The “Secret” Method Experts Like Perry Marshall Use To Double Or Triple Their Sales Page Conversion Rates

Once upon a time, making money on the web was as simple as putting up a red-headline-yellow-highlighter sales page, and buying clicks on Google.

Those days, thankfully, are now gone. Between “today’s economy” and living in Scamworld, people online are rather less willing to part with their money, and rather more cynical about your efforts to get them to do so.

And this is why sales page conversion rates are typically a couple of degrees above absolute freezing. In fact, pretty much anywhere you put a page asking people to buy something, conversions are miserable. Business websites, for example, get abysmal conversions on their homepages and on other main selling content.

If you’re creating revenue by driving clicks to sales or landing pages, and your conversion rates are lousy, I’d like to offer you…

A Way To Double Or Triple Your Conversion Rates Over A Short Period Of Time – Say A Week To A Month

It’s not a revolutionary strategy.

It’s not something that takes great genius to figure out.

And it’s probably not even something you’ve never heard of before.

But it’s also not something many businesses actually use.

I don’t know why not, because it works extremely well, it’s trivially cheap to implement—the cost falls somewhere on the scale between free and $50—and in terms of time investment it can literally take a couple of hours at the low end.

Would you like to spend $50 and a few hours to double or triple your sales?

Sure you would.

So here’s how:

Stop driving clicks to a landing page that asks for a sale, and start driving them to a landing page that asks for an opt-in. Then use an email autoresponder sequence to drive clicks to the original sales page.

Here’s what happens when you do this:

autoresponder chart

Figures released by Perry Marshall showing a split test of the value of traffic sent directly to a sales page, versus traffic sent to an opt-in page and then funneled into an autoresponder sequence. The straight sales page starts out with an obvious outlier, which is why I’ve also included the value over the last 7 days: once the numbers settle down the straight sales page looks to be averaging around 50-60 cents per visitor, while the autoresponder, though starting off slow, quickly peaks up to nearly $1.50 per visitor, before easing off to just under a dollar. And that’s just the first 8 days. From my own experience, many of the most lucrative sales come far into a sequence—weeks or months after the initial opt-in. Other marketers have confirmed this with me. Thus, expecting to double your visitor value with an autoresponder is actually quite conservative.

Why (And How) It Works

There are lots of reasons this works, but here are 3 unshakable, industry-independent principles that prove this system will double or perhaps even triple sales for your business (because everyone’s business is different, right?)

1. Trust isn’t built in a day

This seems very obvious, yet so few businesses take the time to build a serious bond of trust between themselves and prospects. Many pay lip-service to the idea with cursory efforts, but the kind of trust that turns most visitors into buyers—and buyers into long-term customers—isn’t something you can spin out of thin air.

It takes time; often a lot of time. Months rather than weeks, and certainly not days.

The probability of someone trusting you enough to buy something the first time they “meet” you online is very, very low. In fact, you have a far better chance of surviving the Ebola virus than making a sale on the first contact.

But if you continue to talk to prospects with short, entertaining emails that help them understand and solve their problems, they naturally start to trust you more and more—until they’re ready to buy whatever you’re offering (and often much more).

2. People make small commitments before big ones

You’ve probably heard of “baby steps” in conversion-rate optimization. It’s much easier to get a small commitment than a big one. And it’s much easier to get a big commitment after a series of small commitments, because people start to feel comfortable with you (see #1 above), and also because they need self-consistency.

This is why, depending on your industry, product, price-point, page design, copy and so on, between 97% and 99.9% of visitors won’t buy on the first visit to your site or sales page—but anything between 10% and 70% will sign up to receive free information that helps them understand or solve their problems.

So by asking for an opt-in on the first contact, rather than a sale, you have a decent chance of starting a process that will ultimately end in a sale. Compare that to your incredibly poor odds of getting a sale straight away, and it should be a no-brainer that the baby-steps approach is the one to use.

3. People talk themselves into buying over time

Leading on from #2, you’ve probably heard the old saying that people buy when they’re ready. Well, I actually think that’s a little simplistic. It’s not so much that people buy when they’re ready (which, as they say in philosophy, is trivially true), but rather that you have to give your customers enough rope…okay, no, that’s not the metaphor I was looking for.

