Got the Sales Page Blues? (5 of Your Questions Answered)
I have this recurring nightmare - I'm back at high school and I have a massive project due. Like...it's enormous. And I haven't started on it. Worse, I know that I'm never going to start on it because it's just too mammoth. I haven't done the research, I know nothing about the topic or how it relates to anything connected to it, and I just can't move on it. I'm paralysed. So, this nightmare becomes a growing existential crisis in my dreamscape. What does it mean that I can't start this thing? Will I never leave school? Will I be there forever? Surrounded by teenagers who think I'm weird and teachers who think I'm stupid? Is this my LIFE NOW?
This happens in life too. I get handed a project where I'm like...oh man. I don't even know where to start with this. I don't even know what my first move should be. And then I bury myself in a whole lot of meaningless tasks and 'priorities' because basically, I am shit-scared of doing the thing that I need to do.
The one thing that used to trip me up like this? Sales pages.
Wow. Sales pages are like the Tony Soprano of copywriting.
Look at that face. Effing GORGEOUS, right? (I totally have a major, epic and total crush on Tony Soprano)
So, how is your sales page like the godfather of all godfathers ever?
It's enormous. It's fierce. It's cunning. And it has the power to trip you up like nobody's business. Worst of all, when a sales page is done really well it's difficult to see just how potent it can be. Because it's colourful and impressive. It lures you in with gorgeous promises. It's charming. But at any given moment, it can pop a cap in the ass of the person writing it.
And that person might be you.
If you're someone who is currently writing a sales page or has to write one in the near future...here are the top five questions I'm asked all the time. I hope my answers help.
1. How do you structure a sales page?
You know the sales page that you land on and you start reading, and you're like...I have NO IDEA what this is about?
That is not a well-written sales page.
Well-written sales pages follow a very specific formula. It is literally like science. The reason for this is that you're taking your prospect on a journey. When you start this journey, you have to meet them where they are at.
Eugene Schwartz called this the five stages of customer awareness. You can read more about that here.
The five stages are:
Unaware - your prospect doesn't know they have a problem
Problem aware - they know they have a problem but they don't know that there are solutions out there that can help them
Solution aware - they know there is a solution that can help them, but they haven't decided on one, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, they don't know your solution exists
Product aware - they know about your solution but they're not convinced it's the best option for them
Most aware - they know a lot about your product or service and they are very close to making a purchase
Your sales page is going to meet them at one of these stages - how do you know which stage they're at? Research (as you read on, you'll realise that most of the work you need to do in writing a sales page is not in the wirting, but in the research)
When your research is done, you'll then pose very specific ideas to your reader - you'll ask questions about where they are right now in their lives. You'll touch on pain points. You'll show them how their lives could be if they take you up on your offer. You'll address objections.
When structured correctly, your sales page is like a maths equation - if you follow each step properly the only answer that your prospect can reach is to hand you their $$$ billz and make the purchase.
2. Long-form vs short-form - which is best?
Long-form. And here's why:
In all the research I've done, I've found that people consume copy in three different ways:
The scanner - they skim through the page, taking in only the headline and the sub-headlines. They are incredibly pressed for time and they make buying decisions very quickly. Then they either purchase, or they bounce off your page and go looking for their solution somewhere else.
The detailed reader - they consume your sales page like it's a novel. They read every single word. They get all the info they need. They move through it with logic, making sure they understand everything they need to. Then they make their purchasing decision.
The in-betweener - this person isn't as quick as the scanner and doesn't take as long as the detailed reader. They're looking at headlines, subheadlines, anything bolded, in large font, and italics. Anything on the page that stands out. (I am an in-betweener)
Now. Here's the thing. If your sales page is short you are not giving enough information to the detailed reader. What does that mean? Loss of income for you. If the sales page is long, you're addressing the consumption preferences of all three types of buyers. The scanners can scan. The inbetweeners get what they need. And the detailed readers have all the information they're looking for.
So, long-form all the way.
3. Do people actually read the whole page?
See my answer above.
This is why your design and your layout are so vital for your sales page. They need to highlight all the vital information in a way that is easy to read for your scanners. Scanners need to be able to spend 60 seconds on your page and know if this is something they want to buy. Bolding and italicising important information is something that you or your copywriter needs to do - don't rely on the designer for this.
When you pinpoint the must-see copy, you'll be maximising its appeal to everyone - scanners, in-betweeners, and detailed readers.
And what does that mean for your bank balance?
4. How do I use my own voice and not come across as salesy?
Selling is hard. It can make us feel pretty ew, right? Especially if we're not used to doing it.
Your sales page, ideally, shouldn't be 'selling' anything. It should be connecting with someone. The way to do this is through a very delicate combination of using your own voice, and detailing the writing to the point where the person reading it is literally thinking, 'omg, is this person inside my head?' It's known as empathetic marketing and it is POWER ON CRACK.
All that research I mentioned earlier? It is everything. It is going to be the thing that converts your prospect into a buyer.
In doing this research, you need to find out the deepest fears of your potential clients. What is keeping them up at night? What are they waking up and thinking about at 3am? And then how do they go back to sleep? Do they go back to sleep? What are their life dreams? What's the thing keeping them from going for those dreams? What have they already tried? Why didn't it work? What can you give them that no one else can? Often the answer is really simple: connection.
In my research for sales pages, I have 67 questions that I ask a client about their ideal prospect. These questions elicit the kind of details that makes the copy go...
Seriously. Detail is your best friend when you're writing your sales page.
If you write with this level of detail, and you are unapologetically you in your writing, that's half the battle won when it comes to not being salesy.
5. Can I buy pre-written copy?
Someone asked me this in live copy training that I ran recently. Yes, of course you can buy pre-written copy. You can do anything you want.
Will it work? No. I can guarantee you 100% that it will not work. Your sales page is an opportunity for you to develop a relationship with someone. It's your (often only) chance to show them that you get them more than anyone else and that is why they should trust you. It speaks to their hearts, their vulnerabilities, and their deep-seated fears.
Remember this, too: different people are moved to buy because of different things. Some people buy logically. Others buy emotionally. Sometimes it's a fine balance of the two. If you're buying pre-written copy, it appeals neither to emotion nor logic. It's simply words on a page that you're hoping will land and convert your visitor into a buyer. It's a gamble.
No, no, no. Copy is not a gamble. Copy is a science. It's based on data and research. Your research is key to ensuring that your sales page is a persuasive, detailed body of text that takes your prospect on a journey from Point A to Point Buyer. It is not a page that you write (or pre-purchase copy for) and hope that taking a stab at it is going to have the desired effect.
I like to call it the EP(i)C framework. That's turning Empathy + Persuasion into Conversion.
Here's an overview (you can read the full breakdown here):
You've Got This
Broken down, what does this all look like?
Research first. Research some more. And then keep researching. You need to know your prospect almost as well as you know yourself.
Through this research, you'll come to know which customer awareness stage your prospect is at
You use detail, empathy, and your voice to put together a sales page that takes your prospect on a journey of conversion - from where they are now, to where they want to be. And the only obvious way for them to get where they want to be is to buy what it is you're selling.
You can do this. Don't put off that sales page any longer. Go one step at a time. It'll happen. Promise.
Ready to define your brand voice? Take the quiz and find out which Grammy-Award Winning Star your brand voice is.