Are you making these 5 Sales Page Mistakes?
I was chatting with someone the other day who said that as long as you’re engaging your leads via DM over platforms like IG, then there’s no need to really have a sales page.
I’m not just saying that cause I’m a copywriter, but because I have literally never bought anything over DMs and would be very wary of anyone who didn’t bother to put up at least a minimum viable sales page (it reeks of scam…)
You need a solid sales page for your courses because if not, your prospects have no way of confidently understanding whether or not your offer is right for them. Second of all, do you really WANT to be spending all day in the DMs because let me tell you, it scales horribly.
But you need more than a sales page that just tells people what they get when they enrol in your course, it needs to be highly persuasive and backed up by solid market research to make sure you’re writing the words your prospects need to hear to buy from you.
We’ll get into how to write a high-converting sales page some other day, right now I want us to workshop your current sales page(s) by making sure you’re not committing any of these super common sales page mistakes.
(Don’t worry if you are, we’re going to fix them today!)
- Sales Page Mistake #1: Digging too much into your Prospect’s Pain
- Sales Page Mistake #2: Making the “who this course isn’t for” too negative
- Sales Page Mistake #3: No VOC [Voice of Customer]
- Sales Page Mistake #4: Introducing the Product First
- Sales Page Mistake #5: Headline holds no benefit
Sales Page Mistake #1: Digging too much into your Prospect’s Pain
When it comes to writing any type of copy (email, social media captions, sales pages, web copy…) the deadliest piece of well-meaning advice that course creators get is: “connect with your customers’ pain”.
This is usually most associated with the copywriting formula PASO; pain, agitate, solution, outcome. Whereby first you empathize with your reader’s pain and then you introduce the solution that will help resolve that pain, then you paint a picture of how their life will look like once the solution has solved their problems.
Sounds simple, right?
Except you need to be very careful when writing about a prospect’s problems because the last thing you want to do is to totally disempower them and make them feel hopeless (then when you introduce your thing it won’t make a damn difference).
One way I see people pour too much salt into the wound is by associating their prospects with a fundamental character flaw like being disorganized or even lazy. For instance, don’t tell someone “you’re disorganized” but tell them “you’re struggling to get organized.”
That way it shifts the blame from them being fundamentally disorganized to a problem they can realistically overcome.
When you tap into your prospects problems you need to do so with empathy and let them know that the reasons they struggle with XYZ isn’t their fault, but rather they just haven’t found the right solution yet and they’ve been swindled by others who are peddling solutions that don’t work.
Now look at your own sales page: when you’ve talked about your customer’s pain have you:
- Shown them that it’s not their fault
- Empowered them to see that they have some type of character trait that makes them capable of overcoming this problem
- Highlighted that they just need someone to help guide them to overcome this problem (aka you haven’t made yourself the hero of the sales page)
Try workshopping your sales page with those points in mind and see what you come back with.
Sales Page Mistake #2: Making the “who this course isn’t for” too negative
This is probably the most common sales page mistake that I see and most readers will see right through it, so it’s definitely best avoided.
In most sales pages you’ll see: “You’re a great fit for [COURSE] if….” and “[COURSE] is NOT for you if…”
It’s that second part I want to focus on here.
You should definitely exclude certain buyers from your course because it helps the right customer self-identify as a potential good candidate, and non-qualified prospects won’t waste their time and money signing up (and inevitably asking for refunds).
But the problem occurs when the “[COURSE] is NOT for you if…” is way too negative and it comes across as disingenuous. The one I see the most (mostly from social media gurus I don’t know why…) is “You secretly LIKE staying stuck”.
First of all, it’s quite shamey.
If someone genuinely can’t afford your course they may take what you say in that section to heart and question whether or not they truly want the solution you’re offering. They don’t want to identify as someone who really likes staying stuck and who loves complaining, but they might feel that way if there are legitimate barriers to purchase for them.
So, quite honestly, it’s manipulative and I know you don’t want that in your sales page.
