if you’ve ever purchased an online course, software, or high-ticket product, you’ve probably seen a sales page. in fact, the sales page is likely what encouraged you to pull out your credit card.
some successful sales pages bring millions of dollars to businesses, though creating such a sales page is much more complex than just jotting down your product’s benefits.
here’s a guide to creating a stellar sales page, from finding the perfect page builder and setting up a funnel to copywriting tips and key a/b tests.
what is a sales page?
a sales page exists to make a visitor turn into a customer. it does this by clearly demonstrating how your product or service solves their particular problem and its benefits.
while the definition of a sales page is pretty straightforward, many resources go into creating a great sales page.
for example, you’ll have to do in-depth customer research to learn what underlying pain points they have around their problem.
let’s say you have a men’s dating offer or coaching service. you may discover through customer research that they have underlying pain points beyond just finding a date. for example, they might feel out of place at a bar and just wish they could talk to women.
so rather than explaining what your product or service does (helping them find a date), it should also explain how it will make them feel and address underlying pain points (feel confident in a bar).
finally, a great sales page should also answer all of the reader’s objections. for example, they may say, “well, that dating offer might work on 35-year-old guys, but it won’t work on someone who’s 45.”
case studies and testimonials are also key elements of sales pages and can help the customer identify with other similar people that found success with your product or service.
ultimately, a great sales page knows the customer so well that the offer they make is irresistible.
what is a sales page vs. a landing page or homepage?
so, is a sales page a landing page or a homepage?
in short, a sales page is a landing page but different from a homepage.
a sales page and a landing page are both crafted specifically to encourage people to convert. while landing pages are virtually the same as short-form sales pages, long-form sales pages tend to be more detailed than a typical landing page.
however, homepages are entirely different from sales pages.
this is because the goal of a homepage is not just to drive conversions. they attract a much wider audience, and with navigational tabs and generic language, they are not tailored to converting a very specific customer the way a sales page is.
long sales page vs. short sales page
however, not all sales pages look the same. while some are quite short with just a few hundred words, others are extensive and require several thousand words.
how do you know which format is best for your business?
there are advantages and disadvantages to both. for example, long-form sales pages are excellent because they allow you to:
- build a strong relationship with the reader and show them that you know and understand their pain points
- show off the benefits of your product, dive into underlying pain points, and answer objections
however, long-form sales pages also have disadvantages because some people won’t want to read the entire page, and the core value and cta of a simple product is easily lost. in addition, you might lose some impulse purchases.
therefore, the advantage of short-form sales pages is that they allow you to:
- quickly communicate the value of the product if the reader is in a hurry
- provide a concise overview that can easily be shared with friends/colleagues
ultimately the type of sales page you choose to create really comes down to the offer you have.
in general, a shorter landing page is ideal for a product or service that is:
- relatively low cost
- relatively low time investment
in general, a long-form landing page is ideal for a product or service that is:
- relatively high cost
- ongoing commitment/time investment
while those are some guidelines, it isn’t always clear whether you should create a long-form or short-form sales page.
if you’re stuck, think about how long it would take you to sell your product in person.
if you just need to show your prospect a quick demo or example, you can probably use a short form sales page, though if you think that your product or service would require an extensive conversation and a relationship with the buyer, a long-form sales page is probably the best option.
how to create a sales page
most people drive traffic to their sales pages from email, social media ads, google ads, or a website to create a sales page. therefore, you need a post-click landing page software to host your sales page.
fortunately, there are a few landing page software options that are easy to use and don’t require coding knowledge.
below is an overview of the three most popular ones, and while they have slight differences, all of them are easy to use and do essentially the same job.
instapage is a top choice for those obsessed with design, as it’s essentially the apple of landing pages.
it has more than 200 beautiful templates to choose from, no traffic limitations, built-in analytics, and even allows dynamic text replacement for ppc campaigns.
the cons of instapage are that it doesn’t allow for any a/b testing on the basic plan (which, as you’ll soon learn, is essential for any sales page), and it’s the most expensive tool on the market.
therefore, instapage is usually the best option for larger brands and advanced marketers.
unbounce is a little more economical than instapage at just $80 per month, and it offers an automated testing tool in all of its plans. it also has an analytics suite and offers more than 200 different templates that you can customize with its drag and drop editor.
