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Sales Page Design Guidance & Inspiration

Want some help designing the layout for the sales page of your new offer? Or a new sales page for an existing offer?

I’m a marketing mentor for people who sell their expertise online as services, courses, programmes, memberships, that sort of thing. So this blog posts is written from that perspective. If that’s not what you’re selling, you’ll probably still find the post useful.

In this blog post I’ll walk you through:

  • The first goal of your sales page design (it needs to do more than look good)
  • 12 visual design suggestions to help make your page more user-friendly (and therefore effective)
  • Examples of sales page designs
  • More resources to help you nail the sales page of your online course

The First Goal Of Your Online Course Sales Page Design: Survive The Skim

Before your sales page visitor is willing to invest any time actually reading the page they need to be convinced it’ll be worth their time and effort.

The things they’ve seen before clicking on the link to your page will definitely have helped inform that decision (social media posts, marketing emails, their previous experience with you).

When they arrive they are very likely to skim the page to check for relevancy before deciding whether to leave, or read in more detail.

They may only skim 1/3 - 1/2 down, or skim the full thing depending on the length.

They are looking for confirmation that it is worth them investing the next 2-3 minutes of their life actually looking, so you very quickly need to communicate:

That they are in the right place.

If they were expecting to find out more about an Advanced Crochet Course, then that title should be right up at the top of the page, so they can relax and pay attention to the rest of the page.

Any deadlines, start dates, doors closing information.

Put the date and the countdown timer because otherwise if you just give them the date, they’ll start doing math to figure out how long they’ve got and you’ve already lost some of their attention.

It is for them.

They’ll be wondering if this is for advanced people or beginners, business owners or employees, mobile hairdressers or salon owners (if that’s your niche). How can you quickly reassure the right people that the rest of the page is relevant to them.

That you are selling something that they may potentially want.

The main promise/hook/glorious potential outcome needs to be obvious at the top of the page, and repeated further down the page (usually just before the buy button, or whatever call-to-action you choose) and stand out visually so skim readers can’t miss it.

Design Guidance For Your Sales Page

It probably is possible to create a high-converting visitor-hostile sales page.

A place with flashing stuff, and auto-playing videos, designed to create so much pressure and FOMO that the visitor just wants to give you their cash and get the heck out of there.

That is not how I sell, or how I teach others to sell, because it feels gross to me, I don’t want a shed-ton of refund requests when my customers regret their FOMO-inspired purchase, and I’d like my customers to come back and buy from me again and again, and tell their friends about me.

So this sales page design guidance isn’t just about creating a high-converting sales page.

It’s about creating a reader-friendly space that supports the prospect to make an aligned purchase decision that they feel good about and continue to feel good about long after they’ve paid you money.

Here are 12 things to consider when designing your sales page (in no particular order)

1 - Make sure the lines of text aren’t too close together

2 - Think about the contrast of the font on the background - if it’s too stark it can make the text blurry, smudgy or even a bit wiggly for some people. If you’re using a white background, use a dark grey font, not black.

3 – Don’t use quirky fonts people can’t read

4 – Don’t use lots of different fonts or font sizes - have a head option, sub-header option, and regular text option.

5 – DON’T write long stretches of text in all capitals - it will be too hard to read

6 – For desktop, add wide margins of blank space on either side of your text, so that the text covers only the central 50%ish of the screen. If the text s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s right across the screen it makes it very hard for the reader to skim read the page and assess its value to them - and that is an essential first step in getting your sales page consumed. Plus if they do decide to read all the text, traveling all the way across the screen and back again is fatiguing for their eyes, and they’re more likely to give up and bounce away.

7 - Make sure sliders (of testimonials or key features) aren’t scrolling through too fast - even better add buttons so the reader can control what’s going into their eyeballs.

8 – Consider what percentage of your visitors are likely to be using mobile, and make sure the page looks as good for them as it does when you design it for a desktop screen. I know, I know, ‘be mobile-friendly’ isn’t exactly ground-breaking advice, but it goes beyond making sure the image and text size adapts to the smaller screen. When your page is presented on mobile, elements may shift around - things will appear one on top of the other instead of side-by-side, and that will change the flow (and possibly meaning) of your sales page

9 - Speaking of side-by-side…… it is very hard to read two (or heaven-forbid, three) columns of text. While trying to focus on the first column, our eyes are constantly pulled over to the next column. It is human nature to be skipping ahead a little as we read (I’ve read about this in books backed up by actual science) so we can’t blame the reader for not staying focussed. If you want a narrow column of text, pop a restful (not informative) image next to it, so wandering eyeballs feel some relief when they glance in that direction, and can quickly return to the text you want them to read.

10 – Easy to see buy button - this should really stand out and be obviously a clickable button

11 – Have visual landmarks so someone who is scrolling up and down the page, or leaves the page and comes back can quickly re-orientate themselves, and will be able to find the information (or button) they are seeking. You can change the background of different sections of the page, or use photos, or visual icons to announce ‘in this section of the sales page I am presenting information on a different aspect of the offer’ - although don’t announce it like that as it’ll sound like you used a robot to write your page for you.

12 - Testimonials need to stand out from the other text. I tend not to use the ‘testimonial’ module on page builders. I like adding screenshots of the feedback I receive on social media or via email because it looks more authentic (because it is). However you want to present your testimonials, they need to look obviously different from the rest of the text about your offer.

Sales Page Design Examples

I’m not the judge of whether something is ‘good’ or not, so I’m in no position to pick a handful of ‘good’ sales page designs and show them to you.

You know your audience. You know your business. You know your style.

So instead, I’ve got a list of sales pages for you to look at, and some questions for you to consider, so you can decide for yourself what design elements you want to include, and which to ditch.

So check out the sales pages I’ve linked to and pay attention to what catches your eye, what you like, what you don’t like, and how you think the design would or wouldn’t work for you, your business, and your audience.

I’ve included different types of offers, but you can make use of what you learn from all of them, regardless of what type of offer your sales page will be for.

Membership: The Membersite Academy

This is a membership about how to run your membership, so of course they will have an epic sales page designed to sell their membership.

➡️ Link to live version of the page (affiliate link)
➡️ Link to archived version of the page (in case it’s been taken offline)

Membership: Active Campaign Academy

Kay was one of the first people to implement my Smooth Sale-ing sales page training, and she reported a doubling in her conversion rate 😲

➡️ Link to live version of the page
➡️ Link to archived version of the page (in case it’s been taken offline)

Course: The Online Business Blueprint from Ruth Gilbey

There is a LOT inside this course, so this page is a good example of how to convey a lot of content, while also helping the reader imagine themselves making use of it all.

➡️ Link to live version of the page
➡️ Link to archived version of the page (in case it’s been taken offline)

Course: Grow Your Online Business Fan Club from Elizabeth Goddard

A simpler design for a lower cost offer - useful to contrast against the epicness of the earlier examples.

➡️ Link to live version of the page
➡️ Link to archived version of the page (in case it’s been taken offline)

The Rule Breaker…

Are you ready to be disrupted?

Leonie Dawson is a hugely successful and highly creative online entrepreneur.

And yet the feedback I hear about her sales pages is consistently ‘I can’t read it’.

But people (thousands and thousands of them) still buy her offers.

Go take a tour of her site, and see what you think/feel for yourself.

Not so you can judge Leonie, but so you can see

a) what’s possible if you just follow your heart

b) what reactions this sales page style brings up for you and if there’s anything you’d like to apply to your own business.

OK, are you ready?

Here’s a glimpse of a Leonie sales page…

➡️ And here’s the link to the full beans…
➡️ And the archived version

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