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Selling A Product Online? A Checklist For Your Sales Page

Oct 21, 2007
You've finally completed your product, and now it's time to sell it. Before you begin typing out a sales page for it, get clear on who your audience or audiences are. What kinds of people or companies do you hope and expect to be buying it? Get clear as well on why you believe they'll be interested in it. What advantages will they experience from having your product?

Then, keeping your audience and those benefits firmly in mind, sit down and tell readers in a draft of your sales page why they should buy your product, how they will be better off with it - and more so than with any competing products. If you truly imagine yourself speaking to your audience, your pitch usually comes out sounding naturally persuasive. Next it's time to edit, improve and add to what you wrote, using the checklist below.

Ingredients of a Sales Page that Sells

1. A headline that attracts the attention of your target audience with the #1 benefit your product offers. You don't need to be cute or clever in your headline. Here are some simple headlines that introduce products at my web site:

- Improve Your Productivity: No More Writer's Block or Procrastination
- Become a Marketing Consultant and Earn $75 - $150 an Hour!
- Turn What You Know (or What Others Know) into a 24/7 Income Stream

2. A tone that is consistent with how you want buyers to view you - as friendly, authoritative, skeptical, precise, unsophisticated or whatever. The importance of an appropriate tone is a big reason why I don't recommend getting started by using other people's sales pages as a model. If their audience and their positioning differ from yours, following their lead can turn your copy into clunky, wrong-headed nonsense. Just go to your rough draft and tweak your word choices and the attitude that comes across in your writing until the wording leaves the impression you want.

3. Clear, unambiguous descriptions of your product and what it includes. It's amazing how often merchants forget to specify the most fundamental elements of their product, such as whether a product is a CD or a book, whether a video comes on a DVD or is viewable online, whether a coat is washable or dry clean only, and so on. Normally it's best to spell out the details in a series of bullet points that not only describe what's what about the product but also state how those element benefit the buyer. For instance:

- Non-tearable outer fabric, so you'll never lose all the down feathers in the wash
- Day-glo stripe on the back, keeping you safe from hunters while you hike
- Classic styling that you'll be able to wear for ten years to come

4. The price. Do not force shoppers to click to another page or put something into their shopping cart to find out how much your product costs. If your sales copy is long, make sure someone skimming down the page can locate the price without having to read every paragraph, word by word. Likewise with shipping: don't make shoppers click everywhere to find (or not find) how much shipping and handling will cost them.

5. Credibility boosters. Why should readers believe what you're promising? Provide detailed information on credentials, third-party testimonials, media mentions, independent studies on your product's effectiveness, etc. Unless you're selling something embarrassing or private, like psychotherapy or a sleepwalking prevention device, blurbs from happy customers should include their full name and another identifier, such as their company or hometown.

6. Responses to objections, doubts and questions. It's essential to think your way into the shopper's head and head off the most likely "But"s and "What If"s. You can do this in a section of questions and answers or in regular text. Helpful too is providing some way for readers with additional questions to get them answered. Make sure that one way or another, potential buyers finish reading your sales spiel knowing what they need to know and feeling confident that your product addresses their needs.

7. Guarantee. Most of the time, people reading your sales page don't know you always deliver on your promises, so get them over their hump of uncertainty by offering an unequivocal money-back guarantee. Studies have proven that with a legitimate product, guarantees earn you more than you'd earn without them, even after subtracting those pesky occasional refunds.

8. Call to action. Just as sales copy should always begin with a headline, it should always end with a clear, direct statement of what you want the reader to do next. In most cases, that's "Order now." If the product is complex and expensive, the reader's next step might be "Request your free information packet today."
About the Author
Marcia Yudkin has been selling content since 1981. Check out her free weekly newsletter on creative marketing, Marketing Minute ( http://www.yudkin.com/marksynd.htm ). Learn more about her home-study course on becoming a successful information marketer: http://www.yudkin.com/informationempire.htm
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