An outline for going from story, to product to sale
Even the most inventive and unique products can’t sell themselves. If someone packaged up the cure for world hunger into an eBook and sold it for a penny, it wouldn’t even make a dime’s worth of revenue without a well-written and convincing landing page.
This is why the copy on your landing page is so important.
When we’re giving away free products, we know that the “story” is less important. Free is easy to sell. However, we still write lengthy landing pages for the purpose of search engine optimization. This enables us to spend less (or no) money on AdWords and more money on creating excellent products that get found organically in search engines and build our email lists.
When we’re selling paid products, we spend much more time creating and delivering a landing page that begins with a story that heightens desire for the product and prompts a purchase decision. It takes an entire effort of convincing to get someone to take out their credit card, versus just asking for an email address. The more expensive the product, the more convincing it will take. When you’re selling a product that’s over $100, it’s better to have more information than not enough.
Long landing pages get a bad rap, but you can ask any publisher who’s tested long copy vs. short copy what their results were. 95% of the time, and especially in the B2B realm, long copy will win.
Take our advice with this four-part checklist for the next time you’re creating a lengthy landing page:
1. The salesletter should tell a story.
Make sure your landing page contains an interesting, engaging, believable story told by someone your audience can relate to and appreciate. After all, you’re asking them to spend their valuable time reading your pitch… you owe them a good time. Plus, a compelling story will move them smoothly along to the purchasing decision.
Whether writing a newsletter, article, or advertisement, think of one person and write (speak) directly to him personally. Start by getting a clear picture of who your ideal customer is so you can write your offer to that one person.
2. The storyteller should be credible and clearly identified.
When speaking in the first-person voice, the salesletter should truly read like a letter. Telling a story without using the worlds “I” or “My” is not only hard, but it also doesn’t lead to any kind of personal connection with the reader. A third-party account of someone else’s experience with something related to your product is not only unappealing, it’s disingenuous.
Landing pages that tell a story should always be signed by someone that the customer already “knows” like the Managing Editor, CEO or someone else. You know better than I who this person might be in your company. The person writing the salesletter, however may not always be the same. In general, we don’t sign salesletters from the same person who created the product. For example, we don’t publish a salesletter that’s signed by the same person who’s presenting it. We’d prefer to sign it by someone who’s already seen it presented and tackle the copywriting from that angle.
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3. The story should have a compelling, believable lead.
If you can’t convince a customer that your product is worth learning more about within the first 30 seconds, then it doesn’t matter how great the rest of your copy is.
I’ll stress this again… If your leading headline and paragraph aren’t the best, most amazing and intriguing set of words on your salesletter landing page, then nobody is going to scroll down to read the rest of your copy. First impressions matter.
For instance, suppose you write a landing page (product ad) for people who work in the food service industry. Do you think people who work in the food service industry think of themselves as “food service workers”? They do not. So, which lead for a specialty coffee ad is more pleasing to the targeted reader and creates better rapport?
“Food service industry workers like those of you who read this newsletter know good coffee.” That’s very impersonal, unfocused and lumps a whole group into one general category. Compare it to this: “If you’re a restaurant owner, executive chef, or specialty food buyer, you know excellent coffee even before you taste it. It’s color, freshness and aroma tell you volumes about its quality.”
This story lead identifies its target audience, gets rapport, and compliments them. Note, also, that plain old “you” is a lot more personal and intimate than “those of you.”
4. The story should have a conclusion that moves the reader to complete the action.
The purpose of you landing page is to get a sale or an email address. Dress it up how you like. Yes, you create an exceptional product. Yes, everyone should know what you know about this topic. Yes, you want to share your knowledge with the world. But at the end of the day, you want to make money. That’s why we’re all in business and how we fund future products.
Fundamentally, benefits are reasons for the customer to buy.
The reader requires reasons to take action. Even if they have already decided to buy your product, they need reasons to take the next step. It’s a matter of acting congruently, or being able to rationalize their purchase decision.
Buying decisions are largely emotional. Consumers buy what they want, not necessarily what they need. Compelling benefits (read reasons or rationalizations) provide the congruency required to justify a subconscious purchase decision. An engaging, believable story enhances this process.
At the end of your salesletter (or email capture page), you should have tied in the story that features a problem that the customer can relate to. You should have then led them to your product that will solve this problem. From there, you should have convinced them that the benefits of this product are worth more than the cost of the product.
Finally, you should have seamlessly brought them from story, to product, to sale.