Six months ago, after a lot of hard work, I had a product that I knew was guaranteed to succeed.
I had created the basic version of Next Vacay — our travel deals startup that helps busy professionals make regular travel affordable — and tested it with beta members. The results of the beta test were encouraging, and I wanted to sell the product to the general public.
Prospective members were itching to get access from teasers on WhatsApp
But, I knew that only telling my readers what the product can do and giving them a “BUY” link wouldn’t result in many sales.
To get sales, you need to convince your readers that your product will help them achieve their dreams and reduce their problems.
Today I’m breaking down the 5 key elements any good sales page needs. These exact strategies made me $2,000 the first day I opened sales.
Using simple copywriting techniques, you can earn $2000/day as well
The five features of a high-performing sales page are:
- Grab your reader’s attention and get them to keep reading
- Turn casual readers into interested buyers
- Tell the reader exactly how you’ll help them
- Convert readers who are on the fence
- Remind readers why buying is a no-brainer
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
1. Grab your reader’s attention and get them to keep reading
First and foremost, you need to grab your reader’s attention so that they stay on your sales page rather than leaving to check Facebook.
To do that you need a killer headline.
Headlines make or break a sales page. Great copywriters like Ramit recommend that if you’re spending 50% of your time writing your offer, you should spend 40% of your time writing your headlines.
Now, there are many ways to write headlines. Just Google “copywriting headlines” and you’ll see.
9+41+10+35 — Wow! I have 95 choices!… wait, which one should I use?
It is overwhelming! I remember one time I got so frustrated while using these formulas that I lifted my laptop and seriously thought about banging it on the table.
Eventually, I realized I was making it too hard.
The most simple — and effective — type of headline is the “benefit-driven” headline. You simply tell your reader how your product can help them.
The advantage of using this type of headline is that it is easy to come up with, and your audience is always curious about how their lives can be better.
Here is a 3-step system you can use to write a benefit-driven headline.
Step 1: Brainstorm high-level ideas
Come up with some general themes of benefits that you know your customers desperately need.
The easy way to think about these ideas is to ask yourself three questions:
- What are the top three dreams of your target market?
- What are the top three pain points of your target customer?
- What are the top three ways you can help them achieve their dreams or solve their pain points?
With Next Vacay, our high-level ideas were:
- Escape the cubicle life
- Make travel a priority
- Traveling is a dream — it has multiple benefits
Step 2: Write bullets for each idea
The next step is to take each high-level idea and expand on it so that you have a few bullet points (3 max).
Come up with a few variations for each idea. How? Go back to your market research and find the actual words your target customers use. You can also find ideas by checking out what your competitors are saying.
For the Next Vacay sales page, we used some of the feedback from our beta group word for word.
In a few minutes, we had multiple ideas to use in headlines.
Step 3: Combine those bullets to create a headline
I love this step because it is fascinating to see how simple ideas can be combined into a beautiful headline. This process is messy, creative, and fun.
You take the short bullets you came up with for step 2 and copy-and-paste them together to create the starting blocks for a perfect headline.
For our Next Vacay headline, we combined “I want to experience this amazing world” from step 2 with the high-level ideas of “Escape the cubicle life” and “Traveling is a dream.”
You can play with the same “For [Target Customer] who [#1 Dream]” framework.
If you’re a relationship coach, you could say something like: “For Ambitious Men Who Are Looking to Raise Their Game.”
Or a nutrition coach might use: “Are You a Busy Working Mom Who Wants to Make Healthy, Home-Cooked Meals?”
Now that your words are set, you need a mouthwatering image.
Images are key because:
- We are wired to look at an image and be curious about the story behind it. So the image can lead readers to read your headline.
- It breaks the page and makes it is easier on the eyes. Have you ever seen a big block of text and ignored it completely?
- You slow down the reader and help them visualize the story you’re telling.
So then, what kind of images should you use? Use images that tell the story in your headline. As an example, for our sales page, we could have shown a person sitting in their office cube with a thought bubble over their head and a picture of a beach inside the thought bubble.
Or for fitness coaches and training programs, you might have seen before-and-after pictures of body transformations at the top of their sales pages, as it supports the story they’re telling.
We chose pictures of our target customer experiencing the world for ridiculously amazing prices
2. Turn casual reader into interested buyers
Once you’ve got the attention of your reader, you may think that now you can tell them about your product and sell it.
That would be a big mistake.
