Writing landing pages that convert

Direct response copywriter Steven Lewis talks to an audience at Fishburners about how ad money gets wasted and the secrets of copywriting a landing page that converts.

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Transcript of Writing Landing Pages That Convert video

Steven Lewis:

My name is Steven Lewis and I run a direct response copywriting agency called Taleist. I’ve been writing websites since 1994, which is longer, I would imagine that most people have been writing websites. I predate search engines that were only directories back in the day. It was very hard to put an image on a website. I’ve been doing it for a very long time. But now we don’t build websites, we specialize only in writing them and particularly in writing the ones that do something.

Steven Lewis:

What does direct response mean? It means you are looking for a response from the person who is reading the page. That is what copywriting is. In a sense, direct response copywriting is a tautology, because copywriting means using psychology and salesmanship to get somebody to do something. It’s what you’d have in your funnel when you wanted somebody to click, to download, to email, to call, to buy, there is an action that you want them to take, and the entire purpose of the writing is to get somebody to take that action in order that you can make claims like this about the page that you have created.

Steven Lewis:

There is a clear distinction between content writing, and copywriting. Content writing, I got my start in journalism, for instance, journalism is content, I wrote features. My features were designed to entertain, to inform, to educate. My job as a feature writer was done, if you read the feature. If you read the feature, and you enjoy [inaudible 00:01:44] you’re likely to read it again, the next day, or the next weekend I wrote for a weekend paper, and you are likely therefore to consume the advertising that is in the paper, that is your job.

Steven Lewis:

With blog posts, for instance, you might want somebody to know seven ways that they can save money on their credit card this Christmas, but you’re not actually looking for them to contact you. Cumulatively, the purpose of your blog or your content might be to showcase your expertise and hope in the fullness of time that somebody will contact you. But you are not with that post working towards one goal being somebody calling you.

Steven Lewis:

Whereas with copywriting, that’s the goal. That we’re talking about landing pages, you are sending traffic from Google to a landing page, you bought that traffic, that traffic was expensive, you want it to do something. Of course direct response has its roots in direct mail. You’re using your understanding of psychology and the target reader to make them feel impelled to do something, whatever it is that you want them to do.

Steven Lewis:

I chose this ad because it was written by a famous copywriter, if copywriters can be famous, called Joe Sugarman, and Joe Sugarman’s specialty was investing in products and then using his copywriting skills to sell his own product. There was no middleman, there was no client. BluBlocker sunglasses, this is an ad from 1987. It was before we were all staring at screens and thinking that blocking blue light was important in the way that we do now Joe sold direct.

Steven Lewis:

You would be reading a magazine, you would see this ad, Joe needed to make this ad interesting enough for you to read it, to follow it, and then to take an action at the end, which was of course, to contact his company and buy the sunglasses. He sold 20 million units of the sunglasses through direct response advertising. But I’m putting the ad up because it drives me crazy when people sell courses on writing for the web, as if there is something new and different about writing for the web. We have always been skimmers, we’ve always needed to break things down into sub headings, easy to read paragraphs, short sentences, make it engaging, anything you learn about in a writing for the web course, is something that copywriters have known for a long time. That’s 1987, this is 1929. Easy, skimmable, short paragraphs broken up into sub headings, pull quotes, directing you to the key offer.

Steven Lewis:

There’s nothing new in any of this, it’s all exactly the same, it just happens on the internet in terms of a landing page. I promised in the intro to this course or the blurb about this course that I will tell you where I think ad money gets wasted, typically, I see it all the time. I’m going to work you through a hypothetical scenario in which you open a restaurant. Not a fabulous time to open a restaurant, but it works really well in this scenario.

Steven Lewis:

You’ve opened your restaurant and you need people to know that you’re there. So, you advertise, you let people know that you’re there, and whether you advertise on Facebook or Google, or you advertise in tourist brochures or whatever it might be, you’re advertising, “We’re a restaurant, we’re open, come down and have a look.”

Steven Lewis:

Your ads need to make an offer, you need to ask people to do something, and in the case of this restaurant, you’re asking people to come down and have a look at the restaurant menu outside. We’ve all seen it, [inaudible 00:05:23] you’re walking down there’s restaurants, they’ve got their menus outside, they’re putting their wares on offer. But you’re advertising, you’re sending people to the menu, but your restaurant isn’t as full as you would like, people are not reading that menu and coming into the restaurant. Which means you need to have a look at your conversion rate. For those of you who haven’t measured a conversion rate before, it’s really simple, it’s just the percentage of people who see your landing page or your ad and who do the thing that you want them to do.

Steven Lewis:

It might be emailing you, it might be going down to [inaudible 00:05:58], having a look at your menu. It might be phoning you, it could be anything that you want them to do, but you’ve converted them from reading to doing, that’s the conversion. If 1000 people visit your landing page and 15 people do what you want them to do, you have a 1.5% conversion rate.

