Let’s be clear: there’s no one worldwide authority that’s ordained what a sales page must contain in order to be a sales page. However, remember how I defined the purpose of a sales page? It’s to help your reader make a good decision about whether your offer’s right for them, and make it easy for them to say “yes” if so.
And if that’s what your page is supposed to do, there are seven elements that you NEED to include to make it happen. Here’s a quick rundown of what they are.
According to Copyblogger, 80% of people will read the headline on a piece of copy. (No, I don’t know what methodology they used to get that figure.) And we already know from Jakob Nielsen’s eye-tracking studies that readers tend to scan across the page heading first, before scanning down the lefthand side.
That means a clear, accurate, engaging headline on your sales page is a must. It needs to tell your reader what to expect on the page, and give them some idea of WHY it’s worth their time to read further. That means it needs to sum up either what they’re struggling with now, or what they want instead.
Think of your sales page as taking your reader on a journey from whatever they’re dealing with now to whatever they want instead. For that journey to happen, you need to start by meeting your reader where they are now. This is sometimes called their “pain points” – but don’t get put off by the term.
Basically, it just means you need to show that you know and understand your reader. And that starts by painting a vivid word picture that they immediately recognise themselves within. It needs to use the same language they use themselves to describe exactly what they’re dealing with right now.
After all: if you can’t show them that you know where they are now, why should they trust that you get can get them to where they want to be?
Once you’ve established that you get your reader and you’ve made them feel seen and understood, you need to paint a vivid picture of what they want instead. (Of course, only talk about results that you’re reasonably confident you can help them get here. No overpromising things that you know you can’t deliver, thank you!)
Describe what your reader’s daily life or business will be like when they no longer have to contend with whatever they’re struggling with now. What will they be able to do that they can’t do now? What will they no longer have to do that they hate doing now?
Then, once you’ve painted those “now and future” word pictures for your reader, it’s finally time to talk about your product or service. The key to doing this well is to only talk about the elements of it that are relevant for a reader who’s trying to decide whether to buy or not.
Talk about what exactly your offer is – what format it takes – what size it is – and what it includes. These are what marketing bods call “features”, and they’re all important bits of information. But don’t get caught up in describing micro-details that just won’t be relevant for a reader who hasn’t even figured out whether to buy yet.
And – if you want to make your description super effective – include a “why” for every feature you talk about. For example, let your reader know why it’s a benefit for them that your programme is six weeks long, or that you record every session.
After you’ve talked about your offer, it’s time to let your reader know how much it will cost them. (And yes, you DO need to include this information – clear, loud and proud. If you’re not sure why, check out this post on why you should include pricing in your sales page.)
I recommend always having the price information somewhere near your calls to action, if not actually as part of them. And if you have different pricing options – e.g. basic, standard and premium versions, or an upfront and payment plan price point? Don’t forget to include those clearly in your page too.
This is what some marketing boffins call “urgency” and “scarcity”, but when it comes down to it, this is really just about availability. The reality is that if you make physical products, the quantities are limited by your available time, and possibly by raw materials too.
Even if you offer services, if you work one-to-one with clients, you only have 24 hours in the day (and hopefully, you aren’t working during all of them!) If you have a group programme, you may want to limit numbers for a wide variety of reasons. You’ll probably want to have an enrolment cutoff too.
So if there’s a genuine limit to the quantities or timeframes in which people can say “yes” to your offer, don’t be afraid to tell them so. Isn’t that better than having them miss out?
Finally, once you’ve told your reader everything they need to know about your offer, it’s time to tell them what to do if they want it. Ideally, on a sales page, you’ll do this via a “buy now” or “signup” button.
This button needs to be super clear and super visible – ideally in a colour that stands out from the rest of your page. One trick I learned was to imagine that someone who doesn’t speak English (assuming your page is in English, of course) is looking at your sales page. Could that person immediately, without having to think about it, point out exactly where the call-to-action buttons are?
If so, you’re doing a good job. However, it’s usually not enough to simply tell people what to do – you also need to tell them why. What’s the core, fundamental benefit your reader will get from saying “yes” to your offer? Make sure that’s either part of your button text, or that it appears in text somewhere close to the call to action.
Although these seven elements are all necessary for an effective sales page, they’re not the only components a good sales page can include.
I’ll talk about some of the other ones – elements like testimonials, FAQs and “About you” info – in my next post. And when I do, I’ll also explain why I class each one as optional rather than essential.
There’s more to writing a sales page that clicks, connects and converts than simply identifying the elements that go into it.
You also need to know exactly how to write each element well, and how to make them all work with each other. (Plus, let’s face it: a sales page template, a guide to the actual writing/editing process and feedback from a supportive community wouldn’t go amiss either).
So if you’re looking for more sales page help than a 1,200-word blog post can offer, why not check out my new DIY Sensational Sales Pages programme. It’s 33%-off for the next week…
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