AMY PORTERFIELD: Welcome back to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield. Thank you so very, very much for being here.
Today’s episode is Part I of a two-part series. We are going to talk about creating your sales page. It is something that can truly make or break a launch. I talked to my team about this and we all agreed there is a lot to cover.
I actually wanted to break it up into two episodes. The first episode is going to be all about the art of creating a brilliant sales page. I’m going to share with you what I actually learned from my own copywriter, Ry Schwartz, about getting into the mindset of your perfect, ideal customer; how to speak to them, what needs to be discussed, how to lay things out in a way they really feel you get them and you are talking directly to them and that this is exactly what they need to hear.
Next week we’re going to transition into Part II, which is the science of a brilliant sales page. In that episode I actually brought in (I already recorded it – I did it a little bit backwards) my good friend, Melanie Duncan.
I did that because Melanie knows a lot about sales pages. She knows what goes into them, why to set them up in a certain way (there is a flow to your sales page), she knows the core elements that need to be in the sale page, and I have seen many high-converting sales pages that Melanie has created. I thought she would be perfect to bring on the show to talk about all of those elements and get really into detail about the most important ones.
That’s going to be in next week’s episode, #114. Today we will talk art and next week we’ll talk science. We are really going to get a complete picture of how to create a brilliant sales page.
When I talk about the “art” of a sales page today, I’m going to give you four questions you need to ask yourself before you even sit down to start writing the copy for your sales page. I’m also going to give you the four core points that every sales page must include.
Because I’m going to give you so much information, I don’t want you to be taking copious notes, you are likely busy doing something (you might be working out right now, on a train, in the subway, or whatever you do) and you don’t have time for notes. I get it.
I have taken the four questions and the four core points of every sales page and have put them into a one-page cheat sheet. I’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. It is waiting for you right now. I want you to go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/ 113download or just text the phrase 113download to 33444.
Either go online or text me and I’ll send you the cheat sheet right away. But a quick word of advice, if you’re anything like me you might think you will wait to grab the cheat sheet when you’re ready to write your next sales page. I don’t want you to do that because, like I said, if you’re anything like me, you’re going to totally forget what episode to go back to in order to get the free cheat sheet for your sales page creation.
Do it now, save it and then it will be ready for you when you need it next time. Again, go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/113download. Grab it, save it, and use it when you actually really need it for your next sales page.
One more thing before we dive in, this episode is sponsored by FreshBooks. I absolutely love sharing knowledge about how to grow your business. But having the right tools in place to manage your growth is also key. That is why you need to know about FreshBooks if you are currently a freelancer, coach, or consultant.
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To experience the full power of FreshBooks totally free for 30 days, go to www.FreshBooks.com/amy and enter “Amy” in the “How did you hear about us section.” It’s as simple as that.
Now let’s dive into the “art” of a brilliant sales page.
What’s our ultimate outcome of a sales page? To sell. But what if we took that to a deeper level. When I asked my copywriter, Ry, this exact question, this is what he said, “The ultimate outcome of a sales page is to coach the reader to become your client.”
In other words, the sales page is used to coach them from being just a semi- interested bystander to someone that was totally engaged with you. Ry also said, “I want the reader to feel incredibly empowered in the decision to become a buyer and I also want them to feel forgiven of any of their missteps along the way.”
This is good…to be forgiven of the missteps along the way. I’m not going to get into this just yet. That’s a teaser for you. But when I get into those four questions that you want to ask before you start to write, I’m going to get into detail about the idea of forgiveness. I’ll come back to that, for sure.
Basically, Ry is saying that when he puts a sales page together it’s never a slimy sale. It’s all about coaching. It’s a conversation. It’s a give and take where you have their best intentions at heart.
At the end of the day you want your potential customer to feel like this product, program, or service will help them shape a better version of themselves. To achieve this I want to talk about a 4×4 formula, the four questions you must ask before even starting to write a single word for your sales page and the four core points to keep in mind once you’re ready to write.
