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One of my coaching students, Dave Martin, asked me to quickly critique a sales page he will be working on. The site is for "Gourmet Sweet Nuts" by Lady Betsy, which, according to David, are "Gawd-awful good!"

The problem is, this page sells the product directly but was originally intended as an introduction letter to candy stores and dealers. (That explains why it isn't selling as well as it can.)

Just like trying to mix SEO with good sales copy, it's a hard thing to do when your page has more than one goal. It requires skill. But in this particular case, it's best to focus only on one core message. In fact, I always try to stick to the “rule of focus” in copy, which means…

… Focus only on:

  1. One audience
  2. One message
  3. One outcome

One audience means, your copy should speak to one audience only. Trying to cover so many variances in your audience dilutes the power of speaking one-on-one with your reader. You must paint your copy with broad brushstrokes in order to appeal to everyone, which causes you to lose credibility, impact, and sales.

If your copy is too generic, or if it speaks to several people in the same copy, people will think that you don't have their best interest at heart, or that the product is truly not for them. Instead, make your copy intimate, personal, and conversational. And stick to no more than one core audience.

One message means, don't try to communicate different messages in your copy. Imagine reading a story that goes off into so many directions. When this happens, you lose focus and fail to capture the essence of the core message — and will likely stop reading it because it's just too confusing.

Focus on only one key or core message, and drive that message home. Try not to go on tangents, and stick with what's relevant. Remember, a confused reader will never buy, since the confused mind always says “No!”

One outcome means, ask them to do one thing — and, if at all possible, one thing only. (Which in many cases is to buy.) You may have two options for the same thing, because it's still part of the same offer. But don't make several offers on the same copy.

In other words, I don't mean options. That's one choice (i.e., one offer), and it's still one outcome. I'm talking about two different outcomes altogether. If you must (and only if you must), offer them to go somewhere else, likely after they've responded, for another offer. But don't confuse them with multiple calls to action in the same salescopy.

Bottom line, if your market is comprised of two or more audiences, tells two or more sales messages, or requires two or more outcomes, I submit that you should have separate pages and copy targeting each one.

In the end, avoid confusion. Be simple, focused, and straight to the point.

Now, coming back to Lady Betsy's copy:

At best, I would simply promote two separate pages entirely. At worst, I would have the page focused on selling the nuts and have a link somewhere for "dealer information," which leads to a separate page that sells store owners on selling their product for them — as well as all the benefits from a store owner's perspective, not a consumer let alone a sweet nut enthusiast.

With that in consideration, here's what I recommend with the copy. Here's a screenshot, just in case you've changed it…

Lady Betsy Copy

The formatting definitely needs improvement. The spacing is wrong (there's a big gap on the left and no space at all between the headline and the top header graphic, making the headline really hard to read).

The font needs to definitely be at least 10pt. It's hard to read — especially for the discriminate reader, which makes up this product's target market.

The picture should be higher up, near the beginning. Right now, being in between the copy and the order button, it will deter response. For one, it's not above the fold, so it's easy to miss. Second, the order button is not as prominent, making THAT easy to miss, too.

The copy is definitely less than desirable. The lead copy, the Christmas story, is nice. But there are no benefits (aside from the memories it can conjure), particularly in reading further. Plus, your copy might alienate non-Christians.

If you're going to sell it right off the page, you need to be alluring and sensual, and add more copy, especially for a gourmet food lover (anything “gourmet” is usually a specialty product, in the four major categories of products).

Gourmet products appeal chiefly to the more sophisticated and discerning customers. And the more intangible, high-end, or specialized the product, then the more visual and thought-evoking the copy needs to be.

It needs sex appeal, charm, and descriptions that, while reading it, "makes your mouth water, your heart pound, your thoughts drift, and your tastebuds rumble." Eating this product is such a delicacy that “it's too sinful” to savor.

Also, you might want to add benefits that are not just food-related but also gift-related, for instance. Because, other than being a delicacy, offering this product as a gift is a major benefit. Like the ability to "sweeten any occasion" and "add that delicate touch" to any social event, which will make it "an evening to remember." Etc.

For example (and this is just off the top of my head, without giving it real thought):

"The sweet, spellbinding aroma of Lady Betsy's Sweet Nuts fills the air and instantly invigorates the room. Their unique, exquisite, mouthwatering flavor that keeps you coming back for more will turn even the most sober individual into a child fighting for that last bite."
"Comprised of Lady Betsy's passion and expertise, her exceptional recipe embodies the essence and flavors that sweet nut enthusiasts will savor. It's the perfect gift for any occasion, or to add that special touch to gift packages."

And so on.

Take a look at some of the gourmet foods online, like Lindt, Godiva, etc, and see the copy they use. That should give you some ideas to model and swipe from, too.

As for the headline, I like the angle, but the copy doesn't back it up. It seems to be too sensational. (And people will think, "will every order taste the same, 'cause they didn't write it down…" It's risky.)

Instead, I would probably say…

"A Secret Recipe, A Night To Remember…" "Heaven is not as far away as you think." Or something along those lines.

Finally, I don't know why there's a shopping cart button at the bottom, since this is a one-offer, one-product sales page. A simple order button or link is good enough.

You might also want to add ordering instructions — take the reader by the hand and tell her exactly what to do and what to expect. Talk about how to fill out the form, what's the delivery time and method, how it's packaged and shipped, etc.

(You might also want to add a separate ordering process for those who wish to order the product and have it shipped to someone else as a gift, perhaps gift-wrapped, with different delivery instructions.)

Finally, you might want to add “seals of approval” at the end, preferably near the order button or ordering instructions, since these tend to jump conversion dramatically. They increase perceived credibility and security, and boost response in almost every case I've tested.

For example, adding credit card logos, perhaps seals or logos from awards the product has won (for example, if your gourmet nuts were talked about in a specialty or gourmet food magazine, you might want to add the publication's logo, with copy that says, “Gourmet Lover's Pick of The Month, May 2007!”).

Another is ScanAlert's HackerSafe logo, which I highly recommend. I signed up for their program and added it to my new Copy Doctor sales page, which I updated three days ago (check out the new layout!), and it already bumped up response by 32%.

I hope this has been helpful.

Michel Fortin

Chief Experience Officer at Supportibles, Inc.
A copywriter and consultant for close to 30 years, Michel was instrumental in selling millions worth of products and services. His most notable success is a salesletter that sold over a million dollars online on launch day. Today, Michel is a best-selling author, in-demand public speaker, and highly sought-after marketing consultant. Get his free report, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," at Supportibles.com.

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