How to Create a Newsletter (If You Don’t Know How to Start)

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/how-to-create-a-killer-newsletter/

How many weekly email newsletters do YOU subscribe to?…

Uh huh… Uh huh (nods head solemnly).

And how many of them do you actually read?

Mmm yes, that’s what I thought…

Me personally? I’m subscribed to over 100 different email newsletters.

I’ve been doing this for years because I like accelerating my knowledge in marketing by studying what other entrepreneurs are doing.

However, out of 100+ subscriptions, I only have time to read a handful each week. And I’m talking about actually reading them.

The ones I do read (and the ones you read too)—they have something very special in common. And if you’re going to write a successful newsletter, you’ve got to understand this one special thing too.

When I tell you what it is, you’ll understand why it’s special. And it’ll probably click for you, “yeah that makes sense, Matt.”

In today’s guide:

  • I’ll reveal to you what the “special something” is that makes email newsletters that get read (and that actually grows your leads and sales).
  • You’ll learn the easy, 10-step system for writing a newsletter people want to read.
  • Plus, I’ll give you lots of examples and tips for how to make sure your newsletter gets seen by more and more people over time.

First, let’s start by answering the most important question…

In a rush? Want to download this article as a PDF so you can easily take action on it later? Click here to download this article as a PDF guide.

Does Marketing Via an Email Newsletter Work to Bring In Leads & Sales? (Yes, Here’s Proof)

The short answer is yes.

You’d be surprised to know what a simple email newsletter can do for your business.

Newsletters are a great vehicle for promoting your blog’s content. Because it gives people an excuse to be driven from your newsletter to your article.

And once they land on your blog, they’ll engage with your brand. Because they’re going to see your logo, they’re going to see who’s behind the brand, and they’re going to see what your core offer is.

Whether you send products’ updates, educational resources like articles, or anything in between, you can grow customers by 40X more than Facebook or Twitter, and sales by 333% just by sending your newsletters on a regular basis.

And you can nurture the relationship with your audience until turning them into paying customers.

Email marketing can do way more than just getting your messages into someone’s inbox.

You see, Morning Brew—the daily newsletter that covers the latest news, grew its revenue from $3 million in 2018 to $13 million in 2019. 

And during that same time, the company also skyrocketed its number of daily newsletter subscribers by more than 1 million. All by sending a daily newsletter 6X per week.

This represented 95% of the company’s revenue for last year.

But that’s not all a newsletter can do for a business. It not only helps you grow revenue. It helps you create a legacy. Something people will remember and will want to read over and over.

Have you heard about Warren Buffet? You know, that investor who’s worth over $70,000,000,000 according to Forbes?

Of course you have—who hasn’t?

Four decades ago, he sent out an annual newsletter early on his career as an investor. And nowadays, those newsletters are a must-read for anyone in the investment industry.

They’re so valuable that people actually pay to get access to those newsletters.

As you can see, sending out a well-made newsletter is not only about growing sales and leads. It’s also about creating rapport and building trust with your readers.

But in order to build that trust, you’ve got to send your newsletters consistently. Don’t do it only when you have some big news to share such as a new product launch or a massive limited-time discount (more on that later).

This will help nurture your relationship with your audience.

Think of it like a relationship with a friend—if you talk to them 3 or 4 times a week, you end up growing closer. You care more about them and they care more about you in return. 

But if you lose touch and only check in once every few years, that relationship suffers. And with each passing year, they’re going to be less likely to pick up the phone and call. 

It’s all about consistency

Plus, a consistent newsletter can do wonders for ROI because email marketing is the most effective digital marketing channel according to Smart Insights.

Source

On top of that, over 3.9 billion people used email in 2019.

And for every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42 according to Data & Marketing Association. 

Source

Source

Now that you’re tempted to send your own newsletters, here are the exact steps you need to follow in order to make those emails a resounding success!

Step 1: Your Goal Determines How Often You Should Send Your Newsletters

Before creating your email newsletter, determine your goal.

Are you looking to grow sales? Are you looking to get more traffic? Or perhaps converting more leads?

Whatever your end goal is, you should look to stay top of mind for your customers. And most importantly, you should be looking to nurture the relationship with your audience and strengthen your brand. 

89% of B2B marketers say that brand awareness is their main goal, followed by sales and lead generation according to Content Marketing Institute.

Source

Plus, ensuring your brand is presented consistently leads to 33% more revenue according to Lucidpress.

And if you want to boost brand awareness and keep your brand consistent, you should send your newsletters as frequently as you can

Some people ask me “How many newsletters should I send every month, Matt?”

But I can’t really tell them exactly how often they should do it because it’s going to depend on their workload, their availability, and most importantly, their ability to write high-quality content.

But I always recommend people who are starting out to send newsletters once per week, especially when they’re starting with a cold email list.

With practice, you’ll get better and better and you’ll build a system around it. And eventually, you’ll be able to generate content more often.

Take a look at the study from GetResponse below about the conversions from 1 email sent per week vs. 15 emails sent per week…

Source

As you can see, the open rate and click-through rate both fall quite a bit more emails sent per week. However, the more you send, the more you solidify your relationship with prospects and make it easier to convert them into customers. 

But listen, your ability to deliver high-quality content here will help you determine how frequently you can create a solid newsletter with valuable content (more on this later).

Because the content must be valuable. Forget about sending a newsletter with a filler content just to send something.

When it comes to newsletters, if you’ve got nothing to say, it’s better to not say anything at all.

It’s also important to know that you should not only send promotional content (highlighting your products or special deals).

People don’t like being sold on things. They don’t like seeing their inbox full of promotional emails every day. 

At most, they prefer seeing these promotions weekly or monthly

Source

And not only that. 

Your email newsletters should go hand-in-hand with a consistent blog posting schedule. 

What we do at AutoGrow is, we promote each of our articles with a newsletter sent to our email list.

We’re currently doing this twice per week. But we’re already planning ahead and looking to start posting at least 4X per week this month.

Each of the newsletters we send basically contains the introduction of each of our articles. We don’t really customize the content of the newsletters beyond that. 

We just add the introduction, a CTA inviting the reader to read the full article, and we link to our services in a PS at the end of the email.