Secondly, it can elicit a major eyeroll from more confident prospects as, come on: who really likes staying stuck? If they’ve come as far as your sales page then they’re interested in bettering their lives in some way.
How to Use Exclusion in your Sales Page (the right way)
Like I said, it’s important to exclude prospects who aren’t a good fit, but be real about it. Don’t project the image that the only people who aren’t a good fit for your course are lazy good-for-nothings who love staying stuck in life and complaining.
Instead of saying something like, “You secretly like staying stuck” you can be real and say that the course requires that the prospect puts the work in to get results. If they can’t commit to doing that, then your course isn’t the best option for them.
You want to also exclude people who already have the results that you’re offering people. This not only disqualifies people who may be too advanced for the course, but it can also remind your qualified leads that they don’t have those wins yet and they can get them with your course.
Here’s an example:
“[INSERT COURSE ABOUT DOG GROOMING HERE] isn’t a good fit for you if you can already confidently cut and style a range of dog breeds from Poodles to Bedlington Terriers and you’re happy with the results. This course is for beginners who may only have some foundational knowledge and need to level-up their grooming skills so they can move on to become professional dog groomers.”
So, professional dog groomers won’t apply and be disappointed and newbies can see that the course is perfect for them.
Lastly, I would suggest you do the ethical thing and exclude people who honestly can’t afford your course.
Saying something like if you’d need to spread this course out over two credit cards or you won’t be able to pay a bill because of this course, then please don’t purchase. No course is worth someone getting into debt over and it’s important to make people feel OK about that decision.
Now look at your own sales page: have you…
- Accidentally shamed your prospect in any way in the “this isn’t for you if…” section?
- Excluded people who already have the wins that your students will get?
- Helped people understand the time commitments of the course and how much work they’ll need to put in?
- Empathized with people who can’t afford the course and helped them understand that their financial security is worth more than any course?
Sales Page Mistake #3: No VOC [Voice of Customer]
Us copywriters love talking about a thing called VOC which stands for voice of customer.
This does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s the words and phrases that your prospects use when describing their own problems, goals and objections to purchase.
Most of my time isn’t spent writing, it’s mining this voice of customer data so that I can include it in my client’s sales page (usually word-for-word).
First of all, you want to show your reader that you truly understand what they’re going through. You want them to go to your sales page and think, “Holy shit! This person is in my brain!”
And the only way to do that is by getting really familiar with how they talk and express themselves which won’t just help you write an astounding sales page, but will help you understand your prospects better to boot.
But…where do you find all this juicy voice of customer data? 🤔🤔
Glad you asked! Here are some of my all-time favourite ways to get amazing voice of customer data.
Voice of Customer Method #1: Interviews
Yep, getting face-to-face with your customers or clients and having an honest chat about their journey before meeting you/signing up for your course all the way to the transformation afterwards. I don’t have the scope to go into interview questions here but you want to know what struggle brought them to you in the first place, what stood out about your course, what nearly stopped them from buying (and why they ultimately bought) and what their life looked like afterwards (what benefits did they walk away with).
These can also be repurposed into amazing case studies for your blog and testimonials.
Voice of Customer Method #2: Surveys
Surveys are a great way to scale the type of data you’d get from interviews (although definitely still do interviews cause they’re awesome. Apart from great voice of customer tidbits, they’ll also give you some great data to use in things like blog posts
You can create simple surveys using Google Forms or Typeform.
Voice of Customer Method #3: Facebook Groups
You might already have a Facebook group, in which case make sure you’re listening well to your members’ questions and encouraging them to come to the group with any struggles they’re experiencing (I really hate those groups where it’s all NO NEGATIVITY ALLOWED, ummm toxic much?)
Don’t have your own Facebook group? Join an industry relevant group! I find that many SaaS companies have great Facebook groups that help me listen in on what people in and around my niche are struggling with and what questions they need answered.
Voice of Customer Method #4: Youtube
This is one of my favourites! Go to a big shot name in your field and check out their YouTube channel.
