12 Sales Page Secrets Only The Conversion Experts Used... Until Now

Filed in Sales by on June 25, 2015

sales page secretsSales pages are the places on your website designed to do one thing and one thing only: sell your product.

They're entire pages in and of themselves... independent of your home page, your about page, and your blog posts.

And each sales page focuses on only one product or service.

And they work pretty well, too.

According to Hubspot, they have a 5% to 15% average conversion rate.

It might seem like small numbers, but compared to your home page or your blog posts, it’s pretty much your best shot at getting buy-ins, isn’t it?

Sales pages are designed for the purpose of conversion, and with the age-old wisdom of David Ogilvy that only 20% of people read past the headline—no matter what you do—suddenly 5% to 15% of your traffic converting on a landing page is a helluva lot.

But to be more on the 15% side than the 5% side, you can’t just slap your sales page up in 10 minutes and let it run wild.

You’ve got to actually pay attention to what you’re doing and optimize your elements to lead more people to your call to action areas so they pay you money.

Loads of expert conversion marketers have studied the effects of different sales page elements and how they affect overall conversions via A/B testing—and fortunately for those of us who’d like to get the ball rolling without weighing ourselves down with the burden of testing for ourselves, they’re ready and willing to share their knowledge.

 

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What You'll Learn

  • What some of today's most famous internet marketing superstars have to say about essential sales page elements
  • WHY certain elements are so important to increasing sales
  • One element that will instantly give you more success with up-sells in the future
  • How to evoke and elicit an emotional, money-making response from your visitors

 

1. Social Proof to Show You're Not a Scammer

freshbooks social proof

FreshBooks adds social proof by adding reviews by both individuals and large, reputable businesses.

 

Before someone whips out their credit card, or even has enough confidence that you won't spam their inboxes if they give you their email ID, they've got to be comfortable with you and your product.

Seeing that real people, just like them, have bought into whatever you're offering both without getting totally annoyed and with success in whatever they're seeking a solution to will put them at ease.

Social proof includes, but is not limited to:

 

Neil Patel“Not everyone is comfortable with making purchases on the web. Sure, Apple and Amazon don’t have these issues, but you aren’t them. Your brand isn’t as well known, which is why trust elements are important.”

-Neil Patel, Quicksprout

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2. Little to No Navigation to Keep People ON Your Sales Page, Doing What You Want

hubspot navigation

On their CRM sales page, Hubspot gives options to go to the Marketing Grader and their learning-based academy, which can distract a visitor from the overall goal of getting started with the CRM.

 

A-List Blogging, on the other hand, only has navigation that concentrates on an up-sell or helping visitors find the right products or services to buy into.

A-List Blogging, on the other hand, only has navigation that concentrates on an up-sell or helping visitors find the right products or services to buy into.

 

The idea of removing or limiting any kind of excess navigation that isn't 100% essential to the purpose of conversion is to keep wandering eyes from getting distracted.

If a visitor has wandering eyes, distract them with elements that will ultimately serve the goal of the page: making the sale.

Here's some examples of extraneous navigation:

  • Menu bar links to other pages
  • Sidebar widgets with ads or on-site links that take away from the full impact of your sales page
  • Action bars at the top or bottom of your screen that don't correlate with the text someone is reading at any given moment

Of course, a sales page with no navigation to go off the page will yield better conversions because the option is to either convert or close the window. But if you just can't quite let go of letting people explore your website to know more, here's a few permissible pieces of navigation, preferably located only on the very top of the page:

  • About (to help build your credibility)
  • Contact (to put people at ease - you're there if they need you)
  • Links to other, similar products in case this one isn't a perfect fit

 

jessica meher“A landing page is used for one purpose and one purpose alone – to encourage a visitor to take one specific action. When visitors land on a page, we want to keep them there until they perform that action. Leaving the navigation might induce them to continue wandering. Remove main site navigation from the page so they don’t move off your landing page.”