 

Sending out newsletters often is a great way to share your content and educate readers on your products or services. 

And as an added benefit, creating regular blog articles also helps drive exponential growth in organic traffic and helps you rank in search engines as you can see below.

 Source

So with each article, you’re accomplishing 2 things: 1) you’re creating content that your newsletter subscribers will want to read and 2) you’re filling out your site with content that’s going to boost your organic traffic too. 

Step 2: Choose Your Email Marketing Tool Wisely (Some Are Better Than Others)

Here are some of the best tools for setting up your newsletters…

Mailchimp (Free & Basic Tool)

Mailchimp is a free and really simple tool to use.

But if you go with their paid plans, prices can vary from $9.99 to $299 a month.

Basically anyone trying an email automation tool can successfully set up their email marketing with this tool because it’s very user-friendly.

ActiveCampaign (Affordable 3 Tools in 1)

ActiveCampaign has marketing automation included which makes it pretty cool.

You can pay as little as $15 for their cheapest package, and $279 for their most expensive.

And for a limited time, they’re offering CRM with Sales Automation for 3 of their packages for free.

They’ve got tons of features and their prices are pretty low compared to other options.

We use ActiveCampaign to create and send our newsletters and email campaigns. 

This is one of the best and affordable digital marketing tools we recommend. It’s a bit buggy but, even still, your emails do get sent out.

Step 3: Pick Your Email Design Template (Spend Less Time Here Than You Think…)

Keep your email design simple.

I’ve talked in the past about how you don’t need too many elements in your landing pages to convey value. I’ve also given you the best tips to improve your landing page design and boost conversions.

When you create your newsletter, keep those same design principles in mind.

Because minimalism is often most persuasive. And people associate a higher level of sophistication with simpler design. 

Just take a look at these examples of high-ticket products’ minimalist designs…

They all have a simple design while still conveying a lot of value.

And take a look at these newsletters examples…

Source

They’re very simple and don’t have a lot of text or elements.

But minimalism doesn’t only make a high-ticket product brand look more sophisticated.

Take a look at this case study from our Proven Sales Conversion Pack.

A leading volunteer abroad organization simplified and redesigned their landing page’s design. 

Before… 

After… 

This resulted in leads increased by 310%.

And this other case study from Skinny Ties shows how by making the design of their landing page a bit more minimalist, there was a 13.6% increase in conversion rates and a 42.4% increase in revenue.

Before 

After 

Sure, you can still have a nicely designed email template. I’m not telling you to do something you don’t like. I’m just saying not to overcomplicate the layout of your newsletter.

As a matter of fact, 93% of all communication is visual according to Vengage.

Source

Starting out, try to create or customize a design template that’s simple but still attractive.

But don’t spend too much time on perfecting your template. In fact, doing so can actually be making you waste way too much energy. And focusing on it too much instead of just launching is, to put it bluntly, a stupid waste of time. 

What matters the most here is providing readers with valuable content. Design comes second.

We at AutoGrow didn’t even have a template when we first started sending our newsletters. 

We used ActiveCampaign’s plain text editor and that’s all we used.

Because when it comes down to it, we knew that people like to buy from people, not big faceless brands like M&Ms or Adidas. And as long as your voice comes through in your newsletter, it doesn’t make too much of a difference what your design is like.. 

Bottom line here, trying to keep the design right is more of a stupid detail.

Step 4: Before Writing, Center Your Mind on What Works (This is That “Special Something”)

Creating your newsletter is not sitting down and writing anything that comes to your mind. 

Nope.

Every single sentence you write down must convey value to the reader. Otherwise people may get bored and will put your emails into the trash or spam folder.

For instance, when you create your newsletter, stop after every sentence you write and ask yourself, “Is this sentence actually adding value to the reader?” 

It’s funny because I’m actually doing that right now. I’m questioning if every single sentence I’m writing in this article will add value to you =)

But anyway, you won’t believe how effective this best practice is. 

It lets you determine if what you’re writing is worth mentioning or cutting out entirely. It lets you send your email list only high-quality content—all by simply being critical and judging the messaging you’re creating. 

Because in the end, what determines whether or not people will read your stuff is if it’s high quality and valuable. And this is the “special something” all newsletters must have in order to get read.

Remember, don’t send bland content. Or filler images. Or random emails asking your email subscribers to just buy from you.

The content of your newsletter must be valuable to the reader.

For instance, don’t include cookie-cutter content that no one wants to read and no one cares about. Be authentic.

As a matter of fact, 90% of millennials say authenticity is important to them when deciding which brands they support.

Source

But despite that stat, some brands aren’t authentic, though. 

They just send automatic email newsletters without realizing that a human will actually be reading them. And this exactly what makes them not get more email engagement.

Be especially careful to understand your audience. Because when you don’t, you could be creating content you think is authentic and meaningful for them but really you’re just alienating more of your audience. 

According to Stackla, 51% of consumers think that less than half of brands actually create authentic content (meaning most marketers actually aren’t doing as good of a job creating authenticity as they think).

Source

Only use unique content that speaks to people and that is relevant. And think about the 92% of millennials when doing so.

That’s the only way you’ll make your subscribers actually read your emails and eventually convert them into paying customers.

Step 5: Choose What the Heck(!) You’re Going to Write About (Make It “Repeatable”)

In order to send out newsletters on a regular basis, you must build a system.

What exactly does this mean?

Great question.

It means you can’t afford to wonder every week what to send in your newsletters. You need to create something sustainable and that can be repeated over and over. 

Marketers waste nearly 25% of their time per week on duplication of work. That’s 328 hours annually they could be putting into something else.

And the more you can systematize your newsletter, the more time you’ll be saving.

For instance, one way to speed things up is by building a system where you send a newsletter to promote each single article you write for your blog.

We actually have a calendar where we write down all the articles we’ll be publishing in one month.

Yes, this means you need to build a system too for writing those articles. But who said it was going to be a piece of cake?

It’s certainly easy, but still requires some time and effort.

Starting out, just write an article each week. Write about anything you think can add value to your audience.

No matter if you’re a startup, entrepreneur, or business owner, you know your stuff. You built your company, didn’t you?

