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17 Ways To Increase Your Visitor Value

by Jonathan Mizel

Often times, we hear marketers are working hard to increase their conversion rate, meaning the percentage of visitors who make a purchase.

While this definitely has merit, if you think about it, it's not the conversion rate you want to increase at all. Rather, it's your visitor value, or how much you earn, in aggregate, when someone visits your site.

Question: What is the fastest and shortest route to increasing your visitor value?

Answer: Improve your sales letter!

This is no small task and you may not know how to juice up a sales piece to make it pull better. But worry not, because I'm going to tell you what specific things to change, and in what order, to maximize the monetization of your website, so you are squeezing every last cent out of each prospect who visits.

Because we write so much copy, for both clients and ourselves, we have developed a list covering virtually every significant testing option available to online direct marketers. Whenever we see an offer starting to lose its punch, we pull it out and begin re-writing.

This is my personal cheat-sheet and each variable that significantly affects visitor value is listed in the approximate order of effectiveness. These techniques are based on tested, proven marketing techniques shown to be true over time.

Let's begin:

1) Change the headline: This is probably the easiest variable to alter to make a big change in your visitor value. When you are looking to bring in an extra $0.50 to $1.00 per visitor, start here. Marketing great Ted Nicholas revealed by simply changing the headline, he increased the pulling power of one of his ads by 1,700%.

While we don't have an example quite as dramatic, we have seen boosts of as much as 850% by re-working or modifying the headline.

Example: In case you aren't good with numbers, take an ad you are running and multiply the revenue you make by 8.5. For example, if you generate $100/day from a specific promotion, imagine the same ad pulling $850 a day, and you will realize the amazing power of testing headlines.

The key is to change the headline enough so you are testing two completely different styles, to see which appeal is strongest.

Some easy modifications are as follows:

  • The benefit headline. If you are using a news or announcement headline, try one including the benefits and end results a prospect receives when they do business with you. For example, "Announcing Tide with bleach for brighter colors and whiter whites."
  • The how-to headline. If your headline contains a benefit, try stating it in a how-to format, which appeals to your prospect's desire to learn how to accomplish something new. For example, "Learn how to grow beautiful roses in any garden."
  • The discover-you-easy modification. If you are using a how-to headline, try adding the words discover, you, and easy. Thus, "How to play piano" would become "Discover how you can easily play the piano."
  • The alternative benefit headline. Sometimes there's more than one benefit to your product or service, and focusing on the second one is a more compelling motivator. For example, "Sending your non-athletic child to karate camp helps the learn self defense and gain the confidence to be a team leader."
2) Change the first 250 words: If you are making sales but have a very low conversion, you may want to try a different tact in the beginning of your sales letter. You can achieve dramatic increases in value ($0.50 to $1.00 per visitor) by changing not just the headline, but modifying the first 250 words of your sales piece, which includes:
  • The pre-headline
  • The headline
  • The sub-headline
  • The first few paragraphs

Your goal is to pull readers in with the main benefits or a compelling story before you even make the offer. If you have ever surveyed your site visitors to ask what they are looking for or why they didn't buy (a good idea if you have lots of traffic and a low conversion rate), this would be an excellent place to test this new data by including it in the sub-headline or in the first few paragraphs. They have already told you what is important to them, so use that information.

The first 250 words set the stage for the sale by arousing interest and qualifying your prospects. Often, a visitor won't even read your sales piece in its entirety. They'll read the first 250 words, scan the rest of the page, check out the price and PS, then buy.

3) Use a multi-part follow-up system: If you want an easy way to increase visitor value without changing your sales piece, simply add an exit pop-up and form to your website allowing the prospect to request additional information.

Each time you follow up with them, you have another chance to provide more information and move the prospect toward the sale. When you follow up 5 times or more, we have seen increases from 20% to 100%.

You can click here for details on setting up a sequential follow-up system, or just use the simple follow-up formula below. The key is to stay in contact and offer additional reasons to buy after the initial visit. We have seen break-even promotions start to skyrocket when we instituted a follow-up system.

  • Follow up immediately after they opt-in: Thank them for requesting information and add a simple link to go back and buy.
  • Follow up one day after they opt-in: Send answers to the most commonly asked questions you get from prospects. The key is to overcome objections you may not have covered completely in your sales letter, and offer a link to buy.
  • Follow up three days after they opt-in: Send 3 - 6 testimonials with another link to buy.
  • Follow up seven days after they opt-in: Send another Q and A answering different objections, along with a link to buy.
  • Follow up fourteen days after they opt-in: Send another 3 - 6 testimonials and a link to buy.
  • Follow up twenty-one days after they opt-in: Send a case study of someone who used the product and achieved success, along with a link to buy.
4) Add a deadline: The fact is, people respond to deadlines because they are afraid of missing out on a deal that may expire. Deadlines work best when you provide a logical reason to act now. By providing a credible reason why, you will reinforce the effectiveness of your deadline. For example, you can warn of a price increase, offer a special bonus, or give a discount if the prospect acts before a specific date.