You only have the attention of your reader — they’re not yet interested in your product. Asking for their credit card number at this point would be like proposing on the first date.
You only want to sell when they can emphatically say, “Yes! I want to live this dream,” or, “Yes! I want to solve this problem.”
But how do you change someone who is casually interested into someone who is ready to buy?
The best way is by telling stories.
You want to take your reader on a journey. You want them to read your sales page like they’re driving along a scenic route on a holiday. Moving slowly through the curved roads, with the windows down, taking in the sights around and enjoying the music of their car engine. (Yes, I’m a car weirdo.)
Use images to enhance your story. This picture is a stock photo from pexels.com.
To take your readers through a journey, there are two main story archetypes you can use:
Paint the dream
This is about helping your reader visualize what it would feel like if they could fulfill all their dreams.
For Next Vacay, we know our reader is a busy professional who wants to experience the culture of an exotic city. I had recently been to Barcelona with my wife, so I told the story of our experience.
Do you see yourself on the same street listening to the music?
Notice how I used a lot of human elements and emotions rather than facts and figures. I talk about the feel of the city, the taste of the food, the sound of the music.
Twist the knife
This is exactly the opposite of painting the dream. Now you dig deep into the reader’s’ pain points.
On our sales page, we showed them how they felt when they had a bad experience booking a vacation.
Can you feel the pain in this story?
Again, we focused on the human elements such as jealousy (“after seeing the beautiful pictures your friends posted on Instagram”), frustration (“You spent hours online”), and dejection (“Discouraged and exhausted”).
Tell stories that connect with your readers
You can use these story types and this simple two-step process to write evocative stories for your sales page that connect with your audience:
- Create a comic strip
- Turn the comic strip into a movie scene
Step 1: Create a comic strip
Write down the main action-emotion combinations you want your reader to feel. For the paint-the-dream story type, these should be positive and uplifting, whereas for the twist-the-knife story type, they should be negative and emotionally draining.
To give you an example, here are the action-emotion combinations from the Next Vacay stories.
Action + Emotion Combinations
|Walking down the street + admiration of the architecture||Listing dream destinations + feeling excited|
|Hearing music + getting curious||Seeing pictures of friends on Instagram + feeling jealous and inspired|
|Stopping to listen + feeling the energy in the bones||Checking prices from hours + feeling frustration|
|Reflecting on the past + feeling warm||Looking at ticket price + feeling surprised
|Revelation about vacation + feeling super excited||Give up on the trip + feeling dejected and exhausted|
Now write a “comic strip” using these. A comic strip has different windows to walk you through the story. For your story, each window is one action-emotion combination. These are the pivotal points in your story.
(I may use techniques that enable me to live my dream of writing comics.)
Step 2: Turn the comic strip into a movie scene
Now flesh out each of the windows to create a crucial scene of a movie.
To help you write your story, remember your favorite movie. Then imagine that you’re explaining the best scene from that movie to a friend. How would you talk about it?
You would explain the scene passionately, right? You would describe the setting of the scene, the emotions experienced by the actors, and the critical sounds like, “Bammm!”
Write your story the same way with all that juicy detail.
Then read it out loud to see if it flows. If you get stuck in reading a sentence, edit it. Also delete any parts that are not crucial. A lean story will help your readers feel the different emotions while still staying hungry for more information about your product.
Lastly, make sure you write your story in plain English. Don’t use any industry jargon or weird slang.
3. Tell the reader exactly how you’ll help them
At this point, your reader is either going, “Yes, I want to live this dream,” or they don’t connect with the stories and leave.
It’s okay if some people leave your page. You’re never going to be able to sell to everybody.
But the ones that have stayed are ready to see your offer. They want to understand exactly how you’re going to help them achieve those dreams that you talked about in the last section.
This is the easiest part of the sales page. And all you need to include are three components:
- Key features
Think of the introduction as a business card for your product. Like your business card states your name, company, and position, your product’s business card will say the product name and a short product summary.
Here is the formula you can use to write the product introduction.
This formula has four elements:
- Product name
- Product package: How is the product presented? Is it a video course, ebook, interview series?
- Target customer: Who is your primary target market?
- Primary promise: What is the #1 benefit of the product?
Here is our introduction:
Next, tell your readers exactly what they will get when they buy your product by listing out its top features.
A short sentence and bulleted list like ours works perfectly.
The final part includes the price, guarantees, and bonuses.
