How To Write A (Better) Sales Page
An outline of a webpage that sells effectively
Originally I wrote a Template, a “fill in the blank” document for creating a sales page.
As my clients used it, I realized it was creating inauthenticity in their marketing, because a template suggests some “magic formula” for the words and phrases that would make a sales page effective. There is not.
A good sales page is an authentic match between the strength of your business (what you can truly offer) and a particular want in the market (what your ideal audience would pay — or are paying — money for.) Some processes that help clarify this include the Niche Interview and Niche Mentor Interviews.
And because there is an unlimited variety in the match between individual businesses and audiences, the actual language of your sales page needs to emerge from the relationship between you and your ideal audience. It needs to be a genuine communication that comes out of this understanding and alignment.
Be cautious if you are ever given actual words/phrases/sentences that you “should” use on your sales page. Yes, copywriters can be helpful in giving you ideas, but I would advising writing the sales page in your own authentic language. One way to do this is to open up your email account, start writing a new email as if a friend has just referred you to a potential client. What would you write to that potential client? You would do it in your authentic voice, not “trying” to be persuasive or performing.
This document offers my best alternative to actual sales-page language. It gives guidelines to help you answer important questions in your ideal audience’s mind as they consider your service.
How To Use This Document:
In creating your online webpage describing your offering, here is the process I recommend:
- Brainstorm—write out your ideas based on the sections listed below. (You don’t have to use all the sections, just the ones that resonate with you.)
- Edit your draft through the mindset of your ideal client: Let your brainstorming draft sit for awhile (a day, two, or even longer) then come back and with a fresh mind, close your eyes and imagine your ideal client. Imagine her reading your page. Edit your ideas with her perspective in mind.
- Emulate niche mates—look at the sales pages of some of your “competitors” (I prefer the term “niche mate.”) You’ll notice that their sales pages use some of the sections outlined below. For each sales page you look at, what are 3 things they did well, that you can emulate? Don’t copy paragraphs at a time, but notice what phrases you would also like to use, and how they order the sections of their sales page, and the types of formatting and images they use. How about 3 things they did poorly that you want to be sure not to emulate? With those lessons in mind, edit your sales page once again.
- Feedback from ideal client—reach out to 3 ideal clients or more (or reach out to Facebook friends who are your “ideal client” type) and ask them to do you the favor of giving you feedback on the webpage you’ve come up with.
Of A Sales Page
Below, you will find the common sections of a Sales Page.
The higher the price point of your service/product, the more of these sections you may need, in order to make the sale effectively. The lower your price, the fewer sections you’ll need.
(What is a “high” price point? That depends on what price the audience is accustomed to seeing for products/services similar to yours. Is yours a higher or lower price point compared to your niche mates?)
Of course, feel free to change the order of sections on your own sales page.
I welcome your questions about anything in this document. You can comment anywhere on this article by highlighting any word or phrase, then clicking the plus symbol to comment.
Headline (and Sub-Title)
Usually, the headline of the page is simply the name of the product/service.
If so, the sub-title can be a line or two that compellingly describes the benefit or key differentiation of your service.
Learn to write good headlines—it really does make a difference in your marketing. There are many good articles about writing better headlines: click here for a google search that lists some of the best.
If you have some headlines you’d like feedback on, ideally you would ask your own clients, past clients, or colleagues. For feedback from a random selection of people online, try PickFu.
It could be an casual intro video: amateur/authentic-style, short, and communicates to the reader “who should read this page / why read it?”
Or it could be a professionally-produced commercial-type video.
If you are looking for an outline of your video, try this:
- A warm welcome to your webpage
- Who you are (a few credibility indicators such as years in business or years studying your craft, a very brief story or two about the kind of transformation you create, where you’ve been featured etc.)
- Why your program/service/product is important
- Whom it’s best for
- How to decide whether the program/service/product is for them
- How to sign up or apply
Who this is for… (and not for)
If you are clear about what type of people (e.g. professions, gender, age range, role, passions, values) your service is effective for, list those types of people.
For example, one of my clients used this at the beginning of the sales page about her Support Group:
Do you identify as an artist, an outsider, a healer, an “eccentric?”
