A lot of people seem to think that when I do a sales page or website review, I only look on the actual words on the page. But nothing could be further from the truth
In fact, my Sales Copy Investigation page talks about how copy is just one of four key areas I look at–the other three being marketing strategy, offer and formatting–because ALL of these are critical to maximizing your sales.
So, yesterday I went to check out the a website for productivity products I read about in the Levenger catalog. (Love that store!) and I was a bit shocked–it definitely wasn’t their website that got the store’s attention.
Now, when you first land on the Action Method site, it doesn’t seem too bad. “Capture tasks, collaborate and get organized with Action Method” isn’t the most attention-getting headline in the world, but you do get the gist of what the site’s about.
The “A suite of products, always in sync” subhead along with a big graphic image showing the app on a variety of devices tells you how they think they stand out from the crowd.
But is that much of a differentiator these days?
What’s the Strategy, Kenneth?
After all, a ton of task managers come in online and mobile versions. What IS different is they have paper products too–you’d be surprised how many people are sticking with or going back to good old pen and paper these days. But those aren’t included in the image.
There’s also nothing about how the purpose of the Action Method is to make everything a task and focus exclusively on tasks.
While it’s not good to get philosophical on your home page, right now, there’s nothing that explains what sets Action Method apart or why it might work for someone who’s failed at keeping up with other solutions before–which is very likely with this type of application. (And yes, I speak from experience here. LOL)
The Method Behind the Madness
Scrolling down the home page, there’s an interactive graphic that shows you features of each format. But you still don’t get any sense of what the Action Method IS–how it works and how you can use it to simplify your task management.
I searched for a FAQ, which is buried in teeny type at the bottom under a lot of other gunk. Yes, gunk, because 95% of it has to do with the company’s other products and services and clicking the links takes you away from the Action Method site.
And what IS there about this product doesn’t inspire confidence. I perked up to see the fourth item about a 48-hour August sale in the News and Blog listing on the lift there. Too bad it’s from 2009.
Also, the FAQ takes you to a support area where two of the top three Tips & Tricks listed on the front page are “DOA?” and “Anyone still around?” Nice.
If you dig around for awhile, you’ll find a couple of pages on the company’s blog (not the product blog listed in the top navigation, another blog the company has) that talk about it. But again, they don’t really explain how it’s supposed to work in simple 1, 2, 3 terms–it’s more of a theoretical overview.
Make ‘Em an Offer They Can’t Find
The blue “Sign Up” button near the top of the home page takes you to a page that kind of asks you for your email and password.
I say “kind of” because there’s no call to action in text–just a couple of boxes with the words “email” and “password” inside of them. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the boxes weren’t black-on-black, blending right into the black page. If you just hit the big blue “Continue” button, then red bubbles pop up telling you those fields are required.
There’s also no mention of price. Is it free? That’s fine–just say that here.
But if you…
- Go back to home page
- Click on “Learn More” under the Online option
- Click the “Get Started” button on the Online page
- THEN you get a page that discusses pricing
Now, I have no problem with applications that charge a fee, but burying your pricing is NOT a smart thing to do. You’re going to get some unhappy folks who sign-up first and then find out they don’t get full access for free.
Last I checked, annoyed is never a good way to start a long-term relationship.
Your offer should be crystal clear with a strong call to action that not only tells them exactly what to do, but gives them a believable reason to act now–before they leave the page and never return.
In this case, just flat out telling them to give the free version a try would be a big improvement because then you could follow-up by email–reminding them to actually use it and upselling them to a paid account.
In short, the Action Method site needs to work on all four key areas…
- The strategy–especially regarding differentiation
- The formatting–like clearing away all the gunk at the bottom and creating a sensible navigation
- The offer–actually making a clear offer and giving them a reason to buy now
- The copy–communicating all those things plus what the system actually IS in a more appealing, persuasive way to their audience