Since Monday, I have received five questions, which is fewer than last time. I expected this because I did not allow anonymous emails like I did the time before. I've supplied the questions and my answers below.
1. I have a question about uncovering the objections of prospective clients in the gourmet food direct marketing industry. How can I go about discovering what their biggest headache is when hiring and working with a copywriter?
The easiest way would be to simply call up a few gourmet food companies and ask them directly. Instead of saying you're a copywriter, perhaps you mention that you're doing a brief survey.
Another option: Start a marketing blog targeted at companies in the gourmet food industry. Once you build up some regular readers, ask them whatever questions you want answers to. If they are loyal readers, they will give you answers.
A third option: Talk to people who have written copy for gourmet food clients. Perhaps they will be willing to share from their experience.
2. How far out do you book your client project schedule effectively? In other words, I keep finding a frustration with booking out too far, and natural changes in that client's business forces a schedule change that has me re-arranging my project schedule again.
I personally don't like to book my schedule for more than two months out. It becomes too complex scheduling projects further in advance than that. All it takes is one project going over by a week and your whole schedule is out of whack.
I've found that nearly every project takes longer than expected. Sometimes a client doesn't send the materials I need quickly enough. Sometimes a client doesn't provide timely feedback. Sometimes there are emergencies that prevent you from working when you expected to be working. Etc.
Do I know what will be happening in my life even one week from now? No, not really. I have expectations of what will be happening, but I never know until the time comes.
Another reason I don't like to book my schedule too far in advance is that time sold today is the equivalent of a debt. If I sell my time now... and collect the money now... then I owe my time to the client at some point in the future. This is not a money debt; it is a time debt. I am obligated to repay it.
So while it might make me feel "secure" knowing that I have a full schedule for the next six months, it also makes me feel indebted. And I don't like the feeling of indebtedness.
Now, does that mean I will never schedule a project in the future? No. It just means I won't fill up my schedule for months into the future. If I have only two or three "future" projects that I've scheduled more than two months out, then that is easy to manage because I have flexibility.
3. How important do you feel graphics are on the sales page? ...to what extent do they affect conversion in your experience? ...also, do you discuss graphics with your copywriting clients?
Graphics are actually more important than you might think. I've been conducting a few tests. I wrote about the results of one just a couple days ago. You can read about that test here.
Yes, I do discuss graphics with my clients.
4. I was wanting to know if you'd give me your feedback on my website.
I appreciate you going out on a limb to ask this, but this was an offer to answer questions, not critique web sites. I charge a fee for critiques.
That said, here is one suggestion: Don't link to all your pages in the navigation bar. The pages aren't even related to each other. Simply put up individual pages. Send the appropriate traffic to the appropriate pages. Remember: A confused customer never buys.
5. So I am curious... how does one actually test a web page?
This is a big question. Really, it would require multiple articles to fully explain. So here's the simple version.
First, decide on the split-testing software you will use. Google Website Optimizer, MuVar, and KaizenTrack are all good options.
Next, decide on the letter you will be testing.
Finally, decide what copy elements within the letter you would like to test (headline, subheads, opening paragraph, price, guarantee, P.S., etc.).
Setting up the test will be different for each software program. You must have a landing page (where your visitor lands) and a conversion page (where your visitor ends up after taking the action you want). You must set up all your copy variations within the software so it can conduct the test and tally up the results.
Once the test has been activated, the software will test each page variation and determine which version converts the best.
What I have just described is what happens in a multivariate split-test. A simpler A/B split-test will simply take two different versions of a letter and alternate them to each visitor.
The key to split-testing is simply to start. Don't try to understand everything before you begin. Just get a basic understanding, take action, and learn as you go.
I like Suzanne's question the best. I've sent you an email requesting your address so I can send you the gift.
If you submitted a question, I thank you. If you did not, perhaps you will consider submitting a question next time.