source: https://openclipart.org/detail/95137/check-list-by-yves_guillouI’m neck-deep in a client launch right now, and it’s really hard for me to carve out the time to write these daily essays…

And yet, I’ll take that stress over the alternative.  Which would be letting you down by not fulfilling my promise of delivering one marketing breakthrough to you, every day of the week.

That said, I’m grabbing ideas where I can find them.  And today I have a HUGE breakthrough.

Not because it’s particularly new or unique.  Rather, because it’s crystal-clear and completely easy to implement, right away.  No matter your skill level or experience.

By using this checklist, you WILL get bigger winners, more consistently.

(Oh yeah, and like I said, I’m grabbing ideas where I can find them.  I got this from my client — an A-list copywriter whose name you’d recognize — when I told him I was moving from sales page to order form.  I’d really prefer to credit him here, but it’s more important to me to maintain confidentiality on active client projects.)

FIRST: Why the order form is so important…

The order form, in direct marketing (including online), is the point of decision.  It’s where someone has consumed your sales message, is interested, and now has to give you money in exchange for what you’ve promised.

Even though your sales page, webinar, video sales letter, or other persuasive message has brought them to the moment where they DECIDE they want your product, you don’t make the sale until they’ve already taken ACTION.

It’s not the prospect’s decisions, in their head, that we can measure.  While those decisions are required, they don’t pay the bills.

Furthermore, the number of decisions made is NOT how many people will eventually order.

One way to look at this is how many people visit the order form (or shopping cart) but don’t end up ordering.  Even that’s a fraction of those who are initially persuaded by your message.  But it’s actually a useful interim action, because it gives us something we can measure.

One recent study of online shopping cart abandonment revealed that 6 out of every 10 people who actually decided to put a product in a cart ended up NOT buying.  That means that 10 people were convinced enough to take the noncommittal action of putting the item in their cart.  But only 4 of those actually followed through with purchase.

But it gets worse!  That was actually the bottom of the range.  The top of the range was 8 out of 10 people abandoning their purchase decision, after putting the item in their cart.  And the average was about 68% — just over 2 out of every 3 shoppers who made the initial decision never followed through.

Now, these are online retail numbers.  A cart is a little different from a direct response order form.  But the idea is the same.

You haven’t made the sale until your prospect actually gives you money in exchange for the product or service you’ve offered.

And the critically-important final step in that process is the order form.

It pays — big time — to have an order form that converts!

Just think.  Let’s say your order form is average, based on the study above.  It’s losing 2 out of every 3 people who visit it, after having consumed your sales message.

This is a HUGE opportunity for improvement!

What if, instead of losing 2 out of every 3, you could convince just one more person to follow through with what they’ve already told you they’re interested in?

Suddenly, YOUR SALES DOUBLE!

You don’t have to pay for any extra traffic.  You don’t have to buy any more ads.  You don’t have one extra cent in marketing costs.

The same number of people are seeing your sales message.  The same number of people are seeing your order form.

You’re just making twice as many sales.

And because you’re not spending any more to get those extra sales, in most cases that means your profits have grown by MORE than 2X.

Why would you NOT want to maximize the effectiveness of your order form?

With that point made…

Here’s an A-list copywriter’s checklist of the 3 things your order form must do to close the sale…

This is what I was told to remember, on the phone, just as I was about to start work on an order form that stands to make this copywriter hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of dollars.

  1. Confirm their decision.

You congratulate them on making the right decision, a smart decision, a decision that will change their life for the better, starting today.

  1. Reaffirm what they get.

They’ve just made their decision based on a core promise that was made, the product or service being offered, and the specific offer terms you presented.  Reaffirm they’re going to get those things exactly when they place their order.

Repeat the core promise.  Summarize the product or service you’ll deliver.  And restate the offer, in the terms that got them to this point.

  1. Tell them what to do.

In clear, direct, and no uncertain terms, tell them how to take action.  There should be no question on any and all steps they need to take next.

Do this right and you’ll turn DECISION into ACTION…

Apply this simple 3-step checklist next time you’re writing an order form.  Or use it to score yourself on what you have in the market already.

Here’s how you can use this as a scorecard…

— On a scale of 1 to 10, how convincingly and believably do you confirm that they’re making the right decision?

— On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you reaffirm that you’ll deliver on the core promise of your sales message?

— On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you reaffirm all the stuff they’re going to get as part of their purchase?

— On a scale of 1 to 10, how well do you reaffirm the offer in the same terms that brought them to the order form?

— On a scale of 1 to 10, how clear and direct are your instructions for what to do next?

You can do this yourself, or for an even more accurate score, you can ask some friends or colleagues to score it for you on these criteria, and average their scores.

Add up your score — the lowest possible score is 5, the highest is 50.

— If you scored between 5 and 30, go back to the drawing board.  Use the checklist above to rewrite your order form from scratch, with the aim of hitting at least 40.

— If your score is between 30 and 40, it’s time to edit.  Where did you score poorly?  Where could you improve?  Clean up those areas, then score it again.

— If your score is between 40 and 48, look for areas to polish, then test it.  You can probably improve it, but it’s critical to get it in the market ASAP to get real conversion data.  Then, you can keep tweaking as results warrant.

— If your score is 49 or 50, get someone else to grade it!  EVERY order form — even those written by top pros — has room for improvement.  If you can’t acknowledge it, you won’t improve.  So if you scored it yourself, find some honest friends, colleagues, or prospects to score it for you.  And if you had someone else grade it, find someone who is willing to be more critical and point out areas for improvement.  The end game is to make it as effective (and profitable) as possible, and you have to be willing to embrace negative feedback to get there.

I hope you’ve found this valuable…  Now go out there and convert more sales!

Yours for bigger breakthroughs,

Roy Furr

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