heya,

Let’s get right to it because we’ve got a lot to cover.

As promised, today we’ll talk about how to profit from driving cold traffic straight to a sales page.

What i like about the approach is its simplicity. You go right to selling your product without any intermediate steps. Each time you pay for a click, that is one visitor to your site who gets to see and consider your product.

Contrast this approach to using an optin only landing page.

Here, after you’ve paid for a visitor’s click, you filter and qualify who should even see your pitch. Assuming an “average” optin rate of 10%, that means only 10 out of every 100 clicks you pay for will have a chance to consider your product.

A couple of years ago, i started a campaign for a client in the extremely risky niche of “male enhancement” (think, dick pizzlez). To start, i suggested he market his product as a premium pill and build an optin page to grow a mailing list, and then send daily emails to build up its value and sell it.

He resisted raising the price of a month’s supply. I was thinking $400, he was thinking $30, and we finally agreed on a “middle ground” of $120.

The approach worked and was effective. The client was surprised that we were able to sell the bottle for this price–but he wasn’t particularly interested in writing so many emails, nor in outsourcing the work. He continued to push for a straight to the sales page pitch.

I often advise a client with what i think is right–but if they’re pushing hard against me, i let them have their way. What happens is either they become convinced why i advised them against this, or i learn something new.

So, reluctantly, i agreed.

For a week or so, we got absolutely SLAUGHTERED running our Google Ads straight to the sales page. My point was proven. But rather than be content with that, i couldn’t resist the challenge.

So i began making some tweaks to counter the issues and about two weeks in, i was able to turn this around to both our amazement and it worked like gangbusters.

Before i explain what i did, let’s talk about why things flopped so royally at first.

Despite the simplicity and intuitiveness of going straight to the sales page, there’s a few issues with the approach that have to be dealt with:

First, online shoppers have short attention spans.

While you probably need a lot of writing (or video) to explain and sell your product, many visitors just don’t have the time or patience to sit through it all. You have to figure out how to grab attention and keep it long enough to get to selling.

This means you need skills you might not have, and lots of testing. If you’re not careful, your own copy could be hurting you, serving as a really strict “gatekeeper” that turns people off without seeing what you’ve got to offer. You might spend a lot of money and never see a single customer convert.

With this client campaign, the copy was not our problem. But the length certainly contributed to the issue.

Secondly, visitors may not be ready to spend money right now.

Even if your traffic is super qualified, and your sales copy is amazing, and visitors read your entire sales message, they may still not be ready to buy. Do not underestimate the amount of effort someone has to go through to reach for their wallet, pull out a credit card, and start a checkout transaction.

Realistically speaking, visitors need to be exposed to your sales pitch multiple times to be ready to buy. And each contact is going to cost you money.

With behavioural targeting, there’s a simple solution to this. But Google Ads considers “male enhancement” a sensitive health issue and prohibits behavioural targeting. So we could not benefit from retargeting visitors with more ads.

Third, you’re exposed to the whims of Google’s automated review system. Their crawler now has access to everything you have to say about your product, and you have multiple vulnerabilities and points of potential violation of their terms.

With a product like ours, we had lots of potential for issues–the sexual explicitness of the ad copy, the health claims, and a range of prohibited trigger keywords. Although this issue did not come up until later and i’m not going to get into it in this email–perhaps in a later one.

So how do you counter these issues and run a successful Google Ads campaign that goes straight to the sales page?

1. INSTALL A SESSION RECORDER
==============================

This is always good practice for troubleshooting any landing page. A session recorder captures in real time how individual visitors interact with your page.

It captures scrolling, mouse movement, and keyboard strokes.

LOL! This is not as sinister as it sounds, i promise…I programmed such a system before so i’ve got some experience with how they work.

Session recorders do NOT do any screen grabs. They simply capture the events of scrolling, tapping, and clicking with the precise time each event happened. On the server side, the system simulates the rendering of your page with a browser, device, and screen size similar to the visitor’s (all easily detected). Finally, an animation is made by playing the events against the simulated page, which allows you to visualise how the user interacted with your page as if you were there watching them do it.

You see if someone gets frustrated when something doesn’t work the way it should,
… or how long they spend reading,
….or  how much attention they give to your pitch,
….or at what point they start skimming and skipping,
….or when they slow down,
….or when they lose interest and click off.

With that information, you can easily see points of failure in your sales presentation and fix them.

When we watched my client’s visitor sessions, we were extremely impressed with how engaged users were and that they were genuinely reading carefully our lengthy written presentation.

However, where many lost interest and clicked off, was when they reached the price point. More on this next.
 
 
 
2. LOWER THE PRICE
===================

This will make the most fundamental difference in any campaign that has sales as its primary objective. You can’t easily sell a premium product on contact.

You need the visitor to make an impulse buy.