No one knows your products or services better than you do.

So what you’ll do is grab a pen and put all that knowledge into a paper. Well, it’d probably be more efficient to type it on a computer, huh?

But you get the point.

Gather all the information you know about a specific topic related to your products or services. 

Do some research and gather some data. Interview other entrepreneurs in your business industry. Make a podcast. 

Then put yourself in your readers’ shoes and ask yourself, what would they want to read about? What problems do they need to be solved? What are the tools to help them solve those problems?

Put all that information into an article and promote it via your newsletters.

That’s exactly what we do at AutoGrow.

We create valuable content each week that educates our audience about relevant topics and helps them solve certain problems.

Take as an example the article you’re reading right now.

It’s meant to help you (the reader) solve a problem (how to create a newsletter) while providing you with tools, examples, and stats on how to do so.

What we always do is, we take the introduction from the article and turn it into the newsletter.

Just take a look at the intro from this article in the screenshot below…

We added it to ActiveCampaign and turned it into the newsletter that was sent out to promote this post.

It’s the exact same content from the intro. We just added a CTA button to read the full article, a PS plugging in our services, and the same header image from the article.

Step 6: Create Your First Draft & Edit It With These Free Tools

Draft your newsletter and make sure you use a clear and simple vocabulary and easy-to-digest text.

Don’t use jargons or fancy words that’ll only make the reading experience for the reader more difficult. 

Write in first person and in a conversational tone. 

Just write like if you were talking to a person. Avoid using a super formal tone because people prefer a casual one.

For this, there are 2 tools we at AutoGrow simply love and use all the time. They’ll help you nail the perfect tone, and make your writing easier to understand.

Hemingway App

This free tool is perfect for simplifying your vocabulary.

It shows you which sentences are hard or super hard to read, and which words or phrases could be replaced with a simpler alternative.

See how this tool highlights with different colors the text that should be improved?

Very simple, user friendly, and useful tool.

Grammarly

This one is really easy to use and super useful too.

It’s basically a grammar corrector.

By simply pasting the text, it checks for typos and it points out the words that have grammar errors.

See how it highlights the words that have typos and suggests you the right word to use instead?

Every single piece of content you promote via newsletters must be proofread for typos. And don’t forget to write in crisp sentences (1-2 sentences per paragraph max) like this…

This’ll make the reading experience smoother rather than having to go through long paragraphs like this…

Also, don’t assume that just because you wrote the newsletter, it won’t have any grammatical errors.

The truth is, even professionals who failed to progress to a director-level position within the first 10 years of their careers made 2.5 times as many grammar mistakes as their director-level colleagues. This according to Harvard Business Review.

That research also states that fewer grammar errors correlate with more work promotions. And professionals with 1 to 4 promotions over their 10-year careers made 45% more grammar errors than those with 6 to 9 promotions in the same time frame.

Grammatical errors are associated with low perceived credibility, so proofread and edit your content before sending it out.

Step 7: Segmentation: Figure Out Who to Send What (The More Segmented, the Better)

Start by sending out your newsletters to everyone on your list.

I practically launched my business by promoting it via newsletters.

I sent my newsletters to the email list I had built in college with contacts I made at that time.

And I ended up making 2 sales with that first newsletter.

You can start out by showing people what it is you’re doing in that first newsletter. Show them what you stand for, where you want to take the business to, and what you’re selling. 

People want to buy from people. The more relatable your business is (who you are, what you stand for, etc.), the more likely people will be to buy from you.  

And later down the road when you get more and more opt-ins to your newsletter, you can better segment your audience and send content that’s actually relevant to them and personalize it. 

What I mean here is, put your email subscribers into different buckets based on their preferences as they opt-in for your newsletter.

The better segmented your audience is, the better you’ll understand their needs and what they’re looking for. And of course, this’ll let you send them exactly what they’re looking for.

A study from Mailchimp shows the difference between segmented vs non-segmented campaigns. 

 Source

The differences are pretty obvious. The segmented campaigns performed way better than the non-segmented ones.

For instance, consider adding some questions in your opt-in form. 

That’s exactly what we do at AutoGrow. 

When a prospect is about to subscribe to our email list, we ask them what their biggest marketing challenge is…

And we give them the answers to choose from so they don’t have to type a random answer.

Then, depending on their answers, we send them an email automation more relevant to their interests.

This is simply a great way to segment your email list.

Also, you can offer different lead magnets to segment your readers’ interests (which lead magnet did they download? Which topics are they interested in?).

As a matter of fact, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered email campaigns in 2015 according to DMA.

So don’t miss your chance of sending more relevant content to your audience.

Step 8: AB Testing Subject Lines & Pre-Send Checks (Once It’s Sent, You Can’t Undo It)

The best way to engage your audience with your newsletters is by writing compelling subject lines.

Subject lines are super important for getting people to read your stuff. 

In fact, a reader’s behavior and whether they open your email or not is largely based on subject lines. 

Research by Invespcro shows that 47% of people opened an email based on subject lines alone. And 69% of recipients reported an email as spam based only on the subject line.

As a result, it’s important that you put some time into writing down compelling subject lines that’ll make people actually want to open and read your emails.

And consider adding emojis to them. Because adding emojis to your subject lines can actually lead to a higher open rate.

You can also write different variations of your subject lines for each newsletter too (we write 20 for each one).

This is a really good exercise for nailing the right subject line. See the 20 variations I wrote for this article?

Then, find the subject lines that work best by A/B testing them.  

A/B testing your subject lines lets you  determine which of your subject lines has a higher open and click rate. And with that data, you’ll be able to optimize and improve your future subject lines.

Try to start by A/B testing 2 variations at first if you’re sending your emails to 1000 people or less. Above that number, you can experiment with 3 or more. 

Below 500 contacts, optimize your results by measuring the open rate, not the click-through rate. 

In our experience, around 75% of the time, the email with the highest open rate would actually end up getting the highest click rate.

Now, once your list grows even bigger, you can start testing more variations against each other.

For instance, we at AutoGrow always choose 4 subject lines from the 20 and run an A/B test.

One way to help pick out which of your variations to test is by using the Advanced Marketing Institute tool—a headline analyzer.

