99% of sales tactics leave me feeling used and abused.
I’ve worked sales jobs for most of my life. I’ve done almost every guru-led sales course you can imagine. I’ve learned about sales pages, landing pages, sales copywriting, and writing emails that get opened. While searching for newsletter software for an upcoming project, I got taken by surprise.
A few words in and I was sold.
This never happens. I’m not that cheap or easy to convince about anything. My default response is no.
The greatest sales page I’ve ever seen is from Ghost. It’s not a conventional sales page. The copywriter who wrote the page decided to become a blogger for a day and write a comparison page.
The article is author-less which is stunning.
We’ll never meet this sales genius, but we can all learn about honest selling from them. Because I know you hate selling even though you know you’ve got to sell yourself to get anywhere in life.
Let’s reinvent what it means to “sell.”
7 Fundamental Components of a Jaw-Dropping Sales Page
I know what you’re thinking: “I don’t need a sales page, buddy.”
We all need a sales page. If you work a job then your sales page is your resume which now needs to be online using a tool like Squarespace, or at the very least displayed on your LinkedIn profile. So congrats.
You must have a sales page to participate in society.
If you want to start an e-commerce store or sell a book, course, coaching, or consulting then you’ll need a sales page too.
These are the sales page components I borrowed from Ghost.
1. Call out your competitors upfront like a badass
Ghost didn’t even try and hide it. Their obvious competitor is Substack. So they made their sales page title “Substack vs Ghost.” This level of honesty gets you far — it shows confidence and that you know the market.
The hardest part about purchasing anything is the comparison process. I recently brought a new modem and router to speed up my snail internet. I rang my internet provider and begged them to give me a comparison guide to shorten the learning process. They wouldn’t, so I had to do it myself.
Guess how long it took?
I’ve had internet problems for two years. There was no freaking way I was going through the pain any longer. I scouted 1990s looking forums. I watched videos on YouTube. I rang friends who work in IT.
No manufacturer was willing to put their curly ones on the line and simply state the features of their product versus the competition. So I had to invest hours because they didn’t do their job. Plastic modem companies were not willing to show human vulnerability.
Destroying the time needed for a buyer to do research makes you more sales.
2. Choose no-nonsense
We put together this no-nonsense overview.
Ever sat in the boardroom with a bunch of corporate folks? Wow. The buzzwords and fluff are incredible. The corporate dance to get to the point is exhausting. A no-nonsense approach is a code for:
- Use simple words a fifth-grader knows.
- Treat the audience as equal.
- State facts about what you’re selling.
- Don’t clickbait your message.
- Cut out the trash talk.
- Avoid cliche stock images — yuck.
No-nonsense equals further time saving for a buyer. No-nonsense sales pages get to the point and buyers love them.
3. Treat humans like traffic lights
Ghost assumes I’ve driven a car. Traffic lights dictate my decisions, and not just on the road in my moderately priced Honda.
Green means go. Red means stop. Highlight benefits with green ticks, and missing features from your competitors with red crosses.
Pro tip: Give your competitors a few more green ticks than they deserve. Why? Giving compliments shows humility. Humility sells because it’s human.
4. Go in a logical sequence
In the case of Ghost, you think you want to start a newsletter. You start thinking about which platform. Then you stress about migrating from whatever you’re currently doing. Ghost’s comparison page follows the logical process of a buyer and addresses our fears nicely.
5. Change the look throughout the sales page
A lot of sales pages are simply a wall of text. Look at the typical resume — it’s a wall of text too. The Ghost sales page is legendary because the creator varied the format.
Nice header image, then a headline, then a two-paragraph intro made up of five succinct sentences, a comparison table that’s easy on the eye, followed by a short box of text with a subtly different color, then a sub-heading with three short paragraphs, then the most important message (how much money you can make with their product) is in a strong purple-colored box with sliders, then there are visual examples of what they can do mixed with more text.
Let me help you visualize the magic of what Ghost did. Here in Australia, we have lots of long freeways that lead everywhere. The freeways are full of fluro walls and bridges. The creators of all these freeways didn’t previously work for Picasso. They chose bright colors to stop drivers from falling asleep while heading down long stretches of road.
Think of your audience like freeway drivers. If everything looks the same they fall asleep and veer off the road into a wall and die. Keep people awake and alive by changing up what they see visually.
6. What’s missing is where the magic is
Someone went through the Ghost page with a sledgehammer. It feels suppressed and beautifully restrained.
Most sales pages say and do too much.
Editing and curating are key skills for writing, and for creating a killer sales page that leaves mouths wide open. Overload your sales page. Then revise and iterate until there is a lot missing.
Ghost’s sales page is missing the following:
- Video content
- Excessive links
- A lot of bolding of sentences
- Fear. Read that again.
- CEO/Founder speeches (kill me now)
The Ghost sales page is drowning in:
- White space
- Relatable human faces (that look like you and me — not a 6-pack flaunting Baywatch lifeguard)
7. The best use of words that convince you to buy a product don’t sound salesy
Ghost’s sales page doesn’t sound salesy. There are no discounts or countdown clocks. The sales page sounds like a friend who is trying to help you make an important decision in your life.
Here’s the best way to sell: Don’t sell.
Talk to the audience like a friend.
The Greatest Sales Page I’ve Ever Seen Spectacularly Failed to Sell Me
I didn’t buy the Ghost product because of their sales page.
Wait, what? After seeing the greatest sales page ever?
Yep, I didn’t buy Ghost right off the bat. They sold me for later down the line. I will buy Substack and then migrate to Ghost later to optimize. This is where people go wrong. Substack is easy to use and get started quickly. I’m in experimentation mode so I don’t want an ounce of complexity.
You might be thinking Ghost’s sales page failed. Nope. They did the smartest two things you can ever do, and that is this:
Not everyone is your customer.
Not everyone is your customer right now.
Be bold and accept “ after-sales” — sales that happen because of the work you put in, at some point in the future.
This technique works in sales pages (resumes) you use to get jobs. I once applied for an individual contributor job using LinkedIn. I met the manager for coffee. They didn’t hire me but told me how much they loved my LinkedIn profile (sales page). Four weeks later they introduced me to one of their colleagues who did hire me, but to run a team of account managers and earn a lot more money, working 20% fewer hours than the other job.
The sales page a potential employer reads might sell them on another position, or be so memorable they employ you down the track for a job that isn’t advertised.
Sell now and let people buy later.
Gracefully sell like this in everyday life from now on
- Obliterate the time needed for a buyer to do research.
- Use simple words a fifth-grader knows.
- Give your competitors some honest brownie points.
- Talk to the audience like a friend.
- Sell now and let people buy later. Not everyone is your customer. Not everyone is your customer right now.
- Remember: You must have a sales page to participate in society.