Copywriting

The 6-part outline that the best sales pages have in common

Great sales pages don’t just happen. They take tons of research and planning and talking to potential customers before you ever write a single line of copy.

Then, once you are ready to write, it can take second, third, sometimes even fifteenth drafts to make sure you’ve gotten the tone and the content exactly right.

But there’s no need to rediscover or reinvent the sales page when you’re just starting out — you can build on the success of others who have come before you. It starts with a proven structure that sales writers have been using to craft killer sales pages for years.

The structure of the best sales pages

Screenplays have three acts, haikus have 17 syllables — and sales pages have their own unique structure:

  1. A headline that grabs the reader by the eyeballs and says “YOU! I’m talking to you. Pay attention.”
  2. An introduction that shows the reader you know them, by describing their hopes, dreams, and fears to them in the exact language that they themselves would use.
  3. An offer that lays out exactly what you have for them and how it will help address the problem you just told them about.
  4. A price — which, by the time they get this far down the sales page, customers will be more than happy to pay.
  5. Testimonials & support that neutralize objections and put buyers’ minds at ease.
  6. A call to action that wraps it all up in a beautiful bow and pushes the reader to take action now.

Knowing the theory is great. But to really understand how the pieces fit together — and how they work on the reader — it helps to see them in action. So here, we’ve broken down three sales pages written by actual GrowthLab students (plus one bonus page), showing you exactly what they’re doing, and why it works.

Study Hero

Link: https://www.phyzzle.com/study-hero/

What it’s done: 2.6% conversion rate for all traffic / 8.5% conversion rate from email subscribers (2-5% is considered good)  

1. Headline

Phyzzle founder Tom Miller kicks off the sales page for his course Study Hero with a powerful promise — one that makes the reader take notice and say what every great sales page makes readers say: “I want that  tell me how.”

“Learn how top math, science, and engineering students ace their exams and crush their courses, without the stress, frustration, and long hours we’re all accustomed to.”

But before he swoops in with the promise, Tom does something else that’s equally — and maybe even more — powerful: he describes his audience’s state of mind in the kind of language that they themselves might actually use.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 10.57.03 AM

“I’m tired of studying my ass off with nothing to show for it”: You can practically hear a frustrated student coming back to their dorm room after a particularly brutal test and saying this exact thing to their roommate.

This is something that virtually all of the best sales pages do: they talk the way their audience talks. The good news: it’s a trick that’s really simple — although definitely not easy — to replicate. 

Here’s how you do it: before you ever write a line of copy, talk to your customers. Spend time listening to your target audience about what frustrates them, what infuriates them, what they wish was different about their life. And don’t just listen to the substance of what they’re saying — listen to the exact words they use to describe how it feels.

Then, when the time comes to draft your sales page, all of that insight became fuel to sales copy that sounds so much like your target audience, they’ll think they wrote it themselves. And in a way, they will have.

2. Introduction

With readers firmly on the hook coming out of the headline, Tom dives into the introduction, describing the challenges of studying difficult material in language that anyone who’s ever had to pass organic chemistry will understand.  

The best sales pages feel like a conversation you’re having with your audience. And here, that’s exactly what’s happening. You can hear Tom talking to students and using these exact same words.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 1.08.18 PM

Once Tom has laid out the challenges that students face, he changes gears. He goes from talking about the way things are to posing the question: “What if there was a different way?”

This is a textbook example of what we call “painting the dream.” Tom is inviting readers to imagine a hypothetical world where all of these problems they’ve encountered aren’t problems anymore — all building to the inevitable announcement that, hey, guess what? Turns out that world is not so hypothetical after all.  

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 1.10.25 PM

3. Offer

All of this is perfectly setting the scene for what comes next: Tom’s product, Study Hero. By this point, visitors have been so steeped in the challenges and frustrations of studying, reading about Study Hero is like coming across an oasis in a desert.

Screen Shot 2018 04 10 at 8.41.25 PM

Crucially, every piece of the solution that Tom lays out here maps back to the frustrations and challenges he outlined back in the introduction. With those pain points freshly painted in the readers’ minds, students can see how the solutions Tom has developed relate to those problems.

So right around now, the reader is thinking, “YES, this is what I’ve been looking for!” — in no small part because Tom primed them to be looking for it by setting up the problem first.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 1.15.49 PM

Again, Tom has been telling stories from his students throughout the page. But here, to back up the value of what he’s providing, he hits us with a set that is specifically calibrated to showcase the results that students got from the course — complete with plenty of concrete language and measurable improvements that demonstrate what that impact means.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 1.17.26 PM

4. Price

Study Hero comes backed by a strong money-back guarantee to put the buyer’s mind at ease. Tom even goes the extra step of including his personal email address right under the “Buy” button, so if would-be customers have any question, they can reach out to him directly.