There are several ways to accomplish this. You can either hand-code an expiration date, or use a JavaScript generator. Be aware if you use JavaScript generator, many people will see through the trick and you'll lose credibility (and sales) with them.

Therefore, the best ways to create deadlines don't involve programming tricks:
  1. You can code a specific date on your Web page and continuously move it forward, changing the bonus configuration slightly.

  2. You can keep it ambiguous and say something like "In the next 48 hours, this offer will expire."
5) Create scarcity: Have you ever noticed people have a strong desire for things they either can't get, or that are in limited supply?

Whether it's beanie babies, the new Mini Cooper, or Osama bin Laden toilet paper, if people perceive something as scarce, they immediately want it, even if they didn't before.

There are several ways to create scarcity with your product, and boost the aggregate value by $0.20 to $0.30 per visitor:
  • Sell a limited number of goods: This method uses a direct scarcity tactic and seems to work the best. If a prospect thinks the offer will really disappear, and they might never get to participate, they become amazingly motivated to act now.
  • Limit the bonuses: Another way to achieve this, without limiting your actual product sales, is to limit the bonuses to a specific number of people.
  • Sell only to people with specific qualifications: If prospects have to meet a qualification or pass a test, even if it's simple, they feel like they're part of an exclusive club, and are more likely to positively respond.

6) Offer a delayed payment option: Reverse the risk on the customer by offering a "try before you buy" option. You can use an exit popup to execute this option.

Basically, you let the prospect try your product before their card is charged. This can generate an additional $0.15 to $0.30 per visitor. You get the card number and approve the sale before you deliver, but this way they are given a trial period to inspect your wares.

Be aware if you are shipping physical products, you may have actual refunds, hence an additional labor expense. Therefore, this method works best with digitally delivered items.

7) Change your price: If you haven't experimented with different prices, here's a tip: Depending on your target market and back end, changing your price can make massive differences in your visitor and lifetime customer value.

Review the activity of your average customer, and calculate how much they spend with you in the first 3 - 6 months. It may make sense to "give away" a product at a low price point if you are successfully bringing in back-end sales at a high price point.

On the other hand, a price increase is a great way to separate bargain hunters and cheapskates from high-dollar clients. We have seen clients charge from $29 to $200 for the exact same product.

Certainly a tradeoff exists when volume decreases on front-end revenues, however the quality of the customer they attract is much higher. For a consultant or small business where resources are limited, decreasing the volume of non-prospects and attracting higher quality clients can be priceless.

You can experiment with different pricing schemes, for example use prices ending in a 9, 7, or .95. For highly price sensitive markets, sometimes the difference between using $17, and $19.95 is the difference between a winner and a loser. Pricing changes can account for an increase of between $0.10 to $1.50 per visitor.

8) Add an upsell: This is an awesome trick. You increase the dollar amount of each order (thus, your net visitor value) by offering an upgrade, "gold" option, or advanced version of your product to buyers during the sales process.

Depending on the amount you charge, you can get as many as half of all sales to upgrade. You should differentiate by charging 30% and 50% more than the regular version, and you may be able to increase visitor value by $0.10 to $0.20.

The upsell version can be mentioned in your main sales copy, on a pre-page between the sales letter and order form, or on the order form itself, as a checkbox next to the main product description.

9) Add a downsell: Another great trick is the downsell. This is used when a prospect doesn't bite on your initial offer. An example is when you have an exit pop-up showing a less expensive version of your product or service to people who don't buy.

We tested this technique for a product that normally sells for $97; now there's a $37 version that comes without customer support or upgrades. Only prospects who aren't interested in purchasing at $97 get the downsell to $37. This downsell pop-up increases our visitor value by 25% over just having the $97 offer. On average, it generates between $0.10 to $0.25 for each visitor.

There are several reasons to use a downsell:

  1. You can offer a less expensive option for "do-it-yourself" and price-conscious prospects.
  2. You can set up an expensive price first, and in comparison the downsell seems like a bargain.
Example: There's a famous story about a marketing expert who sent out a sales letter for a $25,000 seminar. At the end of the letter, it said if you couldn't attend, you could buy a tape set with essentially the same information for just $197. How many seminar seats did he sell? Zero. How many tape sets? Plenty!

10) Add a "Good Till Cancelled" option: If you sell a consumable, like toner cartridges or pet food, give prospects the opportunity to sign up for regular shipments, and offer to automatically charge their card.

This technique (also known as an "auto-ship" option) creates its own back-end sales, allowing you to make far more money in the first transaction, by putting the responsibility on the prospects to tell you to stop selling to them.

We have seen visitor value increase between $0.10 to $0.50 when a "Good Till Cancelled" offer is added.

11) Change your guarantee: You need to offer some sort of guarantee or warranty to be competitive, but it's hard to make it unique unless you do something crazy.