Let’s start with those four questions.
For Ry, he doesn’t even start writing his sales page until he spends a good day outlining his sales page. I love that idea. If you’re part of my Courses That Convert program you know I have you spend seven full days (not every hour of the day) creating an outline for your course.
Now we’re talking about the sales page to sell your course. I want you to spend at least one full day outlining your sales page. I want to emphasize this because Ry, just like many good copywriters, spends a lot of time on the outline, the flow, the structure before he ever writes a single word.
When you’re building your outline for your sales page I want you to ask yourself these four questions to really get a sense of what that sales page is going to do for your potential customer.
The first question is kind of an easy one for most. What’s the core problem here? What about your course or product or service are you solving in terms of a challenge, problem, or issue? It might actually be a core desire that you are presenting. It might not come to you as a challenge. It might mean that your audience wants something desperately bad.
You are giving it to them through your course, service, product, or whatever it might be. But ultimately, most people are looking to solve a problem with the product they have created. You need to get really clear about that.
If you’re not clear, I want you to sit down and figure out what it is that you’re solving in terms of a challenge, problem, or desire.
What steps has your potential customer already taken to try to solve this problem? What blogs are they reading? Which courses have they already considered buying or have they already purchased? What events have they attended? Who have they worked with in the past?
This question is so incredibly valuable. Inside Courses That Convert I teach my students how to make what I call “course calls” to validate their course idea. In those course calls, one of the questions I have them ask is: What have you already tried?
If you truly want XYZ results, what have you already done to try to get those results? What has kind of worked for you? What has totally not worked for you? Where is your mind in terms of what you’ve tried to do and what you want to do? Getting into the mindset around the core question is so incredibly valuable.
Think about it, on your sales page you can talk about some of the missteps they have had along the way. When you identify those missteps they feel you really truly get them. Your copy is going to resonate with them when you know what they’ve already done and already tried, when you know what their journey has looked like up until this point.
Getting clear about that will help you immensely. Also, if they’ve never tried anything then you want to get a little bit deeper with them. Are they serious about achieving a result to this problem or is this something they really desire? Is it just good to have but they aren’t that serious about it? You’ve got to really understand this.
It might mean that you’ve got to get on the phone with a few of your past customers or someone you feel would be a perfect candidate for your product. You need to start asking them questions to better understand the journey of your next customer. This is really important.
The next two questions were the a-ha questions to me. They really were brand new in terms of how I looked at communicating with my potential customer. I was really most excited to share these next two with you.
What does your potential customer need to forgive themselves about before buying? What have they procrastinated with? What have they bought that didn’t work? This kind of ties into Question #2 (What have they tried?) but it actually goes deeper. It is more about the emotions and feelings.
Let’s be honest, people buy with emotions and feelings. They don’t buy with their mind. They buy with their heart. So I want you to ask yourself, where does forgiveness need to be given? This was kind of weird to me because I thought about it when Ry shared this with me.
Who am I to be forgiving them? I might not even have a deep connection with them. That part doesn’t matter. It’s more about you bringing to light that you have had some missteps along the way. “That” didn’t work out and they totally failed in that area. That’s okay. Let’s totally forgive all of that.
Let’s start over and let’s start new. When you have that conversation on your sales page it’s a totally different conversation than they have likely had with themselves before. We all know how good it feels to be forgiven of our mistakes. No matter what they are, it feels good.
Your job is to actually give that forgiveness. It doesn’t mean you are going to write on your sales page, “You are forgiven for buying products that didn’t work.” That’s not really the conversation.
Let me give you an example so you can kind of see how it could play out. As you may or may not know, I’m a big supporter of Marie Forleo’s B-School program. I took it many, many years ago. I’ve actually taken it multiple times.
I love the program so I am a partner in B-School. I’m an affiliate where I promote it to my own audience. I go all out. When I promote it I do webinars, create my own sales page, and even though it’s not my own program I offer bonuses and really take it seriously.
