What Is A Sales Page? You Full Guide For 2021

A sales page with social proof in the form.

Everyone is talking about sales pages. But what are they?

Here’s what we are going to discuss today:

  • What is a sales page?
  • What is a short-form sales page?
  • What is a long-form sales page?

So let’s get straight into it…

What Is a Sales Page?

A sales page is a web page that has one purpose: to get the potential customer to buy the product.

There are two main types of sales pages:

  • Short-form sales pages.
  • Long-form sales pages.

Ideally, a sales page should have no navigation, meaning that if the visitor wants to leave it, they have to either click the “Back” button in their browser or close the window.

The reasoning behind this is that navigation serves as a distraction that might take the potential customer’s attention away from the copy.

However, it’s okay to have sales pages that are more integrated into your website, just keep in mind that navigation on a sales page might decrease the conversion rate.

What is a Short-Form Sales Page?

A short-form sales page is a sales page that doesn’t feature much copy.

People often assume that “short” in the “short-form” refers to the page length, so if they have to scroll down quite a bit to get to the bottom of the page, they consider it to be a long-form sales page.

However, this is a misconception, since “short” in the short-form refers to the copy length, not the page length.

So the page length might be substantial but if there isn’t much copy on it then it should be considered a short-form sales page.

Generally, the less expensive the product, the less copy is required to sell it, which is why short-form sales pages are often used for products that are affordable, such as books.

Example: James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” Sales Page

James Clear is a popular blogger who has been writing on his blog since 2012. He is also a New York Times best-selling author of “Atomic Habits”. Let’s take a closer look at the sales page of this book…

Above the fold, you have a prominently placed image of the book, as well as social proof in the form of:

  • The phrase “The Instant Worldwide Bestseller”
  • The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Amazon, and Audible bestseller list banners.
  • A quote from Mark Manson.
  • A quote from Ariana Huffington.
  • “Over 3 million copies sold” badge.

This immediately gives the potential customer the impression that this book might be worth their time.

Then there’s the:

  • Headline which uses the title and the subtitle of the book.
  • Subheadline that conveys the main benefit of this book.
Sales page headline that uses the title and subtitle of a book.

Note how James helpfully provides a link to the list of international editions that he has available further down the page.

People who are interested in buying a translation of this book surely appreciate it.

Sales page options for different companies that sell an item.

Then there’s an explanation of how to claim your free bonuses once you have purchased the book.

Framing this as:

Step #1: Buy the book.

Step #2: Claim free bonuses.

…is clever because it gives the potential customer a clear plan of action.

Step two of a sales page, with the option to claim a free bonus.

Then there’s a list of those free bonuses with a short description of each one.

Short descriptions of the free bonuses you can claim from a sales page.

Below this list there’s a short video of a conference speech where James:

  • Explains the power of getting 1% better every day.
  • Gives tips for changing habits.

Adding a video like that to this sales page is a great idea because people in his target audience likely watch similar speeches on a regular basis (e.g. Ted talks, etc.).

This means that this video draws the potential customer in by tapping into an existing pattern. They already enjoy watching YouTube videos like that, so they might click on this one as well.

Sales page video example.

Then there’s a list of ten things that the potential customer will learn from this book:

Sales page description list of 10 things that a book will teach you.

Below this list there’s an image that:

  1. Breaks up the page and makes it more visually appealing.
  2. Promotes James’ other product which is The Clear Habit Journal.
Sales page image example.

Below this image, there’s a bunch of quotes from well-known people that the potential customer might recognize.

These quotes serve as social proof.

Sales page social proof with testimonials.

Below these quotes, there’s a second call to action.

Sales page call to action with list of providers who sell an item.

And then there’s another image that:

  1. Breaks up the page and makes it more visually appealing.
  2. Helps the potential customer imagine reading this book.
Sales page image example.

Below this image, there’s a substantial chunk of copy that provides more information about the book.

Excerpt from a book, sales page example.

And then there’s yet another image that:

  1. Breaks up the page and makes it more visually appealing.
  2. Helps the potential customer imagine reading this book.
Sales page image example, closeup.

Below that image there’s James Clear’s bio.

Note how there’s one sentence that describes what he does:

“James Clear is a writer and speaker focused on habits, decision-making, and continuous improvement.”

And then the rest of the bio is social proof:

  • He is a NYT bestselling author.
  • His work has appeared in Entrepreneur magazine, Time magazine, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and on CBS This Morning.
  • His website receives millions of visitors every month.
  • He has hundreds of thousands of email subscribers.
  • He is a regular speaker at Fortune 500 companies.
  • His work is used by both coaches and players in NFL, NBA, and MLB.

In other words, the message here is this:

James Clear is legit and you should be interested in what he has to say.

Sales page social proof example.

Below the bio, there’s a list of various English editions of the book:

List of different editions of a book.

And then there’s an alphabetical list of all the other international editions.

This is especially helpful for:

  • People who would rather read the book in their mother tongue.
  • People who want to buy the book for someone who doesn’t understand English well enough to read it in English.

Note how this list makes it easy to quickly see in what format the book is available in a given language (print, ebook, audio).

(The screenshot below only shows the beginning of this extensive list)

Format of all the languages a book has been translated into.

