You probably don’t like a long-form sales page. You’re not alone.
Nobody wants to scroll endlessly down a sales page to be told in a dozen different ways why they should buy a product. As a business owner, this isn’t important. What matters is sales.
David Ogilvy wrote that he had only seen short copy beat long-form sales copy twice in his career . It is quite a statement coming from the founder of one of the largest marketing agencies in the world.
Of course, you don’t need to take his word for it.
When you go to practically any affiliate marketing platform and check their most successful products and promotions, all of them use a long-form sales pages. Or their video equivalent. The top offers generate $1,000,000+ per week.
The full guide (link at the bottom) shares actionable tips on how to create your own sales page from scratch. It even gives you a framework you can steal for writing sales pages, and a checklist to go along with it. Below, I’ll outline the structure and show a few interesting examples. For all the details, definitely check the full article.
What is a Long-Form Sales Page
The name is a bit of a giveaway…
A long-form sales page contains a lot of sales copy.Before the internet, long-form sales letters were editorial pieces. These were designed to be placed in newspapers and magazines, or sent via direct mail.
The example below is one of the most famous cases of a long-form sales page. It was written almost a century ago by John Caples.
Online, you probably don’t come across long-form sales pages very often. There’s a good reason for this. Long-form sales pages are designed for the hard sell. They are used online for:
- Pay Per Click landing pages
- Sales pages for your email list
- Sales pages for webinar attendees
The people visiting these sales pages are primed to buy. They clicked on the link because they were interested in purchasing something.
The long-form sales page is there to convert them.
Long Form Sales Page Versus Short Sales Page
There are several characteristics most long-form sales pages share. These characteristics include:
- Clear offer: They sell one product
- No navigation: The only place a reader should go is up or down the page. The best place they can end up is your checkout
- Have a narrative structure: There is a logic to how the narrative pulls readers into and down the sales page
- Large Centered Crosshead: Clear sub-headlines that highlight main points the copywriter wishes to
- Hard to Miss Purchase Info: This will include deadlines, guarantees, payment options, etc.
- Bullet Points: Clear overview of the product features, benefits, and outcomes
Short copy pages sell softly. Many of the characteristics of a short copy sales page are the opposite of a long-form sales page. For instance, most short form sales pages have:
- A global navigation menu and links to other content
- An awareness of the fold and why you should care about it
- An easy to scan aesthetically pleasing design – often following F-pattern reading
- Less prominent pricing and cost associated copy
- Multiple CTA in one place – for example – Buy Now, Learn More, etc.
With short copy, there is a recognition that a sale will happen when a person is ready. There is no urgency. This is why conversion rates are lower.
When Should You Use a Long-Form Sales Page
There are particular niches and circumstances where long-form sales copy performs well.
Products and situations that a long-form sales page are suited to include:
- Information products like online courses, PDFs, etc.
- Heavily discounted product or a limited time offer
- When the product costs more than $20
- Any product that is available for a one-time price
- Any product that you can position as a “cure” to a problem your target audience is facing
This definition feels like a catchall, and in some ways, it is.
If you have to think long and hard before you make a purchase, a long-form sales page will be effective. The more objections you need to overcome, the more copy you need .
Copywriting 101: The 3-Step Copywriting Formula
1. Identify Your Customer Pain Points
The more specific you are with your copy, the better it’ll work. It sounds like specific means you’ll catch less people, but that’s a trap mentality. Targeting no one means targeting no one.
If you make the mistake of writing a long-form sales page which fails to address your customers needs and wants they won’t buy from you .
2. Decide How to Structure Your Digital Sales Page
One of the most commonly used copywriting formulas for long-form sales pages is the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action).
Below is an example of a sales page formula. It’s an effective rinse and repeat copywriting formula for creating a long-form sales page.
If you’re starting on your journey as a copywriter, follow strategies used by copywriting experts. The strategies they use are based on years of experience .
Write long-form sales pages that looks more like a blog post or an email than a sales page. They are effective.
3. Genre: Decide On Your Approach
Six common copywriting genres you’ll frequently encounter:
The Personal Letter
This is a direct message to your audience. You position yourself as a friend. The letter from a niche influencer is another popular approach that falls into this genre.
A personal letter works well when you have a clear idea in your mind of the audience you are writing to and their pain points.
I Tried Everything
The world is against the customer. They work hard. The only reason they haven’t succeeded is that they didn’t have the right approach. Luckily you’re there to help…
Well, this is the premise for the I Tried Everything sales page.
This message will resonate with a vast market across a variety of niches. For example:
- Internet marketing & SEO
- Exercise and fitness
This style of copywriting works for any vertical where people struggle to achieve a goal.
The Open Letter
The open letter presents the author as an objective and trustworthy voice. Think friendly college professor who relies on facts, and stats to make the case.
The open letter is a format that is very effective for timely news stories. It can look more like a blog post than a sales page, but written well it is just as effective.
