- Take an ecommerce product’s homepage.
- Apply changes based on 3 copywriting principles.
- Run a test.
- Profit (to the tune of 108% lift in revenue)
This is what today’s case study is all about.
To be fair, there were a few design changes too. But design changes were dictated by copy changes, so (with a little stretch) it’s fair to say that the results were achieved by copy changes.
- Start with a messaging hierarchy.
- Be specific.
- Use calls to value, not just calls to action.
Those were the 3 copywriting practices put into play to optimize the copy on the home page of SweatBlock, a top-rated clinical-strength antiperspirant.
New copy more than doubled revenue attributed to the home page.
Two Home Page Variations Which Were Tested
The SweatBlock home page is an ecommerce one-pager. That means it acts as a sales page and website all in one. Which is why it’s so damn long. And which means it’s gotta do a lot.
Here’s the control (A) and variation (B):
Start by eliminating the “muddle” with the help of a simple messaging hierarchy
The #1 question you need to answer before you start writing a page:
What goes on the page?
When we’re trying to figure out what goes on a page, we’re really looking for our messaging hierarchy: the order in which to organize on-page messages to convince the reader. To arrive at the hierarchy, we need to start with the right questions:
- What is our visitor thinking when she lands on this page?
- What do we want her to do by the time she finishes with the page?
- How does her thinking need to change in the space between the start and the “end” of the page? What do we need to show and tell her to move her from where she was pre-page to where we want her to be now?
The answer to Q3 will dictate what goes on the page and how long it needs to be.
The general layout of a page and, accordingly, its messaging hierarchy should be something like this:
Roughly the top 10% of the page is all about matching 1) the visitor’s stage of awareness and 2) the message(s) that led her here.
The rest of the page is all about convincing her. To that end, I’ve found it useful to answer these questions, in this order, when writing a page. (Written from the POV of the prospect. Imagine answering one question for your prospect before she moves onto the next question.)
- What do you do?
- Okay. Why should I care?
- Am I alone in caring – or do others (preferably others like me) care?
- You’re starting to win me over. But I’m skeptical. So show me: how do you do what you say you do?
- And if I believe you and your process / solution, how will my life improve?
- I’d like to believe you, but first tell me: why is it safe for me to believe you?
- Okay, let’s say I believe you. Now what?
Those questions are not perfect and they do not work in that order 100% of the time. But they’re a solid starting point. Because they create a very simple conversation.
For SweatBlock.com’s home page, it was quite difficult to find the hierarchy. A didn’t lead to B, B didn’t lead to C. It was a bit like trying to read a story when the chapters in the book have all been shuffled around. It had too much muddle.
So it was changed to a hierarchy that would better eliminate the muddle, giving every single message on the page real purpose. 7 questions (mentioned above) were used to create the following order of messages, with a little extra built in for the top 10%:
Matching (in top 10%)
What is SweatBlock… why should I care… and do others like me care?
How do you do what you say you do?
If I believe you, how will my life improve?
Why is it safe for me to believe you?
Let’s say I believe you. Now what?
The full article has details on why and how each section was changed and optimized. With before and after screenshots, and reasons behind all the changes.
It also describes how the buttons were optimized on the page.
With this simple blueprint, you can optimize any homepage or sales page to a state where it flows naturally with how people think and consider the product.
It’s a great starting point and just doing this should give you a great lift in conversions and revenue.
From this, you can start optimizing all the elements to get it even better.
PS. If you want an inspiration for a good sales page, SweatBlock’s homepage is a great one to start with. Study it, learn from it, and apply the learnings to your situation.