It analyzes your subject lines and gives you an overview of the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score.

And finally, check your newsletter before it’s sent. Because once you hit “send”, you won’t be able to undo it.

You can send a test email to your email address to make sure everything’s in place. It’s what we do with every newsletter we send.

For this, make sure there are no typos. Make sure that the link on the CTA button leads to the right article. And make sure that you’re sending the newsletter to the right list of contacts.

Step 9: Track the Success of Your Emails & Pick Out Insights You Can Use to Optimize Later

This step is really simple. 

You’re going to check the stats of each newsletter you’ve sent.

Sure, there are plenty of metrics to check like:

  • Click-through Rate
  • Conversion Rate
  • Bounce Rate
  • List Growth Rate
  • Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate
  • Overall ROI
  • Open Rate
  • Unsubscribe Rate

But to start with, you’ll check the click and open rate of each email. It’s not only what we typically check for at AutoGrow, but what most people surveyed below claim to be their key performance indicators.

Source

For example, for this newsletter we sent in the past, ActiveCampaign gave us a report of how many people opened the email. 

In the screenshot below it shows 15.26% of open rate.

And it also shows the percentage of people who actually clicked to read the full article. 

In the screenshot below it shows 1.38% of click rate.

Open and click rates are the metrics we always focus on. And then, we take that data and optimize upcoming newsletters.

For instance, check on the subject line variation that had a higher open and click rate. This’ll help you write your next subject lines because you’ll be taking the “feedback” (open and click rate) into consideration to write a better subject line.

For example, we’ve found that subject lines that start with “How to Create a Sales Funnel” and “# Steps to Create a Sales Funnel” perform better than the ones that start with “What Is a Sales Funnel.”

Another great way to optimize the content of your newsletters is to add a section where people can comment on your blog post.

This way you’ll engage them in a “discussion” that can potentially attract more readers to participate in it. 

Each of our articles end with an invitation for the readers to leave any comments or feedback.

And of course, most of the time, this section incentivizes people to ask me any questions or to just leave a comment.

Step 10: Rinse & Repeat (Do You Want Sales Always—or None Next Week?)

Aha. Do you want to always make sales or just once in a while?

I’m guessing always.

So be consistent. Publish consistently and send your newsletters consistently. 

Follow the system you’ve built with your posting schedule.

Rinse and repeat. Do it again and again. And never stop providing your audience with valuable content.

This’ll ensure they will always be constantly updated on your brand, products, or services.

Just take a look at the graph below and see how the best results are achieved when companies send between 4 and 8 emails per month.

Source

Bonus Step: 11-Point Checklist to Continuously Growing Your Email Newsletter Audience

Here are 11 tips you can use to build your email list

  1. Add a Scroll-Box
  2. Lead Magnets (like a free tools report or a free course)
  3. Do Guest Blogging
  4. Host a Webinar
  5. Offer Content Upgrade
  6. Add an Exit-Intent Pop-up
  7. Require Emails for People to Leave Comments on Your Blog
  8. Blog Post by Line
  9. Create a Simple Form to Collect Emails
  10. Offer a Free Course
  11. Create a Self-liquidating Offer

Conclusion

Download the “How to Create a Newsletter (If You Don’t Know How to Start)” so you won’t forget to take action on it later. Click here to download it now.


Sending email newsletters is a cost-effective medium for nurturing relationships with prospects and converting them into paying customers. 

No matter if you’re a startup, entrepreneur, or freelancer, if you’re looking to increase awareness and understanding of your business and the products and services you sell, sending newsletters to your email list is the way to go.

For creating your newsletter, go step by step in the process…

  • Step 1: Your Goal Determines How Often You Should Send Your Newsletters
  • Step 2: Choose Your Email Marketing Tool Wisely (Some Are Better Than Others)
  • Step 3: Pick Your Email Design Template (Spend Less Time Here Than You Think…)
  • Step 4: Before Writing, Center Your Mind on What Works (This is That “Special Something”)
  • Step 5: Choose What the Heck(!) You’re Going to Write About (Make It “Repeatable”)
  • Step 6: Create Your First Draft & Edit It With These Free Tools
  • Step 7: Segmentation: Figure Out Who to Send What (The More Segmented, the Better)
  • Step 8: AB Testing Subject Lines & Pre-Send Checks (Once It’s Sent, You Can’t Undo It)
  • Step 9: Track the Success of Your Emails & Pick Out Insights You Can Use to Optimize Later
  • Step 10: Rinse & Repeat (Do You Want Sales Always–or None Next Week?)
  • Bonus Step: 11-Point Checklist to Continuously Growing Your Email Newsletter Audience

Now tell me something, have you ever created a newsletter before? How often do you send them to your email list? Is there a step you think it’s worth including in this list?

Let me know in the comments below.

Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.

Read more

How to Create a Landing Page That Practically Prints Money

Source: https://www.autogrow.co/how-to-create-a-landing-page-converts-customers/

When I started my first business back in college, online marketing seemed like voodoo black magic. 

It was too good to be true.

But… Tomorrow is AutoGrow’s 10 year anniversary 🎉🥂

I started with almost $0 in my bank account and grew the business to where we’ve generated well over $25MM in revenue for our clients. 

We’ve saved them 80,000+ hours of work—while also generating hundreds of thousands in revenue per year (500% growth from 1 year ago when we relaunched our done-for-you service).

This decade of working hard to grow the company has shown me there’s really NO magic involved in marketing success. 

I know it’s not what you want to hear, you want to know “the secret” but that’s a mistake I myself made for FAR too long: searching for some “silver bullet”. 

Here’s the real secret I discovered:

  • Find what works, by testing and learning from other successful companies—then rinse and repeat baby 😎 (and get a little better each time)

All that being said, today I’m sharing with you some of the wisest tips and tactics that helped AutoGrow generate more leads and sales with high-converting landing pages.

If you’re looking to convert more leads and practically print money with your website, this guide will show you how to do it. 

In this article, I’ll show you…

  • How to create a high-converting landing page that not only increases your conversion rate but piles up money and leads.
  • The best 15 tips that will persuade prospects to buy your products or services.
  • Plus, a detailed video teaching you more about the “why” and “how” to drive more leads and sales with your landing pages.