Steven Lewis:

So, you’re looking at two measures; the number of people who click your ad, and the number of people who take up your offer from your landing page. You’re not getting the conversion rate that you want, you’ve got two choices, you can increase your ad spend, or you can improve your landing page, you can improve the offer that you’re putting in front of people to persuade them to do something. Ideally, you need to look at both of those things, you need to make sure that the right people are seeing your ad. That is surprisingly, a step that a lot of people miss, they don’t really do the targeting on their ads very well. They’re too broad. They’ve been to one too many Facebook classes that have said the audience needs to be really big, which is fabulous. So, they want to reach a million people. But they’re reaching a million people who have no interest in what is on offer.

Steven Lewis:

You need to fix that first, or you need to fix that. Then you need to ask, is my landing page persuasive? If people are coming down, and they’re looking at the menu, and they’re walking away, not walking into the restaurant, not taking the action that I want them to take, am I saying the right thing to them? In my job quite often, the clients already have a landing page, and you take a look at their landing page, and you see generally things that are common, the landing pages all about them, their interests, what they think is special about themselves, how many years they’ve been practicing law, how special they think they are at practicing law and how lucky you would be to be working with them, is not persuasive to people. You need to be putting yourself in the minds of your consumer on what is persuasive to that consumer?

Steven Lewis:

Quite often, it is that they want what you have on offer, but you are not saying about what you have on offer what they need to hear to be persuaded, and that’s going to be the difference between winning and losing. However, what I see incredibly commonly is people say, “Well, I’m spending $2,000 a month on Facebook ads, I’m getting 15 people into the restaurant, I need to get 30 people into the restaurant, I’m just going to increase my ad spend. So, I’ll spend $4,000 a month on Facebook, and I’ll get 30 people to my restaurant. It’s simple, it’s predictable. I know what the maths says.”

Steven Lewis:

Having spoken to people who do advertising, i.e. the agencies who specialize in PPC, they can say to clients often till they’re blue in the face, “But your website is dog shit. It’s not convincing.” The client will say, “Just spend more money, just spend more money on ads. I want more people see the ads and then more people will come.”

Steven Lewis:

That is one approach, but the problem is that that’s like blackmail. Once you paid a blackmailer, they’re never going to stop asking you for money. If you have to pay an extra $2,000 to Facebook next month to make it 30 people who come in, you’ll have to pay that the next month and the next month and the next month. That doesn’t end. If your answer to a poorly performing landing page is just to send more traffic to it, it’s a legitimate response, but you’re going to have to keep doing it. If it costs you an extra $2,000 a month to get the right amount of traffic, but it would cost you $6,000 to fix your landing page, in three months time, you’ll have paid an extra $6,000 either to Facebook or to improving your landing page. But in the fourth month, you can go back to paying Facebook $2,000 a month because you have improved your conversion rate at the landing page end. That is where I see ad money wasted all the time. People just increase their ad but And don’t fix the offer.

Steven Lewis:

There’s 100% value in retargeting because the assumption that somebody is going to come and read everything and make their decision at that point and not get distracted, it’s crazy. I would always be sending people back to the ad or to another offer, depending on how they performed on the page. Yep. Okay. Just to go back then. That question was, did I see a value in remarketing or retargeting people who visited the landing page? And I do.

Steven Lewis:

Time on a question, short copy versus long copy? Are there any web developers or designers in the room? One, two. My experience with a lot is, if you want to give them more words than would fit on a wine label, they think you’re using too many words cluttering up a beautiful design. But the words are what sell. The stuff about whitespace and few words, it’s fantastic if you want a brand site that makes people go, “Wow, that’s beautiful, you look very professional.” But if you’re actually trying to take a reader from, “I’ve read an ad, I’ve been interrupted, I’ve read an ad. Now, I’m going to be persuaded to do something I wasn’t planning to do.” It’s going to take some words to do it.

Steven Lewis:

That’s a very good rule of thumb in a book called Making Websites Work, which is by a British company called Conversion Rate Experts, and their rule of thumb is you need as many words in writing as you would if you were speaking to somebody. If I held up the keys to my Lamborghini and said, who wants to take you for a test drive, that would probably be enough words to convince some people in the room to take the Lamborghini for a test drive. If I said to you, “My Lamborghini is outside, who wants to buy it?” I’m going to need some more words to convince you that the Lamborghini is a good investment, and a good purchase.

Steven Lewis:

Your landing page needs to be as long as it would take you to persuade somebody in person to do what it is that you want them to do. On this page, we’ve got two landing pages, we’re going to talk about the one on the right a little bit more. The one on the left is fascinating to me, because I got an email from a French guy, saying, “We’ve got this marketing automation tool called [inaudible 00:12:28] and are you interested?”