For this to work, the price has to be low. The lower the better. It has to make sense for your business, of course, but if it means creating a simpler variation of your product, then do it.

For example, we considered doing a 7 day supply of pills for $9.99. You can probably go as high as $49 before it stops being an impulse buy–but i’d suggest lower.

The beauty of having a low price is you don’t need to do a LOT of selling to sell it. A guarantee is optional and not at all required (for another client we disclaim that there are no guarantees at the head of the presentation and it still kicks butt).

A low price automatically makes your pitch low risk.
 
 
 
3. BUILD A SCANNABLE SALES PITCH
==================================

Formatting and usability is absolutely critical, more important than choosing the magical combination of words.

Realise that people will not read everything you write to sell them, and you don’t need them to. Break up your presentation with graphics, headlines, lists, and so on to give relief. People often alternate between reading and scanning. Give them reasons to take breaks, and give them reasons to re-engage.

I go into great depth on how to do this masterfully in the Super Traffic Machine User Manual THREE (Offer).
 
 
 
4. PROMISE INFO & HINT AT BUYING
================================

From the ads themselves to the landing page, you want to set expectations for reading (or watching) with a hint at price.

When you have a large amount of text in your presentation, position it as an article / editorial instead of product information. For video, position it as an interview or tutorial.

This is not to say that you should be sneaky about it–but just give visitors educational value when they consume your sales pitch, before you start selling. I also like to push sales sounding stuff further DOWN the presentation so it doesn’t scare people off too early.
 
 
 
5. DO A CART ABANDONMENT CAMPAIGN
=====================================

Many visitors will click your purchase button, get to the order page, fill some information and then stop short.

What happened?

Aren’t they good prospects?

In addition to the session recorder to identify issues in your order page, also use an order page solution that stores emails of people who begin checkout but do not complete the purchase and tries to recover them.

One idea is to use a two step checkout where you get the email in one step and the payment information in another.

Alternatively, some solutions use ajax to capture partial information and create a “draft customer”. If after a time the order is not completed, the cart abandonment email sequence begins.

In a future email, I’ll talk more about the technology stack to pull this off. There’s a lot of options here and there’s one in particular i like (it’s free).

Ideally you want to begin the sequence by asking if they need help, offer support by phone and email, and give them the link to continue their checkout. If your solution stores the details they filled out, even better, because it reduces friction.

You don’t want too many emails in the abandonment recovery campaign–perhaps 3 at most. In the last email, it would be a good idea to give a small discount as an incentive to finish their order (but hold off until the last email).

In my experience, we’ve been able to save some 60% of started orders this way!

Also this is a good opportunity to create a retargeting list for everyone else whose email was not captured but clicked through to the order page. We do that in campaigns where behavioural targeting is permitted.
 
 
 
6. UPSELL TO INCREASE CUSTOMER VALUE
======================================

The only way to recoup your ad cost when your price is already reduced is to have several post-checkout upsells and order bumps. Usually it’s easy to push your average ticket here because once the credit card is out and the order form has been filled the biggest obstacle has disappeared.

You still want to think in terms of “impulse buy” pricing, but it really depends on your skill in choosing good upsell products and what your market wants.

And the upsell process has to be frictionless, so always use a one-click upsell solution.

We’ve pushed this to $300 without trouble.

I’m going to talk about this in another email we’ve got some counter-intuitive tricks to make upsells work. And the technology stack is another important discussion.
 
 
 
7. USE FOLLOWUP FOR HIGH TICKET SALES
=======================================

The real money is going to be in the repeat sales you do AFTER a customer has bought from you once.

I’d say almost everything up to this point will cover your customer acquisition costs and perhaps a small amount of profitability (which you may well lose when you try to scale your ad campaign).

Reinvest everything you earn in the front-end and post-checkout upsells into advertising.

After you’ve collected a list of customers, you must immediately begin follow-up to maintain a relationship, even if you’re selling nothing. It could be a support mailing list to help them benefit from their purchase or something similar.

Planning and building a high-ticket backend product ($1,000+) needs some careful consideration. When you’re ready, you can begin to promote several such products to your customer list. But be sure you maintain an email relationship, even when you’re not selling otherwise you lose ANY value in that customer list.

This is a topic discussed in great detail in User Manual SIX (Customers) and SEVEN (Follow Up) in the Super Traffic Machine series.

I think this covers the major pointers i have for you if you’re trying to make things work with direct to the sales page type of pitches. Most of these pointers apply to the hybrid page also. But i’ll talk about some differences in how you might handle it in tomorrow’s email.

In the meantime, check out the Super Traffic Machine which will give you all the groundwork you need to actually implement most of the above.

Read more about it at the link below:

Until tomorrow,

~jim

P.S. If you have missed previous messages in the series, check out the following: