If you are a marketer, you feel the pressure.
PPC budgets are spread thin in these uncertain times, and it’s more important than ever that your marketing campaign delivers business results.
For many businesses, the journey from being a business with just a great idea, like a “Jump to Conclusions Mat” to a company diving into money like Scrooge McDuck begins with a consult or demo request.
To get these consults or demos you run paid search campaigns that worked fine before the economic downturn.
Your campaign follows known best practices in which visitors are taken to a custom landing page about your product, they opt in for a consult, you walk them through a demo, and then pour your coffee … because coffee is for closers.
Or at least it used to work that way.
Now, when you look at your calendar to see scheduled consults, you see only empty spaces. Forget about half-full, your coffee mug is bone dry.
These campaigns used to deliver results because you received a large volume of clicks from your large marketing budget which, even with a lower conversion rate, still provided enough consult requests.
Now, you have a lower budget and the same conversion rate.
But, all is not lost.
This is a great time to make what you have work better.
If you have a smaller budget but want more consultation requests from your landing pages, then this article is for you.
Dust the cobwebs out of your coffee cup … because it’s time to start closing.
The Problem: You Only Sell Your Core Offer
CXL’s Peep Laaja recently dropped some truth on Twitter that gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to booking consults:
“A man comes to a hospital. “I’m sick,” he says.
“No problem,” says the doctor, and performs immediate surgery.
Now that never happens.
You need to diagnose the patient before deciding on treatment.
Not so in the world of marketing and conversions.”
With this medical metaphor in mind, let’s first diagnose this conversion problem and learn why people are not requesting consults. Only after the diagnosis can we offer treatment and get more consults from your landing page.
Visitors click your ads because they’re interested in your core product or service, but they’re not necessarily interested in requesting a consult or demo to discuss it.
Why not? Most people don’t see any perceived value in booking time with you.It’s quite the opposite: They view consults and demos like they view going to any “presentation” that’s likely going to turn into a hard sell. People fear a long, drawn out call and a high-pressure and uncomfortable sales pitch at the end. Many of them feel like they have better things to do, even if the outcome benefits them.
You remember what it’s like—trapped on a call with someone who just wants a “moment” of our time.
Here’s the diagnosis:
Visitors feel a disconnect between the perceived value of your product or service and the perceived value of booking your consult or demo. They’re not the same thing.
The Cure: Sell The Consult
To get more consult requests is to sell the consultation on the landing page rather than the core product or service.
You need to adopt a strategy that gets the visitor not only excited about the product that they clicked on, but also about the consultation itself. (Crazy, right? But it’s true.)
Fortunately, this strategy is practically custom made for marketers. We already know how to sell our product, services, and even Fyre festival (though we’re not particularly proud of that last one).
So now it is just a matter of applying that knowledge we use to sell products and services to sell the consult.
Let’s begin with three useful tactics as well illustrative examples that will gain you more consults from your landing pages.
Three Tactics to Sell the Consultation on Your Landing Page
1: Let Prospects Know the Specific and Valuable Outcome of Attending the Consult (Even if they don’t buy)
A landing page, like any other piece of sales collateral, should clearly communicate the specific and valuable outcome of taking the desired action.
The outcome and value should be so clear that the prospect would consider requesting a consult even if there was no product attached to it.
A concrete outcome example comes from The Professional Wingman:
No matter how weird this service is (and even for the internet this is a weird one) the tangible result of attending the consultation is clear: you will learn how to get more dates.
You can see that The Professional Wingman doesn’t focus on selling the features and benefits of his actual service (in fact, at the end he hints you may not even need him, which is great risk reversal).
Instead, in simple and clear language, he sells the consult itself by letting the prospect know the specific and valuable outcome of attending.
2: Know, Address, and Overcome the Big Two Objections
To succeed as a marketer, you have to be comfortable with objections and know how to address and handle them effectively.
This is true no matter what you sell, but it applies especially to consult requests, as visitors find them so loathsome (note: this hate of consults is why bookings are so low and why attendance rates are also typically very low).
You need to be able to know, address, and overcome any objections in the visitor’s mind that prevent them from booking your consult.
Typically, the two big objections to requesting a consult are:
- Visitors believe consults are time consuming.
