Sales pages are like sex.
Take a moment and think about it.
For one thing, we’re kinda terrible at both when we begin.
What was your first time like?
While you um and ah, I’ll tell you mine.
I was so nervous it took three attempts just to begin. I kept tensing up, wondering, “Am I doing this right? What if I’m terrible at this?” My hands felt like they were made out of wood, came close to knocking over the same glass of water three times.
I think I nearly hyperventilated at one point. I just felt so damn vulnerable, naked. Defenceless!
Somehow, with no finesse and no rhythm, I got through it. Exhausted, embarrassed, a bit uncomfortable. But there were some good parts, there were signs that this could be wonderful.
With a languorous smile, I slapped on a Buy Now button and hit publish.
(I’d like to take a moment to send fond feelings to D, the other party in the sexy version of this metaphor. He put up with multiple occasions of blue balls on my behalf, and I have always been grateful.)
The first sales page, like the first time I had sex, was kinda-terrible-but-with-potential. The next was not-actually-terrible. After another few tries I got to hey-pretty-good. And since then it’s been… well, I don’t get many complaints.
I love sex. And I love sales pages.
Which is why I find it tragic when I meet people who are still living in Victorian times.
Sales pages are terrible, they say. You just have to grit your teeth and get it over with, they say. No-one’s told me it’s your “marital duty” yet – business duty? – but it’s probably only a matter of time.
This is terribly wrong. Sales pages are not one of the times when you have to lie back and think of England!
The Victorian approach: get it over with, your needs remain unmet, don’t talk about it, dread the next time, get it over with, your needs remain unmet…
Is that how you feel about sales pages? Do you have any you never promote not because you hate the offering – the offering is awesome – but because you hate the sales page and don’t want anyone to see it?
How absolutely insane is that, my lovely? You’re getting less of your amazing work out into the world that so sorely needs it, you’re making less money, and you’re feeling endlessly frustrated.
That’s the kind of frustration that leads to brothels on every corner and scorched-earth warfare against the Boers. I’m just sayin’.
If you’re a sales page prude, what needs to change?
The fundamentals of writing a good sales page are:
Ditch the self-consciousness.
No-one cares about your hair, sweetheart. You don’t have to be cool to rule our world. The more energy you spend worrying about looking just right or not embarrassing yourself or wondering what So-and-so would do in this position, the less you save to focus where it really, truly matters: on the dynamic between you and your potential buyer.
Get confident about being naked.
Most of the work in sales pages is emotional labour: the hard yards of feeling something intensely, then describing it vividly. Of being brave enough to be proud of it and tell people about it. To truly take this in both hands and make an offering: here, I made this for you.
And to accept that not everyone will like it, in fact some people will dislike it very much.
There’s nothing sexier than someone who is completely confident in their own skin… or their offering. Fuck the haters, your offering is gorgeous.
You want what you want. You are fantastic at some things, and dreadfully incompetent at others. Don’t try to be a second rate someone else. Be the world-class you.
Get to know them.
What do they want? What are their sore spots, their tricky shoulder, their preferred styles? What do they yearn for and haven’t articulated yet? Do they want it gentle, or rough?
Generic fails to thrill. We want something that’s shaped for us, my sweet.
Don’t bet the farm on technique.
Oh, we’ve all done it. At some stage we get worried about our prowess. Either we know we’re not very good yet, or we just think we could be better.
What do we do? We read a hundred articles. We study a thousand diagrams. Learn the Special Sekrit taught by a holy Tibetan monk who lives on a mountain and eats nothing but pine needles.
We’re convinced that if we just get the special two-handed reverse-cowgirl-squeeze dismount-with-a-twist nailed, that everything will be magically wonderful.
It’s the Magic Bullet theorem. (I know that’s also the name of a blender, which is a pity. It’d be a fabulous name for a sex toy, don’t you think?)
There’s nothing wrong with increasing our repertoire of techniques. It’s delightful to have plenty of tricks up our sleeve, if we’re still wearing sleeves at this point.
But we need to be extremely careful that we’re not attempting to insert nifty tricks in place of the most vital part: the emotional labour of making ourself vulnerable, letting go of the control, getting naked with another person.
Enjoy the process, not just the climax.
If you spend the whole encounter rushing to try to get to the best part, what are you?
A terrible lover.
And also, likely a very frustrated one, ’cos in sales pages as in non-romance-novel life, you don’t always get a climax. If that’s your only standard for whether you had a good time, you’re going to be miserable. Often. (A common conversion rate in some industries is 2%. That means 49 times out of 50 you’ll end up standing in the snow shouting, “C’mooooooon!!!!”)
Writing sales pages can be delightful, and lead to sales pages that are delightful to read.
(Small relevant boast: I’ve had some clients report to me that they’ve gone back and re-read my sales pages. For offerings they’ve already bought. For fun. If you didn’t think that made me grin all day, you are sadly misinformed.)
So, can I help with all these changes?
HELL NO. This is the process of years.
But I wrote a resource that will definitely help while you fumble around undoing the straps.
It’s called I Love Sales Pages, and it’s got three main parts.
The Word Gym
In the Word Gym, there are 37 pages of exercises to get you all limber and focused. They’ll help you nail down the specifics of your offering and its target audience. And help you develop lip-licking evocative ways to describe your work, and how it feels.
