What, you may wonder, is a Sales Letter Landing Page (SLLP)? With the Mequoda Methodology, an SLLP is a site page that has been optimized to bring a happy “free” member over to the paid side.
An SLLP is essentially a “sales letter” that will look rather familiar to you if you’ve ever received a direct mail solicitation. The SLLP is clear and direct, and it won’t stop until it convinces you to take the great deal it’s offering. Think of it as a digital 4-page, text-heavy sales letter. It’s long on copy, short on images, and it works.
SLLPs invite the prospect to enter into a low-risk, low-cost transaction. We call it a Sales Letter Landing Page (SLLP) because it’s the same in shape and strategy as a marketing email (or direct mail piece) you might send out to non-paying members — your hottest prospects.
After you’ve read this tutorial, consider these additional Mequoda Pro Training Program articles to help you create an effective Sales Letter Landing Page (SLLP):
- 5 Keys to a Profitable Sales Letter Landing Page
- Two Sales Letter Landing Page Copywriting Models
- Mastering Key Landing Page Optimization Terms and Definitions
With this In-Depth Tutorial, we review a Sales Letter Landing Page that is effective and fully compliant with Mequoda’s best practices. We’re featuring a Sales Letter Landing Page from Food Gardening Network—a page that is worthy of emulating if you, too, would like to grow your paid subscriber base.
Food Gardening Network—a publishing venture wholly-owned and operated by Mequoda—was founded by home food gardeners and for home food gardeners in the spring of 2020, and the mission is to serve gardeners with tips, tools, advice, and recipes for growing and enjoying good food at home. Food Gardening Network is the premier resource for food gardeners of all skill levels, for creating and maintaining your own food garden at home—with everything you need to ensure that you grow, harvest, and enjoy fabulous food!
When Food Gardening Network launched, deploying effective Sales Letter Landing Pages at the website was an essential part of the strategy to be user-friendly—and to steadily build a paid subscriber base.
Let’s take a look at one of Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Pages, and we’ll review it based on our checklist of core components that can help any website design a page that helps capture the email addresses of site visitors and delivers really valuable content for any home food gardener!
Sales Letter Landing Page
Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page doesn’t mince words — it’s clear, compelling — and long. It’s not heavy-handed or pushy, but it does hold forth at length about the fabulous benefits and features of a Charter Gold Membership. The SLLP covers so many benefits of hitting that JOIN NOW button that it doesn’t give the reader time to object.
Keep in mind that most readers are not going to settle in for a long, thorough read of your SLLP. They’re going to scan it, skimming over the page to see if something catches their eye. This page is designed to dazzle prospects with the depth of content and give them the incentive to subscribe on every screen.
Sales Letter Landing Page Nameplate & Main Navigation
Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page—just like other pages on the site—displays a persistent top-of-page nameplate and navigation. And whichever main-navigation item you’ve clicked to visit (in this case, Join) is highlighted in green, so you know which page you’re on.
Always ensure that you keep this persistent top-of-page treatment on your site, so that site visitors know where they are and can quickly navigate elsewhere. Plus, it’s a great way to consistently display your brand name and tag line—“Food Gardening Network: Growing Good Food at Home” here.
Finally, top-right of this section includes Food Gardening Network’s affiliation with the Mequoda Publishing Network (the logo is a clickable link) and sign-in and log-out functionality, along with the readily recognizable magnifying-glass icon for intra-site search.
Sales Letter Landing Page Meta Description
While this page’s meta description copy doesn’t appear on the page itself for site visitors to see—it’s “behind the scenes” in your Content Management System (CMS)—the meta description tag is an important HTML element that provides a brief page summary that search engines often use to display as a snippet with the search engine results page (SERP) listing, to give users an idea about what’s on the page and how it relates to their search query.
For this Charter Gold Membership Offer SLLP, Food Gardening Network has successfully created meta description copy that:
- Is custom-created specifically for content on the page;
- Is no more than 156 characters long, including spaces (it’s 131 characters long);
- Contains the primary target keyword phrase “Food Gardening Network”;
- And avoids using quotation marks (can cause HTML problems).
Great job by Food Gardening Network’s SLLP!
Sales Letter Landing Page Headline
For Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page, the page headline follows Mequoda’s best practice of making the offer clear and compelling in the headline: Get the Best Food Gardening Tips and Advice, for Only 95¢ a week!. And this headline is tagged, for HTML purposes, as H1—signaling to search engines that this copy is important.
Sales Letter Landing Page Sub-Headline
For Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page sub-headline, Mequoda’s best practice is to ensure that the sub-headline is tagged as H2 for HTML purposes and is full of benefit copy. The phrase “you’ll have everything you need to grow good food at your home” does a great job of conveying the benefits of becoming a Charter Gold Member!