Screen Shot 2018 04 10 at 8.41.52 PM

5. Neutralize objections

This is the point in the sales page where you’d expect to see some testimonials. Tom’s done those already, and he does them again here. But he does something else as well: He goes after every question or uncertainty a visitor might have about buying the course — and dismantles them one by one.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 11.20.22 AM

Some people are going to look for every reason not to buy something — that’s just how they’re wired. And if you’ve done your customer research, you likely have a good sense for what those things are and you can address them like Tom does here, dismantling that roadblock like so many Lincoln Logs and leaving the road to the buy button clear.  

6. Call to action  

Finally, Tom brings his sales page home with a close that recaps everything that readers have just seen, and issues the challenge: what are they going to do about it? And the answer to that question is right there, just waiting for readers to click.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 1.20.49 PM

The Profitable Programmer

Link: https://theprofitableprogrammercourse.pagedemo.co/

What it’s done: $40,000 in sales in 1 week

When you first land on the sales page for The Profitable Programmer, your first thought might be, “Whoa — that is a massive amount of copy. This is the internet. No way is somebody going to read all that text.”

But here’s the thing: if you’re in founder Rafeh Qazi’s target audience, and all of that copy is speaking directly to you, and a pain that you feel — you absolutely will.

1. Headline

Profitable Programmer’s headline is a hard fastball down the middle.

Screen Shot 2018 04 10 at 4.58.36 PM

By the time they’re done reading this headline, Rafeh’s visitors know:

  1. What they’re here for (to become a profitable programmer)
  2. How they’ll get there (by building Python Django full-stack web apps from scratch and landing their first client)

2. Introduction

For good measure, Rafeh follows his headline up with a few bullet points to get the party started:

Screen Shot 2018 04 10 at 3.21.15 PM

This is another example of “painting the dream.” Rafeh is showing his audience what they want — a successful freelance programming business — and setting up The Profitable Programmer as the path that will get them there.

From there, Rafeh keeps the “paint the picture” theme going by telling visitors a story: the story of their own challenges and frustrations with becoming a successful programmer, told to them in the exact words that they and people like them use to describe it.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 1.38.57 PM

One powerful way that Rafeh shows his audience that he understands what they’re feeling: by telling them he’s been there himself. Rafeh uses his own, personal story of being a struggling freelance programmer as part of his pitch to customers. He doesn’t pretend to have always been great at coding — he explains how he got good at coding, and makes that part of the value that he offers to customers.

3. Offer

He bombards the reader with offerings — 15 weeks’ worth plus bonus content — all of it calibrated precisely to what the reader is hoping to achieve.

Screen Shot 2018 04 11 at 1.24.10 PM

4. Price

By this point, your readers should be salivating so much over the possibility of buying your product that it makes price beside the point. Which is perfect — because price is what’s coming next.

Screen Shot 2018 04 10 at 5.13.59 PM

5. Neutralize objections

Rafeh follows up with testimonials from students who not only loved his product — they loved it enough that they were willing to go on the record and film a video describing their experience.

Screen Shot 2018 04 10 at 3.15.18 PM

Plus, he throws in a 60-day, risk-free guarantee, which, again, tells the reader: “I don’t want you to think you’re taking on any risk by buying. I’ll take on all the risk, because that’s how confident I am in what I’ve built.”

6. Call to action

As with any form, once you know the rules of sales pages, you can feel free to break them, and Rafeh does that here at the close of Profitable Programmer. After he’s finished addressing readers’ questions and concerns, Rafeh doesn’t spend any time summing up. He drops the opt-in field again, so people who are ready to make the buy can do so, then get out.

That’s a judgment call that Rafeh made for his page, and you’ll find yourself making similar calls with your sales copy. Every audience and every product are different. As an entrepreneur, you get to be the one calling the shots — because nobody knows your audience better than you.

Get the Job

Link: https://christinarebuffetcourses.com/join-get-the-job/

What it’s done: 14% conversion from email subscribers

The pages we’ve looked at so long have been long, and they lean heavily on storytelling to help sell. The sales page for Get the Job, Christina Rebuffet’s course on business English for non-native speakers, is different. 

Is a non-native English speaker going to feel comfortable confronting paragraphs and paragraphs of copy in English? Probably not. So Christina meets her target audience where they are, with copy that makes it easy to understand her offer.

1. Headline

Christina kicks her sales page off with a simple question: Do you want to speak professional English more confidently? 

