Welcome to offer world
Do a google search for Bob Ray, and you'll end up with this page as the first match. This is as it should be. If you already know you want to buy some Bob and Ray recordings, you're motivated enough to poke around and find what you want.
What makes something a good page for the motivated searcher doesn't necessarily translate into a page that can pay for itself with offers.
Do a search on 'comedy' and if you're in the right part of the world, you might encounter the ad on the left (in a black box) for an Andrew Dice Clay concert that's taking place in New Jersey. The organization running this ad is hoping that a big enough percentage of those clicking on it will convert so they can run the ad more often.
The problem with this offer is that it is slapped on top of a page that was never intended to convert someone who had responded to an offer. The page it links to looks like this.
So, what happens when an advertiser runs an offer and connects to a page like this? They blame the offer. They blame the medium. They complain that it just doesn't work for them.
Of course it doesn't work!
Not because of the offer but because of the page the offer connected to. And even if the page was perfectly formatted, it's unlikely it would work. Why? Because it's unlikely that you're going to be able to turn someone from a stranger (pre-offer) into a loyal customer with a single page.
Smart internet marketers have learned that it's a step by step process, not an event.
Instead of this:
offer ---> sale
it works like this:
offer---> sample ---> permission ---> learning ---> sample ---> sale ---> subscription.
If you can't embrace this, I think you need to walk away from the medium entirely. On the other hand, this is the engine that is capable of growing businesses in a predictable, straightforward way.
I call it an 'offer culture.' The same way Lillian Vernon and LL Bean developed a direct mail culture, some organizations are developing an offer culture. They search out new places to run their offers, test them quickly, adjust their landing pages, experiment with how many steps they need between first contact and closed sale... these organizations really understand the value of a long-term customer, because they've earned them.
In working with the early advertisers in Squidoo offers, there has been a clear dichotomy between marketers and those making offers. The same thing is obviously true among regular Google adwords buyers. Are you on the bus?
[Chad points us to this article from five years ago...]