We have a multi-step conversion rate optimization process. These steps include:
4. Long-Form Sales Pitch (You are here)
If you haven’t read the Micro-Improvements article in the third link above, then we highly recommend starting there. It will give you all the context you need to understand this step of our CRO process.
The long-form sales pitch (LFSP) is a key element of our entire conversion optimization approach. Without it, the best we can do is improve your conversion rates by 10% to 15%. Add LFSP to the mix and the numbers double.
The LFSP includes the following elements– your origin story, why your product needed to exist, what makes you an expert on this topic, what your product does, and what separates you from the competition.
The Physical Attributes of LFSP
When the user enters the page they will see a pretty normal-looking page:
In the image above we’ve added an arrow to highlight the How We Did It button. Clicking this is what reveals the long-form sales pitch in a modal (a fancy term for a pop-up):
You’ll notice that the long-form pitch is super long. There is a good reason for this and it will be revealed lower in this article.
Why You Should Embrace the Infomercial Format for Your LFSP
If you haven’t, please return to the previous section and read the long-form sales pitch we constructed for our client PillowCube.com (shown above). Reading it you’ll realize it feels a lot like a sales letter or an infomercial on tv. This may feel a little yucky since you don’t want to associate your brand with either of those two things. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Instead, read this article: Infomercial Versus Brand Marketing Versus Conversion Optimization.
Next, we’ll talk about writing your first draft of the Long-form sales pitch.
The First Draft
The first draft sets the tone for everything to follow. If the first draft isn’t big and bold the whole project is doomed. When the marketer is starting off she doesn’t know what the idea may end up becoming. New ideas are like babies– they are delicate and need our love (not judgment).
The job of the copywriter is to add oxygen to the idea and let it explore its surroundings. You need to nail the first draft and that’s explained here: The First Draft.
Why Not Show a Video
I’m sure you’ve read reports about how much people love video content and how much they hate reading. It’s true that video can be very persuasive but it does have its downsides. We make a compelling case for why Words Kick Video’s Ass.
Why a Lightbox and Not a Dedicated Page
We don’t want to take the shopper away from the page so it’s easy for them to resume from where they left off.
We want to bring the relevant content to the shopper and not make the shopper travel to it.
The LFSP Popup Looks Bland. Why Not Just Show That Content on the Product Page?
You have gone to great lengths to design a beautiful product page. The modal is, all said and done, fairly plain looking. But the simple modal does have one advantage, it eliminates all distractions for the reader so she can focus her entire attention on our sales pitch.
Do Long-Form Sales Pitches Actually Improve Conversions?
I’d like to share 3 case studies:
Why Make the User Click to See the LFSP?
When we first tell eCom brands about our LFSP strategy they often wonder why we make the user click a button– why we don’t just show it on the page directly. Here’s why: our objective is to keep the page layout as close as possible to what it was when we started. We do this for a few reasons:
1: This is not the only product page on the site. We don’t want users to go to another page and feel the layout is totally different.
2: There is a growing trend (it’s the wrong trend) where content on product pages is shrinking so it is better for us to not pick a fight with the word count police.
3: Not everyone will want to read the long-form sales pitch. The idea is to only surface it for shoppers who like to dig into details without disturbing the sales of people who don’t.
4: Page layouts are restrictive. The latest fashion in product pages is to insert a whole bunch of rich design elements while leaving small pockets for content. The challenge with this is that it makes it challenging to fit the sales pitch within the available spaces. It can feel like fitting a square peg into a round hole. By showing the LFSP as a modal we are able to break away from the layout restrictions of the page.
Length of the Long-form Sales Pitch: Does Long Copy Work?
I get it, a long-form sales pitch can feel super long. Turns out, direct-response copywriters like Drayton Bird have spent their entire careers studying this. Here are two reasons why long copy works (taken from Drayton Bird’s article):
The Multiple Triggers Theory: With longer sales pitches you can include more Selling Angles which increases the probability for the shopper to stumble upon a reason to buy they hadn’t considered.
