We were first introduced to InvestmentU.com when we interviewed John Phillips, who heads up search marketing for the website. He and his team have done a very impressive job of bringing visitors to the InvestmentU.com site with a combination of organic and paid search. In this review, we look at the landing page that InvestmentU.com uses to convert these visitors to customers for its lead product, The Investment U Course.
It doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it delivers a wallop that makes the visitor want to enroll right now. And that’s exactly what the InvestmentU.com folks want you to do, of course.
– The headline engages the target user, not with the product, but with the product’s author, and gives him instant credibility as an authority in a field of 5,000 other professional traders
– The story on this landing page has a compelling, believable lead and continues for 2,600 words, using short, easy-to-read paragraphs and punchy, up-tempo sub-heads
– The Investment U Course landing page offers a free email newsletter in exchange for the visitor’s email address/permission
– The sales letter landing page copy is interspersed with seven glowing recommendations, each clearly identified and credentialed as an authority
– Agora has a well deserved reputation for quality information products and top-drawer copywriters, so we’re not surprised Investment U’s landing page works as well as it does
InvestmentU’s Course Landing Page Scorecard
1. Headline (Strategic Intent) – A
I like the bold promise offered by this headline: “Inside: 141 Secrets… What It Takes to Become an Extraordinary Investor…”
Everyone wants to know the “secrets”—the special, confidential, insider information that presumably only the professionals know.
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A headline that promises secrets is always intriguing. This one is actually used as a “kicker” above a larger headline that doubles as an endorsement. It reads:
“Dr. Steve Sjuggerud: The Best Investment Analyst I Know…”
Then it continues with:
“I’ve interviewed over 5,000 professional traders. And the one who can help you build a fortune through investing—better than any of them—is Dr. Steve Sjuggerud”—Dr. Van Tharp, President, International Institute of Trading Mastery
I don’t know Dr. Tharp, but he has an impressive title, so I’m hooked on reading further. If a headline is an advertisement for an advertisement, this one works well to get me into the body copy.
The headline engages the target user, not with the product but with the product’s author, and gives him instant credibility as an authority in a field of 5,000 other professional traders. At least, according to Dr. Tharp.
2. Story & Content – A
The sales letter that follows the headline tells the story, not beginning with Dr. Steve Sjuggerud, but with Dr. Tharp. We learn that Dr. Tharp wanted to determine exactly what it takes to become an extraordinary investor… so he started by asking two simple questions.
Now tell me you can quit here and not read further to find out what those two questions are! You can’t. And neither could I!
What is it that the best investors do that separates them from the other 99 percent of us?
And, what’s the quickest way to get from ground zero to living off your investments… and never have to “work” again?
Still reading? I was! The story has a compelling, believable lead and continues for 2,600 words, using short, easy-to-read paragraphs and punchy, up-tempo subheads, each of which reveals another “secret,” followed by bulleted items that describe The Investment U Course content.
For example, Secret #4: The 1-2-3 Stock Market Model:
How to determine when we’re in a “green light market”—i.e. when stocks have guaranteed double-digit returns… Page 65
The three simple factors that will save you from a similar stock crash to the 2000 dot.bomb calamity that destroyed portfolios nationwide… Page 66
How you can time movements in the Fed funds rate to avoid a year’s worth of 1 percent stock returns… Page 69
With copy like that unfolding with every new paragraph, I read straight through the entire letter with interest that never waned. Subheads such as “How Dr. Sjuggerud Can Help You Make Millions” urged me along, too.
3. Content Webification – B
The Investment U Course landing page makes good use of interactive technology. The page includes a site search function, and a link to a “Get a Stock Quote” function. Additionally, there are hypertext links to a couple of archived editions of The Investment U eLetter.
Regrettably, these links don’t open in a new page but take the user away from the landing page. That’s a major design engineering flaw and could be corrected easily with a couple of strokes of HTML.
4. Email Capture (Relationship Building) – A
The landing page offers a free email newsletter in exchange for the visitor’s email address/permission. The link appears alongside the sales letter copy in the right navigation panel, as well as in a call-out box within the letter itself.
If the sales letter doesn’t entice the reader to enroll right away, she is certainly likely to sign up for the free email newsletter.
5. User Testimonials – A
The sales letter copy is interspersed with seven glowing recommendations. Each is clearly identified by name and credentialed as an authority. Better still, the quotes have a ring of authenticity and real candor. Very believable. Well done!
6. Links to Order Flow – A
The Investment U Course landing page includes a well-designed button at its conclusion.
7. Labeling and Language – A
The sales letter uses clear language and good grammar. There is no professional jargon or intimidating “investment-speak” that might dissuade the user.
8. Readability & Content Density – A
The predominant typeface is Times New Roman, a serif face that is familiar, comforting and easy to read online when displayed in the right size. The layout is uncluttered and easy to follow. The landing page makes adequate use of white space. A printer-friendly option is also included.
9. Content Freshness & Urgency – B
The content and references appear to be accurate and up to date. There is one reference to a 1982 study by Dr. Tharp. The sales letter also references “the 2000 dot.bomb calamity that destroyed portfolios nationwide.” But these are not major detractors. I predict this sales letter will work well for years to come.
10. Load Time – B
The landing page loads fast enough, owing to a dearth of unnecessary graphics. It scores a very respectable 21.80 seconds with a 56K connection, as measured by the webpage analyzer.
11. Aesthetics – B
The landing page is conventional and not flashy. The graphic design is comforting and trustworthy for the target user. The colors of white, blue and burgundy seem appropriate to the user’s mental model.
12. Order Options – C
The sales letter is followed by a conventional online order flow.
Everything on the order page is clear and easy to complete. It includes a promotion code for a $20 instant discount.
Adding to the page’s credibility is a VeriSign secure site certificate. Included is this satisfaction guarantee: “If you are not satisfied with the Investment U Course, simply return it to us within 30 days for a full refund.”
But while a toll-free phone number is displayed, phone orders are not specifically encouraged. Additionally, there is no “bill me” option or printable order form for faxing orders. Given all of the other things that this site does so well, these are glaring omissions.
InvestmentU.com launched in 2001 as the free educational investment newsletter arm of The Oxford Club. The site is the Agora Publishing Company’s members-only network of investors and entrepreneurs.
Agora has a well-deserved reputation for quality information products and is famous for employing top-drawer copywriters for its direct mail and Internet marketing sales campaigns, so I am not surprised that The Investment U Course landing page works as well as it does.