As an affiliate marketer, one of the most important skills you have to master is optimization.
It’s your only job.
Any monkey with half a brain and an internet connection can swipe banner ads and landing pages, upload them to an ad network and launch a campaign. But the real leaders excel at what come next.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against using someone else’s creatives as “inspiration” when I’m launching a new campaign. But in 2015, you can’t expect to be able to copy and paste a campaign and actually make money.
Sure, you can get lucky sometimes and make money right away – but I’d say at least 80% of the time your campaign is going to start off by losing a tremendous amount of money.
Your job is to “optimize” it until it makes money.
Optimization can happen at many different points of the campaigns.
You can optimize demographic targeting, offers, banner ad sizes and a million other things.
But one of my favorite places to optimize is – the landing page.
What is a Landing Page?
A landing page is your middle man. It’s what the customer is going to see after they click your ad – and before they see the actual product you’re selling.
Banner Ad > Landing Page > Product
I’d guess that 90% of my campaigns have used landing pages. Why do I add ths extra step? Because it gives you a chance to nudge customers in the right direction before they are presented with a buying opportunity.
Image the landing page is a dealership car salesman.
- You drive onto the lot to “just look” at some cars.
- Then this guy comes out to talk to you
- He says some great things.
- Then you drive away in a new car.
The landing page, like the salesman is where you get to work your magic.
There are a thousand different things you can optimize on a landing page. I could write 10,000 words explaining everything I’ve ever done. But today – we’re going to focus on ten of them. You may have seen a few of them before – but I’m guessing you’re going to find some surprises as well…
Here are 10 things you can do to optimize a landing page.
The headline is the first thing people are going to read. So it’s important that you test this area a lot. It’s normally the first place I start.
When I put up a new campaign, I’ll try 5–10 different headline styles to see which direction works best. Then, when I find a winner I’ll write 5–10 variations until I find something that works.
There are a thousand formulas out there that work. Here are a few resource links you can use for inspiration.
2) Main Image
The main image on you landing page is normally a photo of some kind that is placed in the first paragraph of copy.
It’s the second thing someone sees when they get to your landing page.
They read the headline, look at the image and then decide whether or not to read the rest of the page. So it’s important to test the main image until you find something that works really well and keeps them reading.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about these images is to use photos of your target audience experiencing the product.
So if you’re advertising a “How To Slam Dunk” video course to 25–30 year old men. You’d show an image of a 25–30 year old guy flying through the air, huge smile on his face about to drill the ball into the basket.
By doing this you’re basically showing your customer “the future”. This is how they will look/feel if they buy the course right now.
Copy just means the words that are written on the page. Obviously – this is important as hell.
People are going to read, or more likely scan your copy before they make their decision to buy or not buy.
- If you say the right things, you’ll have a customer
- If you screw it up, they’ll be gone.
If there is an existing landing page out there you can use it for inspiration but you’ll always want to split test several different versions to see if you can beat it. Most people don’t test their copy enough so it’s an easy way to improve performance.
I don’t spend a lot of time trying to write perfect copy though. I like to throw up ideas quickly – find an angle that works and THEN spend time making it perfect.
You can spend months writing copy that may or may not even work. Do what I do – throw up some ideas, see which copy THE AUDIENCE says is good and then pursuse that direction.
Be Sure To Read This
One huge tip I can give you for copy is to be sure to use headers in yor copy and bold the important text.
Most people don’t have time to read an entire page. But they will stop and read headers and bolded text.
Kind of like you just did now.
4) CTA (Call To Action)
The CTA is normally a big button you use on the page that is designed to get people to click through to the product. Hopefully, by the time they see the CTA button they’re convinced enough to buy.
Most of the time the CTA is really obvious and stands out from the rest of the page. A lot of times the uglier and more brash the button’s design the better. You dont’ want people to miss it.
Here is one of the most successful CTAs of all time.
As you can see it’s not screwing around. It screams at you to look at it, tells you what will happen if you click it and includes a few logos beneath.
I keep a folder full of high performing CTA buttons and will test heavily to find something that gets more clicks and conversions.
You’d be surprised at how much difference you’ll see by changing something like “Buy Now” to “Start Today”.
5) Text vs Graphic Links
Not all great CTAs are yellow graphics.
Many times I’ve been able to beat the performance of graphic buttons by using plain old text links. It might be because, depending on your campaign the harsh yellow button might feel too “salesy”.
In that case you simply replace it with a small, bold, blue and underlined text link. It feels more natural and in some cases can get a lot more people to click.
Tip: Always make your links blue and underlined. People have been programmed that links are blue and underlined. Don’t change it up and make it more difficult to understand.