The Hopscotch Theory: People don’t read from start to finish– they scan. Longer copy gives more entry points to hook the reader and bring them into the message.
There is another reason– The value of a long pitch isn’t that it’s long, it’s that it holds the reader for longer. And the more time a reader spends thinking about your solution, the deeper your idea burrows in their head, and the higher the likelihood of them buying from you.
But just because the length can be a useful trigger doesn’t mean we should blindly make the explanation drawn out. There is a difference between a long-form pitch and a long-winded one.
Our sales pitch shouldn’t be any longer than absolutely necessary. After all, every word on a page is a tax for the reader. So here’s my suggestion. For the first draft don’t worry about the length. Your goal is to bring it all out. If the length feels unnecessarily long apply the editing formula described lower in this article.
Long-form Sales Pitch Content
Now that you understand how the long-form sales pitch is positioned on the page and who it’s designed for you might be wondering, “what the heck am I to cover in my sales pitch?” You need to apply the nine topics covered in our The 9 Truths About Online Shoppers article.
The First Draft
Writing the first draft of anything is hard. We often fall into the trap of overplanning. So my suggestion is to just start writing your thoughts. Don’t worry about grammar. Don’t worry about things being logically connected. Don’t worry about having the most important details on top. Just write. If you need to understand our approach to constructing the first draft read this article: The First Draft.
Writing the first draft of your long-form sales pitch is one thing, making it perfect is quite a different mountain. To scale that you need to understand and appreciate the awesome power of editing, which is covered in this article: Conversion Copywriting: Let’s Talk Editing.
Once we’ve perfected the pitch we need to shift our focus to the topic of content design.
Have you noticed how product descriptions are getting shorter and shorter? Do you know why that is? It’s because shoppers claim they hate to read. Reading consumes a lot of calories and nature has designed us to conserve energy.
But here’s the other shoe– people don’t buy before they’ve done plenty of research.
So this is the fine line we’re traversing. We know readers don’t want to feel overwhelmed with the content we present but we also realize they can’t buy if they don’t feel they have the whole story.
So, the marketer needs to sweeten the medicine using content design. That is explained in this article: Impact of Content Design on Conversion Rates.
This next topic is especially revolutionary because very few marketers know about it.
Triggering The Long-form Sales Pitch
Next, we need to build a strategy to reveal the long-form sales pitch to the Diggers. But what’s the best location to place the call-to-action (CTA) for the LFSP? We have a very specific process for that. We place the CTA at multiple locations on the product page. In the screenshot below we’ve picked three locations where the call-to-action (CTA) leading to the long-form sales pitch will be displayed:
The LFSP CTAs at these three locations are set conditionally meaning if the shopper clicks any one CTA the other two are made invisible. The genius of this approach is that it maximizes the visibility of the LFSP while keeping repetition down to a minimum. It’s a better user experience, we think you’ll agree.
Our goal is to have an LFSP discovery rate of around 8%.
We need a decent discovery rate because if it’s super-low it’ll be hard to interpret the test results. It’s like running a customer satisfaction survey and implementing changes based on the opinions of three respondents. Their feedback is certainly appreciated, but it can’t be considered representative.
In the section above we showed 3 locations to reference your LFSP but if you want the discovery rate to be 8% you may need to mention the CTA that exposes the LFSP more than 3 times, plus you’ll need to get creative with how the CTA pulls the user’s attention. This infographic will give you plenty of ideas.
We went through all this effort to construct a detailed sales pitch. How do we know it’s working?
Closing the sale is a very complicated high-wire act. One slip and the deal is dead. The marketer can’t just sit around and wait for the final outcome (online order)– that’s too little, too late.
The marketer needs real-time feedback on how shoppers are responding to Selling Angles that are being pitched to them.
We have a very specific strategy for this. It’s explained here: Feedback Beacons.