Blue is the New Red and Sucky Sales is the New Yellow Highlighter?

Hey there...don't remove the yellow highlighter from your sales page just yet!

In an effort to be less “pushy”, we’ve seen some changes in sales pages lately that I don’t understand. Maybe you can help me.

  • We’re seeing a lot less yellow highlighted text. This has been cited as a high pressure, “salesy” tactic.
  • Marketers are using blue, grey or black headlines instead of red.
  • The long time favorite Tahoma typeface is being used a lot less often.
  • Sales pages have been getting shorter and using alternate formats. The “long sales page” format is falling out of favor.

All these changes are aimed at being perceived as more “legitimate”, and less “pushy”, correct? But we still use headlines, right? We just don’t want them to be red. Blue is the new red. Here’s my question…why? We still want people to buy our stuff, right? We just don’t want to do the things that have been effective in the past at getting sales. We want to abandon those “old” tactics, because we don’t want to be seen as “pushy”. How do you feel about these changes?

I think these changes are well-intentioned but ultimately flawed.

Change is Good

I’m not writing this post as an argument against change. But here’s the thing, how many marketers are now sacrificing conversion for the perception of not being “high pressure”? Is low conversion the new yellow highlighter? To me, this is a bad trade. Am I in favor of being a sleazy salesman? Certainly not, but it seems to me many marketers are making significant mistakes as to where the problem really lies.

The sales process, when conducted well, is transparent…and unwarranted pressure never enters into the equation. I think it’s important to realize it’s not the color or typeface of your sales copy that is the problem.

Good Products vs Good Marketing

You cannot turn a bad product into a good product by changing your headline from red to blue, or by removing the yellow highlighter from your copy. Conversely, a good product is good. Period. If you’re out there hustling the good stuff, then people will buy it. They will love it, and they will refer their friends and colleagues (provided you have a good referral system in place). Can we agree on this?

Whether or not you used red headlines and highlighted text in your sales page is the furthest thing from a happy customer’s mind.

I wonder if the changes we’ve seen in sales pages recently are actually focused on offering our customers value, or are they more bent toward simply making ourselves feel better about “selling”…when selling is really a good thing after all?

Why would you be ashamed to solicit sales of a product or service you TRULY believe in? And likewise, if you DON’T truly believe in your offer…why are you trying to sell it at all?

Top Marketers vs Top Results

If you look around, you’ll see my argument here pretty much flies in the face of what a lot of top marketers are doing right now. Many A-listers are all apparent advocates of the “new” sales techniques I’m criticizing here. I can’t argue with the success these bloggers and marketers have had, and I don’t have a single bad thing to say about them. Importantly, I don’t feel like I could write this post and ignore the fact that a lot of top marketers have been teaching the opposite of what I’m saying. So what gives?

Here’s the thing…try convincing me that both approaches don’t work. In fact…the whole “red headline, yellow highlighter, long page sales letter” thing DOES work. So why has it fallen out of favor?

The REAL Reason a Lot of Marketers are Changing their Sales Pages

As a sales trainer I’ve seen it a million times…people are just scared to death to sell. Scared to the core. So scared in fact that when faced with the prospect of asking people to buy stuff, they become physically ill. I’ve literally seen newbies vomit before a sales call. That’s how scared we are to sell stuff. A huge part of the draw internet marketing offers is that it removes the necessity for human contact, so as a result internet marketing draws a lot of people who want to “sell without selling”.

But while internet marketing does allow you to sell at a distance…selling must still occur. People must still be genuinely engaged. Offers must be made, and conversion must take place.

I want to point something out. What we see the top marketers doing right now works. It does. But it doesn’t necessarily work better than the “old school” stuff. I’m not writing this post to challenge the wisdom of the A-listers out there who have been supporting these recent trends in selling strategy; I’m writing to challenge YOU.

Are you changing your sales pages because testing has proven that the conversions are better for you? Or are you changing because you’re afraid to sell?

Don’t be Afraid to Sell

The color, typeface, etc of your sales pages are all crucial marketing elements. Can it be true that some typefaces, colors and such are actually evil? I can’t imagine how. If a tactless, sleazy used car salesman removes the gel from his hair and takes off his pinky ring, is he all of a sudden more “legitimate”? His is pinky ring…evil? Or are his selfish motivations and lack of regard for the customer’s best interest actually at fault?

Every element on your page will either serve to increase conversion or lower it, and if your offer is solid, why would your goal be anything other than maximum conversion?

Don’t sacrifice conversion. Test red. It might work! After all, it’s worked for years, so go for it. This isn’t me saying that red WILL work for you. I don’t know. Every product, niche and audience is different. But this mentality that red headlines and yellow highlighter are somehow evil is beyond me.

The “Hush-Hush” Secret to Making a Lot of Sales

I want to share a fact about marketing that a lot of people aren’t willing to put out there. And I’m totally willing to hear arguments to the contrary, but after selling professionally for over 10 years now…both online and offline, I’ve found this to be true. In order to get quality stuff out there, people usually need a little nudge in order to push them over the edge to where they actually make a purchase. Where the heck do you think that nudge is going to come from, if not you? Having the kahunas to ask for the order is a characteristic all top marketers share. Are you asking for the order? Does it make you feel like a sleaze? Does it make you feel “pushy”?

Consider this: making sales is only sleazy when YOU are sleazy. If you’re not an ass, and you’re selling good stuff for the right reasons, then it’s a GOOD thing to make sales.

  • Selling junk is sleazy.
  • Going for the sale without regard for the buyer’s best interest is sleazy.
  • Offering a guarantee and not honoring it is sleazy.

But you don’t do these things, do you? That’s because you’re a legitimate marketer with real value to give people. As such, you have no reason to hold back or do anything to impede your own success. Yellow highlighter is not sleazy or pushy. In fact, it might even get you more sales.

And with regards to whether or not we should abandon “old school” marketing tactics in favor of “new, improved” marketing tactics…this is my favorite myth of all. There are no new tactics. It’s ALL old school. Is blue new? No. It’s just as old as red.

Sell good stuff, and sell lots of it :-)

About The Author
Christian is the creator of Dangerous Tactics, a unique small business marketing strategies blog with no tolerance for B.S. His latest report, My 7 Horrible Marketing Mistakes, reveals to you the most likely mistakes that are preventing your business from reaching it's full potential.

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