My favorite piece of business advice: Don’t look sideways.
Looking sideways in business means watching your competition. Instead of focusing on the road ahead, you’re focused on what’s happening around you – so much so that you can’t innovate, differentiate, or, well, do anything exciting.
And yet, here I come onto your screen ignoring that rule and looking to my left and to my right.
On my left is the incredibly talented email strategist, Val Geisler. She is spectacular when it comes to creating smarter funnels and setting up email campaigns to get people to whip out their credit card and buy. She’s also a fellow mom, so she gets brownie points for that role too.
I bring up Val’s name because this year, she started a series on her blog. In it, she’s breaking down various company’s email campaigns and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. I’ve fallen so much in love with checking out her unique insights that I decided to do something similar right here on the Savvy Copywriters blog.
That brings us to the sideways glances I’m giving on my right.
These are glances at businesses that I can’t help but give. You see, it’s a little bit of a curse having a copywriter’s brain. Everywhere I look, I see copy.
And, being a new mom, I see most of that copy online, because let’s face it, getting out the door to buy anything new and exciting these days with two babies in tow requires the endurance of an Olympic athlete.
All of those sideways glances to the left and the right boil down to this:
When I saw Val’s insightful series, I thought, “hey, I’m already doing something similar with all of the behind-the-scenes audits of the websites I visit every day. Why not be-like-Val and share those insights publicly?” And ta-da! This newest series is born.
To kickstart it, I am going to audit one of the websites I’ve been visiting on the regular – Le Tote.
Website Audit: Subscription Box Service, Le Tote
Le Tote is a subscription box dedicated to sending women clothes that they can wear as much as they’d like before sending them back for other clothes. The idea is that women can rent clothes and try them on in a real-life setting (which is much better than in a fitting room). If a recipient loves the clothes, they can buy them at a discounted price. Otherwise, they pack them into an envelope and send them back in an envelope with pre-paid shipping before getting their next box.
I heard about this service from a fellow mom and business owner. She loved it because of the convenience and the ability to still have fun trying on new clothes without lugging the kiddos into a store. The concept sounded great to me, so I went to their website and took a look. Here’s what I found.
A Lackluster First Impression Above the Fold
The ‘fold’ in digital marketing refers to the point where you have to scroll to see more. The sweet spot for phenomenal copywriting always happens above the fold. This is the spot where the first impression is made and where a person decides within seconds if she wants to keep learning about your business or leave.
For Le Tote, there’s not a lot above the fold. There’s a hero image, a headline, and three buttons:
- Sign In
- Get Started
- Continue With Facebook (which also gets you started with a Le Tote box)
The image here does a pretty good job of showcasing what’s inside – clothes and accessories. My guess is the designer wanted to spark intrigue and desire with these carefully chosen pieces, so they kept them pretty neutral in terms of color and style – a rule that’s also used to sell houses and home decor.
It looks like they’re banking on the fact that the person landing on the page already has some insight into what Le Tote is, like I was because the overall appearance above the fold is pretty minimal. Scroll down and you’ll get the 1, 2, 3 step process of how it all works. More on why I love that approach (and why I use it on my homepage) later.
The first headline is pretty basic: “Rent the looks you love.”
There’s nothing flashy about this headline. It says in five quick words what the service does for the person reading. The quick and to-the-point part is good, but less isn’t always more.
There’s also no clunky SEO copy here. You can tell that the goal isn’t to get Google to rank this website but rather to educate the person who just landed here on what the service does. That’s also good – really good, actually.
But that’s about all of the good I can say for this headline. It’s pretty bland, actually. Nothing about it kicks me in my gut and makes me feel like I have to have this service.
- Why rent when you can buy? With Le Tote, you can buy, but there’s no mention of the discounted prices waiting for me on the inside.
- How do I know I’ll love these looks? Do other women like myself use this?
- Are these designer brands I can choose from? Which designers?
My hunch is that they’re experimenting with this headline – and if they aren’t, they should be. Here are a few other ideas that might work better in this space.
- Rent and shop for designer clothes and accessories from your couch.
- Rent. Wear. Return (or Keep).
- It’s surprisingly affordable to continually change up your wardrobe by renting or buying looks you’ll love.
