Many internet marketers take the time to create online sales letters and email campaigns, but then forget one important step: testing. All that hard work is useless if the main goal isn’t achieved. What’s the main goal? To convince as many readers as possible to click the buy now button.
One thing I’ve noticed time and again is that many internet marketers are snobbish. Wait now, let me explain. My primary occupation is as a ghostwriter, mostly for internet marketers and webmasters. When it comes to web usability, many internet marketers only care about the latest greatest technology. In other words, if you’re a user with an older or slower computer, then they don’t care about getting your business.
It makes more sense to create websites, online sales letters, and email campaigns that just about anyone can understand and follow. You may need to clearly label links with a “click here” graphic. Or you may need to include download instructions for something as simple as a PDF file.
Is testing really important?
Yes, it is. If you want to succeed at internet marketing, you have to create with the end user in mind. The usability of a website plays a major role in buying decisions. An important thing to remember is that people have different levels of computer knowledge.
You may spend a few hours a day using your computer. Maybe you regularly check your email, create websites, use forums, and so on. However, there are millions of people who are only casual computer users. They check their emails once a day if at all, are not interested in creating websites, and spend less than two hours per day online.
When creating a website, sales letter, or email campaign, you should keep the casual computer user in mind. Just because they don’t spend a lot of time online, doesn’t mean they don’t spend money there. The US Census Bureau reported that US e-commerce sales for early 2007 was a whopping $31.5 billion. The amount goes even higher when you figure in non-US sources.
If you want your share of that $31.5 billion, then you have to be accessible. The casual computer user should be able to easily navigate your website, comprehend your message, follow your instructions, act on your call to action, and make the purchase. You can make the process much easier by testing before going live.
Before launching your next big email campaign, check for usability. Remember, what’s easy to you may be hard for someone else. Get two or three casual computer users and let them test drive your campaign. Most families have a few people who are computer novices, so it shouldn’t be hard to find someone.
Send the testers to your capture page, and let them sign up to receive your email series. It’s important that they follow the steps the same as your visitors will. If any part of the process is unclear, then you’ll know it based on the testers.
Some questions to ask include:
1. Are the instructions on the capture page clear?
2. Are all links clearly marked?
3. Do the testers know exactly what to expect?
4. Do the testers know to expect a confirmation email? Was the confirmation received?
6. Do the links in the confirmation email work? This includes the unsubscribe link.
7. If you provided a download, are the download instructions stated clearly?
8. Does the download link work properly?
9. Were the messages in your series sent in the correct order? Were they sent at all?
These are only a few things to consider when testing the usability of your email campaign. Some of them may not apply to your situation. Or maybe you can think of a few more. Just remember to make things as easy as possible.
Online sales letters
Most internet marketers know the importance of a well written sales letter. Your sales letter can often determine if you have a $5000 month or a $50 month. This is another area in which usability testing is important. Once again, you’ll need two or three casual computer users to help you out. They’ll need to view your sales page from the point of view of prospective customers.
The first thing to do before unleashing your sales letter on the testers is get it proofread. Have someone carefully check for careless mistakes, like spelling errors, incorrect wording, weird paragraph breaks, and missing information. It’s not a good idea to proofread it yourself because you know what to expect. Even if a word is missing or spelled wrong, you may automatically see what you intended to write.
When the sales letter is solid, turn your attention to the actual website. Have your testers evaluate the sales letter and website. Some questions to answer include:
1. Are the images appealing?
2. Are there distracting elements that draw attention away from the message?
3. Does the font look good on screen? Is it easy to read?
4. Is the website easy to navigate?
5. Is the purchase button operational and clearly visible?
6. If it’s a digital product, does the download work correctly?
7. Does the website display correctly on various browsers?
Using the results
Give yourself four stars and a pat on the back if there were no problems with your sales letter or email campaign. If there were problems, make sure to address them before moving forward. If the testers found problems, then other people will too. Remember, you want to get your information across as easily and quickly as possible.