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 11.32.50 AM

She follows her question up with a subhead that highlights all the reasons visitors should want to improve their English. More confidence, more opportunities, better salary: Christina is painting a dream for her visitors of what better English can do for them, and getting visitors to say to themselves, “I want that — show me how.”

2. Introduction

The best sales pages feel like a conversation you’re having with your audience — and in Christina’s case, that’s literally what’s happening, because her introduction is in video form.

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 12.38.40 PM

One indicator of how well Christina knows both her subject matter and her target audience: her video comes with subtitles. Non-native language speakers sometimes have difficulty following video. Christina knows that — she’s an expert English teacher, after all — so she makes it easy for readers to follow along.

3. Offer

With the stakes of getting better at professional English clearly established, Christina launches into the solution she’s developed to help students get there: an online course designed specifically to help non-native English speakers master the English they need to ace interviews and professional networking opportunities.

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 12.07.48 PM

Note that Christina doesn’t leave the solution at “get better at business English.” At every opportunity, she connects each point to advancing the reader’s career.

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 5.43.01 PM

4. Price

When it comes time to talk price, clarity is key: readers need to be able to see exactly what they’re getting in exchange for their hard-earned money. Christina outlines exactly what does and does not come with each option, so there are no questions in customers’ minds when they click “buy.”

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 11.41.07 AM

5. Neutralize objections

We’ve gotten to the part of the page where visitors are looking for reasons not to buy — and Christina attacks those objections on several fronts, with FAQs, testimonials from successful past students, and a clear outline of the five use cases that Get the Job has been designed to address:

(Click to enlarge.)

One strategy Christina uses to put would-be customers’ minds at ease: she gives them the opportunity to see for themselves if the course is right for them by taking a complete lesson for a test drive.

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 11.36.35 AM

Christina is laying out exactly who her course is for, but just as importantly: she’s letting visitors know who her course is not for. If you’re not a pre-intermediate to advanced-level English speaker, you’re not ready for Get the Job — and Christina lets you know that.

If you’re building a product, and you know there are certain people who are not the right fit for what you’ve built, say so up front. Your audience will appreciate the transparency, and you’ll thank yourself later. 

6. Call to action

Christina wraps her page up with a few practical tools to make signing up for the course as easy as possible: a video showing how to join the course, plus her contact information in case visitors have any questions. Then, of course, the sign-up button is there, ready to take visitors to sign up when they’re ready to make the buy.

Screen Shot 2018 04 19 at 12.45.33 PM

BONUS: Behind the Sales Page 

Hold on folks — we’re about to get meta. For our final sales page case study, we’re going in-house and taking a look at the sales page for own GrowthLab course about writing a killer sales page: Behind the Sales Page. This is our most recent sales page, and its strategy is one we’re intimately familiar with. And I can tell you firsthand: it stuck to the same structure as the other ones in this article.

1. Headline

Before we ever wrote a line of copy for Behind the Sales Page, our team spent hours — literal hours — talking to customers, gaining a deep understanding of our target audience and what they wanted from us when it came to writing a sales page.

So when we were finally ready to start drafting our page, we knew what our prospects wanted: they want to know how a six-figure sales page gets written. So the headline (#20 out of 50 possible headlines we considered on the way to the final page, by the way) isn’t just a headline — it’s an invitation. We let our audience know right out of the gate that that’s what they’re going to get.

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 11.34.16 AM

2. Introduction

Now that we’ve got our readers’ attention, we’re ready to launch into our introduction, and lay out exactly what brought them here.

One common trap that people tend to fall into when they’re “selling” is the temptation to posture as an unassailable expert — the temptation to say, “I’m awesome, I’ve always been awesome.”

That’s not what we do with Behind the Sales Page. Instead, we go here:

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 11.35.08 AM

There are a couple of reasons we don’t come out and say “we’re awesome!” for this:

  1. It’s not true, and we have a weird thing where we believe you should be honest in your sales copy.
  2. There’s power in being honest, and in showing readers the journey that has gotten you to where you are.

Our CEO Ramit Sethi didn’t just wake up one morning and say, “I think I’ll go write a killer sales page today.” He (and the rest of us) had to get good at writing sales pages through a ton of trial and error, messy mistakes, and massive headaches.

But the thing is: that’s part of what makes this copy credible. When we’re honest about the journey that it took to get us to where we are now, offering this course, we build trust with our audience.

Not only that: we make clear that all of that — the bad rip-offs of other people’s sales pages, the spending three days on an intro just to delete it and start over again — that’s in the past now.

This is a textbook example of “painting the dream.” At the same time that we’re showing readers what our writing process is like now, we’re showing them what their writing process could be like.

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 11.36.03 AM

Our readers are in the “before” and they want to know how to get to the “after” — and they’re ready for us to tell them how to do it … which is exactly what we do next.