Let’s lay the cards on the table and start building that high-converting landing page you’ve always wanted.

In a rush? Want to download this article as a PDF so you can easily take action on it later? Click here to download this article as a PDF guide.

 



 

What Should Your Landing Pages’ Goal Be?… Make a Sale? Or Drive Leads?

The overarching goal for any landing page is to rake in conversions. 

Ultimately, you want people landing on that page to follow through with an action. 

And typically, that action is highly specific to that landing page and to your specific marketing campaign. 

Nearly 1 out of 2 marketers, for example, build a brand new landing page for each of their marketing campaigns according to Wordstream

However, only about 1 in 5 marketers is actually satisfied with their conversion rates. 

After all, most websites on average convert at about 2.35% Wordstream reports. That being said, the top 10% of companies actually see 3-5X higher conversion rates. 

Source

And part of that success comes down to defining the goal of your landing page. 

What is the goal of your page? What do you want people to do after they read through your content? 

And in most cases, the answer comes down to 2 scenarios in particular…

Scenario #1: If You’re Looking to Drive More Leads

The first scenario is when you’re looking to drive leads to contact your company. 

This is particularly relevant for service-based businesses. 

In many cases, the landing pages of these businesses are designed to help answer questions, overcome buying objections, and essentially convince the prospect that your service is worth investing in. 

Then, after that’s accomplished, all that’s left to do is show them your contact info. 

Research from Hubspot found that the #1 priority for marketers is actually generating leads. Makes sense, right? 

Now, it’s worth remembering that not all industries will be able to generate leads at the same rate. So be sure to do a little research on your specific industry’s average lead generation rate. 

Here’s a graph from Smart Insights to give you a bit better idea about the disparity between industries. 

Source

All that being said, landing pages designed to drive leads are usually more practical when visitors are coming in from the following contexts:

  • Paid traffic like Google
  • Organic traffic where people are landing on your site to be educated
  • Miscellaneous sources like your blog

Scenario #2: If You’re Looking to Drive More Sales

While generating leads is great, not all businesses will need to hop on the phone or go through a lengthy exchange with prospects in order to convert leads into customers. 

So it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that Scenario #2 for landing pages is to simply drive more sales

Now, this type of landing page is actually good in a few different situations. 

1. Your price point for your product is especially low and easy to explain (which means you don’t have to put as much effort into describing it and addressing objections). 

2. You’re directing leads here that you’ve been nurturing through your expertly crafted email sales funnel (thus making these leads qualified, informed about your product or service, and ready to buy).  

Does Length Matter? 

Before we get into the 15 tips for creating a high-converting landing page or improving the ones you have now, let’s talk about one common question I hear all the time in marketing circles…

Does landing page length matter?

Good question. 

And like most good questions in life, the answer isn’t black and white. Instead, it’s a bit more nuanced. 

For example, a case study in our Proven Sales Conversion Pack found that a longer landing page actually increased a page’s lead generation power by more than 220%

Here’s what recovery center Sierra Tucson’s page looked like before…

And here’s what it looked like after…

And like I said, adding more copy to their page increased conversions by 220%!

That being said, there are also other cases where shorter copy actually beats out longer copy. 

For instance, website optimization company Crazy Egg tested the conversion rate of their own website across 4 different page lengths. Here’s a quick overview of the 4 samples, just so you can get an idea of how long each was. 

Source

Now, according to the first case study we mentioned, you’d expect the conversion rate winner would turn out to be option 1 on the far left, right? 

Wrong!

The winner, with an impressive 13% higher conversion rate over the control, was actually option 4 on the far right

Surprised? 

So was Crazy Egg.

It turns out, the best length for your product or service’s landing page more than likely comes down to one thing…

The required investment.

The more that’s required to buy your product or service, the higher the risk. And the higher the risk, the more a prospect is going to need to be convinced that they are getting a high value for their investment. 

So if, for instance, you’re selling a Hello Kitty Keychain off of Amazon for $8.99 like this…

Source

…then you probably don’t need FAQ, How It Works, Benefits & Features, or Price Anchoring sections. 

Why? Because it’s just 9 bucks!

But if, for instance, you’re selling a high-ticket item like a $40K Tesla, a $1,500+ training program, or a $50K- $200K enterprise software service, you’ve got to spend the extra time to address your prospects’ buying objections and show them how your product works. 

The more questions you can answer beforehand, the easier selling them on your product or services is going to be. 

Alright, now that we’ve covered the length question, let’s jump into the 15 tips for creating a high-converting landing page. 

15 Tips to Create (& Improve Your Existing) High-Converting Landing Pages

Ready?

Tip #1: Speak to Your Audience & Avoid Using Corporate Language (They Don’t Like Formality!)

If there’s one thing that all great marketers have in common, it’s being able to speak (or write) in such a way that resonates with their target audience. 

And if you want your audience to both understand and feel compelled to act with your words, you’ve got to speak plainly. 

Forget the jargon. Forget the fancy schmancy lingo. And forget overly-flowery language. 

Instead, get to the point. 

Make it absolutely clear what you’re trying to say. 

And get on with the rest of the page. 

According to research by Business Insider, what you say to an audience isn’t nearly as important as how you say it. Studies suggest that effective presentations are 38% your voice, 55% non-verbal communication, and only 7% your content.

Now, when it comes down to your landing pages, the lesson here is that there are ways you can communicate with your prospects that go outside of just the cold hard facts. 

For instance, using the word “you” is one way to really grab your audience’s attention. 

And it’s one technique we use at AutoGrow all the time

For example, check out this section of one of our client’s landing pages. See how many times “you” is mentioned in just this small group of text? 

All these “you”’s act as ways of engaging prospects and getting them to focus their attention on what’s on the page. 

Tip #2: Write a Clear Headline (Don’t Try to Sound Too Fancy)

Now that you’re in the right headspace for speaking to your audience clearly, it’s time to capture their attention with a well-crafted headline. 

With headlines, you need to resist the urge to be overly clever. 

I know, I know: everyone wants to come up with some pun, some ingenious imagery, some mind-blowing word combination when it comes to their headlines. 