Do you feel you’re on a different wavelength than most people?
Do you know you’re unique but doubt that you will ever find and sustain true connection?
On the other hand, if you are not yet sure how to filter your ideal audience, simply skip this section.
Some businesses also describe who the service is not for, but use this with care: don’t be inauthentic about it, for example don’t say “This is for people who aren’t serious about changing their life…” However, if a significant percentage of people checking out your service are certain types that your service isn’t best for (e.g. your relationship coaching is for married couples who are struggling but not yet at the crisis stage), then clarify that. Otherwise, skip it.
This is a general principle: a single webpage with tons of words can be tedious… such as this article ☺
Break up the sections with relevant, inspiring images.
Or in my case, I intersperse my sales page with images of my clients.
Here’s a 4-minute tutorial on how to find high quality free photos and images:
Throughout your sales page, I recommend that you emulate the font size of any article you’ll find on medium.com (such as this very article you’re reading!) — the formatting is easy to read.
Because you’re writing for the computer screen and not for a physical book, use shorter paragraphs for easier reading. Paragraphs that only have 1–3 sentences are common.
Go easy on how many font colors you use, and the amount of bolding or italics that you use. Too much of either one can be confusing or distracting for your reader.
Ultimately, be sure to get feedback from your ideal client about how your page looks to them.
A short letter to the ideal customer
This is an optional section, but if you enjoy a conversational tone with your ideal clients, or if you like story-telling, this can be an effective.
Here, you can briefly tell the story of how you got into providing this service.
One of my clients’ websites starts with: “Imagine you are walking on a beach…” and continues with a brief story that ties in the metaphor of ocean waves to the transformation that she leads her clients through.
A creator of a course for people who want to stop smoking, writes:
To the hopeful non-smoker,
If you’ve tried other ways to quit smoking without success, don’t be so fast to conclude you were the problem. Before you start reliving the guilt trips and put downs, stop and take a serious look at your quit approach. Perhaps the problem wasn’t your discipline or even your desire to quit but what you didn’t even know you need to do to get prepared…
Describe the ideal client’s problem
This section is about empathy and resonance.
Why should the reader care about your service? Do you understand what she is going through?
What is the problem that bothers the ideal client so much, that they would pay for your service?
You found this page because… [then proceed with the bullet points, each one describing an aspect of the client’s pressing problem… with the feeling that you can empathize with them because you’ve served others like her, or been through the situation yourself.]
By talking to what they (the ideal client) care about, they are more likely to recognize themselves in the writing, and keep reading.
To write this section, imagine a movie of your ideal client going through a particularly difficult day with [the issue you help them solve]… in what ways is the issue coming up for them? In what circumstances?
For example, my client wrote this on her Parenting Course sales page:
This program is for self-aware moms and couples who:
* Have kids who don’t listen
* Hate that they’re nagging so much
* Are tired of bedtime and morning routines being such a struggle
* Frustrated by their partner’s different parenting style
* Wish their kids could be more independent
* Want to set limits without hurting their kid’s spirit
* Feel they’ve hit a crisis point because they hit their kid or their kid hit them
* Want to avoid a crisis by learning how to make the day-to-day realities of parenting go smoother
Describe the ideal client’s dream/goal that your service can (realistically) achieve
Similarly to the above section, describe what ideal scenario the ideal client wants enough that they would pay for it, that your product/service will realistically help them get to.
Some people call this the “benefits” of the product/service.
Some sales pages only talk about the problem, and some only talk about the dream/goal. Some do both, because they want to empathize with reader and give them hope for what it’s like to have solved the problem. Experiment and see what is most authentic and effective for you.
The way I do it is by outlining the Projects that I believe my ideal client would get excited to accomplish.
Why should the ideal client trust that you are able to help them solve the stated problem or bring them to the stated goal?
Here, you should share whatever strengths you have that are relevant, e.g.
- Number of people who have used your service over the years —either for free or paid.
- Has your work been featured anywhere that your audience might recognize? Articles in magazines / newspapers / industry journals. Guest posts on popular blogs. Podcast interviews. Speaking on telesummits. In-person speaking engagements. And if you have any of these, list a few: speaking at conferences, on radio, TV, winning awards. Any endorsements about this service from anyone your audience might have heard of.
