Editor’s note: This post was originally written in 2018 and, while the best practices remain as relevant as ever, the article has been updated to include even more insight into how to create an effective sales page. Dig in!
If you wanted to sell something 30 years ago, you hired a salesperson. These quick-talking, sleek-suited personalities would greet customers as they entered the store and help them find (and buy) exactly what they were looking for.
But with the rise of the internet and e-commerce sales, fewer people are traveling to brick-and-mortar stores. Instead, they’re researching and buying products online. In fact, 74.9% of Americans will shop online in 2022, and that’s expected to grow to over 80% in 2025.
As a result, the salesperson is becoming obsolete, and they've been replaced by online sales pages that pitch your product and push web visitors over that final step to conversion.
In this article, you’ll learn what makes sales pages unique and whether you need a short or long-form sales page. We’ll also walk you through a proven seven-step strategy for crafting a sales page that converts 24/7.
A sales page is a web page that focuses solely on selling a product or service. While other landing pages are designed to generate leads, a sales page’s goal is to close the deal and collect payment.
Because it’s the very last page you want your visitors to see before handing over their payment information, a sales page’s written copy, images, and call to action (CTA) all exist to push a user towards a purchase.
Sales pages can be applied to all kinds of products, services, and offerings, and typically fall into one or two different categories: long-form sales pages, or short-form sales pages.
Both types have the same purpose (to close the deal) but each is suited to a different type of sale. For example, long-form sales pages are ideal for products or services that require a little more information (and education) in order for a visitor to feel ready to buy, while short-form pages are best for more impulsive low-cost items.
Most sales pages include:
A headline that catches the reader’s attention and explains what you’re selling.
Imagery and graphics showcasing your product or service.
Bullet points that show advantages, features, and benefits.
How is a sales page different than a landing page?
Sales pages are technically a type of landing page. However, when most people think of landing pages they think of a lead generation page or opt-in page. The goal of a sales page is to get visitors to make a purchase, while other types of landing pages are used to collect leads.
A lead generation page is one of the first pages prospects will visit on their way to becoming a customer. Once you have someone’s email address you can build trust and educate them on your products and services. Then, when they’re ready to buy, you can direct them to your sales page.
In order to generate leads, these pages often promote a free offer that visitors can receive by submitting their email address (this is known as a lead magnet).
Your homepage promotes your brand by giving information about who you are and what you do. It usually provides an overview of your products and services and might display a current offer, but the goal of your homepage is more to build awareness rather than sell anything.
Sales pages, on the other hand, focus exclusively on selling an individual product or service. You assume that the customer already knows about your brand because they’ve come to your sales page through your funnel.
Homepages also include navigation links to other pages on your website, while sales pages rarely link out to other pages to keep visitors focused on the product or service being offered.
When should you use a sales page?
You should have at least one sales page for every product or service you’re selling. All your other pages are designed to guide consumers through your funnel. Then, when you feel a lead is ready to become a customer, it’s time to send them to a sales page.
Sales pages are typically a “hard sell,” which means you’re actively (and elegantly) pushing users to convert right now. That’s why you want them already warmed up with the other landing pages and offerings before they hit this page.
For example, maybe a customer has already downloaded your free ebook and you’ve been educating them about your products and services with an email marketing campaign. They know your brand, have shown that they trust you, and have maintained interest. That’s when you use your sales page to make the final pitch.
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Do you need a long-form or short-form sales page?
We mentioned earlier that there are two types of sales pages: long-form and short form. So, which one is right for you?
The best advice we can give you is that your sales page should be as long as it needs to be—and not a word longer.
Your mission is to provide enough information (or impetus) to sell your product or service without bogging visitors down with unnecessary text. Naturally, the amount of information you need to include will depend on what you’re selling.
Generally, you’ll need longer sales pages when selling a high-priced or complex offering, and shorter sales pages when offering a cheaper item that’s easier to say yes to.
Long-form sales pages (often called “sales letters”) are typically over 400 words and include multiple sections that dive deep into the benefits and any questions the reader might have.
Short-form sales pages only have a few sections of copy (or sometimes just one) and get straight to the point. They’ll usually just list the primary benefits and then ask for the sale.
Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of both types of sales pages.
Advantages of long-form sales pages
Allows you more space to outline benefits and demonstrate value.
Gives you the opportunity to address questions and objections.
Longer pages have a better chance of appearing in search results.
Some products require a little more explaining before people are ready to hand over their payment details. This is especially true for high-priced items. For example, if you’re selling a $2,000 photography session you’re going to need to show why it’s worth that much. A long-form sales page provides more space to convince customers of the value of such a large purchase.
Long-form sales pages are also great for complex or unique products. Let’s say you’ve come up with a new fitness program. People will likely be skeptical about whether it actually works, so you’ll need a long-form sales page to educate readers and show them why they should trust you.
Disadvantages of long-form sales pages
Longer sales pages can lead to information overload.
Too much text can bore visitors and even discourage them from reading your copy.
Today’s customers get bored easily, especially with online content.
Even if you need more content to convince visitors to purchase your product, too much copy could cause them to get frustrated and click away. Once you lose a visitor it’s hard to get them back into your funnel.
That’s why it’s absolutely critical to ensure even the longest sales pages have direct language without fluff or hyperbole. Always be as economic with your words as possible.