But the truth is, the clearer you can be, the better. And in most cases, that means you don’t have room to be clever. 

In fact, choosing clarity over cleverness is the basis of The Law of Clarity from the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics

One way to boost clarity is by stating clearly what your product is and then listing out the benefits of using them. 

Check out how we did just that for one of our clients below. 

There are plenty of other copywriting techniques you can use to make your headlines better than ever.

But without a doubt, keeping it clear is the most important. 

Tip #3: Write a Sub-headline That Supports Your Headline

Next up, it’s time to clarify and support your headline with a solid and value-packed subtitle. 

Now, with a subtitle, you don’t have a whole lot of room to work with. 

So try infusing your copywriting with the 11 Laws of Sales Funnel Physics here. 

Because with such little room available, you need to be especially sure that your copy has an impact in your subtitle. 

If you haven’t already done so in your headline, this is a great place to introduce the name of your product or service. 

It’s also a good place to highlight the specific benefits you provide clients. 

Check out an example of doing both in the subtitle we built for a client below. 

Tip #4: Add Irresistible & Clickable CTA Buttons That People Can’t Ignore

Mastering the CTA button is key to getting your visitors to convert into leads or customers. 

According to Wordstream, over 90% of visitors who reported reading headlines also read CTA copy.

But even still, an astounding 70% of small business B2B websites actually lack a call to action completely according to research by DSIM School of Internet Marketing.

Now, if you know anything about marketing by now, it’s probably that the more personalized you can get with your prospects, the better. And that same principle applies to your CTA buttons too. 

According to Hubspot, personalized calls to action actually convert 202% better.

So be sure to personalize your CTAs as much as possible. 

One way to do that is similar to using “you” language like we discussed above. 

But instead of using your copy to take on the voice speaking to prospects, try speaking from the prospect’s point of view with words like “my.” 

Let me show you what I mean. 

See that? 

By shifting the perspective to your visitors and giving them an action focused on them, you can help increase your conversions. 

Tip #5: Add Social Proof of Any Kind (Be Greedy)

Social proof is one of the best tools in a marketer’s tool belt. 

Because humans are such social animals. Understanding that other people actually like a product can be enormously powerful in our decision to buy something. 

For example, research by Nielsen found that 92% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they know.

Source

Impactbnd also found that testimonials can actually increase conversions on sales pages by 34%.

And research by Cxl discovered that review stars in search engine results significantly improve click-through rates by as much as 35%. 

Now, what does social proof look like on your sales page? 

Well, I’m glad you asked. Because here are a few examples. 

Testimonials…

Past customer logos…

Vanity stats, accreditations, and awards…

In the end, anything you can show to prove that other people trust you, you can use to help convince your prospects to click that “buy now” button. 

Tip #6: Introduce & Agitate Pain Points (Put Your Finger on It)

You’ve created an eye-catching headline and subtitle, added your CTA button, and inserted a bit of social proof. Now it’s time to dive into the problem your prospects experience without your products or service. 

At this point, you’ll want to assure your prospect that you actually understand what it is they’re going through by describing what they’re feeling. 

If, for instance, they’re sick and tired of having to spend hours and hours every week managing their rag-tag group of marketing freelancers. Or handling all of their business’ marketing themselves, call out that problem with a chunk of text. 

You don’t even have to be sneaky about it. 

In fact, we even call out the “problem” section on our own homepage. 

After you’ve identified the problem they’re going through, take a few lines of copy to really agitate the problem. 

Don’t be cruel or over-the-top with it, of course. But take those pain points you mentioned and really make them land with your visitors. One way to do that is by showing them how bad things can get when their problem isn’t solved. 

For instance, check out the last 2 sentences on one of our client’s sales pages.

And for those who have spent years and decades of their lives putting money aside for a more comfortable future…

There is nothing more devastating than 20, 30 years of saving gone down the drain in a matter of weeks. 

See how that idea of losing decades worth of savings can really cut into your visitors’ fears? 

Use it!

Tip #7: Add a Solution Statement—The Solution Your Audience Needs! 

Now that your readers are sufficiently agitated about their problem, it’s time to present the solution: your product or service!

Take extra pains to be clear here—simply state the name of your product or service and then add a small bit of copy emphasizing your benefits. 

Here’s how we do just that on our own homepage…


And here’s how we’ve done it on some of our clients’ pages…

No need to go crazy with creativity here. Again, clarity beats out cleverness every time. 

Tip #8: Explain Why Your Products or Services Are What Your Prospects Need (Include Benefits)

Now that you’ve introduced your solution, it’s time to break down why your product or service is the answer to your prospects’ problems. 

Now, this step is actually kind of combined with the next one (explain your features) because they’ll both take place in the same sections. 

But the important takeaway is that you’ll want to introduce your business’ specific features by first pointing out the benefits they provide. 

That’s because on a fundamental level, people are highly interested in themselves. 

How is this going to help me

What am I going to get out of this? 

How will it help me achieve my goals?

So in this section, introduce your features by highlighting how they help the prospect. 

Here are a few examples of how to do it from our own homepage. 

See how they each start out by stating the exact benefits to the prospect that our service offers? 

Tip #9: Show (& Explain) Your Products or Services’ Features

After touching on the benefits of your service, you’ll also want to show how each of your features actually provide those benefits. 

For example, take a look at how we positioned the fact that our client’s mobile notaries are trained in spotting fraud. 

And because of that extra training, their customers can rest easy knowing that they’re protected against fraud and identity theft. 

Another tactic you can use in this section is to insert snippets of social proof between each benefit/feature. 

We even do it on our own homepage. 

The trick is to actually link that social proof to the feature or benefit you’re describing. 

Let me show you an example from our own page. 

The benefit here is that we let businesses save thousands of dollars on hiring while giving them the services they need to grow their business. 

And below that feature, we’ve included a testimonial from Kelly Cammack where she mentions her revenue doubling and how we’ve helped her save her “a ton of time.”

See how the testimonial she gave actually backs up the feature? 

So if you have a wealth of testimonials for your service, be sure to put them to use here on your features page. 

