Imagine you and I meet for the first time on the street. After a quick introduction I ask, “Do you by chance work with software?”
“Yes, I’m a developer.” you respond.
“Perfect! I just wrote a book about designing better web applications. Would you like to buy it?”
How many copies do you think I could sell this way?
Right then you are probably thinking that we just met 30 seconds earlier and you have no reason to trust me. What indications do you have that I even know anything about designing software? It’s probably a good time to say something noncommittal like, “I’ll check it out,” and find a way out of the conversation.
This scenario seems completely ridiculous when described as an in-person encounter, but it actually happens all the time online. When shopping online, visitors often come straight to the product sales page. This could be from a link on Twitter, an ad, or something else where they have never heard of you before. So why are you asking them to buy right away?
Instead, let’s start by building trust.
A better method.
A much better scenario is if, once I find out you are interested in software, I give you something great for free. Maybe a short guide I wrote on 10 ways to improve the user experience of your web application.
Sure, you’ll take that. After all, it sounds interesting and is free. The more I help you, the more you will trust me. But even after you read my free guide it is still not the best time to sell you on my full book. Trust takes time to build. And even if you apply all the concepts in my guide, I still haven’t delivered that much value.
So let’s keep adding value.
After you say you want the free guide, I also ask if you want a free 30-day course, delivered over email, on designing better web applications. If you don’t like it, you can unsubscribe at any time. All the content will be at least as valuable as the guide.
Then over the next 30 days you get regular emails from me that really do help you to improve your software. Your trust level increases. Part way through that series I mention my book, all while delivering more valuable tutorials and articles.
Once you’ve had a chance to learn a lot from my material, and you’ve had enough time to start to trust me, then I tell you about the book. This is not just a passing comment or a soft-sell. I thoroughly explain why it is great, all the interviews it includes, and the difference the included methods can make for your business.
Finally, that’s the right time to make the sale. Not 30 seconds after we met (or right after someone visits your site for the first time), but after I’ve spent weeks helping you improve your software.
To put it in web marketing terms, the conversion rate will be incredibly higher by asking for the sale after building trust.
This method works incredibly well. I’m talking doubling or tripling your conversion rate. The best part is it can be automated… sort of.
It’s actually really painful to setup.
You have to design, code, and host a landing page to give away your guide. You need to use a tool to capture email addresses and send out the free guide. Then you need to set up an auto-responder or course system to send out all these emails at the right time for each subscriber.
That’s painful. Trust me, I’ve set it up before and it always frustrates me. That frustration is what drove me to create ConvertKit.
ConvertKit makes marketing best practices easy
With ConvertKit it is easy to set up a new landing page, upload a PDF or another file to offer as an incentive, then let the subscriber opt in to an email course.
Sure, you can hack this process together using two or three off-the-shelf landing page and email tools, but it’s a pain. ConvertKit is designed to make this process very easy, so you can focus on creating content and products that really deliver value to your visitors.
Everything else is taken care of for you.
If you are interested in increasing your conversion rates (i.e. making more money from the same amount of traffic), checkout ConvertKit.com to learn more.
If that’s not your thing, continue following along with the development. I’ll be teaching absolutely as much as possible about designing, developing, and marketing software through this process.
Upcoming posts will include how to wireframe an application, product naming, marketing through teaching, how to write emails, and much more.
You can follow along with The Web App Challenge by email (if you want).