We’ve all seen great ads on websites and on TV that really seem to draw us in if we have the problem they’re describing. You mostly see how, in infomercials, they try to talk you into buying a product that solves a problem you didn’t even know you have (or maybe you knew). These ads use a certain formula and the formula works.
Think about it, with infomercials, they buy a lot of time. This time isn’t cheap. They know that the ads they produce have to work. Even before the ads air, they do testing in focus groups. They make a few, small changes to the ads and then test the ads again to see if they work better. They’re most definitely not just making an ad and just hope it works – no way.
As a small business owner, you can learn from what they do to help market your business.
The Basic Sales Pitch Formula
Here’s the basic formula that you see being used:
- There’s a problem with what you’re doing today
- Here is the ideal solution to that problem
- Here is what makes the solution difficult or less desirable
- Here is how our product makes it easier for you
- Here is how you can get our product
It’s simple – you’re solving a problem and your way is better. There are reasons why your solution is better. Explain those benefits and give a call to action.
Convert it to Online Marketing
Your online marketing could be your website or other ways you are promoting your business online (pay per click ads or other ways). To make your marketing convert (work) better, simply apply the infomercial formula to it.
Here’s how that looks:
- A Compelling Headline
- Present the Problem
- State the Solution
- State Why the Solution is Terrible
- Give Your Solution
- Give a Call to Action
- Provide Further Information
- Show Testimonials
- Give Another Call to Action
- Provide a Risk-Free Guarantee
- Offer a Bonus
- Give a Final Call to Action
- Offer a Parting Gift
Let’s go into each one.
-A Compelling Headline
You need to first grab people’s attention. Without a compelling headline, they might not even continue. It’s do or die. The headline needs to grab attention and then make a promise. It should also qualify them. That means it should make sure you’re talking to the right prospective customer.
I like how Copyblogger explains good headlines since there are a variety of headline types out there:
9 Proven Headline Formulas That Sell Like Crazy (copyblogger.com)
There’s usually some emotion involved and it’s usually fear. You have to make it sound like it’s something someone doesn’t want to miss or have pass by them.
-Present the Problem
In combination with your headline, you need to state what the problem is. It’ll be something people can agree with. They’ll essentially say to themselves, “Yes, that is a problem that I have.” Say why it’s a problem so that you can get them to “buy in” even further.
-State the Solution
Explain what the standard solution is. This is usually something pretty obvious.
-State Why the Solution is Terrible
There are downsides to the standard solution is. Maybe it’s hard work or something people don’t like to do or don’t know how to do.
-Give Your Solution
Next, say that you have a solution that will help. You have come to the rescue and you’ve solved this annoying problem for them. Your solution takes care of the negative thing you’ve stated above. Explain the benefits to your solution – how it benefits the customer.
Your solution should be easy. It’s should be a no-brainer. People don’t want to do, they want to get. Explain what they get and why it’s the easiest solution out there.
Keep people in the buying process so that they stay with you and don’t self-serve. Don’t keep saying why you’re the best but explain what they get – how it applies to their particular situation. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and think about what they are thinking. Your product or service solves problems that the buyer has.
-Give a Call to Action
Ask them to buy it. You might have them right here. If so, there’s no reason to keep selling. Ask them to buy it or give up their email address or whatever your call to action is.
-Provide Further Information
If they haven’t purchased yet, then tell them some more. This is a good place to tell a story since people like stories. Explain the personal problem you had and why you developed your solution. Doing this will get people better connected with you because they see you are on their side.
If there’s a way to show proof of how good your solution works, this is where you can do that.
Get testimonials from people who have used your solution and post them here. If possible, show their picture with the text. Video also works very well.
Seeing testimonials will reduce anxiety with the customer.
-Give Another Call to Action
Ask them again if they want to buy.
-Provide a Risk-Free Guarantee
If they’re still not sold, then bring out the big guns. Give a 30, 60 or 90-day guarantee where they get their money back if they don’t find value in your solution.
-Offer a Bonus
Come up with a bonus you can offer. Maybe it’s an accessory or a free report. It should be something that adds some more value to your solution.
A good example is when I bought this small appliance for cooking breakfast and other things. They added a recipe book so that you can have some good things to make using the product. Doing this helps squash the question of, “Will I really use it if I get it?” and this kind of bonus can really help you sell your solution.
-Give a Final Call to Action
Ask them one more time to buy or give up their email address.
-Offer a Parting Gift
At this point, you didn’t make the sale. Before they leave, you want to offer them something. It’s one more call to action that’s less strong. It can either be a free PDF report or maybe even a discount on only a part of what you’re offering. The call to action here is softer – maybe it’s just an email address if you were asking for a sale. Maybe it’s a visit to your Facebook page if you were asking for an email address.
The best way to offer this parting gift is with a popup plugin that activates when there’s exit intent. This means when your website sees people are going to exit the landing page, the popup appears and makes this last offer. It’s a great way to try to at least get something from the traffic you’re getting and these people might sign up for something lesser than what you’re offering.
