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Sales Pages: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Chances are you’re reading this because:

  1. You sell stuff,
  2. You want to sell stuff better,

and maybe…

     3) You can’t figure out how the F$%& to sell stuff.

You spend hours tweaking, re-tweaking, butchering, and re-working your sales offer into all manner of a frankenpage, and the sign-ups STILL aren’t rolling in.

You’ve got the awesome evergreen product or workshop, you’ve got a mission to change the world with it, but your sales pages just don’t seem to get people to jump on your frickin’ wagon train.

(I’m talkin’ conversions. I’m talkin’ repeat clients. I’m talkin’ selling out your retreat in 24 hours. I’m talkin’ all the stuff that Your Hot Copy helps people like you DO.)

That kind of sales page success not sounding familiar?

TAKE A BREATH, GIRL, I GOT YOU.

You might know that I’m the CEO and boss-babe of Your Hot Copy. You might not know that I’m also a film buff, a screenwriter/director, and a straight-shooting business owner who knows the one thing that really sells. It’s the story.

So, in order to get your sales page story straight let’s reference the epic 1966 Spaghetti Western “The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly” (Marry me, Clint Eastwood) and go over the selling shit that WORKS, and the…well, the god-awful garbage that DOESN’T.

And because every story needs a villain, let’s start with the absolute WORST sales page mistakes I’ve ever seen…

(so you can identify if AND what you’re doing wrong)

And then we’ll ride off into the sunset together with my heroic tricks on how to fix it.

THE BAD

YOUR SALES PAGE HAS A WANDERING PLOT.

Ugh, movies with meandering plots: I’ll pass, thanks.

Being taken on a journey is one thing, but how effective can a story be that doesn’t seem to have a concrete direction?

Those “bad plot” sales pages? They don’t have a cohesive point.

They’re all dialogue, with no emotional depth.

They go on and on, limping along with lame points and confusing sentences.

Bad plot sales pages wander meaninglessly through a sales pitch that goes nowhere, doesn’t seem to have a purpose, and leaves the potential buyer bored and uninspired.

How does this awful, aimless thing happen to sales pages?

Easy.

Either you don’t know your product, or you don’t know how to concisely sell it.

(Sometimes BOTH things can happen, FYI).

When you don’t know what you’re really offering, or you don’t know how to get people excited about it, your sales page becomes a convoluted, boring mess of words that lead to NADA.

And people will DEF pass on a sales page plot they can’t get behind.

But what makes a plot direction-less and boring?

Well, pardner, let’s move on to the next sales page problem in this drama…

 

THERE’S NO CHARACTER TENSION.

Behind the listless mess of wandering plot-lines lies an expanse littered with characters who lack depth and believability.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve DEFINITELY seen a few movies where I had absolutely NO attachment to the characters or their narrative arcs.

They were so shallow and bland, I’d find myself sitting there, completely un-invested.  Lack of character tension can easily make a person think: “I absolutely do not care about this character or what happens to him/her AT ALL.”

OOF. That’s rough.

And it could be happening when potential clients read your sales page copy.

DOUBLE OOF.

Let’s get this straight:

You want potential clients to follow the arc of your sales page with bated breath, working up into a frenzy, so when they get to the final call to action for your product, they’re ready to pull the trigger.

But if they don’t identify with the person you’re selling to, this isn’t gonna happen.

Does your sales page offer pain points that drive your ideal client to buy?

Does your page communicate the direct, gut-wrenchingly obvious NEED behind what you’re offering?

If not, you’re probably suffering from another “Bad” reason your copy ain’t converting…


YOU HAVEN’T CAST YOUR “LEADING LADY”

I’m talking about knowing the WHO that your sales page is meant for.

If sorority girls love romcoms and video-gamer chicks dig the hell outta sci-fi flicks and your mom seriously is obsessed with DC Comic blockbusters (hey, people can’t be put in boxes ALL THE TIME), then WHO THE HELL are you selling your offer to?

Who is your potential client?
What is she into?
What excites her?

What pulls her out of her humdrum web-deal scanning and makes her push that “BUY button with giddy gusto?

Some bad sales pages ignore this important aspect of niche by trying to sell to EVERYONE AND THEIR MOM.

And here’s the truth: you can want a varied group of people to be interested in what you have to offer…to a certain point.

But if you spend too much of your sales page selling to periphery stragglers, you miss out on the opportunity to REALLY hit the offer home in the hearts of buyers who are more likely to be interested in what you’re selling.

Bad sales pages don’t know who they’re selling to.