-Jessica Meher, Hubspot

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3. ONE Clear Offer to Get Rid of Confusion

mint CTAs

Mint.com’s home page offers two calls to actions distracting from their main one which is to sign up for an account: downloading the app and reading their news and press releases.

 

If you haven't read loads of sales pages that offer at least three things: a free trial, a free quote or consultation, and a downloadable ebook, you just don't use the internet.

It's understandable that niche site owners are willing to do whatever it takes to get someone's money and/or email ID, but confusing them with millions of options actually and reduces the number of conversions, no matter what's being offered.

Yes, even if you offer all three wonderful things instead of just one.

I get it, you want your visitors to convert.

Me too.

But the reality is that throwing a lot of offers in their face will actually confuse them more than if you simply offer and promote one thing, focus on it's benefits, and nothing else. When you focus on the benefits of three different things, browsing minds get confused.

 

jonathan long“A single clear offer makes the entire process much smoother... If a consumer clicks on your ad and then hits your landing page that has two offers it can cause a major hiccup in the conversion process.”

-Jonathan Long, Entrepreneur

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4. A Context-of-Use Hero Image (So Readers Start Imagining Themselves With Your Product Right Away)

mail chimp hero image

MailChimp's hero image is actually an animated image that shows the easy drag-and-drop features of building an email in their dashboard.

 

A "hero image" is a web design term that describes the huge pictures (or illustrations) you often see in the top sections of websites. They almost always fill up the entire screen and usually have some kind of text over them.

It's a trend that's emerged in website templates recently, and a lot of niche sites are seeing success with it.

After all, a picture is worth 1,000 words, right?

With a context of use hero image, you'll be able to establish both trust and interest in your sales page.

Actually seeing a use-case scenario for your product causes empathy with your visitors, letting them envision themselves in the exact same situation.

If you want to go above and beyond, Oli Gardner from Unbounce suggests that a video instead of a hero image can help you do it.

"Think of the common Shamwow and Slapchop infocommercials," he says. "While cheesy, they impart a sense of need by illustrating direct benefits to everyday life."

 

oli gardner"The hero shot is the visual representation of your offer and can help people to gain a better understanding of what it is or what it looks like. For maximum effect it should show context of use."

-Oli Gardner, Unbounce

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5. An Info-Capturing CTA Form - Sell One Product Today, Sell More Products Tomorrow

After you click on Edgar's CTA button to get an invitation to use their platform, they collect your contact information to build their email list.

After you click on Edgar's CTA button to get an invitation to use their platform, they collect your contact information to build their email list.

 

This might seem a little obvious, but it's so easily overlooked... way more often than any conversion marketer or sales person would like to admit.

The simple fact is, if you can't collect names and email IDs, you can't build an email list or have a list of prospects to sell your your next product or ebook to.

And having the names and email IDs of people who have already bought from you and love you makes sales a billion times faster and easier than trying to find all of your new customers from scratch again.

To make the most of your info-capturing CTA form, simply make it a part of your check-out process. This is really easy if you're delivering a digital product and need their email address to do that, but even if you're selling a physical product that gets shipped to their home, you can easily add a mandatory email field to the checkout process.

If they've already made up their minds to give you their heard-earned money, their email address is nothing in comparison. Plus, you have a ready-made list of happy customers who would be happy to buy from you the next time you launch a new product or service.

 

jon correll"This form is one of the most important things on your landing page. It is a means of information capture, and will help your conversions significantly. Make sure it’s in an obvious and prominent place on your site."

-Jon Correll, Conversion VooDoo

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6. A Sneak Peek Gets Rid of Most Doubts

nicholas sparks synopsis

Even though Nicholas Sparks' niche audience is familiar with his work, he still offers a synopsis of his books on his website so they don't have to go elsewhere to find out if they're interested in the story line.

 

The sad truth is, there's a lot of scammers online, and whether you deserve it or not, your visitors are suspicious of you.

You might be promising them a wonderful book in exchange for $9.99 and their email address, but it's impossible for them to know if you're going to go out and sell their email address, or if the book is going to be total crap and a waste of $10.

