How do I write a sales page that doesn’t feel icky?
This question, or a variation of it, pops up all the time in Facebook groups and forums where online business owners hang out — and that’s hardly surprising.
It’s easy to think that selling has to be smarmy, icky, sleazy, and just plain yuck. It’s easy to think that — but also wrong.
It’s absolutely possible to write a sales page that doesn’t feel salesy — and that doesn’t sound like a million other sales pages on the Internet. You don’t have to follow a formula that sounds, well, formulaic. You don’t have to channel old infomercials or sell your soul.
You can write a great sales page, feel awesome about your offer, and make the sales you want, all without selling your soul.
In this post, you’ll learn what your sales page absolutely needs to include, plus what you definitely don’t want to do.
Don’t Write Your Sales Page… Yet
Before we get to the how-to part, here are two REALLY important things you need to know before you ever start to write your sales page.
- You cannot write a sales page, or even sell anything, until you know EXACTLY what you are selling, and EXACTLY who you’re selling it to.
Super obvious, right? And yet. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at a sales page with a headline like, “Live the life of your dreams.” Or “Maximize your potential and achieve your goals.”
Dude. I have no idea what that means.
What the heck are you selling, and who is it for?
“Live the life of your dreams” could be an ebook about losing weight, a course on study habits for college students, or a coaching program for couples. I just don’t know — which means that even if I’m the very person you want to sell to, I’ll never know it.
We’ll go into more detail on this in the how-to section. For now, the second really important thing you need to know before you write your sales page is this:
- Your motivation should always be that you want to help your ideal client.
If your motivation for selling whatever you're selling is repaying your student loan debt, or buying a fancy new car, or whatever you want money for, your sales page will be smarmy, icky, salesy, and sleazy.
When you started your business, there was something — beyond making money — that prompted you to do this thing. You saw a need, you saw a pain point, and you wanted to help someone, or some group, do something.
(If that’s not the case, then you can click away now, because this post won’t help you.)
Get back to your WHY. Think about why you started your business and reconnect with that before you try to sell anything.
Sales should never be about taking money from people. It should always be about providing massive value.
Your Sales Page Headline
The headline for your sales page needs to be amazing — and it has to include the benefit that people get from your product or service.
Remember, you need to know what you’re selling and who it’s for, and now you have to add in the benefit that your person gets from whatever you’re selling.
In plain English, you’re NOT selling an amazing course. You’re NOT selling awesome coaching services, or a workbook, or templates, or anything like that.
What you’re selling is the RESULT. What a person GETS.
For example, let’s say you’re a designer, and you have a package where you offer 5 custom-designed Pinterest pins and 5 templates that bloggers can customize as needed — all for an affordable price.
Here are a couple of TERRIBLE headlines you could use:
Improve Your Branding
Supercharge your pins!
The Blogger’s Bundle: Unique Designs for Your Brand
Customizable Templates for Pinterest
Nope, nope, nope. None of those will do the job.
Hey! Now we’re talking! You know right away whether this offer is for you. If I want lovely, professional pins to help me get more traffic, I’ll keep reading.
Right away, you know if this is for you — or not.
Your headline should be specific and clear. Save the cute and catchy phrases for something else.
Choose the Right Image for Your Sales Page
When you choose an image for your sales page, go with one that works together with your headline to show people the “after.” What will life be like after they buy your product or service? That’s what you want to show.
For example, my signature course is called Writing for Money. I work with moms at home with kids who want to break into flce writing. So the image I use is a mom working on a laptop with her baby right next to her.
Here's another example, this one from Amy Eaton at AmyTakesPictures.com.
Check out the headline:
Snap, Sell, Succeed.
The first and last course you'll ever need to create stunning product photos like a pro.
The image? That cool camera, snapping product photos.
What to Write on Your Sales Page
Once you have a great headline and an image, you’re ready to actually sit down and write your copy, and this is where people tend to screw up.
Here are the three biggest mistakes people make — and what you need to do instead.
Mistake #1: Your sales page is all about you.
If you take nothing else away from this post, take this: Do NOT use the word “I” on your sales page. Use the word “you” instead, and make your sales page all about your people.
Who is your favorite person in the world? I’m guessing it’s YOU, not me. So if you came to a page that was all about me and my awesomeness, you would probably be a little bored.
Your people feel the same way. As amazing as you are, they don’t want to read about you. They want to read about THEMSELVES.