When I do webinars for B-School, one of the things I talk about is being an online program junkie. There is a slide that says, “If you haven’t yet enrolled in B-School, maybe one of the reasons that’s holding you back is because in the past you’ve been an online program junkie. You’ve bought a bunch of programs feeling desperate that it’s going to solve this problem or that problem. Then you get the program and you don’t even go through it or maybe you go through Module I, you get busy, and do something else and you have wasted tons of money.”
This is the truth, I tell them I have been in those shoes. In the early days of starting my online business I smashed up every online program I could afford, or sometimes couldn’t afford, in desperation to help me educate myself in terms of what I needed to do to start my online business.
I was so desperate that I didn’t even touch some of the programs I bought. It was like I needed to have them to say I got them but I never even had time to go through them. I had this amazing guilt that I was an online program junkie.
I share this with my own students and talk about it on the sales page and in the webinars because I want them to know that they are not alone and that they are forgiven. I get it. I’ve been there too. But I tell them there’s something they can do about that.
One of the things they can do is never again purchase a program and not be fully engaged. Then I give them some tips to be fully engaged in B-School when they enroll so that never happens again.
I identify the problem, I let them know I’ve been there before (because that is the truth), and in not so many words, I forgive them for doing exactly what I did too. Then I give them a plan so they never, ever do it again.
That’s an example of forgiving your students for their missteps. There are a lot of missteps that people are going to take before they ever get to the point of ever wanting to ever buy your product. We’re all human.
Identify those. Maybe that means you need to do a little bit more research. Maybe that means you need to get on the phone with some potential students of yours and hear their story. I think I talked about this in another podcast episode and I can’t even remember when I would have talked about it.
I talked about how my dad, when he would drop me off at elementary school would say, “Amy, it’s better to listen than to talk.” When we’re talking about these calls you might have with potential students, definitely listen more than you talk.
Even if there are some awkward silent pauses, if you don’t push the conversation they will start telling you the things they don’t typically like to share. They will feel a little bit safer if you are a little bit more patient with them and don’t push the conversation. So, listen more than you talk.
Question #3 was good. The whole idea of forgiveness and missteps and pointing them out and being really raw and honest on your sales page is going to change the game considerably. But there’s one more question that I want you to ask. How can you make them feel good about something they were previously hurt about?
Buying the course gives them access to complete the healing process and even empowers them to move forward. Let’ me give you an example. A lot of my examples come back to Courses That Convert because I just finished the program and we just launched it.
For Courses That Convert, I had to forgive them for starting and stopping a bunch of times with creating their course. When we go back to Question #3, the forgiveness on that sales page was about the fact that many of my potential students had tried to start and complete a course and they never got to the finish line.
They might have an outline or a title and logo or a half-finished outline and maybe they recorded a few videos. That’s as far as they have gotten. I had to forgive them for the fact they’ve tried this and have just never gotten to the finish line.
Then, for Question #4 (how can you make them feel good about some of the missteps), I said, “I created this course with you in mind. It’s all about getting to the finish line in 60 days. There’s no shame in not finishing what you started if, today, you start new and you start with an actual roadmap that will get you there. You didn’t have a roadmap before. You didn’t know how to get to the finish line. Forgive yourself for not getting there. Now I’m going to make you feel really good about some of those past hurts because I’m going to give you the roadmap and you’re going to get there.”
Do you see how that works its way in? There are some really cool elements that, if you think about these things before you actually start to write your sales page, it almost becomes a whole different kind of conversation. It’s not the cookie cutter “here’s what I have to offer you”, “here are the benefits and features of the program”, and “Now buy.”
It’s a different kind of conversation. Does it sometimes mean it’s a longer conversation or a longer sales page? Yeah, possibly. In the next episode, #114, which is Part II of this sales page series, we’re going to talk about the length of a sales page. Does it need to be really long? Can it be really short and still get to the point? We’ll talk about that next week so don’t worry. We will get there.
