Sales Pages – Converting Visitors into Customers

Third Page Type

The third page type is the Sales page. The purpose of a Sales page is to convert a visitor into a paying customer. This process is called a conversion. Each Sales page should be product specific. That is, it should be dedicated to a single product or offer.

Sales Page Content

An effective Sales page will typically contain the following items:

  • Description – A short description of the product offered.
  • Benefits – A bulleted list of benefits.
  • Image – A picture or graphical representation of your product.
  • Buy button – A clearly visible buy-now button.
  • Price – The price of the product next to the buy button.

If you offer a guarantee, have a good testimonial, a limited special offer or have received an award for your product, then you can include those elements as well. Still, you want to keep the Sales page simple with as few distractions as possible to ensure a high conversion rate.

Product Name

A good product name will help to advertise your product. The name should explain what the product is or what it can do. Make sure that it is easy to pronounce and memorable, so that people can remember it after hearing it only once. Preferably, the name should be unique so that it is not confused with any other products. You may want to use keywords in your product name that people search for when looking for answers to the problem your product helps to solve. If you can think of a name that has some or all of these attributes, this will make it easier to market your product.

The product name must appear on the product itself. The name should also appear on the title of the Sales page, on its headline and in the product image.

Product Description

On the Sales page, include a 100-300 word description of the product. Keep it concise and to the point. Explain clearly what the product is, what makes it special, and how it can improve the life of the buyer or solve a problem they have. Make it factual without too many hyped-up positive terms. People do not like to be sold to, so use restraint on your Sales page. You want to build up a desire in the customer to buy the product without trying too hard to push the sale.

Product Benefits

Include a bulleted list of the specific benefits received from using your product. These benefits are the results the customer can expect to achieve from using your product. The list contains the promises or claims you make to the buyer of your product in order to further motivate them to buy it. It should communicate direct, specific and immediate benefits.

Make sure the product claims are truthful or it will harm your credibility. In addition to being truthful, you also want them to be believable. People will not buy from you if they do not believe you can deliver what they expect to get. Below are some suggestions on how to enhance the believability of your product claims.

  • Specific descriptions – You can increase your believability by converting general statements into specific descriptions. For example, instead of saying your product is “fast”, describe exactly how fast it is.
  • Tone down claims – If a claim sounds too good to be true, your customers will assume it is not true. Tone down such claims and they will be more likely to buy. When your product over-delivers they will also be more likely to recommend your product to others.
  • Odd numbers – Avoid using round numbers in your claims. Instead, reduce them to specific odd numbers with decimals. For example, 19.7% is more believable than 20%.
  • Supporting evidence – Make it easy to verify the accuracy of your product claims, for example, by including testimonials or by linking to third-party references that support your claims.

Product Image

Show a professional picture of your product near the description. If your product is not physical then a graphical representation of the product can be designed and used. This image is important since it will make the product appear more real, just as if it were in a physical store. It will also give customers visual confirmation that the product is in fact what they are looking for and it will even increase the perceived value of the product. Clicking the product image should display a larger image if this adds anything.

Product Purchase Button

The Sales page must include a clearly visible Buy Now button above the fold. Once a visitor has decided to click through to the Sales page they are already partially sold. If they cannot immediately find the purchase button they may get frustrated or reconsider the purchase. A good location for the button is just below the product image. The button should have a color, size and design that attracts the visitor’s attention.

To keep costs and administrative work low, it can be a good idea to accept orders only through your website. If people cannot telephone, fax or e-mail in an order most of them will buy on the website instead. This cost saving approach is used by, for example, Amazon.

Product Price

Next to the purchase button the price of the product should be clearly stated. Determining the starting price of your product is best done by observing what competitors charge for similar products. From that price you can later experiment both upwards and downwards to see how it affects your sales. A too high price will lower your sales. However, a low price can also be bad since your product may then be perceived as low quality. You need to find the balance in between that yields the highest net revenue. Keep in mind that odd pricing – meaning prices that end in 5’s, 7’s and especially 9’s – tends to sell better than rounded prices.

Informational Sales Page

Some people are motivated by long sales pages, others are not. For visitors who want additional information, you can add an Informational Sales page that includes these details. Add a link to this subpage from your main Sales page and vice versa. On the Informational Sales page you can include plenty of sales copy to deal with common objections the potential customer may have and to further motivate them to buy. In addition to the more technical information, this page can include, for example, stories, examples and video of the product usage. There may also be room for testimonials, statistics and awards. If the page requires scrolling, be sure to include more than one purchase button.