Advantages of short-form sales pages
Allows you to quickly sum up the benefits and features of your product or service.
They’re easier for visitors to read and digest.
Short-form sales pages are perfect for low-cost, low-barrier products because there isn’t a lot to explain or justify. Using less copy means readers can quickly understand why they should buy from you and decide whether or not they want to make a purchase.
Shorter pages are also more likely to be read since most internet users have short attention spans. This means more visitors will consume your entire pitch which can result in more conversions.
Disadvantages of short-form sales pages
Some questions might be left unanswered
Unlikely to be ranked in search results.
While long-form sales pages can bore customers, short-form sales pages might leave visitors wanting more. If you focus too much on keeping it short and not on providing enough information you may not do enough to convince your customers to purchase.
You should also keep in mind that shorter pages are less likely to appear in search results. So, if you’re trying to increase your organic traffic, short-form landing pages aren’t the way to go.
Ultimately, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons and decide what type of landing page is right for your product or service. You can also create an A/B test with both short and long sales pages to see which one converts better.
How do you create a successful sales page?
Now that you know what a sales page is, and the advantages of the two different approaches, you’re ready to begin creating your own.
Okay, that’s all well and good, but what do you need to include on your sales page to actually get the sale? Let’s take a look at the seven techniques the most successful sales pages use to drive conversions.
#1 – Start with a compelling headline
Your headline needs to instantly intrigue visitors. Sales page headlines are typically longer than those of other landing pages because they function as a “hook” as opposed to a title.
The headline should be an explanatory sentence or statement that immediately alerts the customer to the benefits of your offer. Ask yourself the following question when writing your headline: what will be the greatest advantage or change the reader will experience if they buy your product or service?
Writing longer headlines feels uncomfortable for some marketers because they’re used to short, snappy titles. However, descriptive titles are more likely to encourage the customer to keep reading.
For example, you might be tempted to make the headline of your sales page the same as the title of your ebook. However, unless your ebook’s title already has a track record of converting customers it probably won’t engage your audience. Instead, you’ll want a headline that addresses the benefits of reading the book. How will their lives change after reading this ebook?
People often confuse features and benefits, but they’re two very different things. Features are what your product offers. Benefits are the reasons why they should want to buy it.
It’s pretty obvious that benefits are a lot more compelling than features, which is why you want to focus on them.
Start by creating a list of all your product or service’s features. For example, if you’re offering video services your features might be something like this:
State-of-the-art HD camera.
Unlimited revisions and edits.
Then, take each of those features and turn them into a benefit:
Capture your most important moments in crisp high-definition video.
Receive your edited video in three days or less.
We’ll revise and edit your video until it’s exactly the way you want it.
Use this strategy to get readers excited about your offer.
#3 – Include testimonials and reviews from your customers
Social proof is one of the strongest methods of conversion. Studies show that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as their friends.
These “trust indicators” prove your credibility and show prospects just how much your previous customers have enjoyed your products and services. Testimonials and reviews also demonstrate your product’s benefits and advantages from a consumer’s point of view.
Displaying social likes and shares is another way to build trust. Or you can show your business’s authority with logos of reputable publications that have endorsed or featured your product or service.
#4 – Cut out the fluff
The main reason long-form sales pages fail is because of the copy. The content should be compelling and accurate with just enough words to get the point across. You don’t want extensive “fluff” that keeps your customer on the page for no reason.
The more concise and direct you are, the more likely your customers will stay engaged with the material. Don’t make it about length, but about explanation.
You should also make your copy inviting and easy to read. Focus on using shorter sentences, bullet points, and graphics. Keep your paragraphs to three or four lines to increase white space, and break up your copy with lots of subheaders.
Most importantly, don’t ramble. Make your point, back it up, and then move on.
#5 – Include the right images to support your copy
The picture you paint with your words should be reflected in your imagery as well.
People are visual creatures—although copy is the heart of the sales page, the graphics engage the consumer further. This creates an attractive page that’s more likely to convert.
Your images should show your product from a variety of angles while showcasing all the different features and benefits. You should also demonstrate the product in use with a lifestyle picture, so customers can envision themselves using the product.
Services are sometimes a little more difficult to show through images. One approach is to feature images that showcase your primary benefit. Are you a consultant that helps business owners increase their profits? Show someone happily running and working on their business. Get creative!
Make sure your pictures are high quality. If you don’t have the right equipment or experience hiring a professional photographer is a wise investment.
The “frequently asked questions” section is one of the most important aspects of a long-form sales page. This is your chance to answer any questions that might be holding your prospects back from purchasing.
Think of all the questions you’ve ever been asked about your product or service. You should also brainstorm any possible objections people might have and create questions and answers to address them. Then choose the top five or ten to include on your sales page.
Make sure your answers are honest. You don’t want to mislead your customers. Focus on accurate, concise answers that are aligned with your brand voice.
#7 – Finish with a strong call to action
All of the content and copy should revolve around your CTA. This is what encourages the reader to buy and it gives the next steps for purchasing. If the CTA isn’t clear and direct, your prospect may not know how to finish moving through your sales funnel.
For most sales pages, the CTA will be to purchase the product. However, simply saying “Buy Now” usually isn’t enough. You’ll also need to support your message with information about secure checkouts, pricing, and accepted payment methods.
Finally, make the CTA button clear and direct. It should be the most visually intriguing part of the page so that it attracts the eye.