And if you don’t have a lot of testimonials, it’s time for you to learn how to ask your customers for more reviews

Tip #10: Explain How Your Product or Service Works in a Simple Way (Almost for Dummies)

Okay so—your prospect understands their problem, knows about your solution, and gets the gist of your benefits and features. 

Now it’s time to get a bit more into the specifics by showing how your product actually works. 

There are a few different ways you can do this. 

First, you can create a simple demo video that gives your prospects the rundown. 

It’s a well-documented fact that people love watching videos. Hubspot even found that a whopping 58% of visitors want to see more video content from brands. 

But if you don’t have a demo video on hand, you can instead just list out a quick overview of the process in 3 easy steps. 

No need to go too crazy on the copy here either. Keep it simple like in the examples below. 


In the end, you want to give a super general idea of what’s involved with working with you. 

But try to keep the number of steps down to 3. Otherwise, your visitors may get the impression that this process is too complicated for them. 

Tip #11: Set Up Your Price Anchor (Don’t Let People Wonder How Much Your Products Cost)

While every tip in this list is important for building a high-converting landing page, this tip in particular is one that you should really hammer into your brain…

Always set up a section on your landing page for price anchoring. 

For those of you that don’t know, price anchoring is a specific copywriting sales or persuasion tactic. You use it to better convey the value of your product or service and/or make it appear more affordable, so that the price point is, therefore, more persuasive. 

Here’s how it works on a landing page. 

If you’re selling, say, wrist guards for people who type all day long, you can position your product either as more affordable than other wrist guards or as a better option compared to the problem it prevents (getting carpal tunnel syndrome). 

In either case, you generally want to point to cost more than anything else because it’s much easier to measure against. 

Let’s look at a page we designed for an interior designer to see how this works. 

Visual representations of the costs, like the graph above, are a great way to communicate savings quickly and effectively. 

So if you can, try to use graphs or other visual elements in your price anchor too. 

Tip #12: Include a FAQ Section to Answer Any Questions

An important yet often overlooked element of a landing page is the frequently asked questions section. 

Now, when done correctly, this section can be a powerful tool for getting your visitors to convert. 

The trick is to put yourself into the role of the buyer and ask yourself, “What are my biggest reasons for not buying right now?”

After that, create a hypothetical question whose answer actually addresses those reasons you came up with. 

Here’s an example of a great FAQ section from our interior design client that gets to the heart of the most common questions clients have before requesting a consultation.

You see, it’s your job as a business to make the buying process for your customers as simple as possible. And if there are any lingering questions your prospects have about your product or service, that uncertainty is going to be held against the value of your product. 

Think of it like a scale. On the left side, you have the value that your landing page is communicating. And on the right, there’s your visitors’ uncertainty about buying. The more you can answer that uncertainty, the more you can remove from the right side and stack onto the left. 

According to research by Helpscout, three-quarters of online customers expect help within five minutes. 

And with a well-made FAQ section, you can answer those questions right on the landing page without having to get on the phone. 

Tip #13: Include Risk Reversal for Prospects’ Peace of Mind

No matter how well you describe your product, how succinctly you cover the benefits, and how adeptly you address your audience’s pain points, there’s always going to be hesitation before buying. 

It’s human nature to be skeptical. 

And as a marketer or business owner, the more you can put your prospects’ minds at ease, the more likely they’ll be to buy. 

That’s where the risk reversal comes in. 

A risk reversal is basically any tactic you can use to basically flip the risk of buying from your prospect onto you

30-day guarantees, free consultation calls, 1-week trials, discounts, and money-back pledges are all examples of risk reversals. 

And if you’re going to incorporate them into your landing page (which you should), then you’ll want to put in the effort to make this section really stand out. 

Here are a few examples of how we’ve incorporated risk reversals into the landing pages we’ve created for clients. 

Again, the trick here is to draw attention to the risk reversal and take as much risk off of the plate of your visitors as possible. 

Tip #14: Add Opt-In Forms to Attempt to Get People’s Contact Info

Whether the goal of your landing page is to drive sales or simply bring in leads, you should always, always, always be asking those who convert for their contact info. 

Part of that reason is because it drives more commitment on the side of your prospects, making it more likely that they’ll follow through on, say, showing up for your consultation call. 

But in addition to that, when you’ve captured their contact information, you can continue to follow up with them. That way, you can nurture the lead and eventually turn them into a paying customer. 

Check out our Ultimate Sales Funnel Template (Advanced) to see all the things you can do with leads to keep them interested and even increase the value of each customer. 

However, you’re going to want to be strategic about how you build your opt-in forms as well. And one of the best ways to do that is by limiting the number of form fields you have. 

Research from Wordstream found the following stats about form fields to give you a better idea of how to build yours.

  • The average number of form fields is 11.
  • Reducing the number of form fields from 11 to 4 can result in a 120% increase in conversions.
  • The optimal number of form fields for the most conversions from your landing pages is 3.

Tip #15: Don’t Forget to Mobile Optimize Your Page

And last but certainly not least, make sure your landing page is mobile optimized!

Gone are the days of skating by with solid websites that just don’t perform on mobile. 

Why? Because the truth of the matter is, most people are actually viewing your content on mobile. 

Adobe found all the way back in 2012 that traffic from mobile devices had doubled in the past year but less than half of the survey respondents said they have a mobile-optimized site or mobile app.

But fast forward to today and you’ll see stats like these:

  • Mobile commerce now accounts for nearly 1 out of 4 ecommerce sales according to Invespcro.
  • In 2018, 52.2% of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile phones according to Statista.
  • Companies with mobile-optimized sites triple their chances of increasing mobile conversion rate to 5% or above according to Adobe
  • 93% of people who use mobile to research complete the purchase of a product or service according to Google.

Without a doubt, mobile optimization is incredibly important. 

So give this last tip the credit it deserves and spend the few extra minutes optimizing your landing page for mobile viewers.

Conclusion

Download the “How to Create a Landing Page That Practically Prints Money” so you won’t forget to take action on it later. Click here to download it now.

So there you have it!