3. Offer

Enough drum roll. It’s time to tell readers what we’ve built to help them bridge the gap between Point A — hours of pain and agony in front of a keyboard struggling to put a sales page together — to Point B, writing a great sales page that gets results.

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 1.25.29 PM

One essential thing to point out here: everything we lay out in our offer maps directly back to the pain points that we outlined in our introduction. As soon as there’s a disconnect, and the reader no longer sees themselves and their problems reflected in the copy — that’s when they click away to the cat video they were just watching, and we’ve lost them.

There’s no guesswork involved here — we’re not closing our eyes and throwing a dart, hoping that it hits the bull’s-eye. These are actual pain points that students told us about as we were validating our idea. We captured that information way back during our customer research, so that when we were ready to start drafting our sales page, it was ready and waiting for us — the foundation for great, authentic sales page copy.

An example of a positioning doc for one of our courses, it’s what we use to gather customer feedback and quotes.

4. Neutralize objections

We’ve gotten to the point in the page where we know that readers are looking for reasons not to pull the trigger. We know that — and we’re here waiting for them, ready to alleviate every worry and counter every objection as it comes.

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 11.45.51 AM

Just like Christina did in her Get the Job course, we don’t leave anyone guessing about whether Behind the Sales Page is right for them — we let them know. If you see a question here that you’ve asked yourself — we’re talking to you.

5. Price

As with every page we’ve walked through here, by the time visitors have gotten to this point in the page, the value of what we have to offer speaks for itself. If it doesn’t, that customer probably isn’t a fit for us — which means they’ve done us and themselves a favor by not clicking “Join.”  

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 11.46.50 AM

6. Call to action

One of the oldest pieces of writing advice says to “tell them what you’re going to tell them, then tell them, then tell them what you told them.” That’s what we do at the conclusion of the Behind the Sales Page sales page: it’s a long page, so we want to bring everything we’ve told readers together.

But it goes deeper than that. We don’t just want readers to remember why they want to learn how to write a sales page. We want to make them feel, as deeply as they can. Which is why we landed on the subhead you see here:

Screen Shot 2018 04 17 at 11.44.50 AM

Taking the time to nail your sales page is worth it, because it’s true: one good sales page can change your business, your life — and maybe even your customers’ lives as well.

Because, sure, this sales page went on to net us six figures in sales, and that feels great. But that’s nothing compared to the feeling we get when we get student feedback like this:

“I was literally looking for teaching on writing a sales page 2 weeks ago. I had crazy anxiety over writing my first sales page than I’d had over anything related to launching my business. The pain is real…Then ta-da! I wake up to Ramit’s email about his new course in my inbox! Like magic!”

I’m loving your Behind The Sales Page Course… I’m learning tons and I’m applying everything I’m learning.”

“You are charging way too little for this.”

[Yes, people tell us that.]

Writing great sales pages — sales pages that show readers you know them and you care about helping them — that’s how you get to responses like that. Keep your focus there — on the customer, and the difference you want to make for them. The rest will follow — with a few drafts and revisions, of course.

Learning to write a great sales page is like learning to dance. At first, it takes all of your energy and effort just to remember the steps:

  1. Headline
  2. Intro
  3. Offer
  4. Price
  5. Neutralize objections
  6. Call to action

But the more you practice, the more natural the steps become. Eventually, they become so deeply ingrained in your body, they become second nature. Then you start to choreograph, and improvise, and make the moves your own. And that’s when the performance really shines.

Now we want to offer you something to help you sharpen your skills:

The Ultimate Guide to Remarkable Content

We invited our friends and students who have developed million-dollar businesses to give us their very best systems and tactics on writing remarkable copy.

Enter your info below for instant access to the Ultimate Guide for FREE.

Start creating remarkable content that will flood your site with traffic

You Might Also Like

Copywriting

4 steps to creating your WordPress sales page in a weekend

You don’t need a fancy page or to hire someone. You can make a sales page that works on WordPress with a...

Copywriting

How to write product descriptions that make your customers scream, “Shut up and take my money!”

The secrets to writing good product descriptions: Tell stories, talk like your customers, and other copywriting principles.

Copywriting

6-figure sales copy templates: Our formula for writing sales copy that converts

Get our proven templates for sales pages, landing pages, sales emails, and blog posts — plus a framework that will tell you...

One Comment

 

Holy smokes Katie. This is jaw droppingly amazing stuff. But then again, it’s what Growthlab does time and time again. I thought that after a while it’ll get normal but it never does. Y’all keep putting out the most top notch content there is out there.

Thanks a lot for this, will definitely refer to it when I’m writing a sales page.

Comments are closed.