Steven Lewis:

I didn’t reply, and then he wrote back to me about a week later, as people do when you’re in a sequence, and he said, “I didn’t hear back from you. Are you interested?” I said, “How can I possibly know if I’m interested? There’s about 20 words on your landing page, and all they say is, “It’s the only tool you need to launch your online business, give us your email address.” I’m not convinced, I’m not going to do it.” I said, “Why such a short landing page?” He said to me, they had had a longer landing page, but the short one converted 17% better. The reason it converted better was because they operate through affiliates. You’ve actually already consumed a lot of information about the product, you’re only on that page because somebody’s pre-sold you on wanting a free trial.

Steven Lewis:

It’s more like a check out page. You’ve made the decision to purchase and they’re just facilitating that in this case, a free trial. But the free purchase. There’s context in the question to how long should your landing page be? It’s how much you’re trying to ask somebody to do, and where are they in their decision making process at that moment? That is the answer to short versus long, it needs to be as long as it needs to be. But you will consume a tablespoon a day of bullshit about people’s attention spans, and nobody reads anymore. Total errant bullshit, there is no such thing as copy that is too long, only copy that is too boring, and that’s what we’re going to talk about with this page on the right, because you would be bored shitless by this page.

Steven Lewis:

The person at whom this page is targeted, will have their life changed by what is on offer on this page, and they will read it and they will read it again and they will then read it again, and then they will show it to somebody else. That is the difference.

Steven Lewis:

The good news is that your competition is probably not doing any of the things that I’m talking about here today. When we do a landing page for somebody, of course we go and we look at their competition and the bar is normally set beautifully low. I think of winning appliances, I’m guessing from where they have offices is a big enough company that I haven’t blurred out their name. But if you look at it, their name is right up at the top. It’s potentially the first thing that you see, which if you don’t know who they are is completely irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who you are.

Steven Lewis:

If you go back to the BluBlocker sunglasses example, big picture of the sunglasses, small logo of the company down at the bottom right, because the company is not the issue. Until you’ve convinced me I want what you’re selling, I don’t care who you are.

Steven Lewis:

Winning Appliances create your forever kitchen today. Now, I didn’t write this, I didn’t have the brief. Maybe that is the thing that is most in the mind of what their target client wants. Maybe they want a forever kitchen. Looking at the quality of the appliances. Supposedly, I would think that a lot of these people would change their kitchen every two or three years and maybe don’t want a forever kitchen, they want a right now, the Master Chef judges would be at home in this kitchen kitchen. But I don’t know, I didn’t take the brief. Maybe that does reflect what their punters want.

Steven Lewis:

But take a look at the copy. Winning Appliances help you live your best life at home. Anybody got the foggiest idea what that means? It doesn’t matter how much Oprah you’ve watched, I do not have a clue what living my best life at home means. We have the technologies to elevate… That’s not even a word, to elevate your entertaining to a level where your culinary dreams come true. Maybe people have culinary dreams, I have a Thermomix.

Steven Lewis:

Discover state of the art kitchen appliances across our range of world leading and exclusive brands. It’s bland, it’s meaningless. It’s not really selling me on why I would be coming to you for my forever kitchen. The bar is hanging low.

Steven Lewis:

Your competition is making vague offers. Now, these guys I have blurred out because they’re a small company, and they came to me for my advise. So, we reviewed their landing page for them, the service that we offer. I’m not here to embarrass anybody, but they had a landing page that led to… It was a lead magnet style landing page. We’ll give you some interesting information, and then in return, we’re going to try and persuade you to get in touch with us. Well, this is them trying to persuade you to get in touch with us.

Steven Lewis:

Click here to schedule a 30 minute, no obligation Zoom meeting with us. Why? For what? What will occur in this Zoom meeting? I’m going to imagine all of you are on LinkedIn. So, all of you have been hit up four times in the last 24 hours by somebody who would just like to schedule a 15 minute chat with you, because most of us have completely empty diaries, and we’re looking for those 15 minute chats to fill in our social lives because we’re bored, and we’re alone. LinkedIn stranger for 15 minutes is a great idea.

Steven Lewis:

In this case, 30 minute, no obligation Zoom. Well, I’ve got 30 minutes coming out of my backside. So, no problem whatsoever. Can we have two free no obligation Zoom meetings? The offers are vague, the benefits aren’t expressed. This is a landing page that we did right. We didn’t design it, and design is incredibly important with copy. So, you really need those two things working together. But in this case, we were not involved in the design, we simply did the copy.