Once you have answered these four questions and you start to outline your sales page, I want to make sure you focus on what I’m calling the Four Ps.
¬ Problem (we actually went over that already).
¬ Paint a picture.
¬ Put your story out there.
¬ Pounce on objections.
I use the word “pounce” because that was the fourth P. I couldn’t figure out how to work it in there. Have you ever done that where you really want it to fit so the word is a little awkward? We’re going with it.
Let’s go over the four Ps.
Problem – Always, always, always talk about the problem first and your product second. I see so many sales pages that jump right into the product description without acknowledging the problem first. That’s why the first question I asked you was what is this problem you’re solving? You’ve got to get clear on that and then you’re going to lead with that.
I want to share an example with you from my List Builder’s Lab program. Pretty early on in the sales page I ask what I call the “million-dollar” question and why I still cringe when I hear it. I am just going to read this little ditty to you because this is all about starting with the problem:
“You’ve probably been asked this dozens of times, maybe even hundreds, by business coaches, potential partners, mastermind groups, and concerned spouses. They ask it with the best of intentions. But even still, it can land like an A-Bomb to an entrepreneur’s fragile psyche, especially when you’re already skating on thin ice unsure how many more hits you can take before the ice cracks and you have to fall back into whatever world you just left behind. What’s the question? How many people do you have on your list? That still makes me want to slip into my invisible cloak and dig myself a deep digital hole. And maybe you, too, can relate. In my mind there’s not question more anxiety provoking for an online business owner in their first few years than this one. It’s a question that can make you feel like a total fraud. Or, in my case, a flat out failure. I still remember the first time I got asked it.”
Ry helped me write that so it wasn’t just all me. Ry and I worked closely together in terms of him understanding where my audience is starting. For a list-building program I started with the problem and that is that you want to cringe when people ask how many people are on your list.
We painted that picture which is #2 of the core points I want you to pay attention to. You start with the program and then you paint the picture. That’s exactly what we did here. When you paint that picture you really get into their world.
I don’t know about you but even when I was reading that I could feel it. I love the part where we say, “You even get asked this question by a concerned spouse.” I’ll tell you guys a quick story. It wasn’t my spouse but it was my dad.
When I first did really, really well with one of my big promotions, I think it was almost a million dollars, I shared that with my dad. I don’t know if you guys have had the experience of sharing successes about your online business to people that are not in the online business world, but when you start to do really good they are blown away.
My father is blue collar to the bone, he has been a firefighter for most of my life and never really made the kind of money you can make online. But he has always cheered his daughters on, my sister and I, to do well in business.
When I finally sat down with him because he wanted to understand what my business looked like (many years in) I shared with him how we had almost made a million dollars with a big launch I did a few years ago. First of all, he looked at me like I was crazy, like, “What do you mean? Is this legal? What are you doing?
He was very concerned. Then he had me explain to him how the business worked. I told him as I grow my business one of the most important assets in an online business is your email list. You constantly want to be growing your email list and then nurturing those that are on your email list.
I took him through a little tutorial about what that was all about. This was years ago. But now when my dad calls me he will ask how work is going and how the business is going. I tell him it is really good and things are going great.
He then asks, “Are you still nurturing your list? Are you still growing your list?” That is his Number One question from a concerned father because he now understands that as my list grows and as it is nurtured I will continue to do well in business.
I wanted to share that with you guys because when I think about concerned spouses or dads asking you about your email list that’s when they start to understand this is important stuff and that you have to build the foundation of the business so you can do well. That’s my little story for you.
Getting back to these four Ps, you’re going to start with the problem and then you are going to paint the picture. That’s kind of what I just showed you there when I read the little ditty from my sales page. That’s exactly what I did right from the get go. When you go on the sales page you scroll down a little bit and there it is.
The third P is all about putting your story out there. When you tell your own story make sure it’s in a relatable way and not a piece where you’re bragging about your accomplishments. I want you to be really honest and really real. If you have a story to share I want you to do it.