the downside of unbounce is that you can only publish a limited number of pages at once, and you can only put one lead capture form on their design. its user interface also isn’t quite as high quality as instapage’s, though it’s still fairly good.
leadpages also offers a user-friendly drag and drop editor as well as unlimited pages, traffic, and leads on every plan.
they also offer a variety of additional elements, such as countdown timers and progress widgets, to help increase conversions. another useful feature unique to leadpages is leadlinks, which allows people to sign up for a webinar or event right from their inbox.
the biggest drawback with leadpages is the user experience. sometimes the editor doesn’t save work very well, and it can be buggy. however, the standard plan starts at just $25 per month, so it’s still a good deal.
key elements of a sales page
regardless of the product or service you’re selling, most sales pages have roughy the same key elements.
the first and perhaps most important aspect of your sales page is a strong headline. without a strong headline, the rest of your sales page won’t really matter because you haven’t persuaded anyone to read it.
the key to creating a strong headline is to say something that resonates with your audience’s key pain points.
for example, if you have a networking coaching program, a headline like “learn how to become a better networker” will only resonate with your target audience on the surface.
that’s because it’s too generic and general. a lot of people need help with networking, and there is a lot of advice available on networking. so why should the reader listen to you instead?
however, let’s say your target audience is 20-something-year-olds in silicon valley who want to build stronger networks to help their startups attract better talent and vc money. in this case, a headline that would probably make them stop and click on your offer might be:
how i grew my network in silicon valley to land funding from sequoia capital
notice that this would immediately make anyone with that particular goal (raising capital in silicon valley) stop in their tracks.
sure, it’s a lot longer, and it won’t attract customers like 40-something-year-olds trying to change careers or get a new job, but you’ll probably get a lot more sales than with a generic offer.
your headline is perhaps the most important aspect of your offer. for example, you can test personalization, urgency, mystery, and other headline tactics. note that while you’re testing headlines, they’ll probably perform differently with different audiences.
the next step is to immediately validate the customer’s pain point.
the execution of this will be different depending on whether you choose a long-form or short-form sales page, though the concept is relatively similar.
if you choose to do a short-form sales page, you might have a tagline or subhead that is more specific.
ramit sethi’s course dream job has a short-form sales page, and the tagline is: “what if you woke up on monday morning excited to go to work?”
notice that this taps into an underlying pain point. most people probably take a career course because they want to make more money. however, he taps into the underlying pain point — most people wake up on monday and don’t want to go to work because they hate their job.
with a short sales page, you don’t need to have a huge story. like in the example above, the tagline should hit on the pain point, and then it clearly states who the product or service targets.
however, if you do have a long sales page, you can dive into a story about how you struggled with a similar pain point (which will ultimately set you up to show how you overcame it and how this course teaches what you learned).
for example, here’s ramit sethi’s talk to anyone. it’s a long-form sales page that begins with a short blurb about how he’s successful and then dives into the story of how he started as a shy and awkward person, similar to how his target audience feels.
this is the exact pain point his audience feels on the surface … and then he goes even deeper into these pain points with how it affected him, specific scenarios, and more that make it easy for the audience to identify with him.
to make it even more relatable, use your best testimonials from customers about the pain points they experienced before your product existed.
this will make your audience nod along and feel that they have finally found someone who understands them.
to set up the pain point you want people to identify with:
- mention underlying pains (being “forgettable”)
- mention specific examples (standing in the corner checking email)
- be empathetic (“i would say the wrong thing at the wrong time …”)
now that you’ve set up the pain point and have your audience nodding their head, the next thing is to show how you mastered that challenge, how you teach it in the course, and prove it with the benefits they’ll receive.
for example, justin goff and stefan georgi run a coaching program called copy accelerator (which is about $3,500 per month).
a major part of copy accelerator is coaching calls. rather than just stating they offer coaching calls, they share what members learn during these coaching calls and the specific benefits:
therefore, don’t just write a generic offer. explain the benefits and value behind each aspect of your offer.
if you have a short sales page, you can simply explain the key benefits the person will receive by performing the cta with simple bullets.