Steven Lewis:

I just want to go through a little bit of this with you. It’s your classroom, shouldn’t you make the rules? Now, you might be thinking I don’t care, that’s like creating my forever kitchen, I’ve got no idea what you’re talking about why that’s important. This target client is confused, because they’ve got Udemy telling them they should be putting their online courses on Udemy. They’ve got Kajabi telling them that Kajabi is the answer. And Udemy and Kajabi are two different models. Or you can have your own WordPress website, and you can be in charge of it, and they don’t know what the correct answer is.

Steven Lewis:

In a sense, this is a bit of an attack landing page. Everything on that page is really attacking the Kajabi and Udemy idea that you should just go to Kajabi and Udemy, and we take care of all the hard stuff, and you’ll earn six figures a year in no time at all. What we’re arguing is they make the rules and they can change the rules at any time. Some of them are going to clip the ticket on what you earned. When you’re earning six figures a year, they’re going to want to take some.

Steven Lewis:

There’s a lot of social proof in there, and there’s a lot of talking to that point. It’s very specific to that audience. It may be of no interest to you. One of the worst things you can say to your copywriter is, “I’ve showed the page to 10 people, and they don’t like it.” I had a guy, property manager say that to me, once, “I’ve shown your landing page to 10 people, they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t have read it. I said, “Oh, so they all own investment property?” He said, “No, none of them owns an investment property. Why is that important?” I said, “Well, so you showed a landing page to people who aren’t in the target market, and they said, “We’re not interested in this.” And you think that’s useful feedback?

Steven Lewis:

It’s what does the target market think of what you’ve written? If that page is targeted very specifically at where people are at this stage of their decision making, and what they need to hear about the benefits of this product.

Steven Lewis:

This is another example of a page that we wrote, this is a page advertising… Bing advertising these people will take care of your Bing advertising for you, which of course for most of us your immediate thought is being what? You can advertise on Bing. If I have a Binged Bing and I don’t care about Bing. Just Bing show up in my search analytics, I’ve got no idea. That’s why the headline says, take advantage of the search engine growing faster than Google. You’ve got to address immediately what is the thing that people need to hear right off the top of this page.

Steven Lewis:

What they need to hear, and what they need to believe is that Bing matters, because I am not going to pay you to manage my Bing ads, if I don’t think anybody in the world uses Bing. That is the first thing that I need to convince you of. The approach is different. What is special about this agency is different depending on what they’re talking about. If you read their page about their Google Ads business, it leads differently from this, it doesn’t just say advertise on Google, it’s pretty nifty. It’s different.

Steven Lewis:

Five ways to improve your landing page. How many of you already have landing pages? Five ways you could probably improve them right now is write a headline that means something to your ideal audience, okay? Then that might be creating a forever kitchen, I don’t know, you have to think about your audience. Your landing page isn’t a BuzzFeed article. You could get a lot of clicks by having a headline that said, I survived for three months eating nothing but my own excrement. People will click on it, but they’re not going to buy the thing that you are selling. The headline has to be relevant to what they are thinking. Attracting their attention with a jazzy headline is not really the goal.

Steven Lewis:

Say what you do from the point of view of your prospects. People do not want to buy a doctor, they want to buy a cure, what are you curing? What is the problem that you are solving that I am having? A good example, for instance, we tripled the conversion rate for a Social Media Marketing Agency, because the headline on their landing page was Social Media Marketing Agency. Nobody wakes up in the morning saying, “You know what I need, I need a Social Media Marketing Agency, my day will be complete when I have one.” People want more traffic that converts from Facebook. That’s what they want, that’s what the headlines should have been.

Steven Lewis:

Prove what people most need to see proven, and we’ll talk about this more in the case study. Proof is absolutely critical. The internet is full of airy claims that a lot of the time, I don’t think people even realize are airy meaningless claims. How many websites will you visit today that are supposedly owned by the leading provider of that service, as measured by mom. Prove what they most need to see proven and prove it again. People are skeptical and inert. We love the status quo. We think we want to change. If we really wanted to change, we would actually go to the gym, not just own the membership, right? You need to prove it again. People doubt what you’re saying.

Steven Lewis:

Treat your landing page like the combination of a safe, your prospects have objections to your service, there are things that they will use as an excuse not to buy from you. Maybe they won’t buy that gym membership because they had a gym membership before, and it was hard to cancel, or they never use the gym or whatever it is that they can tell themselves is the reason it’s okay to stay at home on the sofa. “Yeah, I got an offer for a gym. Yeah, it’s conveniently located, but I’ll never use it.” You need to treat it like a combination to a safe, what is their biggest objection to your service? Deal with that? What is the next biggest objection? What is the next biggest objection? Work your way through, like you’re opening a safe, because if you lead with the wrong objection, you’ve lost me already.”

Steven Lewis:

We’re going to go through that in this case study, which is going to put a lot of this into perspective. Back in November 2018, I had an email from a digital ads agency that I do a lot of work with, we get a lot of referrals from them, and he had this client, the landing page you see on the right, which had a conversion rate of 0.2%, which is, to make it non-technical, shit. Is spending a lot of money on sending ads to a page that was shit.