Go to their most relevant videos and check the comments section – you’d be surprised how many people are there asking questions
For a shortcut to find questions type CTRL+F then “?” into the search bar. This will highlight all the question marks so you can easily shift through the questions
Here’s an example of a great question I pulled from a video on copywriting for sales funnels.
Voice of Customer Method #5: Course Reviews
If you’re a course creator then you NEED to be investigating your competitors’ course reviews. But this can be hard, don’t choose someone who only sells their courses via their own website, because they aren’t going to publish any negative reviews.
Instead, go to Udemy or Coursera and check the 3* reviews. These are usually pretty honest about any shortcomings with the course and will give you great things to use in your FAQs to smash any objections prospects might have
Now look at your own sales page: have you…
- Checked out any of the sources above?
- Used VOC in your copy?
Sales Page Mistake #4: Introducing the Product First
When writing a sales page, your prospect should always take centre stage, which means don’t open your sales page by introducing your product.
This is especially important if you’re driving cold traffic to your sales page via paid advertising as it will increase bounce rate.
Imagine, this person knows nothing about you or your course. They were curious and clicked your ad, but the first thing they’re met with is your product without any prior guidance on how it will really help them change their life in the way that they seek?
You would probably bounce off that sales page too.
Remember, when a prospect lands on your sales page they’re thinking “what’s in it for me?” and they’ll need context around your course before they really start to understand the benefits it’ll bring to their life.
So don’t jump in by introducing your product first in your body copy, help your prospect imagine how much they’ll enjoy the great benefits your course will get them, empathize with their struggle (remember though, it’s not their fault they’re struggling) and then introduce your product as a way to help them.
Sales Page Mistake #5: Headline holds no benefit
Headlines are among some of the most important pieces of copy you’ll ever write. Ever.
Your headline won’t only communicate your main value prop, but it will tell prospects if your copy is worth reading. What I see too often is that the headline many course creators use doesn’t hold a value prop, it doesn’t include a specific benefit, but tells people either the name of the product or isn’t strong enough to make people want to read more.
Secondly, your design matters a lot here. I’ve hopped on a lot of sales pages where the headline was BELOW the fold (the fold is the part visible on the screen without scrolling). So make sure people can see your headline on all devices when they land on your sales page.
So, let’s look at some awesome headlines and why they work so well.
Sales Page Headline #1: Copyschool
This one is from Copyhackers’ Copy School and it works so well because one of the biggest struggles for copywriters is feeling like imposters and not feeling confident enough to defend their decisions.
QUESTION: Is there a similar “enemy” your prospects can rally against? What about burnout? Or an unhealthy habit you help your students kick?
Sales Page Headline #2: Copywrite Matters
This headline from my own coach, Belinda Weaver, is a great example of a benefits-laden headline formatted as a question that we’d definitely say yes to.
(Actually this is the headline of her homepage, but I think it could work well as a sales page headline too)
Sales Page Headline #3: Elise Darma
I love Elise’s content and I really like how she’s used the rule of three to great effect here. Not only are clear benefits highlighted, but I even know how long it will take to get those benefits: in a month.
QUESTION: Can you use the rule of three in a similar way? Try it for yourself; two benefits and the timeframe that’ll take your prospects to get it.
Now, look at your own sales page: does your headline…
- Communicate a clear benefit?
- Is that benefit relevant to your audience (go back to VOC and check)
That’s a wrap!
I hope those common sales page mistakes don’t put you off writing your sales page and shipping your important work. We’ve all written things that later make us cringe (yep, even me!) but the important thing is to be continually improving our copy, especially our sales page.
You’ll find that as you keep launching your courses or just the longer you spend getting to know your customers and what they truly need from you, you’ll continuously improve your sales page.
Got any questions? Let me know in the comments 👇
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Kerry Campion is a content marketer and SEO copywriter for ambitious SaaS companies. Her gig is creating customer-centric content marketing strategies and writing SEO copy that sounds nothing like SEO copy so her clients get the organic traffic they want, WITHOUT sacrificing their brand voice and badassery.