You know the old saying, "what you can't see can't hurt you." Wishful thinking. In internet marketing, what you can't see may be the only thing hurting you.

Have you ever built an awesome squeeze page -- great headline, great copy, great free gift for subscribing, great design -- driven a bunch of traffic to it...

...and then sat back and watched the tumbleweeds roll by? No subscribers. Or at least not nearly as many as you expected.

What happened? Something you couldn't see just clobbered you over the head, and you still have no idea what it was.

What is it that you can't see?

There are a million reasons for a marketing piece to flop:

  • Your HTML code doesn't work in all browsers (we all forget to check sometimes).
  • You're too close to the project to realize that it's not as compelling to others as it is to you.
  • You're using the wrong vocabulary for your target market.
  • You're targeting the wrong market.
  • You're targeting too small a market.
  • Your headline needs tweaking.
  • Your page loads too slowly (not everybody has a 3 jiggabit internet connection like you!)
  • The story in your copy is turning people off.
  • Your subscription form is too hard to find.
  • You're asking for too much information in your subscription form.
  • You're not clear enough about the value of the freebie you're giving away.
  • The font you're using is too small.
  • You're assuming your customers know things that they don't, so you're not saying everything that needs to be said (what the customer can't see can hurt you!)
  • ...and so on.

A lot of those things would be easy to fix if you could see them the way potential customers do.

The better you get at getting into your customers' heads, the better your results will be. But nobody can get it right all the time. That's why even the most seasoned sales professionals test their results to verify that what they're doing works. And then they tweak their presentation and split test to see which approach works best.

Reader Comment:
Antone Roundy said:
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Who CAN see through your potential customers' eyes?

It's pretty obvious when asked that way: your customers! If you can survey your customers (or subscribers), you'll gain a lot of insight into how they think: what problems they need solved, how your product is perceived, whether their experience since buying has matched their perceptions before buying (and whether you can increase sales by fixing common misperceptions), etc.

But be careful -- you can't always take their word for it. Customers will often say one thing but do another. So always test and verify.

Who else can you ask?

You don't always have to survey your customers to find out what you're not seeing. A quicker and easier way (though not always as complete or reliable) is to have people review your website.

People? What people? If you're lucky enough to have friends and family members that "get it", ask them. Even if they're not marketing professionals -- perhaps especially if they're not marketing professionals -- they can still give you insight into how customers perceive your site.

Some internet marketing forums have places to request website reviews. Depending on the forum, you may end up with as many hair-brained suggestions from people regurgitating a flawed theory they've never tested as good suggestions. But if you read the responses you get with the proper mix of skepticism and open-mindedness (remember, you may be the one clinging to hair-brained theories!), forums can be a great place to ask for insights.

If you'd like to have your website reviewed...

I just launched a new membership site yesterday to help internet marketers help each other. You can get your site reviewed in one of two ways: in the forum (there's a section just for website reviews) or live in a video chat "mastermind session". The forum is free. To participate in a mastermind session, you'll need to upgrade. You can get your first two weeks for $1, and after that, it's only $17/month. (If you go there today, the halls may be a little echoey, but we'll pick up steam as we go.)

Post a link to your site (be sure to read the terms of service to see a few kinds of sites that aren't allowed), and we'll let you know what we can see that you can't.