If you don’t have a story to share, this is a little side note, you want to borrow a story from somebody else and tell their story. You don’t tell it as your own, we’re being full of integrity here, but you want to tell a story about somebody who has had a struggle related to what you are selling in terms of getting results. The story time is really important.
Some examples of what I’ve done on my webinar sales page is to talk about my webinar missteps. The first webinar I ever did was when I still worked at Tony Robbins and I deleted the webinar the night before and all 800 paying customers (they paid to be on this webinar) were sent an email saying, “This webinar has been canceled.”
That was my first real introduction to webinars. I talk about that because my students are very afraid of tech issues. I said that if I could overcome that one they could overcome theirs as well.
I also talk about coming to the webinar party late. I feel like people were doing webinars way before I ever joined the party because I know my students feel, “I haven’t done webinars yet and I probably should never do them because I’m super late to this type of strategy.” I talk about that because I know they can relate.
I also do this with list building. On my list building page I didn’t even start list building until two years into my business. I really felt the burn because of it. I had major failures because of my lack of list building. So I talk about that as well.
My examples are easier because I teach what I do in my business. That might not be you but I still want to push you to find those stories that will connect and resonate with your audience. They might not be your stories but they’ve got to be real life stories of people overcoming the obstacles and getting the results that your customers truly want to get. You want to tell your story or someone’s story, for sure.
You know how I keep giving you guys little examples of my own sales pages? Next week in Episode #114 I actually have a freebie I took screen grabs of my sales pages of these little areas I thought you would want to see in action and not just hear me read it. I want to give you the examples. So I’m really excited about next week’s freebie. When it goes live make sure you grab it because you get to see this all in action.
Of the four Ps, #4 is to pounce on objections. I want you to use your FAQ (frequently asked questions) as a way of answering any objections you might get from somebody that’s thinking about buying but are still on the fence. This is a crucial point.
The great thing is the FAQ section is a perfect segue into next week’s episode. There is some overlap here. When I talked to Ry about the four Ps he brought up the FAQs and the fact you want a section on your sales page that literally lists the questions that are often asked when people are ready to buy but are not 100% in yet (they are still on the fence) and then you answer them on your sales page.
I have been doing this for all of my sales pages since I started. I’ve got some good examples to share with you but I’m going to do that next week because when Melanie talks about the five core elements of the science of a sales page next week she also talks about the FAQ. That overlap is a perfect segue to tease the fact that you definitely have to show up next week and listen to episode #114.
I will get into the final P, pouncing upon objections, so that you can really understand how to tackle one of the most important areas of your sales page.
There you have it. I hope you found immense value in some of the strategies and tips I shared with you today, especially those from my copywriter, Ry Schwartz. I think the guy is a genius and I really loved what he shared about forgiving your audience. I thought it was probably one of the most profound things I’ve ever learned about writing copy for a sales page. I hope you found that just as valuable.
I want to remind you that I took notes for you for this episode. The four questions and the four Ps that I went over are all in a one-page cheat sheet waiting for you right now. All you need to do is go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/113download or text the phrase 113download to 33444. Grab it now, save it, use it the next time you sit down to create your next sales page.
One more thing before we wrap up, don’t forget to take me up on the special FreshBooks offer. If you are a freelancer, a coach, or a consultant, FreshBooks is ridiculously easy cloud accounting software that will help you feel a whole lot less stressed when dealing with invoicing, running down late payments, and expense tracking. To experience the full power of FreshBooks totally free for 30 days go to www.FreshBooks.com/amy and then enter “Amy” in the “How Did You Hear About Us” section. I can’t wait for you to check it out.
Thank you so very much for tuning in today. I love sharing these tips and strategies with you. But don’t forget, this is a two-part series and you just listened to Part I. Next week’s episode, #114, will get into the science of a brilliant sales page.
We’re going to talk about the headline, testimonials, FAQs, and so much more. Do not miss it, Episode #114. I cannot wait to see you there. Bye for now.