Old School Marketing Lessons From the Greatest Marketer on Earth Part 4

By admin

In the last three posts, part 1, part 2 and part 3, I discussed how the marketing principles of P.T. Barnum were still relevant to site conversion.

Until now I’ve discussed methods based on an outward-directed strategy.  I’ve written about advertising and promotional focuses geared towards making clients happy.  In this last segment, I’ll flip the coin over and discuss how you can take what you already know about people and use that to increase your site’s conversion rates.

Barnum intuitively knew what people wanted, and he gave it to them.  They wanted spectacle, and he created bigger and bigger circuses.

They wanted wonder, so he displayed crazy oddities in his museum.  Sure he promoted wildly, but the point was he figured out what people wanted and delivered the goods.  It’s much easier to promote popular products.

Which brings us to the fourth principle of Barnum’s marketing playbook:

No one went broke underestimating public taste

The public doesn’t always know what it wants.  No one cared about iPods before November, 2001.  Public taste came around—and quickly.  So push your products even if the public hasn’t caught on to their utility yet.

But don’t forget to promote in terms that fall within customer tastes.  After all, you want them to find your site and product appealing.  Keep you design current, professional, and interesting.

1. Change your look to reflect public taste – If you’re not getting the conversion rates you need, try changing the imagery you employ to sell your product.  On your landing pages, you should show real people.  Only use stock photos if they really match your content, and make sure the people you show look upbeat and active.  You may need a complete design overhaul, but if it will give your audience a better experience, isn’t it worth it? A new look, tailored to public taste can generate new interest and more sales.

2. Buttons should be red – Don’t ask me why, but red colored calls to action consistently perform better than other colors.  It’s true.  People just prefer it that way, so use it.  In fact, Carelogger found that a red button increased  conversion rates by 34% as compared to a green button.

3. Right handed, but left brained – I don’t know if this is because English is read from left to right or whether human beings are predisposed to process information from left to right, but studies show that forms and calls to action perform better when they are on the left-hand side of the page.  Again, it’s true.  So use it to your advantage.

4. Size matters – Barnum knew promotion and he definitely got big.  I mean, BIG!  His newspaper ads were big; his circus added two more rings to make the greatest show on earth.  Bigger adds a level of spectacle, and people like spectacle.  Increase the size of your site’s call to action buttons and make sure they look like buttons.  Text links are fine in the body of your copy, but a call to action should stand out.  Large, inviting buttons help convey that.  Barnum was right, bigger is better.

And his words still ring true today.  His medium was print, ours is the web, but the marketing principles are the same.  Take Barnum’s 19th century advice and build 21st century marketing campaigns that lead to increased conversion rates.

What are you doing to your site to make it appeal to people’s tastes?

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