Anatomy of a sales page, part I

Ah, the mighty sales page. It has the power to convert browsers to customers, persuade on-the-fencers, and lead people who didn’t even know that what you sell existed to wonder how they ever lived without you.

You can write it once and let it live on the web, reigning in customers for years.

It also saves you a boatload of time having sales conversations because it’s already done the heavy lifting for you—explaining all the nooks and crannies of what’s for sale. 

To put it bluntly, it can make you lots of cash.

Hands down, it’s one of the most important types of copy. And also one of the most fun to write if you know what you’re doing. 

Some of the best sales pages are written like a letter to a friend and involve no high pressure or underhanded gimmicks to convert you into a paying customer.

I’ve written sales pages for clients that bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

So, how does one master this mythical, magical beast?

There are the basic bones of a sales page and there are tried and true techniques, but within that, there is a lot of room for creativity. Many different styles of sales pages exist, but the order of what information gets presented when typically stays the same.

Below are some highlights of what constitutes a knock-out sales page. Many large, heavy, and dusty books have been written on sales pages, so know that this is not meant to be an all-inclusive tutorial, but rather a quick, high-level overview. You’re welcome!

I think of a sales page as taking someone on a psychological journey. The first thing you’ll need is a stop-em-in-their-tracks headline.

In my mind, there are two types of headlines—either the uber-clear and pithy such as Marie Forleo’s “Get your dream business started.”

Or, the catchy as all get out, such as Ash Ambirge’s “Be Unf*ckwithable.” 

The next step is presenting the problem. At worst, this is the equivalent of letting your reader suffer under the scalpel with too little anesthesia. At best, this is a way to make them aware of the problem in an empathetic auntie kind of way. 

You don’t have to drag ‘em through the mud for too long, just a sentence or two can be enough wafting if done right.

Then take it higher. This part is called presenting the dream. Here’s where you get to show ‘em the polar opposite alternative to the mire that you just reminded them that they’re in. 

“Imagine never having to walk your pet rock again.”

Yes! Yes!

Or, to use an example from Gabrielle Bernstein: “Your marketing efforts will pay off big-time. Your ideal clients will start showing up easily. You’ll earn the kind of money that provides the freedom you crave. And you’ll make an impact doing what you love.”

That does sound wonderous. Did you see what she did? In four short lines, she nailed the dream. Each of those four things is the flip side of the problems her prospect is experiencing—namely, too few dollars in his or her pocket.

Moving onto…the offer! Now’s your time to shine. Present what you’ve got that’s going to be the bridge from Dumpsville, USA to Shangri-la. Let us see the name of that class, program, product or package (in all its benefit-driven glory). Tell us less about the nuts and bolts of this thing, and more about how it’s going to make life extra awesome. There’s a time to lay down the logistics like the time, date, how many, and how much. But for now, keep it focused on what your thing-y will do for them.

Will you:

Become unapologetic when raising your rates?

Get the confidence to sing the mighty praises of your talents so you never lack for clients?

Learn how to write a book that will make you internet famous, at least famous in your mom’s eyes?

What you sell can do all that? Bless you. I’ll take three.

The headline, problem, dream, and offer are the first parts of a super solid and sparkly sales page. Next, we’ll cover topics like creating urgency and showing off the bright and shiny features that will keep them from clicking off the page without buying. 

Until next time,