Kimberly of Your Writer Platform advises that you can give a sneak peek into the product you're offering either directly on your sales page, or via an email subscription.

Giving someone a sneak peek into something you're trying to convince them to buy helps subside their worry that you might be totally ripping them off by getting a taste of the actual, actionable value you'll be providing them.

A sneak peek can include:

  • A free chapter download
  • A list of key takeaways
  • A book preview similar to what Amazon does
  • A free sample of a physical product sent in the mail

 

Kimberly Grabas“Everyone enjoys a free taste-test. Readers enjoy a free preview too. Smart authors capitalize on this shopping habit by offering some kind of sneak peak into their books."

-Kimberly Garbas, Your Writer Platform

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7. Pain, Agony & Suffering: Show Them What They're Missing

crazy egg pain

On Crazy Egg's main landing page, they ask a question about one of the main pain points of online marketers: their seeming inability to keep visitors from leaving their pages.

 

Essentially, the pain points of your audience are tightly connected with their wallets... especially when those pain points are attached to money that's slipping through their fingers and they've got no idea what to do about it.

They'll melt in your hands if you tell them you can stop that problem from happening.

If you can get your prospects to notice the potential money, customers, time, energy, confidence or peace of mind that's simply being robbed of them because they don't know how to stop it from leaving, you'll have their attention.

These are things they desperately want (or need), and not having them is probably the reason they've come to your website. Don't be afraid to point it out and take advantage of it.

If you play on the deep, psychological desire to avoid pain or loss and can balance out how the price (whether simply an email address or $99.95) is easily worth not dealing with that pain point any more, your visitors will melt in your hands.

 

viktor kis“We all love a bit of drama. If you can create a super-fast emotional rollercoaster on that page you are more than likely to reap the rewards by getting that form filled out.”

-Viktor Kis, Hello Spark

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He's NOT talking about a cheesy soap opera where the emotions are clearly over-stated and faked.

What he means is showing people the true depths of the pain points they experience by not reading your ebook or using the product you're selling... and equally helping them feel that a sense of utter relief is on the other side of their conversion.

 

Neil Patel"Humans are wired to avoid pain. Every product or service can help to alleviate pain in some way. If you can cause the user to think about their pain, they will subconsciously seek relief from that pain, and thereby be more likely to convert."

-Neil Patel, Crazy Egg

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8. One Hell of An Effective Headline to Glue Their Eyeballs to The Page

awai headline

AWAI's headline for their copywriting course outlines what almost every single writer dreams about: "Become a Six-Figure Freelance Copywriter and Enjoy the Writer's Life."

 

Once someone gets to your sales page, you don't need to fight for their attention against their sister's baby photos on Facebook or scammy Google ads that only yield crappy content in return for clicking on them.

You've already won the first battle.

The next is to capture their attention like the opening scenes of Disney films capture a five-year-old girl's attention. (Wide-eyed, open-mouth, can't wait for more.)

The big 'secret' is, you don't need super-fancy writing skills and sophisticated words to get them to stay.

Plain language does the trick. Every single time.

For example, in the photo above, I don't see any fancy or 'smart' words in "Become a Six-Figure Freelance Copywriter and Enjoy the Writer's Life." Every thing about it can easily be understood by even a below-average Joe.

And along with that plain language, go ahead and tell them what they want, right up front. Don't hide it halfway down your page.

If you've got a big bold, promise to make, make it immediately - especially if you know it's what your audience is after anyway.

 

kissmetrics"You aren’t fighting for attention. You’ve already done something to funnel your visitors there. Now you just need to convince them to pull up their chairs and stay awhile.”

-Beth Morgan, KISSMetrics

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9. Speaking of Headlines... A Really Persuasive Sub-Headline

videofruit sub headline

Video Fruit packs a strong one-two punch with their headline and sub-headline combination. Almost everyone coming to the site wants to grow their business, but in the sub-headline they give actual data that can be reproduced.