This article has shown you 15 tips you can use to increase the converting power of your landing pages:

  1. Speak to Your & Avoid Using Corporate Language (They Don’t Like Formality!)
  2. Write a Clear Headline (Don’t Try to Sound Too Fancy)
  3. Write a Sub-Headline That Supports Your Headline
  4. Add Irresistible & Clickable CTA Buttons That People Can’t Ignore
  5. Add Social Proof of Any Kind (Be Greedy)
  6. Introduce & Agitate Pain Points (Put Your Finger on It)
  7. Add a Solution Statement—The Solution Your Audience Needs!
  8. Explain Why Your Products or Services Are What Your Prospects Need (Include Benefits)
  9. Show (& Explain) Your Products or Services’ Features
  10. Explain How Your Product or Service Works in a Simple Way (Almost for Dummies)
  11. Set Up Your Price Anchor (Don’t Let People Wonder How Much Your Products Cost)
  12. Include a FAQ Section to Answer Any Questions
  13. Include Risk Reversal for Prospects’ Peace of Mind
  14. Add Opt-In Forms to Attempt to Get People’s Contact Info
  15. Don’t Forget to Mobile Optimize Your Page

And when you follow them, you can rest assured your landing page is going to see sky-high conversions in no time. 

Now tell me, which of these tips are you going to implement first on your new landing page? Do you have any others that have gotten your business results? 

Let me know in the comments below. 

And as always,

Keep convertin’, stay focused.

 

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Webex Recordings Are Garbage

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheWebinarBlog/~3/NhWtgLKpgdI/thewebinarblog~Webex-Recordings-Are-Garbage.html

If you would be so kind, please watch the first 30 seconds of this recording made during a webinar running on the Webex Events platform. The content is not important. I am just using it to point out several specifics in how Webex ensures that recordings are useless for professional business use.

https://profit-loss.webex.com/profit-loss/lsr.php?RCID=e46a44b756418a0ae4a525c2df861579

Item 1: The introductory pause window. Click on the link and this is the first thing you see:

NoContent

Now that statement happens to be a flat-out lie. Content was being shared at the time I hit the “record” button. Live attendees did not see this screen. It’s a special gift to viewers of the recording, and it sits there until they happen to click the play arrow at the bottom of the viewing window. This creates confusion at best, and panic at worst. I regularly receive emails from viewers telling me that something is wrong and the recording is empty. They don’t even think to press play… All they see is a big, bold message saying there is no content.

 

Item 2: Press the play button and you are rewarded with the actual content that was recorded. And the first thing you see is our PowerPoint title slide with an inexplicable rectangle in the upper right corner with “PE” in a circle:

No pic

What’s happening there? Well, the webinar options were set to allow webcam video. I was acting as technical facilitator and didn’t want to be on video, so I turned my camera option off in Webex. Fine, it doesn’t show me. But it still leaves the blank rectangle up where my video would be, if I were showing video. The PE is an artifact created by our Webex host account being listed under the company name of “Profit & Loss Events.” Webex picks up the first and last initial and shows it… Helping nobody. Why does Webex show a placeholder video rectangle for panelists who elect to turn off their webcam? Nobody knows, but it uses up valuable space and confuses attendees during live web events as well.

 

Item 3: The first speaker begins talking and we see his webcam video:

Picture

Pretty tiny. Can I make it a little bigger to see him better? Nope. I can expand the video to fill the entire screen and overlay all of the slide content, but I can’t resize the video window. It’s also overlaying our company logo. That’s a pity… Maybe I can move it? Nope. It’s fixed there, and you better hope you didn’t have any important content in that area.

 

Item 4: In the live event, attendees have an option for how they see webcam windows. In the recording, it only shows the active speaker, using an automated algorithm to switch which camera feed is shown. I can live with that, except that the visual switch-over lags the change in audio by 2 or 3 seconds. In an interactive discussion, this means the webcam shows the person who’s listening about as often as it shows the person who’s speaking. Very disconcerting to watch.

 

Item 5: I figured, heck. I’ll just edit the video to trim that first second or two of the “No Content” message. I know Webex has a rudimentary recording editor built into the product. It should be sufficient for this simple task. I look up the help page discussing how to trim a recording. It is dated March 11, 2020 and says “This feature is available for meetings and events that you hosted and recorded in the cloud in MP4 format.” Perfect! We record in MP4 format to the cloud Webex server.

Except… none of the controls it mentions are available. I try and try again, but I’m unable to bring up the playback range editor. I contact Webex technical support and they tell me that I cannot edit MP4 recordings online. There is a conflicting help page that says this, but I didn’t happen to see that one first. And even if I did see it, it has an older date than the other page, so I would logically assume it had been superseded. Nope.

 

Item 6: Okay, I’m not beat yet. I can download the MP4 recording file and edit it in my own video editor. That’s what the older page tells me to do after all. But wait! When I download the recording, it does not contain the presenter webcams. What the heck? It took me quite a bit of digging to find that including webcam video in downloaded recordings requires a request to your Cisco Webex “Customer Success Manager” to change a default account option. I tried several avenues to find out who filled this mysterious role for our account and someone at Cisco finally said to just contact general support. So I did. They said they would be happy to flip that option for us. It would take 48-72 hours to become effective and would only apply to new recordings made from that point forward. Existing recordings showing webcam feeds in the online player cannot be downloaded with the video content after the fact.

So the default behavior is for the downloaded content to not match the content seen online. Changing the default option to include the content we recorded takes a special support request rather than being something the account admin can set. It takes two or three days before that simple setting change can be activated. And even though the video is present in the online recording, it can’t be resaved in a new download.

 

Add ’em up. These are things I might – just might – have tolerated a decade ago. In today’s marketplace, they are not just non-competitive, they are downright insulting to Cisco’s client base. We are operating in video-centric times, and having a solid on-demand version of your web events is a necessity. That on-demand version needs to represent what live viewers saw. Webex recordings fall far short of the mark.

 

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NEWS // New Representation: Tea & Water Pictures

Source: http://focus52.blogspot.com/2018/06/news-new-representation-tea-water.html

I’m pleased to announce that I am now represented by Tea & Water Pictures in New York, London and Beijing. They are an exciting agency that have a some great production experience and a team with really diverse but complimentary backgrounds, so I’m excited to see what we can achieve together over the next few years!

They’ve also done a little interview with me which, if you’re interested, you can read here 

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