Steven Lewis:

You’ve got people who click your ad, they’ve got some level of interest. You’ve said free sandwiches within and 100 people have walked in and 99.8 of them have walked out without the free sandwich, something is wrong with your landing page. He asked me if I could just give him any high level pointers so that when he went back to the client, he could say, “Listen, I think your landing page needs to be fixed.” I sent him back that email, which comments only on the bit that you see in the box at the top, that is everything, or at least the beginning of what they were doing wrong above the fold of their website.

Steven Lewis:

Now, you can download these slides, and in the slides, I did check that email is actually the high enough resolution that you can read exactly how much I had to say about what is above the fold or the landing page. If I had a sixth tip, it would be think about what is above the fold of your landing page. Because when we review people’s landing pages, we might spend the first half an hour of a conversation only talking about what is above the fold. Because if you don’t get above the fold right, no one’s going any further. Everything else is the 10th page of Google. If you can’t convince me above the fold that you’ve got what I want, I will never know. You could have nothing but pictures of your dog below the fold, because I’m never going to see it if you have an interest in me up at the top.

Steven Lewis:

The doctor, it’s a doctor’s site, and we’ll talk about that in a minute, agreed that we could get to work writing him a new landing page. The condition that he was talking about, it’s a condition called hyperhidrosis and hyperhidrosis is excessive sweating from the palms or the soles of the feet. When we’re talking about excessive sweating, I mean, a hyperhidrosis sufferer might not be able to hold this microphone because it would slip out of their hands. These guys had patients who had broken their ankles because they were walking barefoot, and if you sweat that much from the soles of your feet, every floor is a wet floor, because you’re making it wet. It is an incredibly debilitating illness. You have to choose your wardrobe based on what’s not going to show the sweat stains. You can’t hold hands with a partner easily. There is a lot in this.

Steven Lewis:

We had to understand the sufferers, because what was absolutely fascinating is you see that page that they were going to and converting at 0.2%. My client is the only surgeon in the world who can do procedures both for your hands and your feet. One guy, him, and there are only a handful of people who can do individually the procedures.

Steven Lewis:

People have read an ad that says do you have hyperhidrosis? Yes, I do. I’ve got hyperhidrosis. Would you like to know about a cure? Yes, I would. 99.8% of them said, yeah, not you. You’re the only guy in the world who can do what you can do, and I don’t give a shit, I’m backing away from your landing page, because your landing page was so bad at convincing somebody who is suffering that much, to at least give him a call. It’s all he’s asking you to do on the landing page. He’s not saying sign on the dotted line, and I’m going to be around with my chest crank, and I’m going to open you up. He’s just saying, give me a call, and people weren’t giving him a call, despite the fact he’s got the cure.

Steven Lewis:

You’ve got to understand why those people aren’t calling him. Of course, because you’re selling a surgery, you’ve got to work to understand the surgery. What is it? We rewrote his page. His original page, if you printed it out, was six pages of A4. Our page is 16 pages of A4, and I promise you, you would be bored shitless by it. But if you had hyperhidrosis and you’ve had it for 20 years, you are going to be very interested in everything this guy has to say on his landing page.

Steven Lewis:

We had to think about how do you structure that page? Like I’ve said, it’s like a combination on a safe. What do you need to say first? What is the biggest objection? Well, the biggest objection these people had was there’s no cure for what I have. I’ve never heard of a cure. I’ve heard that there are barbarous treatments that you can give me. I’ve heard that I should be tipping talcum powder into my armpits or into my socks. None of that has worked for me. So, why the hell should I believe you?

Steven Lewis:

But when you go to this page, and you see the headline says, “No more excessive sweating.” You think, well, of course, it’s bloody going to say no more excessive sweating. That’s what you’re selling. Of course, you’re going to say that. But actually, it could have said it’s affordable. If you already believed there was a cure for hyperhidrosis, your biggest objection might be, but I can’t afford it. The surgery is too expensive for me so I’m not going to read this landing page because I don’t want to hear about this cure that I can’t afford.

Steven Lewis:

How many of you are reading the travel section right now to hear about all the fabulous places you can’t go? Some people will, some people won’t. Our guys in Beverly Hills, it could have been it’s in LA. Maybe the biggest objection was it’s too far to go. We’ve written a landing page for a bariatric surgeon, people won’t travel more than 30 kilometers to a bariatric surgeon. It’s too faraway. There’s a bariatric surgeon closer who is equivalent. People fly in from around the world to see this guy. The fact that he’s in LA isn’t important, but if he was doing bariatric surgery, the fact that he’s in LA is critical.

