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Top tips for conversion writing - Q&A

Top tips for conversion writing - Q&A

What quick tips can you give publishers for quick wins to increase conversions of affiliate websites?

The first is not to guess, but find out why your visitors aren’t converting at the moment. Do some research and find the main reason why visitors aren’t converting. You can do that with a number of tools. We have an article with 15 tools for finding out why your visitors aren’t currently converting. It’s an obvious tip because if you ask them and find out, then you can often apply a fix that blocks up that leak in the funnel.

Another really common one is to change what you’re asking them to do, or at least change how what you’re asking to do is perceived. If you change the price of a product it will make a huge difference to the number of conversions. Also, changing how the offer is worded. For example if you’re a lead generation website and your button currently says register, then you can change it to ‘get instant access’. There’s a very good chance you’ll see an instant conversion lift. You haven’t actually changed the offer and you haven’t changed what actually happens, you’ve changed what the offer is perceived to be or how you’ve worded it.

What actually makes good content?

KB: It has to be largely valuable, but it depends what you mean by valuable? It can be interesting and entertaining. It should be valuable in that it helps the user to satisfy one of their deep down core emotions. So if one of their core emotions is to get a better job, anything that will help them along those lines is good. The core emotion or the core driver is, as I’m guessing with most people at this conference, to make more money. You should give information that will show how to make more money.

Quite often the winning content is content that people perceive to be valuable in helping them to do whatever it is they want to do with their lives.

Would you tailor copy differently for social, mobile and desktop platforms?

KB: It’s always best to keep things simple. So often with our clients we work on their core funnels and we actually urge them to simplify and optimise these. It’s much easier to optimise one landing page or ten landing pages rather than one hundred or a thousand.

AIDA is what a sales message should contain. A is to get their attention. I is for tapping into their interest or involvement. D is to develop a desire and A is action - get them to take action. So you need to take them not necessarily in these steps, but it is kind of in these steps. Certainly you need to get their attention, their interest, then the desire and the action.

Search marketers have an advantage. Getting attention is less of an issue because by the time someone is searching for a product you already kind of have their attention just by appearing. However with social media, the first thing is to grab people’s attention. Social media’s in the same situation as most direct mail for example. The first job is to get people to be looking at it.

With search marketing content like landing pages, you don’t need to put so much effort into the attention because by the time someone has searched for a Panasonic 50 inch plasma TV comparison you already have their attention by providing them with what they’re looking for. The headline is more likely to win if it matches where they are in that AIDA

What do you know about the Spanish market in the conversion arena?

KB: In terms of conversion, one thing that we find is some people immediately get it and some people don’t want this to be the case. The concepts same principles are applicable in any language.

The most extreme case we had was when working with a Japanese company who were absolutely adamant that the techniques we were using in the US site would not work in Japan. They were very believed to be very American and Japanese people supposedly don’t think like that.

We translated the American page into Japanese and ran a split test. We found it grew massively and almost doubled the conversion rate of this page that the Japanese staff were certain wouldn’t work. It didn’t just work, it significantly increased the business.

We find the same with French, German, Spanish and Danish. There are cultural differences, but the cultural differences are trivial compared to the similarities and guarantees all languages contain. Good calls to action and good headlines are universal.

It’s the same with translating good books. I don’t know for a fact, but I’m sure you can buy the Harry Potter books in Spanish. They’re popular because you can translate something from one language to the other and stays good. It’s the same with all these conversion techniques.

How did you evolve from being a rocket scientist to your current role?

KB: When I was a student I was recruited for a summer job by a local entrepreneur. The student placement was sponsored by Shell oil. With the student placement I won a national award for entrepreneurship.

About seven years later I was working as a scientist troubleshooting international production plans, carrying out multivariate tests and other things. Then this entrepreneur contacted me telling me he’d like me to run his mobile phones business. At the time everybody was doing MBAs and I thought this was probably more valuable than doing an MBA, to work for a real entrepreneur.

So the web-based phones business is where I met my co-founder Ben Jesson. It provided me with a crash course in entrepreneurship and building your businesses. We were also working in what was a recession. It was really competitive because it was after the first internet bubble burst, in 2001. New York wasn’t a good time for businesses because it was just post-September 11 when I started. It was also a good opportunity to grow a business in a really hard environment.

That’s how I got into it, but this is science. It doesn’t seem that obviously like science, but it is. It’s carrying out experiments on websites and iterating. a4uexpo Europe is science really. It’s quantitative, isn’t it?

In the past marketers didn’t measure stuff. It was full of waffle. The people here are a whole new breed of marketer and even ten years ago they wouldn’t be thought of as marketing people. Marketing used to be a fluffy, woolly, arty subject. It’s not anymore.

Simon Holland

Simon Holland

Simon is the news and research reporter at Existem. Previously a technology journalist, he now spends his time investigating both future and developing trends in performance marketing whilst producing editorial content for

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