Here is the formula that you can use for this section:
And here is how we used the formula:
Offering guarantees (which I cover in detail in the next section) reduces the risk the reader has to take in buying your product before they can judge its value.
Finally, bonuses are the “cherry on top.” They further entice your readers to try your product. You might offer free trials, a discounted price for being an early user, or extra content such as videos and PDFs.
4. Convert readers who are on the fence into buyers
After your reader sees your offer, they will do one of the following:
- Buy your product
- Leave the page
- Stay on the page but not buy
Naturally you want to convert readers from the last group into buying customers. Often these readers have reservations about purchasing — and you can easily alleviate them.
The best ways to do this are by adding credibility markers, testimonials, and guarantees.
- Credibility markers are logos of media and industry organizations you’ve been featured in. These help the reader gain confidence in your authority
- Testimonials show that real people who have used your product and enjoyed it
- Guarantees ease the doubts that customers have about buying the product before seeing how it works in real time
Since this was the launch of a brand new company, we did not have any media mentions or credibility markers. So we used testimonials from our beta members and a 6-month money-back guarantee.
Testimonials provide a crucial element to the sales page — social proof. They make readers go, “This worked for other people, so it’ll work for me, too.”
During our beta test, when a member bought one of the deals we curated for them, we asked them for feedback. If that feedback seemed like it would be good for a testimonial, we contacted them for more details.
You can use the same script we used:
Once you get a reply from them, use their highlights to craft a testimonial. Before you post that testimonial on your website, ask their permission and give them a chance to edit your copy.
Here is an example of how we asked one of our beta members to write a testimonial. In fact, since we know that our target audience is heavily female, I asked for the member’s wife to send us a testimonial instead.
Once she approved the testimonial, we added it to our sales page:
Studies have shown adding a headshot to testimonials improves the conversion rate.
The most effective form of guarantee is a money-back guarantee. You can specify a time period for which this guarantee will be applicable. How long? Enough time for customers to evaluate your product.
Next Vacay gives a no-questions-asked 6-month money-back guarantee. A visual of a guarantee stamp like this has shown to convert more readers into buyers.
You might feel that it is too risky for you to allow buyers to use your entire product and then ask for a refund.
Don’t worry: Some people will ask for a refund, but that number will be much lower than the number of customers who buy your product because of this assurance.
5. Remind readers why buying is a no-brainer
At this point, most entrepreneurs just add a buy link and call it done. They don’t realize that the end of your sales page is an important piece of real estate.
This is your last chance to get a sale. Don’t leave any stone unturned.
Your buy link is most effective if you combine it with a summary of your sales page.
You’ve guided your reader along a curvy scenic road. Now give them a short snapshot of the entire journey.
You want to reiterate:
- The primary benefit of using your product — the dream you’re helping them achieve or the pain point you’re solving
- Any guarantees
Only then should you add your buy link.
Here is the end of our sales page:
Recap the benefits and the price, THEN give your “buy” button.
Let the copy marinate
Once you finish writing the entire sales page, forget about it for at least a one day.
Then, with fresh eyes, come back and read it out loud as if you are a reader. By doing this, you will be able to notice breaks in the flow and edit the copy to be crisper and cleaner.
You also want to notice any questions that come up in your mind.
For example, if at any point in the sales page it feels “this is too good to be true,” you can add a testimonial to that area to provide social proof.
With Next Vacay, we felt that the offer section was not clear and our readers might question how the service works for them. So we added more details.
We break it down step-by-step to make our offer clearer.
Kickstart your sales page
Using these five core elements, we wrote a sales page that got comments such as, “It felt like you were speaking directly to me,” and “I was so ready to buy the product once you walked me through the streets of Barcelona.”
Not only that, in a span of just 24 hours — and using just one post on Facebook — the sales page generated $2,000.
My main reason for writing this post was to give you the essential features of a highly profitable sales page, so that instead of wasting your energy on which one of the 95 types of headlines to use, you can focus on writing an exceptional sales page.
If you’re like me and you want to be an entrepreneur so that you can add value to people’s lives, having an effective sales page will allow you to help more people.
Helping people was the primary reason I created NextVacay
I also want to help you write your sales page and add value to your readers.
Share your #1 insight from this post in the comments sections.
And since your headline is one of the most important elements of a sales page, using my strategy, come up with three benefit-driven headlines for your product. Share those with me in the comments section, too, and I’ll help you refine them.