3 Ways to Increase Conversion Rates
By Nick Usborne
Thursday, January 20, 2005; 2:00pm EST
In a previous article I talked about a few similarities between
writing direct mail packages and writing web sites. In short, I
concluded that as online writers we could learn a lot from direct
In this article I�m going to take a look at just one of those
similarities: both direct mail packages and web sites lose almost
all of their readers before the �task� is completed. Both media
struggle with conversion rates that typically hover around the 2%
Most of us throw out or recycle direct mail pieces almost every day.
And most of us know how many of our site visitors leave before
buying, signing up, registering or completing some other task.
Now for the difference. Direct mail copywriters work extremely hard
to minimize the number of readers they lose, at every stage.
How hard do you work to keep and convert your readers?
Here are three tips taken from the world of direct marketing:
Make a promise
First, your homepage should make it very clear what you do. As in
the statement, �We sell printer cartridges�.
But also make a promise. As in, �You�ll never run out of printer
The statement is about you. And it�s useful in letting people know
they are in the �right place�.
The promise is about them. And there is a real benefit stated there.
This may be copywriting 101, to lead with a benefit, but it�s
surprising how many sites don�t follow this simple and proven
Make an offer
This is standard in just about every direct mail package. This isn�t
the same as a promise. An offer is when you give someone something
extra, at no cost to the buyer. Maybe it�s a free calculator. Or a
better price if you subscribe for longer. Or 30 days free. Even a
free serving of garlic bread with your pizza.
Try to do the same with your web site. With a free report. Free
shipping. A free download. A free consultation. A free gift. Or free
Direct marketers know that buyers are often nervous about buying
over the phone or by mailing an envelope. So they wrap everything up
in a guarantee. Be delighted or get your money back.
Online we also know that many people feel nervous about parting with
their money over the Internet, particularly if it is the first time
they have bought something at our site. But where are our
guarantees? Too often they are found in the small print somewhere,
qualified with all sorts of legal nonsense.
If you want to make your prospects and buyers feel secure, make the
guarantee bold. Say it loud. Have it jump out at people. Let them
know that they are protected if they choose to buy.
These are just three of the ways direct marketers try to increase
conversion rates. They keep people reading with a strong promise, an
attractive offer and a cast-iron guarantee.
About the Author
Nick Usborne is a copywriter, author and speaker. You can access all
his newsletter articles on writing for the web at his
www.ExcessVoice.com site. You'll find more articles and resources on
how to make money as a freelance writer at