But buying is a process. If you think about how you go about buying things online you’ll realize that a lot of times the process looks something like this:

  • Discover the item and check it out briefly
  • Come back to the item and check it out in more detail
  • Go away and think about how the item would be good to have
  • Google competing offerings to make sure you’re getting a good deal
  • Go back and check the item out again
  • Spend more time thinking and googling
  • Check the item out again
  • Buy the item on the spur of the moment

Usually when you buy, it’s not according to a schedule—it just happens to be the right time for you. And it’s the right time because all the weight of your previous actions comes down to form a kind of critical pressure.

But if you’d only had a single opportunity to check the item out, weigh up the options, and make your decision, you would probably have talked yourself out of the purchase, rather than into it.

The same happens in B2B, by the way. There are usually more objective measures the item has to stack up to—but the basic principle is the same: people need time to make the decision. Give them too little time, and they’ll decide not to buy (they’d rather not make a bad decision under pressure). Give them enough time to think it through, with the pressure off, and they often will end up becoming a customer.

What Happens When You Combine These Principles?

Now think about how #1 and #2 and #3 above relate to each other.

With a straight sales page, you have something like a 1-3% chance to make a sale.

But with an autoresponder sequence, if you’re sending good traffic to your opt-in page and the page itself is fairly decent, you have something like a 30% or 40% chance—maybe even better—to capture a lead who otherwise would have decided not to buy.

And you now have the opportunity to spend literally months building trust with that person, who has for their own part validated you in their mind by signing up for what you’re offering. All you have to do is not blow it with bad content! You have plenty of time to not only talk your prospect into a purchase, but to let them talk themselves into it.

No wonder autoresponders work so well.

Are you using one yet? If not, why not? Tell me about your results—or your concerns—in the comments.

About the Author: Bnonn is the author of a free course on 5 website changes you can make today to bring in more sales. Known in the boroughs as the Information Highwayman, he helps entrepreneurs sell more online by improving both their web copy and design. When he’s not knee-deep in the guts of someone’s homepage, he is teaching his kids about steampunk, Nathan Fillion, and how to grapple a zombie without getting bit.

  1. Could you please explain in further detail how this auto responder system would work in regards to a clothing e-commerce site that sells primarily t-shirts?

    THanks!

    • D Bnonn Tennant Aug 15, 2012 at 5:40 pm

      Hey Lando, it shouldn’t be too hard to work out a variant on this idea that will work for an ecommerce site. The better you know your customers the easier it should be. What do they want? T-shirts are commodity items so you’re always going to have that difficulty, but there must be something you can offer prospects before they decide whether or not to buy.

      Perhaps a 2-for-1 coupon when they sign up. Since a T-shrit is basically an impulse purchase, I would think you’d more than make your money back if you were to consistently follow up with prospects after they gave you their email address.

      How to follow up? Well, obviously you could send them latest popular tees (and segment based on response to various categories of tees). But too many companies underestimate the power of stories. It’s easy to de-commoditize an otherwise commodity item by using stories. For example, how did the tee that you’re currently promoting come to exist? Is there an interesting story behind that? A sense of humor is a must here — the more entertaining you are the better people will like hearing from you. If people feel like they are not just buying a tee-shirt, but are buying into a story or character, that will make them much more loyal, much more likely to buy again, and much more likely to buy at higher prices. So that’s where I would start.

      • Yep, that’s what marketing a brand is all about.

        If you just plainely try to sell à load of ordinary tee-shirts like everybody else, then you’re up against the most fierce competition.

        Why, well simply because you don’t have a unique selling proposition and/or an emotional brand that people want to buy.

        I’ve been a salesman for more than 20 years before I started learning and selling SEO and web marketing services.

        Sales’s all boils down to the same thing. Get people to get used to you over time so they gain confidence before trying to sell them something.

        Want to know how to sell sand in the desert ? It’s an example that I always give in sales.

        Well, what you want to do is propose some nice fine white sand from Clairfontaine in France becaus it’s a lot more comfortable to walk, sit and lay down on than the ordinary sand you’ll find in the desert.

        So you see you’re royal heiness, your guests will by pleasantly suprised to see this beautifull fine white and comfortable sand in your tent our around your home.

        With white sand I have a unique selling proposition that differs from all the sand you’ll find in the desert.

        Have fun selling

  2. Very true advice Bnonn – I think a lot of people avoid doing it because the auto-responders take time to plan and write, but they’re incredibly powerful once set up.

    I’ve also found that autoresponders give you the chance to give even more value to your potential customers. E.G. If you get an opt-in in exchange for a PDF, you can then follow up with another free guide or video or other valuable content and then make the sales pitch.

