If you sell a product online, there's a good chance that you have a sales letter for it. ... you've got a great headline that grabs people's ... and then sales copy that states the benefit
If you sell a product online, there's a good chance that you have a sales letter for it. Hopefully you've got a great headline that grabs people's attention and then sales copy that states the benefits of your product and is designed to convert visitors to customers. There is a good chance that you have an affiliate program for your product and you may even have organized some joint ventures to promote it.
What about the search engines?
Optimizing sales letters is quite a difficult process and it's something that many people ignore when they set up a site to sell their product. The purpose of a sales letter is to sell a product, not to get traffic. Therefore, they should be written in a way that specifically targets sales. This can often mean that the search engine friendly parts of a page are not targeted. So, what should you do?
The simple answer is that you should not change a sales letter to try to please the search engines. If you were to do that, you may end up getting more traffic but less sales. Getting phrases that people search for into a sales letter may detract from it's overall message and this will often prove to be the case if you try to get keywords into the key parts of a page.
Popular marketing wisdom would suggest that your headline is the single most important part of a sales letter. Unfortunately, it's also quite an important factor for the search engines. The first paragraph or two of a sales letter are also very important because they can almost close the sale on their own if you grab people's interest. Again, unfortunately the first paragraph or two of a page are quite important to the search engines.
If you were to write an article, you could get keywords into the headline and first paragraph because they relate to the article. With a sales letter, using keywords that relate to the product may not be appropriate because you aren't providing information as such - you are selling something.
Another issue with sales letters is that they do tend to be quite long. Therefore, if you are worried about keyword density, this can cause a problem. Not that you should worry about keyword density too much but it is an issue. If you were targeting a two word phrase, you may have to mention it 100 times or more on your page to get the right density. Let's face it, there is a good chance that your letter may look a bit weird if you did that.
Now, there are two methods that you could consider using to get traffic from the search engines. The second one that I discuss here is my personal favorite but using either will have an effect.
Optimize Your Letter
There are areas of a page that are important to the search engines but will not change the overall effectiveness of your sales letter. Therefore, these parts need to be highly optimized to give you the best chance of success - considering other important factors will largely be ignored.
Page Title: It is very important that you have a concise and targeted page title. When people visit your sales letter they may well look at the page title in their browser but it is your headline that will catch their attention. They won't look at the title and say "Nope, not for me". They'll be happy if the title is a short phrase that matches up with what they were looking for and so will the search engines.
Keyword Density & Positioning: You can improve the keyword density of a page by including it in bulleted lists, quotes and highlighted areas. Often, people will put a key part of their sales letter in a box or highlight it to reinforce the point. This is where you can get a few keywords in. After an important paragraph in your letter, you can either re-state the information or re-word it. Make sure you get keywords in here. It's very important that this is obviously an important point for your reader's benefit. Just re-stating something in another normal paragraph will look strange.
As I mentioned, bulleted lists are useful because they are short and to the point - they don't have to read like a normal sentence or paragraph. So, make sure your main keyword is included in any bulleted lists - this could be a list of chapters that your book contains (if you are selling a book) or a list of the benefits that your product will bring the purchaser.
If you have testimonials for your product, include the ones that contain your keywords near the top of your page. Obviously you shouldn't re-write a testimonial but if you have a couple that do actually contain your keywords, make them prominent. Prominent, from a search engine perspective, is as high up your page as possible.
Bold Text: Things such as bold text and the use of italics can have some effect on how well the search engines rank your page. It won't have a huge effect but in this situation we are trying to optimize everything that we can. Sales letters are often filled with bold text, italics, different colors and so on. It's important that you make important points stand out on your page.
Now, you can make important points stand out for the search engines also. Try to be sparing with your use of bold text and try, where possible, to only use it to highlight points that include your keywords. As I said, only do this where possible - don't go through changing your whole sales letter.
These are just a few little things that you can do to optimize your sales letter. Don't forget to also get links pointing to your sales letter and, where possible, use keywords in the anchor text. For example, my book is called Rankings Revealed but I try to get links to my sales page to say "Search Engine Rankings Revealed".
Don't Optimize Your Letter
As I said earlier, this is the approach that I prefer. I don't optimize sales letters at all. I use other pages to try to draw traffic from the search engines. These pages establish my credentials and I then forward them to the sales letter.
You should compile a list of relevant keywords and phrases and then write some informative articles that focus on each of these. Now, articles offer a much easier way to get your keywords into the important places - headline, first few paragraphs and so on. Optimize these articles as much as possible using Title tags, Headings, Bold text and so on.
Add these to your site and link to them from wherever you can. Make sure that the link text uses keywords.
Each article should have a few prominent links to the sales letter for your product. These could be in the actual text of the article or you could just provide a link from the end of the article.
You can also add these articles to all of the article directories online. The benefits of this are twofold. The article itself can draw search engine traffic - even if it is on another site. Then, people follow the link to your sales letter. Also, this link to the sales letter will increase it's link popularity.
Please Note: If you are going to submit the article to other sites, you shouldn't really have links to your sales letter in the body of the article. Just link to it from your bio box at the bottom.
You should never compromise the quality of your sales letter in order to get traffic from the search engines. Obviously traffic from the search engines is very important - largely because you don't need to pay anyone a commission to get a sale. However, if you look for other ways to get good rankings you'll find the options are there. This may not be a direct approach but it will work.
There you have a couple of ways to get traffic from the search engines to your sales page. Again, the second option works much better for me because it allows a much greater degree of flexibility and allows me to target a much wider range of keywords. This approach may not work for you and you may find that you can optimize your sales letter page without harming your conversion rate.
Do some testing and you'll soon find which is more suitable for your situation.
Sean Burns has over six years experience in setting up, maintaining and profiting from websites from the comfort of his home. Sean is also the author of Rankings Revealed which shows you how easy it is to achieve top 10 rankings on the major search engines - http://www.webmastersreference.com/.