- Statistics about your work, e.g. satisfaction rates of clients you’ve served, or approx. how many you’ve spoken in front of (in speeches) or how many speeches/webinars/videos you’ve given about your work. It can be any relevant, legitimate number you can put to your work, such as # of books you’ve read, years of studying the topic, or approx # of hours you’ve worked with people on this topic.
- Relevant degrees or certifications, or other qualifications for providing the service.
- Relevant groups/associations you’re part of.
By the way, don’t use the term “Credibility Indicators” on your website—that’s just a teaching tool I use—but you might say something like “Qualifications” or “How My Work Has Made A Difference.” For more on credibility indicators go here.
What have clients said about your services? Have you asked them to give you a paragraph or two about their experience of working with you?
Or if someone has written thoughtfully about your service as a public Facebook post or other social media post, you can feature that here too. This is what I mostly do: take screenshots of my Facebook reviews.
Just like you might break up your sales page with images, you might also have Client Reviews sprinkled throughout your page.
Describe Your Theory
…that the product/services uses to help them solve the problem and/or achieve the goal.
Maybe there is a worldview, a theory, that you need to explain so the client understands how the transformation works.
It may be the context of the times, and how the client’s problem/goal fits in.
If may be how the problem/goal affects other aspects of their life.
There is a balance here: describe the overview of your theory/pathway of change so that it is interesting for the client and gives her an “aha!” moment, but don’t overwhelm her with details.
Make the process understandable for them. Your ideal client should be thinking to themselves: “I can see how this will solve my problem / take me to my goal!”
Show a clear Pathway of Change
Show examples of how your theory works in the real world.
Can you tell any stories of transformation, either from your own client base (keep them anonymous unless you get clear permission to use personally-identifiable details about them), or an imaginary story that will illustrate the pathway of change if they use your Service or Product?
Give a feel for how it will work step-by-step from where they are now, to where your Service/Product will take them, so the reader feels that it is indeed doable.
Give them realistic hope.
Myths & Truths
In general, the more you can demonstrate your deep understanding of what the ideal client is struggling with and wanting, the more they will believe you have the solution for them.
One way to demonstrate your understanding is by naming and dissolving myths that they may be holding.
Name a myth, in as close a language as they would think it. Then dissolve that myth with the truth of the matter (from your perspective) that they might not have realized, but would understand.
For example, I might say:
You have tried for months (or years!) to create the perfect product/service because you know that the launch of it will determine its success or failure. The reality is that almost all successful products/services go through an iterative process —many small launches—and gather feedback from the market along the way and keep improving that product until it becomes the success it is today. That is the process I will walk you through.
Some sales pages ask questions that the ideal client herself is struggling with but don’t have an answer to, then answer it briefly. Example:
Is social media really essential to building a successful business? Can I skip this strategy? The answer is: if you care about the online reputation of your business, and want to encourage positive word of mouth, then social media —done authentically and with care for the customer—will be essential to your online strategy.
Describe The Features
In other words, what does the product/service/program come with? For those of us content creators, there are more than 15 different formats we can use to transmit our knowledge to the client.
The key is not to pile on lots of features, but to have a few select features that really are effective for solving the client’s problem. Otherwise it gets too complicated for both them, and you.
For a transformational/educational program, this section might describe what happens in each week (or month, or module, or session) of the program: how each module solves the client’s problems, one by one.
Some people also describe “bonuses” that comes with the product/service. I used to endorse this, but now it seems gimmicky to me…inauthentic or manipulative. But then again, buyers generally are attracted by bonuses, so use your own conscience and judgment on this.
How This Is Different
How is your service/program/product different from what your ideal client may already have tried, or may be considering?
Just be sure not to portray any other specific business negatively, but you can speak more generally about other similar services and how yours is different.
I do this on my coaching page under “How I’m Different”.
The way I like to think about this is: your service is definitely better than other services for some people in some situations. Describe those distinctions.
You can also simply list a few of the cool features that distinguish your service, without mention of other competitors.