6) Overall Design
If you really want to shake things up you can split test completely different landing page designs.
Let’s say you find that your competitors are all using pages with two columns, images of families and a white background.
You’ll create 1–3 new styles and test them against the original. Maybe one column would work better. Try a colored background. Test images of dogs and cats or cars and trucks. See if you can destroy what your competitors are doing.
This is also a great way to “refresh” a campaign that’s been running for a long time. If you notice that your landing page CTR (click through rate) has fallen dramatically and the campaign is losing cash – throw up a few brand new designs and see how peope react.
Sometimes they just need to see something new. Even if it has the same headline and same copy. Changing up the overall design is a great way to generate new interest from people who have already seen (and passed on) your old landing page.
7) Font Size
This is a point of optimization that gets overlooked a lot.
Don’t overlook it.
It’s definitely not the first thing I test, but after I have the headline, image and body copy worked out it’s something I like to try.
Most websites have an average font size of about 12 px. So I set up a test with several different font size, some bigger some smaller to see what happens.
A test might look something like:
Landing Page 1: Font size = 12px
Landing Page 2: Font size = 10px
Landing Page 3: Font size = 14px
Landing Page 4: Font size = 16px
What I’ve found is that if your readers are over the age of 35, increasing the font size almost always makes the page work better.
As you get older, your vision gets worse. By increasing the font size, you’ll ensure that your readers can actually SEE the text on the page.
A (almost) guaranteed way to improve your landing page is to add some testimonials. When readers see how the product has helped others they will be much more likely to buy.
Case in point: Amazon. When you search for something on Amazon you go straight to the customer reviews, right? I do. If I see a lot of negative reviews and bad experiences I don’t even read the rest of the page – I close it and move on.
Yelp too. If I’m going out to dinner and see that the restaurant is being bashed for bad service and crappy food I’ll change my dinner plans. I’ve gone against bad Yelp reviews a few times and I’ve regretted it every time.
99% of the time if they say the place sucks, it sucks.
Customer testimonials provide trust that the product works. So if your offer has real customer reviews or testimonials – add them to your landing page and watch your profits go through the roof.
9) Banner Ads
This is a fun one I like to do that isn’t as popular or well-known as the others.
I put banner ads… for the product… all over the landing page.
I started doing this in 2008 and I swear to you, I still see my banner ads on landing pages in 2015.
All you do is take whatever benefits your product offers and create some banner ads. Then, place them on your page the same as you would if you were doing a direct buy on another site.
9 times out of 10 people will click those banner ads (just like they would on another site) and buy the product.
10) Related Offers in Side Bar
This is another creative way to squeeze more profits out of your page. Put ads and links to other related offers on the page.
If you’re promoting Men’s Rolex watches, why not add a 300×250 banner ad for a subscription to Forbes magazine in the right side bar? If you’re customer has $10,000 to spend on a watch, there’s a pretty good chance they’d also be interested in Forbes.
Or another idea would be to include an ad for a dating site that matches young hot girls with rich, older men.
You can experiment wildly with this and make more money.
Sometimes unrelated offers work just as well. Just keep testing until you find something that works.
Landing Page Optimization Tools
So now that you know WHAT you need to optimize – you need to know HOW to test and optimize it. Here is exactly what I use. It’s called Voluum.
Voluum is my favorite tracking tool in 2015 and is used on 100% of my campaigns.
With Voluum, it’s really easy to set up landing page split tests and track the results. On a single screen you can see how many people click and buy from each page – showing you exactly which page is best.
It will even make the winning pages turn “green” when they’re profitable.
Like I said, Voluum is what I use. I don’t use any other trackers that are out there today.
A landing page is one of the key elements to a killer campaign. And in 2015, it’s not enough to simply copy someone else’s ideas and expect money to rain down on you from the sky.
About ten years ago I had a conversation with a master creative guy who said “Inventors don’t make the money, Innovators do“. We were talking about music back then (Whoever created the blues died broke, but Elvis sure did well with it) but it applies to affiliate marketing as well.
Your best bet is to imitate then innovate.
- Imitate what others are doing already
- Then innovate the living hell out of the campaign.
Remember – optimization is the one of the key skills you need to master if you’re going to be an affiliate marketer.
If you can do it right, you’ll be set for life.
Before you go: We’ll be having a live Q&A on YouTube today at 3pm PST to talk about landing page optimization. If you’re interested I’ll see you there.
Event Page: https://plus.google.com/events/cld9n0qd5dopan3a7sj3ud4sjqg
Youtube Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SErfMXDAZTo