 

Think of your headline as the "Free food!" sign that attracts people to an event and the sub-headline as the delicious slices of fresh pizza that keep them around, eating and eating until they've got nothing better to do.

According to Demian Farnworth (Chief Content Writer of Copyblogger Media and therefore web writing genius), the easiest way to glue eyeballs to your page when you're new online and people aren't aware of your product offerings is to make a bold promise with your headline and use your sub-headline to describe how.

If your headline draws people in with wide eyes, the sub-headline is what makes that spark go off in their mind so they think to themselves "I NEED to know more about this."

He gives these examples of headlines and sub-headlines to illustrate what he's talking about:

Build Muscle Anywhere

This 15-Minute Routine Focuses on Every Muscle in Your Body

Defeat Credit Card Debt

With Only a Calendar and Spreadsheet

Read More Books

The World's First Speed-Reading App

 

Demian-Farnworth"When your ideal customer is not aware of your product or the benefit it offers, then the first stage of sophistication demands you simply make a promise in the headline… and in the subheadline you would describe the mechanism."

-Demian Farnworth, Copyblogger

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10. A Grabbing Call to Action Button So Tempting Readers Click Without Thinking Twice

copyhackers button

This landing page saw 123.9% increase in conversions after Joanna Wiebe changed the button text from something typical and boring to a grabbing call to action.

 

The truth is, most readers will require some convincing.

True, some are so fed up with their problem that they're willing to whip out a credit card for the first product they find that promises to solve it.

Others might have been fans of your site and your content for a while and already know they want your product... whatever it is you're selling.

But most you're going to have to convince.

And with fancy headlines and well-written website copy set aside, the conversion ultimately comes down to one thing: clicking a button.

If your button has text that indicates it requires work from your reader like "Start the assessment", "Submit", "Buy now", and so on, you're not going to get as many conversions as you deserve.

Instead, focus on the benefits they will receive from you after they click that button. Button text like "Show me outfits I'll love",  "Send me my review", or "Get your perfect makeup kit" work much better.

Practicing what she preaches, Joanna took the very first call to action button on a sales page and changed it from the simple, typical "Sign up now" to "Show me outfits I'll love" and the conversion rates skyrocketed.

The company saw 123.9% more clicks from their traffic, and 100% more confidence, resulting in a lot more business.

 

joanna wiebe“I do a lot of A/B testing. And I’ve gotta say: I’ve seen some shit lately that is shaking the way I think about everything we write... [to] compel us to stop treating the button like some sort of shrunken, impotent and second-rate little square on a page.”

-Joanna Wiebe, CopyHackers

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11. A Pin-Pointed Audience Focus to Make Your Readers Feel Special

six appeal process

The first screen on The Six Appeal Process sales page actually directly states who the page is for: "any business, freelancer or creative" that wants to make more money.

 

People don't like to be generalized.

And at the same time, whether you like it or not, not every single person on the face of the planet is going to come to or be interested in your website.

So stop trying to be everything to everyone with your website copy and get a little personal.

For example, the website above speaks directly to me (a freelancer) about exactly what I want to do (make more money with my words.)

The result?

By the end of the page, I was ready and willing to shell out the $299 price tag for the course this sales page was created for. And I did.

 

Hiten Shah“I’m noticing a trend with SaaS websites that I love and want to see more of. People are creating landing pages for new feature releases, target audiences and also different ways to describe their product. It’s a great tactic for getting incremental sign ups... It’s also good for SEO and paid acquisition.”

-Hiten Shah, SaaS Weekly

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12. B-E-N-E-F-I-T-S > Features, Every Single Time

moxe cta form

In this CTA form, House of Moxie doesn't talk about how much time they spend doing research on their clients' audience or how many more clicks their headlines get. It's all about the benefit: $60,000 more.

 

When you bring up pain points, you should almost immediately attach benefits of your product that alleviate those pain points, rather than features that readers have to take the mental power to deduct the benefits from.

Benefits, rather than features, are far more effective at explaining how your product eliminates pain points for a reader.

For example, in the Landing Page Conversion Course, the authors give the example of a phone, using the battery as a highlight for why they think people will want to buy the phone.

Rather than writing "Our new battery is twice as powerful as the competition's," which is feature-based, they suggest writing something more along the lines of "Our new battery means you'll only need to charge your phone every couple of days."

One focuses on trying to prove yourself against your competition (which doesn't actually result in much), and the other focuses on how you're completely eliminating something that's a pain in the butt for your readers.

 

michael aagaard“The important point to remember here is that you need to communicate the benefit of your offering first. Then, and only then, do you start to add features – which are typically directed towards those who require more detail in order to make a decision.”

-The Smart Marketer's Landing Page Conversion Course

-Michael Aagaard, Oli Gardner, Joanna Wiebe

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Putting Together Your Own Sales Page Puzzle

I've just thrown a lot of puzzle pieces at you.. 12 to be exact.

And I didn't even talk about the landing page copy or layout.

But fortunately, when you start putting your sales page together while thinking about your audience and why they need your product, things will start to make a lot more sense and you'll be able to feel the intuitive flow of it all.

If you've already got a sales page that you love, but are missing an element (like testimonials, for example), try adding it into your page to see if it improves your conversions.

Chelsea Baldwin
Chelsea has a background in journalism and IT, and besides writing for NicheHacks, she's the founder of Copy Power, a business and a website that helps business owners figure out how to get remembered online via copywriting.

She excels in the topic of SEO but can write on a wide range of topics of which you can discover by clicking on her name.

Comments (8)

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  1. Chelsea Baldwin says:

    Personally, my favorite of these elements to add to a sales page is social proof.

    They're fun to find and add onto the page, and when well-placed, work wonders.

    What about you guys?

    • NicheHacks says:

      I'm finding the call to action to be one of the biggest changes (aside from the headline) in conversion rates on my opt in pages. It's amazing what the words on the button can do to chance people clicking on it.

      I always think "what is the persons desired end goal" basically what major problem are you looking to solve for them with your product and put that on the button.

      So if I was offering a list of profitable niches instead of just something like "get the niche list" or "download the niches" which is the most obvious one I'd go with "Get profitable niches" or "Easy Niche Profits" for example.

      • Chelsea Baldwin says:

        Yea, I'm always floored by how words can change things.

        And how thinking in non-cliche, non-expected wording can really grab attention.

        Another one you could test is something along the lines of "Send me the niches now!"

        Or play with 'fun' wording (if it's appropriate for your site and audience) leading up to the actual button to increase attention to it.

        For example, in the one that's showing in the sidebar now...

        F*ing tired of boring niche research?
        Good thing I've already put together a list of 1781 profitable niches, huh?
        To get it, just
        [Enter your email address here...]
        [AND CLICK THIS BUTTON!]

        (Obviously, this won't work for everyone. But I've been surprised with the huge increase in conversions I've seen with clients willing to experiment with stuff like this. It blasts out of the usual that people are used to seeing on the B2B sites I work with, makes the working day more enjoyable, and for that, visitors remember & enjoy you more than your competitors.)

  2. Samina says:

    Really like the tool and looking to use it in near future to optimize my content and enhance my earning

  3. Great stuff again, Stuart.

    Today, I'm taking away the "limit distractions on your sales page" as something we need to work on. Everyone in eCommerce fears "shopping cart abandonment" - but what about product page or sales page abandonment. - That's a whole other blog post for you... 🙂

    All the best!

    Jake at Spy-Tronix

    • Chelsea Baldwin says:

      Yea, limiting distraction on a sales page is something that's so easy to forget... it's almost like we just add menus and options by default without realizing what we're doing, right?

      Abandoning a product or sales page can sometimes be remedied with retargeting ads... but yes, discussing the elements (physical and emotional) that keep people from closing your tab would be a new post entirely!

  4. Nick says:

    Great read! I am revamping my site and this post is super helpful.

    Thanks Chelsea!