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improving the conversion rate for the new "wood heat" page

 
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This page is getting about 150 visits per day:  http://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp

Sales are now at about something like three per week.

The question is: how to improve the conversion rate?

---

What i would much rather do is go and work on all of my other projects.  But the delays of this project have left me with three critical debts and I cannot think about other things until those debts are cleared.  

At the same time, I keep hoping that somebody will be a marketing expert and will step up and ask about a wholesale price - and then they will go out and sell thousands.

I do think they are quite good.  If they are not, I hope somebody will point that out.  So, it is just a matter of getting them to move.

I now have several weeks put into polishing the page and I have explored a variety of other creative marketing attempts.  

But with 150 people per day visiting the page, I would like to think that I would be selling a dozen a day or better.  I wonder if something is broken?

---

Jocelyn has done some reading about conversion and says that for some reason, making a page blue will increase conversion by ten.  ??

Any other suggestions on improving conversion?


 
paul wheaton
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I know this is twisted, but ....    I desperately need to learn about how to improve conversion and I desperately don't want to.   Again, I wish I could just sell cases of dvds to somebody and they sell thousands.
 
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First the good news - the worse your current conversion the more gains there are available, and the easier they are. You currently have a conversion rate of about 0.3% - it should be reasonably achievable to get to 1%. It would be harder to get to 2%, but possible with time and persistence.


Split testing

Improving conversion is all about marginal gains. You make a small change, run a test and see if it helps. Then you run another test and see if it helps. Over a number of iterations you get a better and better page.

To do this you need: A back end that lets you run A-B split tests. Half your visitors are shown one version of the page. Half are shown the other. Over a period (say 2 weeks) the visitors and conversions are tracked and a the winner is kept to be your new default page. Then you make another change and keep on iterating. However, without the split test architecture in the back ground you simply don't have the evidence to inform your decisions.

You NEED to be able to do this. If your back end doesn't already allow it consider getting a techy to set it up. There are various off the shelf tools for it, but I have no idea about that side of things.

First glance impressions
On my screen a lot of the fond is rather small. My experiences of sales pages are that they have slightly more relaxed font sizes than elsewhere. Consider beefing this up slightly. My eye is skimming past a lot of the key information, and only landing on the bold headlines.

With sales pages for this kind of thing the information tends to be given as a long form letter. Think about it as a drawn out explanatory missive to the reader where you drop hints along the way. You want to build a bit of anticipation. A sales page is more about drawing out an emotional response than a rational one. You almost need to get someone else to write it - someone less technical and more emotionally oriented. Someone less involved in the nitty-gritty of the project.

Image choice - your pictures of the constructions are great. But how many people skim over it because they see a "crude" construction and can't see it fitting into their living room? There are some absolutely gorgeous cob bench constructions where the finished product will do a fair amount of selling for you.

Pricing pitch - all the way through you advocate these stoves as a cheap alternative, but then you want people to open their wallets for you. Perhaps building up the "cheap" mentality is working against you? You want your emotional hook to be about comfort, luxury, decreased effort.

Structural stuff

Many successful sales pages have multiple "buy it now" buttons at various stages through the text, so you don't need to get right to the very bottom to hit the button. You might, for example, transfer the pricing options to a second page. Your customer hits "buy it now" and on the second page they can choose which options they want. This might be a very powerful approach for you. You can split test that landing page, as well as the text of the buy it now button itself. This may substantially accelerate the optimisation process.

The FAQ

There is brilliant information here, that really sells your material. How many people even find it at the bottom, with all the options collapsed? Could some of this information be reworked into a longer sales-letter format at the beginning, drawing out some more of the emotive aspects?

Purchasing choices. You possibly have too many options. There is such a thing as decision paralysis; too many choices and customers start walking away just when you want them to commit. I understand wanting to offer as many access routes as possible but it may be working against you. Consider, for example, cutting down to just the main two options (based on sales so far) and split testing that against the existing choices.

Ultimately, sales optimization is a long term ongoing project - no one that is really done once then forgotten about.
 
Michael Cox
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Resources I have used:

http://www.conversion-rate-experts.com/

They work with massive clients who can afford their premium rates. If your sales page makes $100k per month, then you can afford to have a team working on optimisation full time. They are generous though, and share a lot of basic ideas and strategies through their blog materials.


http://www.splittestcalculator.com/

When running a split test you need a calculator to tell you if your results are significant. If you don't use on you might be basing decision on faulty evidence. You should aim for at least 95% confidence before settling on a conclusion, but higher confidence is better if you can afford to run your test for longer. Sometimes the two options are so close in results that it never reaches a conclusion. Eventually you may decide it is a draw and test something else.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:
Jocelyn has done some reading about conversion and says that for some reason, making a page blue will increase conversion by ten.  ??



Well, I didn't say make the entire page blue, I meant that highlighting specific sections blue, or blue used on the page, was effective. Or so I read.

While I can no longer find where I first read it, here is something I found that backs it up:  https://blog.bufferapp.com/the-science-of-colors-in-marketing-why-is-facebook-blue.

