Rewriting the landing page

The Marketing Examples newsletter hits my inbox irregularly, but it’s always been valuable. I’ve re-read the Guide to Landing Pages That Convert several times.

Wanting to get out of a winter/Corona funk, I’ve decided to invest some energy in sprucing up the Worksheet Generator. I still think it’s my best chance to convert something I’ve made into a second income. And, reading the examples he provides, I think “I can do that.”

Sitting down to actually do it, it’s much harder.

I use too many words. Still, I’ve tried to cut things down. The current landing page is at dynamic-efl.com, you can have a look a that, if you’re curious. Once you’ve seen that, here’s what I have:

The unformatted landing page

Above the fold:

Title: Provide your learners with tailor-made vocab review and save time.

Subtitle: Review worksheets so specific, they’re single-use. Made with only moments of effort. (Learners will think you spent hours.)

Instead of social proof: Vocabulary isn’t easy for learners, and no amount of work you do will make it easier. You can give some structure and a clear review task to do.

Visual: Video showing Dynamic-EFL in action (not a walkthrough, just moments of it in use) (see below)

CTA: Button: Try it for for 3 months, no charge Subtitle: (not even a charge card)

Below the fold:

Make it concrete: Manage a vocabulary list for each class and generate structured review worksheets and one-off review activities.

Classroom vocabulary rotates through different activities, coming back again in the next worksheet to refresh learners’ memories. Use the same vocab list to make crosswords, word searches, memory, and more.

Frequently asked questions:

Do I really want to give my learners another resource printed off from the internet?

No. That’s why I don’t brand the worksheets. In fact, the goal is to make this look like you did all the work. Use your own branding or change the text on one worksheet–or on every worksheet you make. 

Do I really have time to do the extra work of making worksheets for each class?

I don’t know. I can say that, not counting writing down the classroom vocabulary as we go in class, I invest about two minutes per class. The secret? Most of the work has already been done, and the rest is easily done by a computer.

I have my own way of explaining things. Should I worry that yours will confuse my learners?

Probably. I think you can use 99% of what I’ve written as it is–especially if you’re teaching Germans (they’re who I write for)–and I’ve included tools to let you tweak things as much or as little as you think you need to.

I don’t really have time to learn something new. How difficult is this to learn?

Not very. I’m a teacher and built this for teachers. If you can type vocabulary and click on “make a worksheet,” you already have the skills you need.

Second call to action:

Let me start making your review worksheets and I think you’ll see the value of what I do. I’m so convinced that I’m ready to do it for free.

Button: Try it free for three months

Subtitle: (no credit card required)

Founder’s Note: I’m a teacher, first, not a coder. But, when students told me they “couldn’t learn vocab” or were “too old,” I knew that my standard bit about how to learn vocabulary didn’t help, it just made me feel better by making it their problem.

I teach adults: none of them needed another problem. They needed a teacher who would step up and find a way to help

I began to make structured review activities. They were a hit. Students saw their own success and thought I was a big part of it. It felt good to be a part of their success story.

But it also ate time. Lots of time.

So I thought of automating it with a software product. And, when I realized what it would cost to hire a coder to make it for me, I taught myself to code. (We all have dry spells in freelance work, right?)

Very quickly, it went from a time-suck to a time-saver. I had time to help my students in other ways (see my collection of stories and other worksheets), but I still think of this as my greatest teaching idea, yet.

Automating it doesn’t only mean that I can produce great worksheets in minutes. It means that anyone can.

Video script:

The idea is simple. As I teach, I write down the words that I’m introducing–and also the vocabulary that comes up as learners talk about their own stories.

After class, I type the words here into the classroom’s vocabulary list. That’s done in seconds.

Then, I double-check that the vocabulary is being understood correctly–a table can be furniture, but it can also be a tool to format a document–and I’m done.

For a worksheet, I click and skim through the worksheet that the system wants to make for me.

When I got that much done, I was proud of myself. The magic is in the next worksheet, though, when vocabulary from the previous worksheet comes back.

That’s the gist of what I do in a nutshell, but if you want to keep watching, I’ll keep talking.

From the same vocabulary list, I can make a memory game… a crossword puzzle… a word search… or a vocabulary puzzle…

When vocabulary enters the classroom list through one student’s funny story, I can make that part of the definition of the word… or I can make that part of the gapfill sentence. Learners see that one, small personal touch and think that I made the whole thing.