- Visitors believe consults have a hard and uncomfortable sales pitch.
While there are a variety of ways to address and overcome these objections, let’s look at some real-world examples..
The first example comes from Nerds Do It Better (full disclosure, this is my company; also full disclosure, yes, I am a nerd):
We chose to handle the two big objections in our copy above the form field:
- Used a time bound and concrete amount of time: We let the visitor know exactly how much time it will take (30 minutes). This concrete timeframe works well, and generally is better than copy that is more abstract such as “a short consult.”
- Specifically told the visitor there will be no hard sell: We let visitors know there is no hard sale at the end by stating that the consultation is, “No pressure, no obligation – just usable information that will certainly get you more customers.”
Another good example of addressing and overcoming these two objections comes from Dropbox:
- Dropbox makes use of a concrete amount of time of 30 minutes for the consult. This way the visitor knows exactly how long this will take and isn’t afraid it will go on and on like “The Revenant”.
- They employ a video demo instead of a live demo. No live person means there is no hard sell, so the objection addresses itself!
3: Get Personal
Though we live in politically divided times, one trait human beings share is that we like to do business with other humans. (Though we’ll settle for a convincing bot, now and then.)
Knowing this, you can increase consult requests from your landing page by letting visitors know that they will be speaking to an actual person.
This is another counterintuitive one (because it seems so obvious), but this tactic is often overlooked and can be extremely powerful.
Let’s look at how this is done in practice with examples below:
Typically, law firms have the call to action: Speak to a Lawyer.
While we know intuitively that it is not a robot lawyer (Better Call Saul-bot) and that we will be speaking to a person, the term “a lawyer” is impersonal.
As you can see in the example above, the law firm has used the tactic of getting personal by:
- Provided the name of the person the visitor will be speaking with on the consult (Danielle).
- Including a friendly image of that person.
In fact, images are an extremely powerful tool to personalize a consult in an effort to increase requests from a landing page.
A classic example of this technique comes from VWO, which conducted a study to see if replacing a contact icon with a photo of a person would lead to an increase in consult requests.
The following is a screenshot of the original and the variation:
The result of this split test is clear: showing the face (indicating he is a human) had a 39% better conversion rate.
This is especially amazing considering he is unshaven, in a beanie, and looks like the type of guy who calls everyone “Bro” and calls avocados “cados”.
Another way to make the consult request personal is to let the visitor know that the demo will be customized for them, based on their particular needs.
I call this the “Bespoke” personalization tactic.
This “bespoke” tactic works because visitors find consults crafted specifically for them to be more valuable, and hence they will be more likely to request the consultation and attend.
A great example of this comes from Hootsuite:
Examining this consult landing page, we can see they’ve included copy in a headline that “The demo is customized around you,” which reinforces the idea that this is consult will be tailor suited just for this visitor and their needs.
Now, my conversion optimizer mind thinks they could have done a better job in a couple ways on this landing page:
- They could have separated the landing page form into different steps.
- I would recommend changing “Request a Demo” to “Request your Customized Demo” and change the action button to read “Book your customized demo now.”
But…alas – that is the eye of the conversion optimizer.
Another example of the influence of bespoke personalization to increase consult requests from a landing page comes from Zoho:
Despite the fact the design of this landing page looks like they just had ten minutes to create a WordPress site before they had to leave the office, the way they frame the bespoke nature of the demo is fantastic.
They specifically call out the personalization in the headline. Even further they tell you how they will make the demo bespoke by stating (and bolding) that they will use the prospect’s own sample data and requirements.
Wrap it Up
As a marketer, you want to increase the number of consult requests you receive from your landing page.
However, many prospects find consult requests to be a stressful and annoying experience to be avoided at all costs, so they don’t request them.
By using your marketing prowess, and selling your consult (rather than just your core product) on your landing page, you can reframe the process as something valuable.
Tactics to sell the consult include:
- Letting prospects know the specific and valuable outcome of attending the consult. [Even if they don’t buy]
- Addressing and overcoming the big two objections.
- Get personal so that your prospects know they’ll be speaking to a human or get personal by letting the visitor know the consult is bespoke to them.
These tactics should provide you with an increase in the number of consult requests from your landing page without having to spend more money.
How have you increased consult requests from your landing page?
Let me know in the comments.