here’s an example from conversion rate experts:
unfortunately, nobody cares about your product or service if you’re the only one who believes it works.
therefore, reach out to people for testimonials. if you’re doing a launch for the first time, ask some people if they would consider beta testing the product and leaving a testimonial.
if you don’t have a network, you can go into facebook groups, slack groups, or even just cold email your list asking if they would like to participate in a beta test.
when asking people for testimonials, ask them how it affected their life/business beyond obvious answers.
for example, if you have a dating coaching program, a testimonial that shows someone found a serious relationship with your course is good, but a better testimonial would be someone who now feels confident walking into bars and has options to turn down people.
notice that this taps into deeper pain points that your target audience will resonate with.
here’s a great example of a testimonial:
if your product has any data, such as screenshots from analytics, bank statements, or other dashboards, be sure to use them!
for example, here’s a screenshot of proof from a student in jordan mackey’s course.
adding proof not only makes you seem more credible, it also makes your promise feel more real.
other forms of proof can be screenshots of comments in your community.
however, make sure that any testimonials and proof you provide are real and aren’t forged.
as you get to the end of your sales page, answer objections and faqs, as this is essential to increasing your conversions.
first, start by learning what the most common objections are by doing customer research. if you’re just guessing, you’ll likely miss out on a lot of opportunities.
therefore, if you have a sales team, ask them what the most common objections are and what kind of solutions customers want.
you can also look through emails and even call your customers directly to ask what their reservations were before purchasing. if you currently don’t have any clients or customers, do market research.
for example, if you have a course on dating, look on reddit to see what people are saying about your competitors.
this review is very illuminating:
even if you don’t have customers, ask people in your target market if they would get on the phone with you to discuss these issues. you can do this by asking people in facebook groups, slack groups, and even at local meet ups.
then work these objections into your copywriting.
for example, in ramit sethi’s talk to anyone course, he discovered that a common underlying objection is that people will think that practicing social skills is weird. he addresses it with this copy:
this is another great example of how you can address common faqs on a shorter sales page:
who this is not for
finally, be sure to address who is not an ideal fit for your course. this does two things:
- it deters people who aren’t your target audience and will reduce churn and unnecessary customer support.
- it encourages people in your target audience because they can see they’re not the characteristics you describe.
here’s a great example from a strength training program:
as you can see, most serious athletes (the target audience for this program) would not want to be categorized with the “who this is not for” section.
by having this chart, the right audience is actually agreeing with the seller, making them more inclined to make the purchase.
in talk to anyone, ramit also shows who is not a great fit for the course:
now the only thing left is to close out the offer with a cta. ideally, you should have ctas throughout your sales page, though the one at the end should be the most noticeable.
to optimize your cta, make sure you include:
- a countdown timer
- a money-back, risk-free guarantee
- any monthly payment offers
- the main value proposition one more time
- any bonuses
here’s a great example of a final cta:
a/b testing a sales page
now that you’ve created a sales page, monitor how people behave on the page and a/b test various aspects of your page.
start by collecting data. for example, add a heatmap on your landing page to track how far people scroll. if there is any single place where people quit scrolling, analyze that section and test different copy to see how you can decrease bounces.
another thing you can test is your traffic generation strategies.
for example, if you’re using facebook ads to drive traffic, test different audiences. if you’re running multiple ads from google, facebook, and affiliate pages, turn off the ones that bring the lowest roi and invest more in the ones that are performing well.
you can also test pricing, ctas, testimonials, and more.
take advantage of the a/b testing tools that come with landing page builders.
you may even test two entirely different landing pages. for example, conversion rate experts famously did a cro test on crazy egg’s sales page and increased conversions by 363%.
if you’re still stuck, look at your competitors’ sales pages for inspiration.
you can even use the wayback machine to see what their landing page previously looked like and how they have changed it. this will help you see what worked and what didn’t so that you avoid their mistakes.
start creating now
while the strategies and tips in this post will help you on your way to success, there is no silver bullet to crafting the perfect sales page.
instead, practice and experience are the best ways to improve, so start creating your first sales page now.
once you’ve started generating traffic, test various elements and don’t give up. over time, you’ll notice copy hacks, traffic generation strategies, and more that turn your sales pages into conversion machines, so just get started!