Unconditional money back guarantees are everywhere today, but here are a few things to make yours special:

  • Offer a lifetime guarantee, subject to certain limitations. This is far less risky than it sounds, but only if you have a very high quality product. It can really boost conversion rate as well, increasing per-unit visitor value $0.10 to $0.20.
  • Make it a conditional double or triple money back guarantee for a specific time period. If it's a product, the prospect must document how they used it to take advantage of the guarantee.
  • Offer a hybrid guarantee. Try a one-year satisfaction, three-year replacement offer. Or offer double their money back if they fill out a questionnaire, but only single if they don't.

One comment on guarantees and testing: If you have a poor product, or you don't deliver on your services, a guarantee can create a "tail" of refunds and angry customers that can follow you around forever. Make sure to get your quality up to par before you use a guarantee that could put you out of business!

12) Add an immediate back-end: If you have the ability to cookie prospects so you can pre-populate an order form with their contact information (minus credit card number), you can present additional offers to them after they purchase, and convert 10% to 30% on another offer.

You can also send an e-mail right after they buy, encouraging them to order an additional product by simply clicking on a link or confirming their address. Since you already have their payment info on file, it's an easy process.

Ideally, you'll use a database driven website to make this seamless for the prospect and simple for you. But if you just want to test it out, try making an offer to a small segment of your list, and manually process the additional orders. It'll be a temporary administrative hassle, but you'll see whether the process works well enough to hire a programmer and create an automated system.

13) Add bonuses: We've seen many marketers break up a product or package, and turn part of it into a free bonus, increasing visitor value by $0.10 to $0.15. This is a common marketing gimmick, and though some see it as a ploy, you'll generally find a majority of the people responding well to it.

You've seen probably seen examples of this on late night TV. If you are selling a set of 15 kitchen knives, you can re-position the offer as "Eleven Fine Chef Utensils," and if you order right now, you get "Four Razor-sharp Steak Knives" at no additional charge.

  • Or include a free cutting board.
  • Or include a free knife sharpener.
  • Or include a serving fork.

Make sure the bonus is needed to achieve the ultimate end result, or is wanted badly enough so the prospect will proceed with the transaction for the bonus alone.

14) Reposition your offer: Sometimes you tap into a responsive market but have the wrong offer. What should you do? No problem, just reposition it and re-write the copy for that specific audience!

For example, we sold an e-book showing you how to get porno and sensitive files off your PC. Needless to say, this is a product aimed at men.

Recently, we found a source for pop-ups priced at 50% less than what we normally pay. The problem is the traffic is 95% female! What to do? Simple, re-write the page so it's aimed at women!

It turns out women are much more interested in finding out if their men are looking at porno than they are about removing porn off their own computers. And since the book shows people how to accomplish both, we are releasing a new version (of the letter, not the book) aimed exclusively at females.

This means focusing on completely different benefits, and writing in a different voice. However, it also means a higher visitor value, perhaps an extra $0.10 to $0.20, since you are speaking directly to the prospects in a style they are responsive to.

15) Change colors and design: We aren't designers, so we tend to play it safe when it comes to colors, using shades of blue and light red.

If you understand how the mind reacts to different colors, and you have tested the really important stuff above, you might want to experiment a little by changing your background and graphic colors. It may be possible to squeeze an additional $0.05 to $0.10 out of each visitor.

Two things to remember:

  • Use a tool like ColorSchemer to make your colors match one another. There's nothing as annoying as an earth-tone orange next to a neon green, because your designer thinks it looks "cool."

  • Use only web-compliant colors that look good on all browsers. You may not be able to reach perfect consistency, but you can definitely make sure they are solid.
16) Increase readability: One of the variables often ignored by copywriters, but quite important to prospects, is making your sales piece easy to read. Simple readability checks can increase visitor value by $0.05 to $0.10, and are as follows:
  • Use a consistent font throughout your letter: Don't mix and match since it looks amateurish. Good fonts for readability online are Arial, Times New Roman, and Verdana.
  • Make sure formatting and white space is symmetrical: It should look good on all browsers, and when printed out. Adjust cell padding so ad copy is sufficiently far from borders, which many viewers find distracting.
  • Use consistent formatting: If your subheads start out red and a size larger then the body copy, make sure they are the same throughout the sales letter. If you indent one paragraph, indent them all.

17) Complimentary product endorsements: This one is easy. Just look for complimentary products you can sell on an affiliate or revenue-share basis, and run them as pop-ups, pop-unders, banners, exit offers, even to prospects through your follow up e-mail system.

We have seen many offers generate an extra $0.05 to $0.10 per visitor.

Conclusion

These options will definitely help you increase your visitor value. The important thing is, never stop striving for a site that makes more money than it currently does.

You never know when you'll stumble into an amazing monetization machine, which could mean a million-dollar a year (or more) income, and an early retirement.

Jonathan Mizel is a well-known and respected Internet Marketing expert, and is often found advising well known companies such as Microsoft, Intel, and American Express.

 

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