You will often find me with my head in a book, studying the marketing and copywriting experts from the past.
It was whilst reading one such book, that I discovered how using a drop capital, can increase readership of advertising.
The book was: ‘Ogilvy On Advertising’ - by David Ogilvy
In the book, Ogilvy, an advertising and marketing legend, discussed the merits of using a drop capital (also known as a drop initial).
Ogilvy was renowned for producing advertising which got results, having helped to build some of the most recognizable brands in the world including: American Express, Sears, Ford, Shell, Barbie, Pond's, Dove, and Maxwell House among them, and more recently, IBM and Kodak.
In ‘Ogilvy On Advertising', Ogilvy is quoted as saying “The drop capital increases readership of your body copy by an average of 13%".
How Does The Drop Capital Increase Readership?
Drop capitals seem to work in the same way that images do. In that they catch the readers eye as they scan the page.
The big capital letter drops down inside the first paragraph. Because we read from left to right, our eyes move naturally away from the image and into the text to the right.
The first paragraph is very important, and has to capture the reader's attention and interest, so that they continue to read down the page.
The key point is: ‘The more people you can get to read the text on your web pages, the more sales you are going to make. ’ Period!
What I really like about the drop capital as a sales tool, is its subtelty. It doesn't shout: ‘Hey! I'm trying to trick you into reading!’ I like to refer to it as a ‘stealth copywriting’ technique. It's extremely effective, but without flying above the radar.
Does This Offline Copywriter's Trick Increase Sales On The Internet?
After reading about how effective drop capitals can be offline; I decided to see if they could boost my sales conversion rate, on a website selling an ebook.
My first big hurdle was learning how to create a drop cap effect on a web page.
I spent a considerable amount of time trying to create a graphic of a capital letter, which would fit just right in the paragraph. I quickly discovered that it's very easy to create an image that is either too big, or too small.
I didn't want the whole effect to look amateurish, as I felt that it would make my site look unprofessional, and almost certainly ‘hurt’ my conversion rates.
After much perserverance and trial and error, I managed to get everything looking just right.
I Set Up A Split Test To Track My Sales Conversion Rate
Using some state of the art ‘split test tracking software', I set up two different versions of my sales page. The software split all incoming traffic to my website. Half the visitors viewed a page WITHOUT a drop capital, and the other half saw the same page, but this time WITH a drop capital.
A piece of tracking code was placed on my ‘thank you’ page, so that I could track which version of my sales page was viewed, whenever a sale was made. This scientific method of testing, would prove to me over time which version of my sales page made more sales.
I decided to let the test run for at least 100 sales, so that the results wouldn't be a fluke. I eventually stopped the split test at 135 sales.
My Test Results Revealed That My Sales Were Up By A Huge 40%!
The results from the test were pretty amazing. Not only did it prove that drop capitals work online, but it also suggested that they are even more effective on web pages, than they are in offline advertising.
Here are my test result statisitics from a website where I am selling an ebook. . .
Page WITHOUT a drop capital image: 3796 unique visitors, 57 new sales, 1.5% conversion rate
Page WITH a drop capital image: 3702 unique visitors, 78 new sales, 2.1% conversion rate
Even though the page WITH a drop capital received slightly less unique visitors, it still managed to sell 21 more ebooks for me. Overall, the page WITH the drop capital made 40% more sales, than the exact same page WITHOUT a drop capital.
I'm sure you will agree that the increase in sales is very significant; and all after changing just one single letter on my web page! If you don't currently use drop capital images on your website, you really are leaving money on the table.
Instead of spending all your time and money, trying to get more and more visitors to your website, you really should look at how you can increase your sales, from the existing traffic you are already getting.
This is the easiest way I have found to increase my profits, and I didn't have to spend an extra dime on advertising to get it!
Jason Lewis has developed an easy ‘cut and paste’ solution for creating a drop capital effect on a web page. For details, and to see video proof of how drop capitals have increased online sales, please visit: Increase Conversion Rates With Drop Capitals