- Your mailbox is brimming with fashion possibilities
Another idea for this space is to highlight a customer. Use social proof as your attention grabber and tell the story off the bat about who it’s for, how it works, and why the visitor will love it.
Sign Up or Sianara
There are really only two calls-to-action on the homepage: Sign up or sign in.
Le Tote makes it really easy to sign up by logging in with Facebook or completing a simple account sign up form. That part is good.
But what happens when someone isn’t interested in signing up? After all, this is just the first date and I might not be ready to break out my credit card and propose just yet.
Where Le Tote misses the mark here is by not offering an option to get on an email list (I can see Val’s eyes rolling now). How will they follow up? How will they educate the interested consumer?
Le Tote emails regularly, so it’s surprising that they don’t offer any kind of lead generation option. This is a huge missed opportunity if you ask me (and you are since you’re reading this). There’s no courtship offered through their copywriting. It’s cut-and-dry (very dry, actually), which makes it feel abrupt.
You’re either all in or all out, but consumers don’t shop that way. We’re complex – especially this target market of women who are busy juggling families and jobs. The only way to stay in the Le Tote loop is to either pay or scroll all the way to the very bottom of their fotter and click on one of their social media icons.
The copy on the buttons is also a little bland. There’s nothing exciting about “getting started.” This service lends itself to more indulgent, enthusiastic copy. The target audience craves new clothes and can’t wait to have that box arrive on their doorstep so they can rip it open and put on something that’ll make them feel refreshed, alive, and attractive. There’s so much more they could do with the copywriting on their calls-to-action and it’s worth experimenting with to see what converts better.
A Strong Flow
Le Tote kicks serious copywriting and website design butt here. The flow of the website goes like this:
- Above the fold: Present an idea and options to keep moving in the sales cycle
- Explain how it works in simple terms
- Offer social proof with testimonials
- Answer the inevitable questions (because there are a lot of questions about a service like this)
- Encourage the visitor to make the next move and sign up
- Promo one other service, just in case the visitor isn’t sold on the idea of renting yet
I like the flow because it gets the customer’s mindset.
When they first arrive on the website, they want to know what it is and how it works. That’s answered up front with a quick headline and image, and then a three-step breakdown of how it all comes together (read below for why that’s such a stellar move).
They also want to know what others have experienced. If the visitor has scrolled down far enough to see the testimonials, they’re asking the question, “is this for me?”. The social proof here gives her that answer.
Then, the logical side of the brain kicks in and she has questions. She wants answers before she buys, and this quick FAQ gives her what she’s looking for.
Finally, they wrap up with another call-to-action, banking on the idea that they’ve sold the visitor at this point.
The additional promo is an interesting attachment to the page. The promo is for shoppers who want their clothes hand-picked for them. This isn’t their core service but they compete with other companies (like Stitch Fix) that offer a similar service, so this is their way of harnessing a portion of that market. Although nice, it’s not something they’re promoting too heavily, so I don’t know if it’s enough to capture many of the competition’s customers. It’d be interesting to see the click-through rates on these. My hunch is that Le Tote is waiting to promote this until they’ve fine-tuned the service and seen more of a demand for it.
The Rule of 3s
As mentioned a few times, my favorite part on this page is the three-step breakdown. That’s because psychology shows that the brain thinks in threes. Here are a few examples of famous clusters of three:
- Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness
- Blood, sweat, and tears
- Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit
The reason this works so well and is so commonly used in copywriting (like I use on my homepage too) is that it sticks. People can remember three ideas better than four, or five. They’re more inclined to work with you when there’s a simple three-step process rather than a lengthy to-do.
To wrap up this audit (pun intended) of Le Tote’s website, let’s recap the takeaways here:
- The headline is mediocre. That space above-the-fold can be better used to establish social proof and trigger emotions.
- The calls-to-action are a little too aggressive. Having a way to court the visitor could give Le Tote more opportunity to convert their traffic to customers over time.
- Their flow shows a solid understanding of their customer. They’re answering questions up front before the visitor even has to reach out and ask.
- They use the rule of 3s. The simplicity is nice here. It makes it easy for the audience to ‘get it.’
What’re your thoughts on Le Tote’s website and copy? Love it? Hate it?
Have a website you’d like to see audit (yours, perhaps?)? Email me.