Do you think the guy above looks friendly and is looking for “positive” engagement?
Well, joked aside, it’s basically how a sales page looks like to a cold visitor reaching it: something he or she needs to be careful about – instant defensive mode. We are inundated with around 300+ sales messages each and every day, 365 days a year! Our brain has trained itself to either stop looking at those ads and pitches, or when no other choice is left, to raise high barriers. And the role of any good sales pitch is to overcome the objections and break those barriers that will allow a sale to happen.
So, how do we make Hulk look better as an affiliate marketer sending traffic to this guy? It all starts with an ad, be it a banner ad, a PPC ad, an email copy. It gets the attention and should disrupt the visitor from what he or she is currently doing (reading a blog, researching…). As a result, you get a click.
When you get this click, then the visitor starts to engage, he wants to see more, he is intrigued, interested, and committed! Yes, he did the first act of commitment by clicking YOUR ad. This is crucial in order to understand the whole psychology of direct marketing. It means you need to build up until the visitor becomes a prospect, a lead and then, a customer. You need to not disrupt the viewer again, you need to make sure he or she gets the information needed step by step. Your ad was the first step in pre-selling!
Pre-selling does not start with a landing page (and sometimes, it does not need one). It starts with your AD and (this is where 99% of marketers get it wrong) WHEN/WHERE you show it to your visitors. Of course, WHO sees your ad is also critical. But the When and WHERE are contextual and can contribute to pre-selling, even if you don’t do anything apart from showing your ads. Say you’re promoting a car insurance comparison offer. Putting your ads on a related blog, or on a news blog in an article about accidents, car safety, increasing costs of insurance – this will skyrocket your conversion rates. Provided that your AD builds up on this contextual information: what are they reading, how can I disrupt them effectively…
This way your ad will pre-sell them to your offer in a more effective way: the article did the first step of pre-selling, your ad did the 2nd step.
When to use an extra pre-selling step: a landing page? If you think the offer is not self sufficient to close the sale, then you need to do it yourself by either capturing leads and educating them, or by displaying a pre-selling article on what their problem is, why they should care and what they should do next, or just a lighter lander to get some more commitment (a kind of “Click here” if you want to save on your car insurance within the next 24 hours).
Sometimes, the sales page or lead form will be enough. Sometimes not. What you should do is always split test direct linking VS Landing page, so that you know which setup yields the highest conversion rate.
But, what you can take away from this article: you should always think at promoting an offer through pre-selling steps. How many steps depends on the offer and it requires testing. Your whole message through each step (from where you place your ad, in which context it’s placed, what it says, where it goes) should be CONSISTENT and built up, so that you improve your chances of conversion!