6 Lessons From A Sales Page ‘Peeping Tom’

Earlier this month I flew out to balmy San Diego for the Traffic & Conversion summit, put on by Digital Marketer.

I returned with a mild sunburn, and a hefty list of ideas and to-dos.

One suggestion I had to try out right away came from marketing whiz Perry Belcher:

Make screen recordings of your customers interacting with your sales page, then observe what they do.

I decided to try this out on the sales page for Simple Programmer’s flagship $299 course.

There’s a great tool called Hotjar that will allow you to capture the click and scroll activity on your website, then play it back so you can see what each visitor did.

This feels pretty weird the first time you do it — it’s like you’re simultaneously sweating in the hotseat as you watch to see whether they’ll read your copy, and also sneaking a look over their shoulder as they browse your site.

After watching a few dozen sessions though, that fades and you start to notice patterns.

Here are a few things I saw:

– A small percentage of the visitors (maybe 10%) jumped straight to the bottom to take a peek at the price. Makes sense — I do this myself all the time. The biggest surprise here was how few visitors actually did this; I would have guessed it would be higher.

– The “price peekers” would then scroll backwards up the page, scanning until they saw something that caught their eye.

– Of these, there was one specific testimonial that really seemed to grab their attention. This was a testimonial from a developer who earned a prestigious award after applying the techniques taught in the course. (Because of this, I plan to test a version of the page where I put that testimonial right at the top.)

– However, a lot of people DO read the page sequentially, starting at the top and continuing straight down. That whole claim that people don’t read long copy? Yeah, it’s total bunk.

– Another VERY common pattern was to see someone scroll scroll scroll quickly through the first 1/3 of the page. Then something would catch their attention — maybe a subheader or a pull quote. They’d pause, then often they’d scroll right back to the top and read from the beginning. This is why I try to break up my sales pages with a subheader every half-screen or so. It really puts the breaks on the skimmers.

– The mobile users in particular confirmed one of my long-held suspicions that anything that breaks the “flow” of the copy will trigger people to start skimming instead of reading. When this particular sales page gets reformatted for mobile, several of the images take up the full width of the screen and thus interrupt the copy. I witnessed multiple times how people would hit these “speed bumps,” pause for a second to scroll back up a bit, and then start speeding down the page without reading.

The takeaways here:

Write for readers.

Format your page to snag the attention of skimmers.

And avoid design elements that “break the flow” of copy down the page.

Try this exercise on your top 2–3 most important pages — it’ll be 90 minutes well spent.

Do millennials read long copy? Here’s what I think.

Originally published at joshuaearl.com on March 27, 2017.

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