I once heard the story of the wife of a successful businessman demanding that he print up "pretty" brochures so she could feel proud handing them out to her friends and fellow socialites every year at the local Country Club. The problem was --- they didn't make any sales and were only good for this purpose.
He saw it, however, as a viable expense to keep his marriage and wife happy. A smart man.
But what really worked for him were seemingly "ugly" lead generating sales letters, post cards full of text from top to bottom, front and back, and space ads with very little glamorous photos or branding.
What makes long-form, text-dominating, image-limited communications work better than the opposite is beyond the scope of this article. But it has something to do with limiting distractions. When there are just words, the reader's decision is minimized down to two choices: Read or leave.
Many times, these ads can also slide as real, information-based articles that are consumed less defensively.
But the real purpose of this post is to ask: "If you knew something ugly worked better, would your ego hold you from using it in the name of 'professionalism,' 'industry norm,' or plain aesthetic dislike?"
I've had to come to grips with this myself. After testing lead generating landing pages for the longest, nothing has seemed to beat this one:
LowerMyBills.com, bought by Experian for $330 million in 2005, is considered a "big" company and what actually prompted today's blog post when this pop-up and corresponding landing page appeared:
Pretty ad? No. Branding? No. Visually represents a $330 million company? No.
Do they care? Obviously not.
Conversion trumps appearance. Bottom line trumps ego.
But, perhaps their landing page does better:
Nope, it doesn't. Disappointing - I know - to today's fad-chasing, "in-crowd" thriving, social media lovin', number-ignoring, "I wouldn't answer this ad," entrepreneur. And it's said, LowerMyBills.com spends over $70 million on internet advertising per year, so I'd bet they know what they're doing.
Perhaps there are more legitimate reasons for a professional appearance than pleasing the spouse (e.g. - "news press, organization membership, investors, etc."). Simply do like me and make your home page "presentable." This will throw off your competition as well because no one will know your secret weapons are really simple, "ugly" landing pages that seem to do the job.
To be fair, my ego wants a pretty page to work so much that I've tested the increasingly popular "full background" landing page:
So far, I'm impressed by the small bump. If it continues to work, we may have ourselves a winner. But it's important to note the same "act or leave" philosophy at work. There's not much to do except submit information in exchange for free video lessons.
At the end of the day, the numbers should dictate actions. As much as we want to go in a certain direction or desire for something to work, we must fight to not let our ego get in the way.
A battle it is, indeed.
Until next time.
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