When someone buys a product online, many factors influence that decision.
For one, the website design feels trustworthy. It isn’t bogged down by too much text or too many images. It’s clean, consistent, and reliable.
Similarly, the checkout process is easy. You just have to click a few buttons to finish your purchase.
And 5-star reviews and money-back guarantees further incentivize you to buy.
But here’s what I didn’t mention: the words on the page.
Perhaps the most neglected part of any sales page is the copy. And yet, it’s also the most vital. Without empathetic words that persuade visitors to buy, all the images, social proof, and guarantees are worthless.
So how do you write landing page copy that sells your product or service?
It all comes down to what type of product you’re selling. From well-known to niche, your landing page copy should match the complexity of the product while relating to that product’s target audience.
Here are five different types of products that beg for varying landing page copy formulas for ultimate success.
1. Simple products
If you offer a simple product, the best thing you can do is tell people what you offer and then get out of their way.
But what qualifies as a simple product?
A product that people are familiar with.
Shoes, for instance…
In other words, consumers have bought items like it before. Here are a few other examples of products that qualify as simple.
- Trending knick-knacks
- Home improvement tools
Those are just a few examples, but you get the point. Ask yourself this:
Are 90% of people highly familiar with the product I’m offering and its use?
If so, you have yourself a simple product.
Now, you might be putting a new spin on an old hat, building a simple product, and adding a new angle. In that case, you might learn more on the side of a complex product.
Nonetheless, to sell a simple product, you should write a simple sales copy—copy that people will actually read.
Take ThinkGeek’s product description for a Star Wars coffee press.
As you can see, ThinkGeek spends most of its words emphasizing its irreverent and fun brand image rather than trying to actually describe the product.
That’s because the product is simple and doesn’t need describing. In fact, if you over-describe a basic product, it might actually hurt your conversions since people tend to distrust over-explainers for the same reason they distrust under-explainers.
It feels forced.
Also, consider this dragon costume from ThinkGeek and its corresponding sales copy.
Again, the copy is more fun than it is descriptive.
If you’re selling a simple product, it’s probably best to use your sales copy to sell the emotion of the product rather than its detailed specs.
To do that, ask yourself:
- Why do people buy my product?
- How do they want to feel from buying my product? Funny? Loved? Smart? Sexy? Kind? Rich? Healthy?
Then, infuse that feeling into your sales copy.
“Highway Robery really feels like an extension of who we are and our personalities. We love coming up with new ideas. From the fabrics we want to use to the photoshoots we’re planning down to the text we want to use on our website—it’s all exciting at the moment. Oh, and puns. We love puns. Expect us to use a lot of them, be they good or bad!”
Heck, you can even do it with a strawberry smoothie.
What is this sales copy selling?
I’ll tell you what it’s not selling: a strawberry smoothie. Instead, it’s selling the associated emotion that its target audience wants to feel from buying the product.
Namely, a healthy lifestyle.
And that’s because, with simple products, you don’t need to sell the product itself. You need to sell the emotion — the real reason that people convert.
2. Complex products
Complex products require different sales copy than simple products.
In fact, a quick way to kill your conversion rate is by putting simple copy on a complex and hard-to-understand product.
Here’s the reality. If people don’t understand exactly what it is you’re selling, they aren’t going to buy. Meaning that a complex product will often require longer sales copy to support more thorough explanations of the integrated features.
This is most common with SaaS products since they are digital and intangible.
Consider, for instance, Carrot. Carrot is a company that offers website hosting and design to real estate investors.
Here’s what Carrot’s homepage looks like.
Now, I know I said that this copy should spend more time explaining the product itself. And that’s true.
But it also should start with emotion. Just like this sales copy on Carrot’s homepage.
This doesn’t actually tell us much about what Carrot offers. Instead, it hits a vein for real estate investors struggling to collect leads on their website.
In other words, the first thing you want to do with sales copy for a complex product is to make a promise.
- Sick and tired of disorganized analytics? We can help.
- Struggling to align your marketing and sales teams? We were too… once.
- Want to be the smartest person in the room during your next meeting? Well, it’s not that hard.
While you want to explain the product itself, the worst thing you can do is start with that explanation. People still buy products because you’re solving a problem, so start with the problem, then dive into the solution.
If we continue down Carrot’s page, for instance, this is what it looks like.
They start off with a testimonial , then keep hitting on the emotion a bit. Then, they turn their attention to how they help their websites rank on Google.
Next, they have an easy-to-understand list of features…
And a shoutout to their website for being mobile-friendly…
A few more reviews and an explanation as to why other investors work with them…
A list of practical features…
How those features translate into their sales funnel…
And finally, a testimonial and risk-free CTA.
As you can see, that’s a whole lot more sales copy than a simple product requires. But it’s not too much sales copy.
Don’t forget about creating different landing pages for different uses for your product, either.