Ooh, it also helps you redefine the purpose of a sales page, so you can smoosh those Will I Become A Used Car Salesman fears under your immaculately manicured thumb.
You’ll be feeling clear, kittenish*, and playful, ready to start writing that sales page and have a goddamn wonderful time doing it.
*If you don’t want to feel kittenish a) you are missing out and b) you may substitute “dashing and roguish” if you prefer. It’s whatever Sexy Confident Playful You would say with a glitter in their eye.
Ah, the pacing issue.
How much foreplay is enough?
We don’t want to get to the intense stuff before they’re ready, because we all know that’s no fun. But we don’t want to be the nervous flutterer who keeps on dithering while the other party shouts, “For the love of all that is holy GET ON WITH IT!!!”
And we’ve all seen sales pages – and written them! – that make both errors. Ones that are far too timid in asking for what they want, and some that try and take it so brusquely that we run for the hills.
Each situation is of course unique. But it’s super-duper handy to have a basic framework to start in, one that is likely to provide a satisfactory mix of arousal and way-hey.
You’ll know what needs to go into writing your sales page, and what needs to get ruthlessly, viciously, murder-your-darlings edited out. Best of all, you have a place to ditch your nerves and get started.
(Sales pages have the wonderful edge over sex that you get as many practice runs as you like before you have to show anyone. Oh wait, sex has that too.
Did I just say that first drafts are like masturbation?
I REGRET NOTHING)
So yeah, a useful framework is wonderful.
You’ve got a draft (or a published version, already glaring at you from the website and demanding why you don’t love it, whyyyyy) and it… it’s just not right. And you know that, you can feel it down to your immaculately manicured toenails, but you don’t know what’s wrong.
So clearly, you have no idea how to fix it. Perhaps sexy lingerie?
Better. Let’s try some light BDSM.
Okay, what we’re actually going to do is ask a series of questions to identify the problem. You can get all leather-and-dog-collars about this if you like, though.
Once you know what the problem/s are, you can fix them. Simple.
Really. You can get to the point where you, like me, say, “Goddamn, I really love writing sales pages.”
Because that is fucking awesome. Pun most definitely intended.
How this works
You click on the shiny button below and choose your option:
Just The Facts, Lady
The fabulous I Love Sales Pages resource!
- The Word Gym: 37 pages of exercises to articulate all the reasons your offering rocks, and who it rocks for.
- The Worksheets: all those questions, except in nice easy printable form, if you like that kind of thing.
- The Framework: a handy-dandy default framework for structuring your sales page with all your bases covered and just enough foreplay.
- The Interrogation: 26 questions to ask your sales page if it sucks and you can’t quite identify why.
- The Get Started Guide: which should be first in this list, but never mind. It’s a get started guide. You know the drill.
All for $US50.
Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer
All of the I Love Sales Pages resource, plus an extra 30-minute session with me to review the sales page you’re written. I’ll be as gentle or as rough as you want me to be!
Are you ready to write sales pages you love?
Then choose your flavour and let’s get rocking!
Just the Facts’ Ma’am – the resource
The Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer – resource plus editing session:
Got questions? Okie dokie!
I sell physical goods online. Does this still work for me?
Yep! You might find that you strip back a couple of sections from the framework – although you don’t have to – but in my experience there’s not THAT much difference between a good sales page for a product versus a service.
I sell things offline. Does this still work for me?
Maybe? I mean, it’ll likely still be useful for you in some ways, like how to do your signage and brochures and things. This is mostly optimised for the written word, so if that still feels relevant to you I’d give it a try.
If you find it really doesn’t suit your business, I’ll refund your money.
Look, I REALLY hate writing sales pages. Will this help?
It will if you let it. This resource is based on one-on-one work I’ve done with clients over the last few years, more than it was based on myself. Which is great for you, because I was one of those frustrating people who has always been not-too-terrible at sales pages. If I was writing just from my own experience all the exercises would be, “Shit, I dunno. Just be more gooderer!”
But this came from my work with people who in essence said, “You’re great at sales pages. Can you teach me not to suck at them?” And the answer is, yep! Eventually. It’s challenging work, but as long as you accept the following it’s possible:
- Writing sales pages is a skill.
- Actually, it’s a bunch of skills.
- You have the capacity to learn those skills.
- This will require a lot of practice, and the willingness to be very uncomfortable.
If you disagree with one of these statements, please don’t waste your time buying yet another resource. Come back when you’re ready and rock it then.
If you’re on board with it, then yes! You will eventually be able to write sales pages and not hate the process or the result. They won’t sound like mine, they’ll be yours. And that’s awesome.
Why do I have to learn how to do this? Can’t I just hire a copywriter?
I have nothing at all against copywriters. Copywriters are AWESOME. But I can think of plenty of reasons it’s still ridiculously useful to be able to deliver on your own.
The simplest is this: if you have a Completely Brilliant Idea for a new offering and you want to do a trial run, is it better to:
a) be able to create a fabulous sales page in a couple of hours so you can run a test
b) have to spend lots of money and wait a couple of weeks while someone else writes the sales page, before you’re even sure this offering will fly?
I personally love option a.
I have another question!
Then get in touch, squishyface! I’m here to help.
So, ready to fall in lust with your sales pages?
Choose your version:
Just the Facts’ Ma’am – the resource
The Hold Me Closer, Tiny Dancer – resource plus editing session:
Mad props to: