Last night I had the pleasure of being invited to the Association of Work At Home Women’s monthly call to talk a little bit about writing a sales page. It was a real privilege to hear what people were struggling with when it came to their sales pages and see how I could help.
At the end of the call there was a Q and A session and I wanted to write a blog post on each one as I realised there were probably many other people out there wondering the same thing.
So question number one that I’m looking at is:
How long should my sales page be?
A great question, and to answer, it should be precisely…ahhh, of course you know I’m not going to give you a number, I’m going to give you the answer loved by anyone anywhere who’s ever asked a question which is..
But, before you despair, these are the 3 critical factors that will help you determine what is right for your audience and your particular offer.
How Well Your Audience Knows You
There are some people you know who you are more likely to take a recommendation from than someone else.
If your friend who you’ve known for years and always looks amazingly dressed gives you regular hot fashion tips, when she calls to tell you about a new label coming out you’re likely to check it out and consider buying something for yourself.
This is like having a newsletter list or a community of blog readers that come to your site each week and listen to what you have to say. Perhaps they’ve taken some of your free advice and it’s worked for them so they continue to follow, listen and take guidance from you in your field of expertise.
If you presented an offer to this kind of audience you’re not going to need pages of back story, or reams about who you are. They know you, so your sales page doesn’t have to be a 12 page report.
Now, let’s say that you’re presenting your offer to a brand new audience, you’re going to have to spend a little longer building up that credibility through things like:
- past experience
- Previous results
- Personal experience
So your sales letter needs to be a little longer so that you can include these details and get your new audience up to the warm and fuzzy level that your close audience already has with you.
If you’re in a shop and you’re thinking of buying a packet of chewing gum, you’re probably not going to need much more convincing than seeing the label of the gum.
But let’s say you’re buying a laptop, and you’re going to be spending a fair bit on it. You’re going to want more details and more information about the different models and which one best suits your needs (which is what a sales page is there for).
The same can be said for your sales page. Let’s say you have a $17 eBook. Whenyou write your sales page, you’re going to want to cover what’s in the eBook, why the customer wants it and what problem it solves, but you don’t need a lengthy essay about every single feature.
But if you’re running a $97 a month membership program, your readers are going to want to know a lot about what’s involved, who it’s for, whether it will work for them, why they should trust you and all the other wondrous elements that make up a sales page.
And the final critical factor is:
Customer Awareness Of The Problem
If your customer has a desperate problem that they need solving right now, and your prive point is low, they won’t need an in-depth sales page explaining why they need to solve that problem and the pain points they might be experiencing.
For example, let’s say I need a birthday card for my sister-in-law (Amy – buy Monette’s birthday card tomorrow!), there’s an urgency there, I’m aware of it, and I’m not going to need an 8 page report on why I should invest in birthday cards. It’s not a huge investment, and I know what problem it solves.
However, let’s say it’s not my sister-in-law’s birthday, I probably don’t think there is a problem to be solved. Let’s also say that you have an offer where for $20 a month I can set up an account and store my contacts so not only do I not forget birthdays, but a card is automatically sent (actually this would be awesome!). Let’s also say that I can also enter in details of people I’ve met at networking events and it automatically sends them little notelets from time to time based on their interests.
Now, I’m not aware that’s even a problem I need solving, and I’m going to need a lot of convincing to spend $20 on it. BUT it is possible that with an interesting sales page about the benefits of keeping touch, the problems and embarrassment of forgetting birthdays, the possible increased earning potential buy building professional relationships…you might just sway me.
So in summary…
Small price + warm crowd + customer aware = Very short
Small price + warm crowd+ customer not aware = Short
Small price + cold crowd + customer aware = Short
Small price + cold crowd + customer not aware = Medium
High price + warm crowd + customer aware = Med – long
High price + warm crowd + Customer not aware = Long
High price + cold crowd + customer aware = Long
High price + Cold crowd + customer not aware = Very Long
Now, I know I haven’t put an actual length on there and it’s impossible to do so. It will vary from product to audience, but as a general guideline to go along with the above points:
- Everything you write has to be relevant to the offer
- Everything you write has to make them want it OR increase your credibility
I hope that helps.
Codrut Turcanu says
You gave some good insights here. I’d just ask myself: if I were a movie producer, would I not sleep at night asking myself: how long should my next blockbuster be or what emotion/topic to tackle?
I think short vs long sales letter debate is not as important as it sounds.
You, like other top copywriters advise to write longer sales letter when selling higher-ticket priced items because it takes more time, effort and “proof” to connect with the audience and help reach the conclusion what you sell is the ideal solution to their needs.
I’d just to a pre-launch with follow-up content in audio/video & blog post format (depending on the niche I serve) instead of long sales letters.
Email follow-up + pre-launch blogging = $$$ (sales letters are not as effective, short or long) — because it’s all about traffic conversion — you cannot convert strangers into believers. Customers are not born, they’re converted 🙂
You’re right, and I would prefer a longer period of warm up content marketing, which is in effect just a very very very long sales letter.. 🙂
Hey Dino – thanks for commenting!
It’s a tough question to answer, no one likes to hear “it depends” so I hope this put it into some kind of context without being a black and white answer.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t read Harry Potter, but from the craze around teh books I would say they are extremely effective sales pages!
Good storytellers make good story-sellers. 🙂
Dino Dogan says
I went back and forth throughout the article. One moment agreeing with you the next not. But then I saw the summary and agreed with it 100%.
I always say that a sales page cant be too long. Only too boring. Harry Potter books are 800+ pages long. Go and ask HP fans if they are too long. Im betting they’d say “hell no…give us 800 more pages”.
And in case someone thinks HP books are not sales pages they you dont know jack shit about sales pages 🙂
Anyways…Ima fan..you know that…great article, keep em coming 🙂
Hey John, lovely to have your comment here, it wasn’t till I did the q and a that I realised a lot of people were wondering this. I guess because when you’re just writing sales copy it’s kind of intuitive but I realised there was a formula. Thanks for sharing your word count, I think lots will find that benchmark really useful! 🙂
John Soares says
Amy, I like your summary about how long a sales page should be. The sales pages for my two e-books run 600-700 words each, with prices at $17 and $27. I’m happy with what I have there, and certainly wouldn’t go much longer, although I’ll be adding more testimonials soon.
I also really like the advice you give about writing sales copy. I’ll bet you provide similar high-quality info in your new e-book.