Here's an infographic from the article:





 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Michael Cox wrote:
Structural stuff
Many successful sales pages have multiple "buy it now" buttons at various stages through the text, so you don't need to get right to the very bottom to hit the button. You might, for example, transfer the pricing options to a second page. Your customer hits "buy it now" and on the second page they can choose which options they want. This might be a very powerful approach for you. You can split test that landing page, as well as the text of the buy it now button itself. This may substantially accelerate the optimisation process.


The structure, including multiple "buy now" links or buttons are also part of what I read about and suggested to Paul. Though, personally, I don't think a second page with a price is necessarily the way to go.

Multiple links including a "buy now" link above the page title.

These ideas, plus another about how left menus seem to work better, are from I Spent $30,000 Testing Different Blog Designs — Here’s What I Found. Even though the author's examples involve a blog, where the conversion goal is an email address, not necessarily a sale, I still think there are some applicable elements.

So if all the links on the right of the BWH page were moved to the left, or perhaps better yet, to the bottom; and a quick link menu was put at the top left with links to the "buy now", FAQs, and more products, (or some such), I think that might be one way to help the page. That would more closely follow the typical "F" format in how most folks' eyes move over a webpage.



 
Michael Cox
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I'd like to reiterate the need for split testing. What works brilliantly in one setting may be an unmitigated disaster in another. Different audiences have different needs and preferences, so what works for one particular site will not necessarily transfer over to yours.

Also, changing too many things at once actually hinders the process, because you cannot tell what works. If you change the text of the buy it now button, while also changing it's colour can you tell if the colour change helped or if the text change helped? What if the result is neutral, but in reality the two changes you made cancelled each other out?

We can throw around lots of ideas for how to change it, but the only way to decide if they are good ideas is to test them in practice.
 
Michael Cox
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paul wheaton wrote:
I now have several weeks put into polishing the page and I have explored a variety of other creative marketing attempts.  



Sometimes an "ugly" solution is more effective than a polished one. Think about adding an eye-catching and garish "call to action". "Click here now to buy the full set of DVD's"
 
Michael Cox
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Ok, and looking at the page again there is an even bigger problem.

It isn't a sales page at all! How far do you need to read before it becomes clear that these DVDs are actually for sale? It reads more like a historical review of the creation of these artifacts.
 
Michael Cox
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Can you make the first youtube video top of the page and set to autoplay when the page is opened?
 
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I really think you should consider hiring somebody (or company) to do this right.

The current page has no ability to track conversions or conversion rate. No ability to test. Maybe conversion rate is the problem, or maybe you need more traffic to the page. There is no way to know which sources are generating sales. If you knew the most successful source, it would give you something to focus the effort.

The goal is sales, not conversion rate or ranking or even traffic. It is like trying to grow a lemon tree in Montana and focusing on only the soil. The soil is important, but if you only get the soil right, the tree will not survive. You don't need to get everything right, but you need to get a lot of things right.

If you think of this in terms of the Wheaton Eco scale, you need an ecommerce marketing person who is an 8, 9 or 10. They will sound crazy to you. 8s, 9s or 10s generally only do the work for pay unless they really feel compelled to help you. If they donate their time, they will become frustrated by the insistence that a 4 or 5 on the scale knows more than the 8, 9 or 10. Especially when they know other people will gladly pay them $100+ per hour.

 
paul wheaton
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Reading and re-reading all the suggestions ...

I suppose when it comes to purchasing, I could offer:

   - 4 dvds as digital download  $49.50
   - 4 physical dvds $75
   - rent "cob style" as HD streaming $3.00
   - more options

...

maybe I should re-arrange the top.   Maybe the trailer should be first, then three "buy now" buttons and then the stuff about "a rocket mass heater is:"  ??

...

A/B testing ...    need a link for something that works with jsp.

I suppose it is possible to have it track which "buy" button was clicked on, even if we don't have a way to verify that the purchase was actually completed.

My only concern with this is that the level of work required here could lead to an income of something like 50 cents per hour.



You almost need to get someone else to write it - someone less technical and more emotionally oriented.



Hmmm ... that is quite possible.  

Suggestions?



There are some absolutely gorgeous cob bench constructions where the finished product will do a fair amount of selling for you.  



Good point.  


all the way through you advocate these stoves as a cheap alternative, but then you want people to open their wallets for you. Perhaps building up the "cheap" mentality is working against you? You want your emotional hook to be about comfort, luxury, decreased effort.  



I added a line about "luxuriant".   But I think you are suggesting that the message is something like "cheap to run, but who cares about that - it's all about the luxury."  ??



Could some of this information be reworked into a longer sales-letter format at the beginning, drawing out some more of the emotive aspects?



What do you suggest removing to make room for something like that?  

I think we are trying to move everything to the top and make the fonts larger, but that just means that something gets moved down.



 
paul wheaton
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I really think you should consider hiring somebody (or company) to do this right.  



I would prefer that somebody else makes a page and advertises the hell out of it.  

I cannot help but think that hiring somebody would be more money than I have, and I doubt that they would be keen on "pay you when i get the funds from the changes."

 
Rick English
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Google Tag manager is a "free" option for tracking. It will take a bit of setup time:
Setup and installation

Event tracking is one option with tag manager:
Event tracking with Google Tag Manager

Triggers is another option:
Triggers

I do think this is worth your resources to install. Think about this as a permaculture system, this tracking stuff is observation. You can design systems without observation, but it works better if you observe before, during and after

I would prefer that somebody else makes a page and advertises the hell out of it.



In the world of retail, than means you are the manufacturer, and you are looking for a retailer to sell your product. MSRP, or selling price, is double of what you sell it for to the retailer (wholesale price). The wholesale price is double of your cost for the product. If your cost is $25, you sell it to a wholesaler for $50, who then sells it to their customer for $100. That 100% markup is often called keystone pricing.

In the scenario above, if you sell a $100 item direct, you will make $75, or if you sell it via retailers, you will make $25 per sale. You hope that the retailers sell more than you can, so their volume makes up the difference.  This is the reason to give a 75% commission to affiliates.

This may give you some ideas:
Retail Pricing Strategies to Increase Profitability
 
Michael Cox
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paul wheaton wrote:
I would prefer that somebody else makes a page and advertises the hell out of it.  



"If you want to get wet, go stand next to a waterfall."

The people you are looking for exist, but they don't hang out here. For them to find your product you need to promote it to them, which means going to the places they hang out - the "waterfall of affiliate marketers". There are loads of affiliate market places where affiliates can compare lots of different products to decide what to promote. They won't be a permaculturist, but they will be good at promoting. They won't opt to support you based on passion for the product, but on the direct benefit to their personal bottom line. It takes just as much effort to sell a product that has low commission as it does one with high commission.
 
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I wish I had solutions to promote a good product. And to boost your economy. But no direct expertise there. So I pass on my personal reaction to the page along w/a couple opinions about the buying public and hope that helps the process somehow. And hope it brings more gain than pain.  In order of impact:

1) the top pic (video frame) w/all the flames is dark, complex and hard to interpret at a glance and the critical text is doesn't jump out instantly. Too busy. It doesn't do as well as it should in the front center top position.

2 ) generally cluttered

3) long and winding

+ [M.Cox, about the word "cheap"]
I use it, you use. Too bad -  I don't think it belongs on the page _at all_. You have a great product. "Cheap" doesn't fit in this picture. Let viewers see that this is an opportunity to buy Quality and Important Valuable Technology and Wisdom which they can apply and use to help bring Quality into their own habitat and thus Progress Toward Their Dreams. This Wonderful Innovation _Can_ help YOU Luxuriate in Your own or future home. Now the exact language... Could be I'm not the one to provide that. <g>

A couple of stove porn pics would be good. Not many though - it's not a free gallery tour.

I don't feel it helps to skip around or go looking, neither for the prices or the "buy" button.

Another one of my first impressions was that I'd be more attracted to it (personally, haven't done a poll)  if there were a  _diagram_.  A nice, nifty 3 color illustration of the magical mystery wonder, w/little flow arrows and a few pithy call-outs, that shows to me a Smart Plan. Enough detail to catch the eye and imply interesting stuff. Guy's like to "understand", or rather, be "clear" about things so at least we think we understand. Illustrations do that, photos don't really. Illustrations also make it look clean neat and easy - like those old Westerns where they left out the bugs and the blood. Simple, clean, neat and effective = Looks Good.

I think what most people buy most of the time we buy w/a background wish to fill in our subliminal needs.   Maybe you don't want to feature pin-up girls, but do try to allow a few starting points for people to connect to your product w/their feelings. As irrational and silly as that may be. But smiling hunky guys & fine looking gals never hurt a sales pitch... <G>

Some specific thoughts follow. But really, a page needs to be created, tailored, by one person to create a good unified whole. This or that fix/change won't help much - it all has to hang together. These are really just some reactions which might help the thought process.

Lose the right side bar (as it is now, at least). Maybe put the stuff at the bottom in a sort of "related products" kind of thing. Maybe put a buy-button paragraph on the right which remains always on screen. Or just expand the main text. As it stands, the right sidebar doesn't help your sales pitch, it distracts.

The pic of the box w/the stack of discs looks good. Simple, colorful, forthright and appealing in a number of ways.

The collage not so much. Too detailed and cluttered. HOWEVER: You show real people in the pics. Why not take two or three of those people pictures, ideally ones w/relevant and impressive credentials, make it large enough to actually see, and caption it w/a glowing quote of some sort? Recommendations are as old as the sales pitch. No need for a pic, actually; but do provide _some_ info on the relation of the "speaker" to the RMH. Put these on a sidebar (left side is open, right side is traditional, I think) continuing down alongside the pitch so there's always a positive spin from a real person on screen next to your copy. Or not. I've seen stuff like that that seemed OK but then again, I'm not expert.

FWIW.  Rufus

 
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