Your sales page should never say things like, “I'm going to execute at a high level consistently for you.” I don’t even know what that means, but I don’t like it.
Your sales page should not have headings like, Who am I? Some of my accomplishments, A bit more about me, and The reason I'm here. Just no.
NOTHING on your sales page should be about you. EVERYTHING should be about your people.
Mistake #2: Your sales page is full of features.
Your sales page should be about your people, and specifically about the BENEFITS your people will get.
You wouldn’t want to say, for example, “I made these awesome worksheets!”
Remember you don’t want to use the word “I.”
But you also don’t want to say, “You get these awesome worksheets!”
Because, who the flip cares about worksheets? How many worksheets are on your computer right now?
Talk about results. How do these worksheets help your people? What results will they get from the worksheets? In other words, what’s the benefit?
Worksheets don’t excite anyone. On the other hand, if you say something like,
Use the Grab and Go Formula worksheet to figure out which meals will give you the most flavor and nutrition — and help you lose weight — in just 20 minutes a week!
Well, now people are excited.
Worksheets and coaching calls and modules and private Facebook groups are FEATURES. Talk about the benefits and focus on what people get.
Mistake #3: Your sales page doesn’t speak to your audience.
You know your topic really, really well. My friend Rachel is a fabulous interior decorator, and she was talking to me once about how people have a lot of trouble choosing the right sheen.
“The right WHAT?” I asked her.
“The right sheen,” she repeated.
“Um.” I said. “I don’t know what a sheen is.”
Rachel explained that sheen refers to how shiny the paint is. This is something she knows, because this is her field. But if Rachel wrote a sales page,I’d advise her not to talk about sheen, but rather to use a phrase like how shiny the paint is because that’s how non-decorator people talk.
You have to use the language your people actually use, and not the language you are used to using.
Your audience doesn’t know as much as you do, and it’s really important to remember that. It’s not about talking down to people, it’s about starting where they are.
Storytelling on Your Sales Page
When you write your sales page, you need to share stories — the right way.
A lot of people do this thing where they say: Five months ago, I was just like you! And then, I did this AMAZING thing, and NOW, my life is AWESOME.
This feels icky — or at the very least, like you’re following someone else’s script.
He tells a great story about how, when he was learning to code, he literally didn’t have anything to show for it but lines of code, and no one wants to look at lines of code.
His course has you creating apps from day one, even if you don’t have a background in coding, so the story is, “You can show people these cool apps!”
He talks about how it feels to sit in a classroom or stare at a screen full of code, and how it’s boring and not engaging. Compare that with sitting down and building a working app in an hour, something you can show people — that’s exciting!
The stories on your sales page should always keep the focus on your person — the obstacles in the way, the problem that’s keeping her from getting what she wants. Make your stories about how your person feels.
How to Answer Objections On Your Sales Page
If you’ve spent time listening to your people the way you should, you’ll have a clear sense of their potential objections to buying what you’re selling. You’ll know their hesitations and obstacles, and you’ll be able to address those topics in your copy.
For example, the first time I ran Writing for Money, I talked about how comprehensive the course is, and how much information it covers.
I discovered, however, that my people — busy moms with young children — were more concerned that they wouldn’t have the time to do the work. So, when I rewrote the sales page for the second launch of the course, I made sure to explain that the work would only take about an hour a day — and that I’d show students how to find that time.
You won’t be able to address the things that are keeping people from buying if you don’t know what those obstacles and hesitations are. That’s why you need to listen carefully to your people and ask them the right, relevant questions.
The Most Important Part of Your Sales Page
Without question, the most important part of your sales page is the call to action. This is where you ask people to actually buy what you’re selling.
You definitely don’t want to go through the process of writing that whole sales page and then not bother to give people an easy way to buy, right?
Your call to action should remind your people of the benefits they get and the pain and inconvenience of not buying. Then ask them explicitly to buy.
Yep, you must flat out ASK THEM TO BUY, even if it’s hard or it makes you feel weird. You MUST be specific. You can have a button that says “Sign Me Up!” or “Give Me Access” or “Let’s Do This!” or whatever works with your brand, but there must be an explicit invitation to BUY.
And that button should be the ONLY clickable item on your page.
You want people to have one choice: Buy this thing, or close the page.
So your sales page doesn’t have a sign-up box for your newsletter or a link to your blog or anything else. There’s no regular navigation bar, and nowhere else to go.
Buy this thing, or close the page — those are your only choices.