How to write a sales page - the basics

Writing a Sales Page - especially if it’s the first time you’ve done it - can feel a bit daunting. There’s SO MUCH info out there about creating urgency, conversion statistics, how to ‘hook’ your reader, and so on.

Even if you can ignore all the scuzzy fear-based tactics being taught, the sheer quantity of information out there about copywriting can add up to making the process seem overwhelming.

However, if you keep some basic principles in mind, you can put a page together which you might want to come back and refine later, but which will have everything in place that you really need.

One of the principles you need to bear in mind is that there’s an ideal flow to a Sales Page, so you need to make sure you’re putting the right thing in the right place.

Here’s the structure you need to remember:

Relevance/credibility/value - this neat little trick (hat tip to Tad Hargrave of Marketing for Hippies) is a good way of thinking about how to structure any copy, but particularly sales pages.

If you don't start by calling out what makes your piece relevant to your reader, you've lost them already - so that's why you always need to start by establishing relevance. Name the issue that's been bugging them - or start at the other end and name the solution they hardly dare dream of. Either way, catch their attention by making it clear that you're talking to them, specifically, and that you have the key to their problem. This section is where you will really make a connection with your ideal client (and don’t worry about turning off other people, who won’t recognise this depiction of the issue - they’re not going to buy from you, so you don’t need your sales page to connect with them).

 Only once you've made that connection is there any point in establishing your credibility (nobody cares how credible you are if they're not interested in your topic in the first place). You can establish credibility in a few ways - case studies and testimonials are the obvious route (stories are always good!), and PR can help, if you’ve been featured in guest posts or podcasts or other places that are meaningful to your potential customers -  but you can also demonstrate a strong point of view to create credibility. And of course, you can talk about your experience and qualifications (which, you guessed it, will be more effectively done through stories than lists).

Finally, now that your reader believes you are addressing her problem and that you have the chops to take it on properly, she's become interested in the value you're providing. Here's where you can lay out what your solution is, how it works, what's included and what's not. And here’s where you actually ask for the sale - and provide a link to buy (or to book a discovery call, or whatever the necessary next step might be).

 It's a simple structure - but it works. Take a look at your own Sales Pages and see if there’s anything you’d like to move around to ensure that you start with relevance, move into establishing credibility and then offer value.

 Once you’ve got the structure in place, there are a few other points that are really worth bearing in mind.

  1.  You need to write from your reader’s point of view, rather than your own. Make sure that you’re using your ideal client’s language - that you’re using the exact words that they use themselves to describe their problem or the solution that they’re hoping for. You also want most of your sentences to be structured as ‘You think…’ or ‘You’ll get…’ rather than ‘I will do X.’

  2. Also, you want the language to feel informal and conversational - make sure it sounds more like how you actually speak than the way you’ve been taught to write formally. Use contractions (don’t rather than do not etc) - and remember that you CAN start a sentence with and (while also breaking most of the other rules that your high school English teacher taught you).

  3. One of the easiest ways to work out whether your copy is conversational is to read it aloud. Does it sound natural? Do you sound like you're reading out a formal document or do you sound like you're talking? This is one of the quickest and easiest to implement tips out there, and yet few people actually take advantage of it. It’s free! It takes five minutes – do it!

  4. Finally, you need to ensure that your page is easily scannable (amongst many other benefits, this means you can get away with writing longer text - which most people find easier than being super-concise).

    As a rule of thumb, most pieces of writing will be stronger if you leave them for at least a day, come back with fresh eyes to re-read and then aim to cut at least 10% of the word count.

    You can make it scannable by pulling out sub-headings, possibly highlighting one or two quotes and bolding for emphasis. Split long paragraphs (anything over four sentences) into two and make sure you don't have any monster sentences in there either. Numbered lists or bullet points help people to navigate as they scan.

  5. Check for typos and, if spelling and grammar are weak points for you, ask a friend to give the piece a quick check.

 So there you have it - that’s all you need to do to have a functional sales page. Of course, there’s a LOT more you CAN do, to deepen the connection with your reader, to make the page flow better and to make sure you’re getting the real value of your offering over more strongly.

I’ve created a whole e-course for people who are ready to start really getting into the nitty-gritty of making small tweak after small tweak to their page - and it’s worth bearing in mind that small tweaks add up. If your non-optimised page converts at 1% (which is an entirely standard rate in the online world) and then your tweaks take that to 2%, you’ve doubled your income from that offering. So, small tweaks are worth spending some time on - but first you need to get your page up and running and see how it performs once your potential customers start seeing it.