Rinse, Lather, Repeat
After you’ve set up a good sales letter page, you’re not done. Let it run a while and then test another version of it. Change a few things and see how it does. You can also run what is called an “A/B Split Test” where you create a few versions of your page and they all show at once. Well, not all of them at once but what I mean is one of your pages is shown when someone visits your website and if they buy or complete a goal, then those statistics are kept and, over time, you get to see which version performs the best.
At the point, you can either go with that version or do some more testing to try to get an even better page that converts into sales.
This Can Also Be Used for Radio or Television Ads / Videos
This same formula can be used in other media. I heard some radio ads this morning that were just plain bad. I was wondering what they were thinking when the ads were produced. They were thinking, “ok, let’s just put a lot of info in our ads and people will call us.” Um, no. That’s conceited. Your ads should be about how you can help solve a problem. Use this formula instead and your radio ads will produce better leads for you.
The same with video – you only have a few seconds to grab someone’s attention, so make sure you follow this formula if you want it to be successful.
Amp It Up Even More – The Perry Belcher Method
There’s a great Internet Marketer online named Perry Belcher and he has come up with the best formulas for selling online. He takes the sales formula I list here to a whole new level – just check it out:
21 Sales Copy Secrets from Perry Belcher (earlytorise.com)
- Call out to your audience… Be specific! It seems unnecessary to put “Attention: _(insert your audience here)_” at the top of a sales letter, but you see it – and even hear it on the radio – all the time…particularly from top direct marketers
- Grab their attention with your Big Promise Headline telling them, specifically, what you are going to teach them
- Backup the big promise with a quick explanation (sub-headline)
- Identify the problem by telling a story (see my final thoughts about Perry below) and make sure they know that it is NOT their fault that they struggle right now
- Provide your solution – and prove it is the best option
- Show pain (with empathy & affinity)
- Explain ease-of-use
- Show speed of results
- Future cast – Explain to them how their life will be better because of your solution
- Prove that you are the expert (credibility)
- Detail the benefits in bullet points – And here’s an additional bonus tip from Bedros to make this better…
…”Whenever you are creating bullet points, use the phrase “so that” to make the bullet even better.”
For example: The simple benefit “You’ll lose fat with this workout” can be improved by turning it to, “You’ll lose fat with this workout so that you turn heads at the beach & get all the attention you want from the opposite sex“.
(That’s not a great bullet, by the way, but it’s just a sample of how to use that formula to improve your bullet copy.)
- Show proof/testimonials … you can also use an outside authority…such as statistics from research, or quoting an authority (i.e. “According to the Wall Street Journal“)
- Make your offer in detail
- Build up your value – Fragment your offer and then add it all up to increase value
- Add bonuses – increase the value even more
- Reveal your price (this is where the pop up buy button shows up in a VSL) …NOTE: If you are going to split test, start with Price, then test headline, and then test your offer
- Inject scarcity – Find a way to deliver this…via increased price, limited time, etc.
- Give guarantee to remove/reverse all risk
- Call to action – Be specific and tell them what to do to take action now
- Give warning that if they don’t buy, here’s what will happen (i.e. will remain in pain)
- Close with a reminder – a PS recap of everything … Perry said one of his best PS’s went like this:
“PS – As my grandmother said, ‘The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again when it doesn’t work. So if you keep doing what you’re doing now, you’ll be in the same place next year.” And then it went into a summary of the problem, his solution, the offer, and his guarantee.
So when you’re ready to go farther with selling online, try that method. It takes more work but it’s proven to work.
Use the Belcher Button
A proven call to action that works is the Belcher Button. You’ve probably seen it before. Here is one that I’m using:
It’s a “buy area” instead of just a “buy button” and it really works – here’s a video explaining the science/psychology behind it:
And you can even generate your own Belcher Button for free. So use it and amp up your conversions!
Offering Free Products
If your goal is to sell/give away free products, then you shouldn’t need to work as hard as when your goal is to sell something.
For example, if you’re giving away a free report or book in order to get people to sign up on your email list, then you need:
- A Headline
- Selling Points
- A Sign Up Box
- An Image
Here are some examples (click on each to view a larger image)…
Classic Landing Page
You can get these exact landing pages when you sign up at GetResponse, which handles your email lists and auto-responder emails as well. It’s a great deal and you get a lot more than MailChimp.
Go with what works! The easiest way to save money with marketing is to follow a proven formula that works. Copy what everyone else is doing. It’ll save you a lot of work and you’ll get great results.
I teach skiing on the weekends and I ask people how the class is going as we ride up the lift near the end of the lesson. I hear some great feedback and most people say that it’s easier then they thought. I mention that we know of lot of tricks and ways to make things easy that would have taken them years to figure out on their own. The same thing works for building pages on your website that will convert traffic into sales. Copy what the professionals are doing.