If you can, share 2–3 client case studies: what the client was like before working with you; what was the process you led them through (generally speaking); and what their life was like afterwards, sharing the specifics of their transformation. Try to make each story concise. If you can, keep it to just 1-3 paragraphs per case study.
Your SSPP Story
If you have a remarkable story to tell about how you got into providing your service, and you haven’t told it elsewhere on the page, now is the time.
SSPP stands for Struggle, Solution, Proof, Passion. You don’t have to use those words, and definitely don’t mention the acronym since it’s just a teaching tool I like to use.
Your SSPP story:
The Struggle that you experienced — yours or someone else’s — that made you want to look for a solution. This helps you connect more with the audience — they’ll see that you are just a human being like they are.
The story of how you came across your Solution (mountaintop experience; wise elder; training or certification you received; your own experiments and life learning.)
The Proof that the solution really works — in your life and/or someone else’s life.
The Passion you have to give solution to the world…that it’s not about the money, but about the service/impact/legacy. Also, why is the solution so special that you’re passionate about getting the word out?
Share your commitment to the client’s success.
Also, if you have found it to be important, also share what is the minimum commitment the client would need to have in order to effectively use your service.
If you have event dates or deadlines associated with the program, such as when the live calls are, or the application due date, and when they’ll hear back, it’s good to list them on your sales page; otherwise people will wonder, and might not take the step to contact you for those important details.
Clearly list the price of the service.
(If you’re wondering how to price your services, here’s my video about that.)
If your ideal client needs some education around how to value your service, you can do some explaining in this section, for example, comparing the value of your service to other related services (try not to negatively portray anyone else or any other company by name.)
Or you can mention what the future price will be. (Be honest about the increases you are really planning.)
If it is a higher-priced service, say, over $250, it is usually a good idea to have a payment plan in addition to a full-pay option which should be cheaper than the payment plan, say by 5-10%.
Give a final assurance of your care for your ideal client; your passion to serve them. Give them an encouragement to try the service if this webpage has described what they want.
Buy Button (Or Apply Link)
Don’t forget to have a clear “buy” button, or in my case, a “Click Here To Apply” to my program.
FAQ Section (or separate webpage)
What are some of the questions you have been getting about your service? If you haven’t been getting enough questions, there’s no need to have this section.
(I’ve seen some FAQ sections that seem disingenuous, with an ulterior aim to manipulate the reader into buying. You don’t need to do that.)
A Way To Contact You For Questions
What if they still have questions? Give a link to your “contact” page. (Examples of my contact page.)
Just Get Started
Remember: you don’t need to have every section above in your sales page.
(However, the higher the price point, the more of these sections are needed to make the sale effectively.)
Just get started in creating your sales page.
It will get better with each revision.
You have to start somewhere. You will never have a version 5 if you don’t first publish version 1!
Try the process I outlined at the very top of this document.
The Importance of Copywriting
“Copywriting” is simply writing for a sales page or other marketing purpose… so it’s everything you’ve just written on your sales page. It’s how you sell in writing.
Needless to say, it is incredibly important and can make your sales page turn visitors into customers — or not.
There’s a lot of copywriting advice out there (for example Dane Maxwell’s Copywriting Checklist)… but I find most of it to be too hyped up, manipulative, or stoking the fear/greed of the visitor. It’s not how I want to operate in the world. I believe that the ends (sales) never justify the means (manipulative selling).
So what do we do instead?
Write honestly, clearly, with the intention to attracting only the clients you really can help the best.
Gather and tell stories of transformation and sprinkle them throughout your copy.
You might find it helpful to simply open up your email software, start composing an email to your ideal client, filling out the various sections in the above sales page template. Again: it’s like writing an email to someone. Make it warm, honest, inspirational, clear.
If you need help with writing, consider trying out some writers on Fiverr or Upwork. I’ve done that before, and it has helped — even if I didn’t use their writing, it helped me see the differences and value my own authentic voice.
Get The Feedback That Matters
Your ideal audience —those your product/service is designed for—are the ones who can best give you feedback about your sales page.
Get such feedback conducting at least 3 website user interviews.
You can comment anywhere in this article by highlighting any word or phrase, then clicking the plus symbol to comment with any questions. I look forward to hearing from you.