Email Opt-in vs. Purchase Call to Action

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 letthem 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.

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Email Opt-in vs. Purchase Call to Action

One Response

  1. you know, your blog is very well written, very close to life

    Carla September 29, 2012 at 1:20 am #

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