Let’s be honest: Nobody really enjoys building landing pages, of which sales pages are the most common. As marketers, we know that we need to build and deliver sales pages to customers because that’s what converts them. But we certainly don’t want to. As a result, the sales pages that get built are lackluster. They’re dull. And most troubling of all, they scare away customers.
If a customer senses that a landing page or sales page was built reluctantly, or as a last resort because it simply had to be built, she will more than likely turn away. The smell of desperation is never a good thing in the marketing world. And when a sales page reeks of it, the result are low sales and low conversions.
So, what steps can you take to ensure that your sales page sparkles, attracts and even delights your customers?
Here are some guideposts for you as you journey towards your next sales page build:
1. Create long copy.
Long form content converts and short form content looks spammy. That’s why the so-called “advertorial” has become so popular and useful in marketing circles. People don’t mind looking over a product review or reading even a long story- but serve them a big flashing ad with 10 words or fewer and you get banned.
You might already be thinking that long copy works only for B2B sales, not for $5 figurines or $1.99 e-books. You may have heard that nobody has the time or patience to read through a 1,000-word ad about wines or fishing jigs or candles.
Wrong. Customers enjoy delving into the nuances of the product they are about to spend their hard-earned money on. Especially when there are similar-minded competitor products, with many of them priced far lower than yours. However, you must take the right approach when serving that long form content. What’s the secret?
Make long copy look like short copy.
How can this be done?
2. Divide your content.
Think of your content like a blog post or newspaper article. Notice how these content forms rarely, if ever, showcase long paragraphs or rambling quotes. Information is presented in a top-down format (also called the inverted pyramid) of most important to least important. Details are provided as sidebars, infographics or even as side references- not as top level content.
In this respect, make your headline short and to the point. Don’t create an air of mystery about it- just announce what your sales page is about and be done.
State your value proposition in the first or second text paragraphs.
Create bullet points for product features and benefits. Focus on the benefits.
Generate a comparison table if you are going to showcase several family products or competitor products.
Add product images, videos and applications (e.g., how a cake looks when baked in the advertised bake pan). Images are especially necessary because they give the customer a place to “rest” his eyes before reading additional copy.
By dividing your content and outlining its flow, you create the illusion that it’s actually short form content. Readers hesitate to read a long copywritten letter or ad, but they won’t be too hard-pressed to gloss over some outlined features or bullet points.
3. Divide- and conquer– your content.
Successful sales pages don’t throw everything including the kitchen sink at their readers. Instead, they parse out the content. For example, a sales page might start off describing how one particular coffee maker generates freshly ground beans. This benefit will take up one small chunk of the page, followed by an image, infographic, chart, etc.
At the end of that segment, there will be a call-to-action (CTA). Readers who are ready to purchase based on this segment alone won’t need to scroll to the bottom of the sales page. No, they will be able to quit out of the page instantly- by clicking its CTA.
However, readers who are still not convinced that this is the absolutely best coffee maker for them will have a second segment to read. This section might discuss how the coffee maker offers a milk frother or how it purifies the water. At the end of this second segment, another CTA will be provided.
By concluding your sections with CTAs, you offer customers a chance to quickly agree to your offer. They won’t need to scroll through the page or read more content. They won’t have to look at more images. Instead, they’ll already be at the checkout page, credit card in hand.
4. Make it personal.
Consumers are acutely aware that a sales page is generated by “marketing,” that impersonal, money-hungry side of capitalism that is often viewed as the devil. Personalize your sales page by interspersing stories about real-life customers. Alternately, add stories of your own. If you wish to do neither, create educational sections that discuss some interesting historical element of the product.
Stories are a good way of putting your customers at ease. More to the point, stories can be used as illustrators of product features and benefits.
The sales page doesn’t have to be scary.
Sales pages aren’t about to disappear, so making them more approachable is key. This can be accomplished by breaking up the content and adding calls to actions at key points. Humanizing the content with stories or educational elements can help increase conversions. In the end, you want to aim for a sales page that provides value to its reader and doesn’t just go after her wallet. Such contentis certainly more welcome, even if it exists ‘only’ on a sales page.