So don’t even bother trying to sell until you know who the “she” is that you’re selling to.

And once you know who she is, the question is: Does your sales page effectively market to her? Is the tone right?

This leads us to the nitty gritty, UGLY mistakes that derail your sales page…

THE UGLY

YOU’RE TRYING TO SOLVE 99 PROBLEMS

Oh LORD, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a Jay-Z sales page: 99 Problems but a Pitch Ain’t One.

Look, in order to deliver your offer to potential clients, you need a CONCISE offer.

And that means honing in on the most important thing you’re offering, and then selling the SHIT outta that one thing.

The ugliest sales pages I’ve seen don’t have a clear offer.

So if your sales page is selling a weight loss/emotional freedom/bootcamp training/find your purpose/expand your awareness of your body/learn to tap-dance workshop week-long seminar and video blog challenge…

then YOU are overwhelming the F$%& out of your potential target market.

An ugly sales page tries to wear a thousand hats, none of which actually fit.

An ugly sales page tries to offer the entire world, without actually offering a damn thing.

Look, a complicated plot might work in daytime television (“Monica was in a coma, but now she’s pregnant with her step-brother’s child who is also her dead father’s aunt!”) but your sales page’s offer has GOT to be sensible, seamless, and straight to the point.

For a converting sales page you gotta pick one offer and stick to it.

Still, even if you get clear on WHAT you’re selling, your sales page will always be an ugly one, if…


YOUR VOICE DOESN’T MATCH WHO YOU ARE

You know that scene in “The Little Mermaid” where Ursula the sea-witch steals Ariel’s voice, puts it in a conch necklace, and tries to use it to seduce Eric into marrying her?

Just in case, here’s a recap of what happened: It didn’t work.

Because we all know true love wins.

And Ursula was an evil ocean-hag.

Oh and also…

SHE TRIED TO WIN SOMEONE OVER BY USING A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT VOICE.

Let’s just say, if your sales page voice doesn’t match who you are, the thing you’re selling is gonna share the sea-witch’s disastrous fate.

If you’re a warm, inviting, life-coach who wants to offer a safe place for people to learn how to sit with their feelings…

YOUR VOICE SHOULDN’T BE DEMANDING AND HARSH.

If you’re a tough-love trainer who wants to whip people into peak shape with the power of your terrifying presence…

YOUR SALES PAGE SHOULDN’T BE GUSHY AND CUTESY.

I cannot TELL you the number of times I’ve worked with people who don’t understand the voice they should use (HINT: their OWN VOICE) to sell their product.

Ugly sales pages don’t ring true, because they aren’t authentic.

And, here’s the truth: even if you completely NAIL your tone, your sales page could still be an ugly one if…

 

IT’S GOT TOO MANY CALLS TO ACTION

As a child of the 80’s/teenager of the 90’s, I have of course seen the movie “Clueless” about 1.75 bazillion times.

I remember the first time I saw it—major Cher’s clothes envy. I watched that flick just DREAMING about changing up my wardrobe.

By the time the credits were rolling I was already plotting where to buy some knee-high socks, patent leather shoes, and a plaid skirt-vest-jacket combo.

I wanted those clothes LIKE SO BADLY because the movie effectively “sold” them to me, by making me like Cher Horowitz and her ditzy but sweet friends.

A good story sells something with subtle and effective substance, not with“jam-it-down-your-throat” surliness.

So, yes, you’re trying to get your clients to buy the awesome thing you’re offering.

But an ugly sales page tries to jump to the CTA without building rapport.

The ugliest sales pages I’ve seen offer the call to action again…and again…and AGAIN…

without effectively telling a story that builds anticipation and causes the client to buy.

And OH GOD don’t get me started on ugly sales pages that don’t even KNOW what they want the reader to do.

“Download My Top Tips to Dress for Success!”

“Sign up for my Email List!”

“Fill out this Survey about Wardrobe Wants!”

“Send me your Information!”

“Sign up for a Clothing Conference Call with Me!”

“Me…Me…Me!!!!”

Girl, AS IF.

By the time an ugly sales page gets to the SECOND different thing it is demanding me to do, I’m already hovering my touchpad arrow over the X box to close that internet tab like STAT.

On the other hand, an ugly sales page can also be a bit TOO passive.

Your sales page still might be an ugly one if…

 

THERE’S NO RESOLUTION

We’ve all gone to the movies and sat through 2 hours of story-telling only to have this fatal moment happen:

The last scene ends, the screen goes dark, the credits start rolling, and we’re left thinking “WTF?! That’s the END?!”