Steven Lewis:

It’s surgical. Well, you know it’s surgery because I’ve told you it’s surgery. So, of course it would say at the top of the page that it’s surgery, but actually there are lots of offers of cures that don’t work that aren’t surgical. The structure of opening the combination is there’s a cure. Okay, well, that’s quite interesting because I wasn’t sure about that, but prove it. There’s a lot of proof even just above the fold, and when you download the slides, you can read bits of it, and you can see, but at the top, you’ve got more than 500 patients who have been cured.

Steven Lewis:

But then you’ve got a long story of a woman who was cured. A really interesting story of a really interesting woman who’s an actress, and she was cured. You’re now reading about somebody who’s just like you, they suffered just like you, and now they don’t.

Steven Lewis:

Okay, now I know there’s a cure. Now, I’m prepared to believe that it works, why haven’t I heard about it? Now, we start talking about why you haven’t heard about this? Well, actually, the illness is more common that you would know, but it’s not well understood. Okay, all right, I’m now starting to believe, but who are you? You want to cut me open, if it’s my hands that are sweating, you want to cut me open in my thoracic cavity. If it’s my feet that are sweating, you want to cut me open in my spine. I quite like to know a little bit about you, and your view of the world.

Steven Lewis:

Then there’s a personal letter from the doctor talking about why he cares about this, and why he has dedicated his career to this fairly obscure condition. Okay, well, now I’m quite interested in you. You’ve got me on the hook, let’s get down to brass tacks. What is it exactly that I have? Because again, it’s not widely understood, it’s not going to be widely understood by your American equivalent of a GP. For many people, this could be the first time they’ve actually heard some world expertise on their problem. We’re going to tell you about your condition, and then we’re going to go through the cure, and we’re going to give you more specifics. We’re going to go through all the things that you’ve heard of and why they don’t work, and why this is different. Because your objection at this point is, yeah, I’ve heard about surgery before.

Steven Lewis:

There has been surgery, there’s been surgery for a long time. I had surgery, a bad procedure, that didn’t help people and hasn’t evolved. Our procedures evolve. Now, you’re quite overwhelmed, because you’ve come a long way down a landing page. Just in case you’re flagging, and thinking about going away and making a cup of coffee, we’re going to give you a testimonial from somebody else who’s been cured. We’re thinking about managing you right through this process. Right through your process, there have been opportunities for you to leave, to take a call to action.

Steven Lewis:

It’s not that you have to read the 4000 words of this landing page, you’ve been invited repeatedly on the page, have you got enough belief now to contact us? No. Okay, well read on, we’ve got something else for you because we think you might have another objection we need to unlock. You work your way down, and then you’ve got the offer. What I love about this offer, is when I spoke to the guy about what it said, the offer on his original landing page is you can contact us. That’s essentially his offer.

Steven Lewis:

When I said, “Well, what happens when I contact you?” Oh, well, they make an appointment with me, and if they’re in LA, they come in and we spend 45 minutes to an hour together or if they’re outside LA that we can do it on the phone or we can do it by video. I said, “How much does that cost?” “Nothing”. I said, “So, they get an hour on the phone talking about themselves and their problems with hyperhidrosis with the only surgeon in the world who can perform both of the operations necessary?” He said, “Yes.” I said, “Where the fuck is that on your landing page right now? That is gold.” That on its own would have boosted his conversion rate. But it wasn’t there, he needed somebody who asked the question. He’s like, “Oh, well, he knew that.” But he hadn’t put it there.

Steven Lewis:

Still doubtful, even after all that you might not be convinced. So, we put some more testimonials in there because I love social proof. I run a masterclass in social proof this week, it’s on our website. We didn’t just put testimonials on his landing page, we put testimonials from doctors with hyperhidrosis who had gone to this doctor to be treated. It’s an uber-testimonial. It’s a medical professional who has made the decision that this is the right man to solve their problems.

Steven Lewis:

Of course, there was A/B testing. We ran his ads, the agency ran his ad, I don’t know. I don’t do traffic. The agency ran his ads, he got 19 leads at a cost of $30,000, $1500 dollars a lead. Bear in mind, these are desperate buyers. They are suffering a debilitating illness and they are not converting. Then he ran our ads, it’s going to amaze you because I’m talking about this as a case study that we won that’s going to absolutely shock you. It would have been great if I had a case study where I lost and you’d be like, “Why is he doing this in this presentation, we won.” Our leads were $462 a lead.

Steven Lewis:

That’s the difference, his page is shorter, but our page saved him a lot of money. But this is the magic trick of where that money is wasted on traffic versus landing page is, is we started this conversation with him in November of 2018. It took him 223 days to agree to our writing a new landing page and then to making that landing page live. For everyday that he was running ads, he was spending $1000 that he didn’t need to, because he was getting a lead a day, and he was spending an extra $1000 getting that lead.