Thank You Page

Once the order has been confirmed redirect the customer to a page thanking them for the purchase. This page can include details of when and how the product will reach the customer. If the sale was for a physical product, you can give an estimate of when the product will be arriving by mail. If it was for a digital item, you can tell them that the download link will be sent out as soon as their payment has been validated. Be sure to send the content of the Thank You page to the customer as an e-mail as well. This will give the customer immediate feedback that the order has been received.

Another important purpose of the Thank You page is to track your conversion rate. This can be done by setting a conversion goal from Google Analytics. When specifying the goal of reaching the Thank You page, you should also define the goal funnel. These are the pages that lead up to the Thank You page, such as the Sales page and any checkout pages. By specifying these, you will be able to see where visitors may drop off while on the path to completing the goal. Once you have set up a goal you will be able to track the results from the Conversions→Goals category of your Analytics account.

Note that if you are using PayPal to handle payments you should enable the auto return setting from your PayPal account. This way customers will be automatically sent to the specified Thank You page after a purchase has been completed.

Multiple Products

An Ecommerce site that sells multiple products should include a shopping cart system. This cart is shown on all pages together with the number of items and the total price. Be sure that it remembers added items for a long period of time.

With multiple products you should take advantage of potential add-on sales. One of the easiest ways to increase sales is to let customers who are about to make a purchase know about related products they may also want to buy. Selling to your existing customers is always easier than acquiring new ones.

WordPress Simple Paypal Shopping Cart – This plug-in allows you to add a shopping cart to your site.

Make it Easy to Order

The customer should not have to work really hard to buy something. If you make the purchase easier, a greater percentage of visitors will buy your product.

  • Few decisions – You should ask for as few decisions as possible. If you need to ask the user to make a decision, all the necessary information needs to be supplied to make it an easy decision.
  • Minimizing steps – You want to minimize the number of steps necessary to complete an order.
  • Easy to revert – Reverting a choice should be easy. Make sure the fields will remain filled out if the visitor moves backwards in the order process.
  • Do not ask for too much – The less you ask for the more likely the customer is to follow through with the purchase. Ask for the minimum amount of information you need to complete the transaction. Do not force visitors to register before they can make a purchase.

When selling via PayPal you may not have to ask for any information at all. You can obtain the address, name and almost anything else you may need to know about the customer from their PayPal account. These details can be sent to your server automatically by PayPal whenever a purchase is made through an Instant Payment Notification (IPN).

Automated Payment System

The payment and delivery system must be automated as much as possible to make it scalable and to free up your time. The steps for complete automation are outlined below.

  1. The purchase button on your Sales page takes the customer to a secure payment site, such as PayPal, where they pay for your product.
  2. PayPal sends out an IPN to a specified script on your server. This notification includes information regarding the customer and the transaction status.
  3. The script verifies the details of the transaction and takes necessary actions. If the payment has completed, the script sends out an e-mail.

Depending on what you sell, the e-mail sent out can be one of the following:

  • Digital product – A temporary download link. Alternatively, you can include the digital product as an e-mail attachment if it is not too large.
  • Physical product – A filled out order form to your distributor.
  • Automated service – An activation link or a confirmation that the service has been activated.

For digital products a complete automation can be achieved fairly easily using the following plug-in.

Cashie Commerce – This is a WP plug-in for selling products through PayPal.

Be sure to test your automated payment system extensively before making it live. For this purpose, PayPal has a Sandbox version that allows you to perform tests without having to use real money.

Conversion Rate Optimization and Tracking

Once you have created a quality product or automated service, and have started to earn some money from it, you can begin the process of optimizing your conversion rate. The conversion rate is the percentage of your visitors who perform a desirable action, such as buying a product or signing up for a service. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) involves changing and repositioning elements on the Sales page to increase the conversion rate.

Measuring and testing are the keys to improving your conversion rate. It is very difficult to predict how a change will impact your conversion rate without testing it. To effectively test variations of different page elements on your Sales page you can use Google Analytics. Under the Content→Experiments page, you can set up testing to determine which version of a page has the highest conversion rate.

You can, for example, test different headlines, product descriptions, product benefits, offers, graphical content or payment buttons. You may also want to vary the number of elements on the page and test different positions for the elements, in order to find the layout that brings you the greatest conversion rate.

Once the experiment is set up you only need to wait for enough sales to be made so that you can draw conclusions as to which combination of page elements performs the best. If you do not have a lot of visitors you can speed up the experiment by running a PPC campaign and sending the prospects directly to your Sales page.

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