There is NOTHING worse than a movie that leaves you without any sort of resolution.

I’m not talking about a playful, suspenseful cliffhanger (“But IS the crazy masked killer who terrorized all those sorority girls REALLY dead??”), or a film that doesn’t completely bring a love-story full circle (Let’s be real, sometimes romance is open-ended).

I’m talking about an ending that has no direction whatsoever.

I’m talking about an ending that just kind of peters off into the void because the people making it obviously had no clear idea of where they wanted their viewers to go.

So while it can be detrimental to a sales page to have too MANY calls to action, it’s also a conversion-killer to have NO CLEAR CALL TO ACTION AT ALL.

Now that I’ve delivered “the bad and the ugly” truths about sales page problems that double-cross you, let’s go over the “good” tricks that should be a part of a copy cowgirl’s posse.

(I’m stickin’ with the western theme in Clint’s honor.)

THE GOOD

CAREFUL DEVELOPMENT

When I filmed my debut feature “Hannah has a Ho-Phase” I can tell you: the development process was INTENSE.

There was character development, script writing and re-writing, scene editing, casting, re-casting, fundraising, location scouting, and on…and on….and ON.

All before the filming of the project even STARTED.

Yasss. We’re talking SEVEN (count ‘em) drafts. Just like the making of a movie starts well before the cameras roll, a good sales page starts development way before the words come out on the screen.

A good sales page usually comes out quickly in the writing because the product’s development, purpose, voice, and audience is CLEAR and CONCISE.

I promise you, if you dig deep and do the foundational work in the development phase, you will NAIL your sales page.

So what makes a sales page a GOOD one? (Read: major conversions, client commitment, and a growing audience of people who love you).

First off? Take a cue from The Notebook and…

BRING ON THE FEELS

Ever seen a movie that made you care?

Whether it was about school kids competing in a breakdancing competition or the disastrous implications of the diamond trade or struggling artists getting their big break or two star-crossed lovers who beat all odds to stay together and die in each other’s arms of old age, SOMETHING in the story was so expertly delivered that it made you identify with (and root for) the characters.

The best sales pages I’ve seen hit that emotional hot-spot like WOAH.

When you’re selling your product you gotta get your audience to WANT to invest.

A good sales page does this, by creating a story that potential clients connect to.

A good sales page does this, by using impactful words.

A good sales page does this, by using effective examples that address the need your product is answering.

After you’ve developed your product to perfection, delivered the emotional goods, engaged your audience, and been clear about how badass your offer is, the last step in a GOOD sales page will be shining it all up to a brilliant glow that your potential client won’t be able to say no to.

That’s why a good sales page will be…

 

A WELL-EDITED FINAL PRODUCT

If you haven’t worked in film, you might not know that the editor has one of the most high-pressure jobs in the biz.

Sure, a well-written script and talented actors matter, but the editor is the one who takes all the pieces of the film and puts it together into a (hopefully) cohesive and kick-ass movie.

Think of it like a quilt: Someone’s cut out all the swatches of fabric and the editor sews it together.

If she’s a good editor, the quilt will look like a beautiful masterpiece that people will ooh and ahh over.

If she’s a bad editor, the pattern will look disjointed and the colors will clash and people will avert their eyes and probably not buy said quilt.

Just like a good quilt, just like a good movie, your sales page should be edited to perfection.

And it’s not only your sales page. Your entire WEBSITE needs to be cohesive. The journey you take your customers on should be a shiny masterpiece that reflects exactly who you are, who you serve and what you do. That’s how the cash comes in, boo.

But don’t fret, woman, WE GOT YOU. Taking care of every detail of your messaging can be stressful, so, sometimes, it’s super smart to outsource that shit to the pros who can bring in the dough(s). Especially if you’re gearing up for an EPIC LAUNCH.

Like a producer/director/writer/editor/ all rolled into one, {our Launch Box service} takes care of EVERY. SINGLE. STEP.

That means time-tested expertise, copy that sells, stories that connect to your clients, and epic conversions that will change the name of the game for your businesses. ALL COVERED.

Did your shoulders just relax a little bit? Feels good doesn’t it? We get it.

Even if your sales page and website have embodied the bad and the ugly in the past, there’s always today (and tomorrow) to have a kick-ass launch that WORKS—and we can show you how.

What’s the hold up, pardner? Hop along onto a call with Erin to get all the deets about how Launch Box can help you kick the BAD and the UGLY to the curb, and make a GOOD (heck, even GREAT) launch that will get you the gold.

Now cue that sunset.

 

XO,
Jamie