Steven Lewis:

Over the 223 days of spending that extra money, he spent $242,000 that he didn’t need to spend. He could have spent that much and got more conversions, or he could have stopped getting and spending that and getting the same one conversion a day, that would have been his choice. Bring up the budget, spend it, get more conversions, or save the money.

Steven Lewis:

He spent less than $9,000 on us writing that landing page. He did it himself, he cost himself $242,000. But that is the math that I see people do all the time. Oh man, you’re quite expensive. I’m really free, because I have a load of time and I can write this stuff myself. But that’s where the cost element of that comes in, is what is the business that you are losing?

Steven Lewis:

Sure, you can save the raw cost of investing in somebody who knows what they’re doing, but you will never know how many… It’s like people who say to me, “I don’t really need a good website, because all my business is by referral.” I say, “Do those people look at your website?” “Yeah, they’re looking at my website, but they’ve been referred.” They then called me, I said, “Do you know how many people are referred? Look at your website, think it’s dog shit and don’t call you?” They’re like, “I’ve never thought about the maths on that. I know when somebody phones me they say they were referred, but nobody phones me up and says, “I was referred, but I look to your website and you do not look like the droid for me.”” You don’t know.

Steven Lewis:

There is an expense to not doing it properly. If you want to do it properly yourself, this is my overarching guide for you, you’ve got to understand what your prospects really want. Even in the case of hyperhidrosis, yes, they really want to stop sweating. But if you knew you were going to die tomorrow, would you want to stop sweating? It wouldn’t be top of your mind. So, what is it that you want from the stopping sweating?

Steven Lewis:

If you read that page, it’s full of, you’ll be able to hold a microphone in public, you’ll be able to wear anything you want. A lot of these people, you might laugh, but it’s very serious to them. They want to wear open toed shoes. They can’t wear open toed shoes, they can’t wear flip flops, because they skid around all over those shoes. It’s a huge deal. They can’t hold hands with somebody if they’re on a date. Those are the things that they want, that’s the picture you need to paint because nobody wants a stranger to crack them open at the chest and interfere with a nerve bundle. That is not what they want. You got to think about what is it people really want? They don’t want the drill they want the hole in the wall.

Steven Lewis:

You’ve got to know all the objections that will keep them from buying. The biggest objection might be price. Price is always an objection. It’s either too expensive or it’s too cheap. If I told you the Lamborghini that I had parked outside was yours for $10, your immediate objection would be why is that only $10? You’re always going to have objections to price, but they may not be the biggest objection. You’ve got to know what questions to ask. You’ve really got to think about what do I need to ask? Most people don’t know how to ask the right questions, because they’re too close to the topic.

Steven Lewis:

One of the best things most people get out of a copywriter, is a copywriter asks a load of stupid questions, because out of those stupid questions, comes to gold. We had a client, for instance, who sells food to the Davey Jones Food Hall. I said to the food buyer at the Davey Jones Food Hall, “What does the food taste like? What do you like about his food?” She said, “I’ve never tasted it. I buy food, I don’t eat it. I look at the numbers. What I like about this guy is that he answers the phone. His team answers the phone.” That was his number one competitive advantage from her point of view. Good food was the price of entry, but lots of people make good food, but he made himself easy to do business with.

Steven Lewis:

For that kind of buyer, that was his key sales proposition. But I found that out by asking the stupid question of, “Have you eaten his food?” It never occurred to me that the food buyer at Davey Jones hadn’t tasted everything she sold. You’ve got to know where to ask them, where are they talking? You’ve got to know how to see beyond your own perspective into what they want. Because you might know what they need, but you will never succeed in selling people what they need, you will only succeed in selling people what they want.

Steven Lewis:

You’ve got three options. You can find a writer who can take your thoughts and make them sound nice, and that is what a lot of people think copywriting is, it’s that person who’s year 12 English teacher, thought they had a nifty turn of phrase, and they write better than you do, or they’ll save you some time because they write so fluently. But you can… It’s one of the reasons we don’t do editing. People say to us, “I’ve got some copy, can you edit it?” I say, “But I don’t know that it’s not a turd. I can make it sound better, but it might be saying the wrong things, and I can’t fix that if I don’t do the research.”

Steven Lewis:

90% of copywriting is the research, it’s the asking the questions so you know what to say. We’re doing a landing page at the moment for a doctor in Chicago who puts injections into people’s knees so that they can move without pain. That page is all about what his patients do with their lives when they don’t have that pain anymore. It’s not about the gel that he puts in the knee, it’s about walking around Disneyland with your grandkids, which is what these people can’t do.

Steven Lewis:

Some of his patients haven’t seen the upstairs of their house for two or three years, because they can’t get up there. That’s what he’s selling, not an injection in your name. Or you can learn how to do it yourself. Strangely enough, I have a course that will teach you how to do it yourself. The purpose of the course is to teach you how to ask the right questions so that you get the right information, and you can structure it in the right way.