While Salesmate provides CRM to help sales teams organize their sales process, they provide separate landing pages for each use case.
So they have one landing page for a CRM for Google Apps:
And another landing page for Sales Pipeline Management:
Again, trying to get visitors to sign up for a newsletter is far different from simple or complex products.
In fact, it’s sort of like a middle ground between the two where you need to do some explaining and some emotional agitation, but you need to do it quickly.
Here’s the newsletter copy for GetUplift.
Generally, you can only have a few sentences in your newsletter sales copy. It needs to be quick and punchy. And it also needs to hit on the emotion behind why people would sign up and what you’re going to offer them to satisfy that emotion.
In the GetUplift example, they hit on the emotion with the first sentence and title. Then they tell you exactly what you’ll receive with “Get weekly conversion optimization tips in your inbox.”
Ideal newsletter sales copy is a one-two punch.
- Agitate emotion.
- Explain offer.
Mike Blankenship does the same thing on Booktrep.
He agitates emotion with terms like “life-changing” and “best books on the market.” The rest of the sales copy explains what he offers.
To determine the emotion behind your newsletter, ask yourself these questions.
- What am I offering in my newsletter?
- In an ideal world, how will that content benefit the people on my list?
Then discuss those two things as quickly as possible using only use a few sentences. Quick and compelling copy is key.
4. Online courses
Online courses are wildly popular today. Many people with expertise on a particular topic are launching their own universities, course-sets, and video modules.
But how do you sell those online courses?
Well, writing sales copy for online courses requires you to do the following things:
- Quickly build trust with visitors.
- Quickly show your expertise and authority on the topic.
- Explain what users are going to learn in the course (with as much detail as possible).
- Briefly touch on the emotion of why people buy.
While some of the other sales copy styles we’ve discussed so far heavily focus on emotion, sales copy for online courses should be a bit more formal. They should describe what people will actually learn while briefly touching on the emotion behind the buying decision.
Grant Cardone does a fantastic job of this with his high-priced online courses.
Under “Selling Basics,” he explains some of the nitty-gritty details of what the buyer will receive. Under “What you will get,” he briefly touches on some of the emotional reasons the people will buy.
Since his price point is so steep, most buyers are probably going to read every word of his sales copy to try and fully understand what they’re going to get.
But here’s where he fails a bit.
If you read through the “Selling Basics” section, you’ll notice that there are some typos and grammar mistakes.
Those are an absolute killer in sales copy when you’re trying to sell an online course at a high price point.
With an expensive product, people will read all of your sales copy, so don’t half-ass it.
Another example of awesome sales copy for an online course without the typos is Katie Melissa’s e-commerce courses.
She starts with a question to pull you into the sales copy.
Then she dives into all of the emotional reasons someone would want to start an e-commerce store.
Then, she explains exactly what you will get out of the course in as much detail as she can. Give away the cart but keep the horse.
Next, she tells you who she is and why she’s an expert in her field.
Finally, she has a CTA.
This is an effective five-step method to use when selling your online course:
- Ask a question to draw visitors into the sales copy.
- Explain all of the emotional reasons that someone would want to buy. Agitate the pain they are already experiencing.
- Describe how you’re going to solve that for them in the online course and make all of their problems go away.
- Describe why you are the person they should trust as the expert.
- Finish with a CTA.
5. Basic lead magnets
The final type of product sales copy that we’re going to discuss is the basic lead magnet. While newsletter CTAs offer consistent content traveling to your inbox, the lead magnet is a gated piece of content that visitors can only acquire if they subscribe to your email list.
The key to lead magnets is to do two things.
- Choose a lead magnet that is highly appealing to your target audience.
- Write sales copy to support that content.
I know. I know. Choosing a lead magnet that appeals to your audience is easier said than done.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What are some struggles that your audience is experiencing? List a few.
- What piece of content could you create that would solve one of those problems?
Aaron Orendorff does this will with his lead magnet over at iconiContent.
And again with a scroll-depth pop-up.
Since his audience is content creators, he offers a checklist for creating awesome content. In terms of his sales copy, he keeps it simple. It’s very similar to the newsletter format.
- Tell them what they’ll get (intellectual).
- Explain how it will help them (emotion).
Try to keep it fairly short. There’s no reason to over-explain what you’re offering.
If you just do those two things well, people will sign up.
What you don’t want to do on your landing page is to neglect the words.
Since the copy is what explains your product, builds your expertise, and persuades people to buy, it’s arguably the most important part of any sales page.
But every product is different, and so too should be the sales copy. In particular, you’ll want to write different copy for simple and complex products, newsletters, online courses, and basic lead magnets.
You can use this article as your guide to do so.
About the Author
Brad helps SaaS startups create actionable long-form content for a fraction of the price of a content writer. Give him a pug and a pencil and he’s off to the races!