I mean, I did make the whole thing–these are translations, definitions, and gapfills that I’ve created over years of developing this–but your learners will think that this was all your work. You can reenforce that impression by putting your branding on the worksheets, or by setting up your own default definitions and gapfills.

(I timed a read-though of this about just about two minutes)

Next steps

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the next thing for me to do is to just copy and paste that in some format on the landing page and see what happens. But I have a grander vision.

I’d like to take my time and format everything new with my newfound CSS skills from freecodecamp.org. And, while I’m doing that, I’m thinking about how to do my own stats.

Sharing to attract teachers

So, after reflecting on my strategy to introduce the EFL worksheet generator to the world, now seems like a decent time to reflect on how it’s going.

My blog for EFL teachers is slowly coming together. It turns out I have more to say that I realized, and the act of reflecting in a deliberate way has helped me feel more confident as a teacher. So, either way, that’s a win.

Recently, I pushed myself to write a post on how to use reading activities in EFL classrooms, because I have a lot of EFL reading worksheets that I can share. (I hadn’t planned for there to be so many links in this page. Is it good SEO? Bad?)

The idea is simple. I started at ISLCollective.com, a site for teachers to share worksheets they’ve made. There aren’t many reading worksheets for adults (which is why I made my own, but also a chance for me to stand out) so I figured I’d cross-post some there.

After adding a second page to the worksheets that begins with “Hello teachers! (Do not print this page)” I introduced myself and included links to the post on how I incorporate reading in the lesson, as well as to the website hosting them. And, after two days, they’ve been downloaded more than a hundred times and I’ve had my first click-throughs to my blog.

Sure, it’s only two, but it’s two more than I had.

Now, I rationalize I can post the beginning of another series of stories (I have two, at two different reading levels, at the moment). And, because there are a lot of things that are not available for download, as I make them for myself, I can post them as a way to attract more people.

After writing all this — there is a genuine benefit to thinking in writing — I realize that I should also be making resources to help new teachers organize and think about their lessons. (New teachers are the people I’m trying to attract.)

I just checked at ISLCollective and there are a total of seven downloads available as ‘teacher training material.’

I guess I know what I need to do.

I paid Google €11.04 to get four people to look at my site

A brief foray into AdWords

Part of the appeal of the whole “let me start a website and try to monetize it” thing is getting a look behind the scene at how these financial mechanisms of the Internet work. My life has exposed my quite a lot to the technical mechanisms of the Internet, but I only vaguely knew that “advertising is big business.”

So, having declared the Dynamic-EFL.com website to be officially finished (I now have a list of changes I want to make, so … whatever), I rationalized it was time to try and get some users who I don’t know.

I opened an account with Google’s AdWords.

The process of opening the account was painless, and making the ad was just like the YouTube tutorials I watched. However, it wasn’t easy because I tend to be a long-form writer, not the kind of guy who gets things said in six words. (Have you noticed that about me?)

Still, I got the add made, I was happy. This is how it looked:

ad1

(Fun fact: having that inline here still makes some part of my brain crazy, as I can feel myself trying not to read it.)

Advertising is expensive

I tried searches with the keywords I decided to market against. There were no ads shown to me (thinking my adblocking software might be the reason, it tried it in incognito mode and Firefox), it seemed reasonable to think that I wasn’t competing against many people in Google’s complex ad-auctioning system.

I set the price to €6/day for three days. It seemed like money I could afford, and it was hard to know what to expect.

 

ad2
My brief ad campaign

You can see how things went. Two dollars per click seems like a lot of money. Especially considering, when it was finished, I checked and there were no new user accounts, meaning people came, looked, and were not interested.

What I think I’ve learned

So, what have I learned? Well, I re-examined the landing page and have decided that it needs to be polished. I’d like it to reflect me as a person doing a thing more than looking like some impersonal internet software. After all, I’m a likable guy, right?

Further, I think it needs to more quickly move into the information of what can this site do for you? Because, humility aside, I think I have a compelling argument for the site being really useful.

My mistake, I think, was that, although I know I need the opinions of people who don’t know me, I didn’t put myself in the headspace of someone coming to the site.

The next campaign

I don’t know when it will be. I mean, I have some work to get done, some behind-the-scenes things I’m still working on (I’d like to be able to add resources, outside the worksheet creation process) and I still teach English more or less full time.

Still, when I come back to this, I’m going to target all of Germany, rather than my region, and use more limited keywords, rationalizing that people who come to the site looking for EFL vocab worksheets are more likely to be interested in what I have to offer than people who want EFL grammar worksheets (which my site does not create).

I’ll keep you posted.