes you have additional information that’s useful to some, but not all readers. On “regular” websites you could just link to a deeper page, but on minisites you can’t — or shouldn’t. So here’s what you do instead.
In this example, a minisite is used for an one-page FAQ. When you click on a question, it expands to show the answer. This design helps you make the page shorter and also makes it easier to find the question and answer readers might be looking for.
Open info in a lightbox
You can “hide” information behind a click, but instead of navigating away, open it in a lightbox:
Use Sidecar or similar
Digital Telepathy developed this nifty tool they called Sidecar. You can toggle information boxes making each box appear and disappear from the side of the page.
Great visual design matters – a lot
Oh where do I start. Design is half the marketing and sales battle. Great design is about building trust and guiding the reader along. It’s about bringing out the important information and minimizing the secondary.
If your site looks like crap, the perception of your product is also crap. Look at the 3 examples I brought out at the very top. Is there anyone on the planet who sees those pages and says “yeah, these look like trustworthy sites”? Don’t think so.
Many people have the wrong idea that good design is about bells and whistles and flash videos. Not true at all. Great conversion optimized design serves only one goal – getting people to buy. Any part of the design that does not support this goal has to be changed or removed.
I’ve seen blog posts touting the idea that ‘ugly websites convert better’. In every case where this was claimed and where the “good design” version was actually shown, the good design sucked ass. Here’s a screenshot from a forum thread:
The thread starter did not post the pages for comparison, so a part of me thinks this is all made up, BUT – let’s look at what’s being said here. “Professional looking”, “a lot of cute images, graphics… the works”. Oh my god. Perhaps we should be thankful that he didn’t post the screenshots. I can only imagine the crap.
It looks like the reason some people think ugly sites convert better it because they think sites full of business porn and image sliders are what “good design” is. They just don’t know what good design looks like.
So let’s look at some of the arguments made for ‘ugly’ design and against ‘good’ design.
#1: “If your website looks BMW-fancy your visitor is going to assume BMW-pricing.” Give me a break. They can SEE the actual pricing. If BMWs came with Suzuki pricing, everyone would drive one. So if your site looks like BMW, but the product costs like Isuzu, you’ve got a winner. Also, iPads are still the best-selling tablets around. Ever seen their site (and the price tag)?
#2: “Trust – Nobody likes advertising. “. Yes, trust is uber important. But it’s the other way around. Great design builds trust - crappy design kills it. The connection between great design and advertisers is stupid.
#3: “Accessibility – Build for technology two cycles back.” - The claim that good design is somehow not accessible is silly. Good design is most definitely built with accessibility in mind.
#4: Google, Amazon, eBay, Craigslist are ugly. – First of all they’ve never been ‘ugly’, always good enough (except for Craigslist). And in case you haven’t noticed, Google has undergone a design revolution recently and is taking design *very* seriously. Both Amazon and eBay got a face-lift relatively recently. Craigslist is a unique case (there’s always one) – and it’s a success since it’s always been like that. Try starting a new, unknown site today that looks like Craiglist and see how far you get.
#5: “Ugly websites are simple” – This is a non-argument. No reason why beautiful websites can’t be simple. Look at Simple, Blossom, Customer.io or Google “minimalistic website showcase” or similar stuff. You’ll find a gazillion simple, yet beautiful websites.
#6: “The content should always be the highlight of the website – not design.” - Yes indeed. Design is always there to support content. Remember the Appsumo site example above? The design HELPS to read the content, not the other way around. In fact, in ugly websites the ugliness gets in the way of content and distracts.
#7: “I tested ugly vs. a newer more sophisticated version and the ugly one won!” – Without seeing the “better designed” version it’s impossible to comment. My guess is that the better version in those case is one with automatic sliders, stock photos and perhaps some flash here and there. No wonder then. Until I see the ugly vs. good design side by side, these arguments are worthless.
#8: “See – here’s a case study”. In this case the answer is given at the end of the article. “It has everything to do with providing the CTA in the correct place in the thought sequence.” The ‘pretty’ version gives you very little text (poor copy too) and then asks for money. No wonder it didn’t work. The ‘ugly’ version actually sells you the idea before asking for anything. Now if they’d take the copy and structure of the ugly site, but made it look good – I bet we’d see an improvement in results.
#9: “But this ugly site sells well!” - I bet it will sell even better with a good design!
Any cherry-picked ugly site that converts well does not support the claim. The logic of “if X is ugly and sells a ton, then I’ll make an ugly site and sell a ton too” is a causal fallacy. What about all the beautiful sites that convert well. Oh my, a contradiction!
We’ve improved conversions on every long form sales page we’ve worked on. Sometimes only by changing the design! Give me an ugly page and we will make it convert better.
People judge everything they see – all the time. We meet somebody new – we judge them by their looks. We go to a new place – we make up our mind about it based on its looks. Your friend gets a new car – we decide whether we like it based on what it looks like.
When people see your website they form their opinion about it in less than 50 ms – and create a long-lasting impression (if it’s ugly, it will haunt you even if you re-vamp your site). (I wrote a whole post on the importance of first impressions - I recommend you read this post then the previous two links).
These impressions have a strong influence on conversions.
Three examples of awesome (and well-performing) long form sales pages
Every single page converts very well. How do I know? We built them.
The Renegade Diet
One of the best-selling fitness products.
You will notice that this particular version is slightly different than the one I showed above in the video test example. This one converts more than double compared to version they had before we came along.
The Timeline Blueprint
This was built in conjunction with a high-converting email capture page.