    I’ve consistently found that giving something to potential customers via email the day before you make the sales pitch dramatically increases sign ups.

    Also, this strategy is just golden on mobile. Asking for a quick opt-in on a mobile landing page is ideal, then following up with auto-responders when they’re at a desktop or not in a rush will make the final conversion rates much, much higher than asking for a sale via mobile.

    (P.S. The “Information Highwayman” link in your bio is broken)

  3. Great stuff – extremely useful.

    I think that well thought-through sequential email series are a really powerful tool and one that marketers overlook in terms of constantly sending out broadcast emails.

    I am implementing just this technique for one of my websites and I hope my results will be just as good as Perry’s.

  4. I have different experience. when we drive visitors to opt in first, bounce or drop out rate is extremely high. more than 60% visitors drop at this level. once opt in, we send them a welcome email as auto responder. true , we get some conversion through that email. but we cant see a significant improvement on it. only thing I have experience is, some customers have purchased something else than their initial plan.

  5. D Bnonn Tennant Aug 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    Hi Guest. What’s your conversion rate on straight sales pages though, compared to opt-ins? 60% of visitors bouncing from an opt-in page isn’t too bad — especially compared to 99% of them bouncing from a sales page.

    You also have to have a comprehensive autoresponder strategy in place to get the benefit of the opt-ins. Sounds like you’re just sending a single welcome email, which won’t achieve much. As you can see from the graph in the article, sales spike from day 4 onward.

  6. Okay, so now I see that I may need to rethink my strategy a bit and focus more on creating a great auto-responder series. Time to do some homework. Thanks

  7. Bnonn,

    It definitely takes work to build up the autoresponder sequence and the compelling offer, but I agree with you. Once they’re on your list, you have time to build trust and you have multiple “bites at the apple” versus having a one-time visitor come and click away. I interviewed a BBQ company that gave away a beer+food pairing guide as a way to get opt-ins. They worked with a craft beer company to develop it.

  8. I previously wrote content for newsletters and autoresponders, but never really understood how it worked. Currently, we don’t do autoresponders due to the nature of our business. However, I do like how you answered Lando’s question. Note to self: promos. Thanks for this!

  9. Conversation rate is important to find the interest on the product.Sales page conversation increase the total revenue.

  10. Excellent well thought-out piece with some great statistics to support your logic. Not doing opt-in is a huge Revenue/ROI leakage issue for businesses who leave money on the table based on low conversion rates of traffic. Getting traffic is harder in many respects than converting it. Exchanging someone’s email for quality content provides the ingredients to foster a relationship versus an anonymous website visitor who may return and by only by chance. Hoping they return is not a strategy. As a niche Internet marketing agency, it took us 3 years to make the investment in Marketing Automation platform, of which op-in and auto responders/segments/lead nurturing are essential components. Many businesses with as few as 1 or 2 employees can benefit from this approach as the barrier has dramatically lowered in the last few years. The beauty of automating the top of the sales funnel is that you can scale the process quickly and reliably without needed to throw more bodies at the follow-up. Define once, use many. This kind of approach is “always open” supporting marketing efforts 24x7x365. Building a sales funnel and that results in sales-ready leads, whether nurtured over 1 week or 3 years, is possible today and is going to be the table-stakes in the near future, especially for B2B solutions and their corresponding value have a learning curve. We liked our business results so much, we became a certified reseller! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Interesting and very useful. Thanks!

  12. My business isn’t one that solves a particular problem because it is more entertainment and leasure oriented. OK it does solve a problem called boredom, but that’s too general.

    We ship alcohol on a monthly basis to our paid subscribers (5x50ml bottles of top notch spirits), so what do we say to get them to opt-in ther email? Get free tips on how to taste spirits, what food and drinks to combine; that kind of things?

  13. Oh yeah… sales page vs optin page is a no brainer. It’s old school marketing in the digital age. Customer Retention, baby. ;)

  14. Why, well simply because you don’t have a unique selling proposition and/or an emotional brand that people want to buy.

    I’ve been a salesman for more than 20 years before I started learning and selling SEO and web marketing services.

  15. Conversation rate is very important in sales,I’ve been a salesman for more than 20 years before I started learning and selling SEO and web marketing services.

  16. Yes in business firstly conversation and communication is one of the most and strong thing which is make business strong and increase your sales.and People make small commitments before big ones so we should make trust before big deals with costumers.i really appreciate with your work.

    Thanks!

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