The Reluctant Hero
The Reluctant Hero is the most commonly used sales page formula. The plot for these sales pages follows one that you would be familiar with from a Disney style fairytale. It goes a bit like this:
Once upon a time in a land far away…
- A person is forced to develop a solution to a problem he or she encounters/ they have a natural talent
- He or she becomes an expert in their field
- Friends and business acquaintances start asking for help
- The pupils start to get similar amazing results
- Now you, the customer, have the opportunity to purchase the product or access the course
This storyline is powerful. It will resonate with your audience.
That’s assuming it is believable. And this is important. The story needs to be credible and resonate with customer experiences and problems.
The Special Report
The Special Report is a sales technique that leverages authority and credibility. It usually takes the form of an article that shares a unique insight into a niche.
There are particular niches where this formula is effective. For example, banking. A headline like, “500% Increase in 2019: A Special Report On The Alternative Meat Market” by JPMorgan Chase, would be an undeniable page-turner for anyone interested in investing in stocks.
There are a couple of characteristics of a special report:
- The special report addresses something that has just occurred
- It covers a concern your audience have or something they are interested in
- You use data and statistics to justify the points that are made
- It is written, or ghostwritten, by an authority on the topic
The Special Report works really well for information products.
You’re In Our Tribe
People naturally gravitate into tribes. It’s a well-known phenomenon that impacts everything from politics through to advertising. This is a human characteristic that copywriters leverage.
One of the longest running examples of a You’re In Our Tribe sales is the “Tale of Two Young Men.” This was written by Martin Conroy. The sales letter is responsible for selling $2 billion worth of Wall Street Journal subscriptions.
The sales letter tells the story of two people with the same opportunities in life. However, thanks to reading the Wall Street Journal, one was very successful. The other was a middle-ranking manager.
This copywriting formula works well for an info-course. This is how the Wall Street Journal was positioned in the famous ad.
Your 5-Point Sales Page Checklist
1. Create a Compelling Headline
When it comes to a sales page, your headline is critical. Ideally, your headline should do the following:
- Focus on the most significant pain point your customer has
- Offer a clear value proposition
- Quickly reflect what the reader can expect from the rest of the page
On a long-form sales page, the headline is quickly followed up with a sub-headline that expands on the promise.
Don’t be afraid to play around with the visuals to emphasize words.Underline text, use bold, and different colors. It might look messy, but it’s effective.
2.How to Use Crosshead in Your Copy
One of the things that distinguishes a long-form sales page is the amount of copy on the page. A long-form sales page can have thousands of words of copy.
At some point as you scroll down a page which is just a chunk of text, your eyes will glaze over. The copywriting solution to this issue is known as crossheads.
Crossheads are headlines that run across the page. They break up the content.
Crossheads are used every 3-4 paragraphs in a piece of sales copy, or on a sales page. They draw the eye of the reader and make them engage with the copy. The other characteristic of a crosshead is they often tell a story.
The crossheads are like chapters in a book. You don’t need to read every word of the copy to understand what is being discussed.
3. Summarize the Benefits Of Your Offer
It can help to think of a long-form sales page as a funnel. At the top part of the funnel, you deal with objections, and create desire. As you get closer to the buy buttons, you need to focus the mind of your reader.
You do this by summarizing the benefits of your offer.
There are a couple of different methods for doing this. One strategy is the Johnson Box. This is named after the copywriter Frank H. Johnson. It’s essentially a box in a border that sums up your offer. You can see a variation of this used on Consulting.com.
Later down the page, you’ll often find copywriters using an expanded checklist to summarize the offer. You’ll have a small headline with an accompanying description.
These feature and product summaries will invariably appear before the buy button.
4. Convert a Customer With a Suitable Bonus
People love free things. Especially people who are on the edge of buying something, but don’t know if they should do it at that moment.
A limited-time bonus is a standard marketing strategy for increasing conversions. They are particularly useful if you are running a special offer. It puts customers into a “now or never” mindset.
Common bonuses include:
- access to an online course
- an information product like an eBook
- Coaching call
- Access to a private community
- Access to software
- Templates or transcripts
The bonus should, of course, be relevant to the main offer on your sales page.
5. Include an FAQ Section
An FAQ section at the end of your sales page is a logical way to wrap up your sales copy. The FAQ section is a chance for you to address the obstacles that your customer has directly.
In many ways, it serves the same purpose as the summary of benefits:
- Summarizes the pain points a customer may have
- Condenses the points you addressed in the copy
- Addresses issues that you didn’t have the opportunity to include in your sale copy
You can create the FAQ section before launching your offer.
A better strategy is to collect the common questions your customers have. You can do this through cataloging customer support inquiries.
While you’re not going to learn how to write a sales page overnight, this guide has hopefully covered most of the fundamentals.
You’ve seen a 3-step strategy for writing sales copy. You have a couple of sales page templates and formulas that are proven to work.
Finally, you know the essential components of a sales page. This will give you a framework you can work from when creating your copy. The only thing left for you to do is decide if you want to use a long-form sales page and put the theory into practice.
PS. To find the most compelling headline, come up with as many ideas as you can, choose 3-10 and test them as ads on Google and Facebook. See which one performs best and start with that headline as your cornerstone idea and focus.