Call to Action Button
Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page is long on copy and short on graphics — except where it comes to a call to action. Visitors who land on this page may come from an email, or they may find themselves here when they click on a Learn More button elsewhere on the site. The inference here is that the prospect has a fairly high level of interest in Food Gardening Network and all the content it has to offer. Placing the Join Now button right at the top of the letter gives prospects the option to say, “TL;DR” (Too Long; Didn’t Read) and get straight to the heart of the matter. Some visitors will need more convincing. This call to action button is for those who are ready. This is a great strategy to appeal to both types of prospects.
Sales Letter Landing Page OFIE
For Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page, Mequoda’s best practice is to serve OFIEs on the page—OFIE is an “Order Form in Editorial,” an element with sufficient visual appeal to move the prospect on to the order page. To get maximum benefit from OFIEs, please follow these best practices:
- OFIE should appear every 300-400 words on the page, as an interruptive element that links to your order page;
- OFIE should have a benefit-driven headline;
- OFIE should include an image of the content being offered;
- OFIE should have a big, bold affirmation button that summarizes the offer.
Food Gardening Network hits all the right elements following OFIE best practices!
Sales Letter Landing Page Copy Elements
Opening Body Copy
The opening of the letter hits the prospect up with the irresistible offer right away. Subtle calls to action are sprinkled throughout the copy: each mention of the Food Gardening Network and the Charter membership are bolded and in green — they’re links to the order page. The links aren’t blatant, but they do offer an opportunity to move the prospect along as early as the second sentence in the letter.
Between each chunk of enticing copy is an OFIE; this ensures that desktop readers will always see an OFIE while they’re reading; for mobile users, the OFIE will show up roughly every other screen — always keeping that offer front and center.
The letter goes on to detail the depth of content the prospect can anticipate when they subscribe. This is where you wow your prospect with the depth and variety of your content; it’s also an area of the SLLP you can periodically refresh as you add new content. Of course, following this section is a colorful and compelling OFIE with a strong, positive call to action.
The SLLP continues with relatable copy that outlines the joy of membership and underscores how the prospect’s life will be improved when they subscribe: better food, better health, more quality home time. Who can argue with that? And, of course, following this section is — you got it — another OFIE.
What’s in it for me?
This section details the features of the Charter Gold Membership, adding energy-imbued terms like “instant access,” “immediate access,” “premium content previews,” “regular, practical advice,” and “Freebies” — all designed to impress the prospect with the depth of the offering. And immediately following? Yup — an OFIE.
Final CTA with a personal touch
This closing section of the letter asks, “Why not?” After that extensive, benefit- and feature-laden letter, surely the prospect is ready to commit to joining. This section has the right focus: it’s all about the prospect and their needs and aspirations. The invitation to be an early adopter lends the offer a feeling of exclusivity. And it has a real signature at the end, further [re]creating that feel of a long sales letter.
This closing section makes a connection with the reader that should resolve any doubts they may have had about signing up.
P.S., P.P.S. & Final CTA
Best practices in good sales letter writing say a P.S. is essential, and a P.P.S. is an added bonus. It’s the final opportunity to connect with the prospect and remind them of the fabulous benefits of subscribing. And, of course, the letter closes with that big, bold call to action — the OFIE.
Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page also follows some basic page-wide best practices for copy, including:
- SLLP copy should be 800 words or longer—Food Gardening Network’s SLLP for its charter gold membership is about 1,400 words long.
- SLLP copy should contain a density of the primary target keyword phrase of 1-3%—Food Gardening Network’s SLLP has a primary target keyword density for “Food Gardening Network” of 6%. This is higher than we recommend, but because it’s the name of the product and not a general keyword phrase, we find a higher density acceptable.
- SLLP copy should have at least three section headers tagged as H3 for HTML purposes—Food Gardening Network’s SLLP has four H3-tagged sub-headlines.
- SLLP images should contain alt-text tags on any graphics that show the features of the membership (in this case, the OFIE)—Food Gardening Network’s SLLP has the alt-text tag of “Food Gardening Network” for the OFIE images.
Food Gardening Network has successfully used copy elements on its SLLP!
Sales Letter Landing Page Footer Items
The footer on Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page—just like the nameplate and navigation at the top of the page—always displays for page visitors at the bottom of the page, no matter what page you’re on. The string of logos, all clickable to other websites, features the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and related publishing industry associations to which Food Gardening Network belongs. Displaying these logos conveys credibility to page visitors and builds confidence that Food Gardening Network is ethical and legitimate (BBB’s logo) and an experienced and professional publisher (all the publishing industry logos).
Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page footer gives page visitors basic information about navigating and how to contact Food Gardening Network—and it inspires confidence in the brand.
Sales Letter Landing Page Mobile Responsiveness
In today’s world, all website pages should be designed for mobile responsiveness—and Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page is no exception. Please make sure that all your pages are designed for a good mobile-user experience. And in the case of Food Gardening Network, you never know when a gardener will pull out a mobile phone while out in the garden to check about a gardening technique or tip—so, you want the mobile experience to be a good one!
With Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page on a mobile phone—just like the desktop experience—the page is uncluttered and beautiful! The near-top-left hamburger menu allows you to get to all the navigation with a fly-out menu. And the page headline is visible and clickable without scrolling.
As you scroll down, the body copy gives way to the OFIE that gives prospects a strong visual call to action to join. The SLLP continues to alternate between body copy and OFIE fairly evenly — about a screen at a time. The letter is uncluttered, but still has links to the order page worked into the copy. And notice that the Nameplate persists as the reader scrolls through the letter — always keep your publication top of mind, and at the top of the page!
Any mobile user who visits Food Gardening Network’s SLLP will find an easy-to-use format that allows for a quick and easy way to join the Food Gardening Network.
Food Gardening Network Sales Letter Landing Page Test Ideas
Continuous improvement should be part of all business processes—including the design and function of your Sales Letter Landing Pages. But refrain from constant tweaking and—for the most part—ignore the urge to follow your own instincts or those of your staff. This page is designed for prospects from your target audience, so keep that in mind.
What’s best is to save up ideas for improvement and make them all at once in a batch—seeking breakthrough tests that can deliver bigger results—you’ll drive yourself crazy with perfection obsession if you’re constantly trying to make changes.
Additionally, you should consider conducting website usability lab testing when planning to redesign your Sales Letter Landing Page, or any other set of pages on your website. Typically, these usability labs will define 3-5 tasks that users should be able to complete in a given section of your website. This will help determine if the redesign you’re planning meets users’ needs.
For Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page, please resist the tendency to over-design the page—visitors need some visual enticement, but too many graphics can distract from the goal of getting visitors to sign up for the offer. Here are some ideas for improvement that might boost conversion rates:
- Do an offer test. Test the price and how you present it (X/week? X/month?)
- Test different images in the OFIE. If you have seasonal covers, test them at the appropriate time.
- Test a different OFIE design/color treatment, including headline and your call to action button.
- Test a shorter version of the page, to see if not as much “selling” copy is needed to get prospects to act.
Food Gardening Network’s Sales Letter Landing Page is a great example of how to use plain, straightforward language to sell your product. The only graphics are the Nameplate, OFIE, and call-to-action button. Don’t be afraid to make the letter long; time and again, testing shows that long letters can be big winners.
Here’s a performance checklist you can use, to ensure that your own Sales Letter Landing Page follows Mequoda’s current best practices.
Mequoda’s Sales Letter Landing Page (SLLP) Checklist
|Nameplate & Navigation||Is your Nameplate at the top of the page?|
|Is your navigation bar visible, with the current page highlighted?|
|Meta Description Copy||Is copy custom-created, specifically for content on this page?|
|Is copy no more than 156 characters long, including spaces?|
|Does copy contain the primary target keyword phrase?|
|Does copy avoid using quotation marks?|
|Page Headline||Does headline clearly state the offer?|
|Is headline tagged for H1 as HTML?|
|Page Sub-Headline||Is sub-headline tagged for H2 as HTML?|
|Does sub-headline include benefit copy?|
|OFIE (Order Form in Editorial)||Does the OFIE appear every 300-400 words throughout the page?|
|Does the OFIE have a benefit-driven headline?|
|Does the OFIE include an image of the product being offered?|
|SLLP Copy Elements||Is total page copy at least 800 words long?|
|Is the density of the primary target keyword phrase between 1-3%?|
|Does SLLP have at least 3 sub-headlines that are tagged as H3 for HTML?|
|Does your SLLP copy make a compelling case for the prospect to subscribe?|
|Mobile Responsiveness||Ensure the mobile version of your SLLP is clean, uncluttered, and mobile-responsive.|
|Test, test, test!||Consider breakthrough tests that can make a big difference.|
© 2022 Mequoda Systems, LLC
Bottom Line: If you want to create an effective Sales Letter Landing Page—just like Food Gardening Network’s—follow this checklist, and you’ll have a great starting place for creating an engaging page that is a powerhouse for growing your subscriber base.