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Toilet roll sales pages & friction

Posted by Michael Bloch in web marketing (Saturday October 13, 2007 )

Friction? Toilet rolls? Sounds painful. I’ve found a very nice case study that illustrates what I’ve mentioned from time to time on the issue of lengthy sales pages.

Long sales letter pages, which I refer to as toilet rolls, are everywhere out here. It’s one of those strategies that originally was quite effective, but the pages seem to grow longer and longer as time goes by. The mentality behind the strategy is to “groom” the prospect, outlining all the benefits and building excitement. The problem is, many people don’t want to have to wade through it all – too much information can be overwhelming, especially if it’s just fluff without substance.

Anything you put in the path that prevents the consumer from taking the desired action in the least possible time is called friction. It’s a very fitting term, especially when you consider this general definition of the word:

“Friction is the force that opposes the relative motion of two surfaces in contact”.

The first surface is the customer, the second is your desired action. The force that can oppose is lengthy copy before the call to action and/or requesting too much effort from the customer to execute the desired action – whether that be a complex signup process or them having to hunt around the copy to find a “buy” link.

As I’ve mentioned before; there’s nothing wrong with a lengthy sales page as long as you have calls to action – buy links, signup boxes etc. scattered throughout the copy.

Different people will be responsive at different stages of reading. Some are impulsive and impatient types, others want to know the ins and outs of a duck’s bum (excuse the Aussie lingo) about what you’re peddling.

A recent case study on lead generation that illustrates the problems with copy length and friction quite nicely has been published on Marketing Experiments. Take a peek at Case Study 3. The short copy test was by far the most successful and the images posted along with the case study really drive the point home. As mentioned, this doesn’t mean you should necessarily shorten your sales pages, but adapt them to suit folks who don’t have the time or inclination to read through screens and screens of information.


1 comment for Toilet roll sales pages & friction
  1. Good information, thank you

    Comment by Ern — October 14, 2007 @ 5:16 am

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