Steven Lewis:

Not everybody can afford to get somebody who knows how to do this properly. Therefore, my recommendation is always you make the investment in learning how to do it properly yourself. Even if you then get somebody else to help you, you can judge whether their copy is good or bad, or whether it’s doing the things that it needs to, because so much of what I see written, it sounds nice. Quite often when somebody comes to us to review their landing page, I look at it, I go, “Well, this looks great. What am I going to say?” Then you start reading it and you realize it’s not saying any of the right things, or if it is saying the right thing, it’s not proving that you can do it.

Steven Lewis:

Once you know how to do that, there’s no magic in direct response for landing pages versus direct response for email, or presentations for just your elevator pitch on what is it that somebody needs to hear about the problems I solve and why it’s important. I’m completely open to questions. I cannot pass the mic. So, I will be careful to repeat your question if you have one. Yep.

Steven Lewis:

The difference between a landing page and another page on your website is there a number sales page, squeeze page. The primary difference is, it’s a page on which you want somebody to take the action. On an ordinary web page, you might want somebody to come and just get to know you and they look at some of your services, and then they look at your About Us page, and then maybe they contact you. A landing page is, I have sent you to this page to get you to perform an action. It’s very important that you don’t get distracted and go somewhere else.

Steven Lewis:

I don’t want you going and reading my About Us page. For instance, on that doctor’s page, he’s got a website, it’s still the same absolutely horrible website that you saw, it looks nothing like the landing page that he sends his paid traffic to the landing page, and he’s got an awful looking site, but you can ping around his site and read his testimonials. But on that landing page, I want you doing one thing. I’m thinking about what do you need to know right now so you don’t think to yourself, who is this doctor, and where is he? I wonder if he’s in LA?

Steven Lewis:

I’m just going to go and click to his contact page and see if I can see his address. I want everything on that page that you need to make the decision that I want you to make. Landing page means that’s where they’ve arrived. They clicked an ad and that’s where they’ve arrived. But it might be they found you through Google, they ended up on your homepage and you’ve sent them to a sales page, that is the page where you want them to take the action that you want them to take. Does that answer your question?

Steven Lewis:

Sweet. Okay, anybody else? No question.

Man:

There are actually 45 people online watching you throughout the whole 46 minutes. That was a very good turnout. But so far, no question yet.

Steven Lewis:

No questions? All right, excellent.

Man:

My personal question is that actually, from your experience, what is the best conversion rate you have seen, and you would highly recommend us to go and check out ourselves? Which particular page out there you think may not be done by you, but it’s a fantastic web page, good conversion, and you happen to be aware of the statistics? Any things you can tell us?

Steven Lewis:

To be honest, nothing does come to mind, because it really depends on where somebody is in their decision making process and what you’re asking them to do. If you’re taking a really warm audience and saying, “I’ve got this free download for you.” Then your conversion rate is going to be off the charts better than I’m a surgeon you don’t know, click here to call me about opening your chest. They’re just not to be difficult, but they’re just not comparable in that sense.

Georgia:

Great. Well, if there’s no more questions, thanks everyone for joining us, both online and in person, and let’s give Steven another round of applause. Thanks so much, Steven. I think he’ll stick around if you have any questions for him. Thanks, guys.

Steven Lewis:

I’m always available to talk. Late bloomers online-

Man:

Sorry for the confusion. Now we can read those questions from online. Hang on one second. If you are starting a business and don’t have a proof yet, what is the starting point? What process you recommend them to follow?

Steven Lewis:

You still have to work out what it is that people need proved and get as close as you possibly can to it. You might have a situation where you can’t prove that you can do it, but you can prove that it can be done, if that makes sense. We’re doing a page at the moment for a guy who’s got nutritional supplements, we can’t prove that his supplement does these things, because he hasn’t been around long enough, but we can use all the scientific studies that prove that the ingredients in his pill do what he says they can do. You’ve got to look for the proof where you can find it, but then go back as soon as you’ve got it.

Man:

Next question is from Richard. How do you recommend to do an A/B testing with a landing page? Any pointer, any tools or template you recommend?

Steven Lewis:

There’s a really good… You can get a WordPress plugin to do it, Google will do it for you. The received wisdom on A/B test is that you should change only one small variable at a time. But then you have to think very closely about how much traffic you get. Because if you don’t get very much traffic to your site to get a statistically meaningful result on your A/B test is going to take an incredibly long time. My view is, if you don’t get a lot of traffic, be bold. Have a bold A page and a bold B page that are very different from each other. See which one does best and then start forming hypotheses about why one is performing better than another and then keep refining from there.

Man:

That’s it what we have from online, only two questions. Thank you, Steven.

Steven Lewis:

Thanks, everybody.