Then there’s the third call to action which uses the same image and the same quotes that we saw above the fold.

Sales page call to action example.

Below, there are Goodreads reviews for”Atomic Habits”, which serve to provide more social proof. There are at least nine pages of them.

These reviews seem to be filtered to show only the 5-star ones, though.

Filtered 5 star reviews example.

Finally, there’s another image that we have already seen, the one that promotes not only James’ book but also his other product, The Clear Habits journal.

Final sales page example with images of other products included.

This sales page also has a footer, which includes a quick note from James as well as navigation and links.

Sales page footer example.

As you can see, you need to scroll for quite a while to get to this footer, so this sales page isn’t short in terms of page length.

However, it’s considered to be a short-form sales page because there isn’t much sales copy on it (there’s only one sizable chunk of it in the “Let Me Tell You More About The Book…” section).

What is a Long-Form Sales Page?

A long-form sales page is a sales page that features a ton of copy.

Generally, the more expensive the product, the more copy is required to sell it, which is why long-form sales pages are typically reserved for pricey products such as online courses and live events.

Example: Ramit Sethi’s “The Finisher’s Formula” Sales Page

Ramit Sethi is a popular blogger who runs the I Will Teach You To Be Rich blog and is The New York Times best-selling author of a book with the same title.

In the copywriting world, he is recognized as a master of the craft and is seen as especially skilled at writing long-form sales pages.

Ramit sells a variety of products on his website, one of which is “The Finisher’s Formula”, an online course that is designed to help people who tend to start a bunch of projects but struggle to finish any of them.

The sales page for this product is especially interesting because the problem that “The Finisher’s Formula” addresses is associated with:

  1. Guilt.
  2. Shame.

These are powerful negative emotions that need to be handled delicately. The last thing people who already feel bad about themselves need is to feel like they are being judged.

As we go through the sales page, pay special attention to how Ramit empathizes with the potential customer, makes them feel understood, and reassures them that there’s still hope for them.

You can use a similar approach if you are also selling a solution to a problem that has guilt and shame associated with it (e.g. products that deal with weight loss, social skills, dating, etc.).

Okay, so above the fold we see:

  1. A headline. 
  2. A subheadline. Interestingly, it’s not below the headline but above it.
  3. A call to action (the “I’m ready to change” button takes you straight to the section of the page where you can buy the product). Note that it’s there for those who have already made up their minds but Ramit isn’t actively trying to close the sale at this point.
  4. An arrow that draws the potential customer’s attention to the text below and encourages them to scroll down.
  5. Text that says “Wow. Look at these haunting comments I found online:”
Sales page above the fold headline.

Then there are three Reddit comments that the potential customer might relate to.

Not only do they draw attention to the suffering caused by the inability to get things done but they also make the potential customer feel like they are not alone.

Sales page reddit comments that are related to the product being sold.

Below the comments, Ramit introduces himself with a photo and an accomplishment that serves as social proof.

Sales page introduction example.

Then the sales copy begins.

Ramit starts by empathizing with the potential customer. Note that instead of using the word “you” he uses the word “we”. This helps him convey to the potential customer that he understands what they are going through.

That is especially important when you are talking about a problem that has guilt and shame associated with it. You don’t want to come across as some holier-than-though character preaching at the potential customer. Using the word “we” can help you to avoid that.

(Note that there’s more copy in this section than what is shown in the screenshot.)

Sales page copy example.

After the copy, there are more Reddit comments, continuing the same sad theme:

Sales page reddit comments that are related to the product being sold.

Then there’s more copy which ends with this section:

Ending Sales Page copy example.

This is followed by more Reddit comments:

Sales page reddit comments that are related to the product being sold.

And then there’s the sales copy that addresses the worst part of being unable to get things done: giving up on yourself.

(Note that there’s more copy in this section than what is shown in the screenshot).

Below that there are five more Reddit comments:

Sales page reddit comments that are related to the product being sold.

Why did Ramit add all these Reddit comments to his sales page?

Presumably, it’s because people who struggle to get things done tend to blame themselves and eventually start believing that it’s impossible for them to change.

Someone who doesn’t think that a problem can be solved is unlikely to be receptive to a sales pitch offering a solution.

These Reddit comments serve to support Ramit’s point that “It’s not just you”.

They help the potential customer realize that they are not alone, which helps to alleviate the shame and the guilt that they are feeling, and makes them more open to the idea of making a change.

Now that Ramit has:

  1. Established an emotional connection.
  2. Dredged up the pain associated with this problem.
  3. Helped the potential customer understand that they aren’t somehow uniquely flawed.

…it’s time to show the potential customer that there’s hope.

So he ends the previous section with this sentence:

And then introduces “The Finisher’s Formula”:

Sales page introducing the finisher's formula.

Then he shares his own experience which led him to develop this system.

Note how the reference to 60-year-olds telling young people to “suck it up” and “be lucky you even have options” appears to be designed to resonate with millennials.

It’s a generation that is sick and tired of being called entitled by everyone from their relatives to political commentators to media outlets. Ramit seems to be using that to strengthen the emotional connection with the potential customer.

Sales page authors personal experience example.

He then shares the results that he got by using his system and expresses a desire to see the potential customer succeed as well:

Sales page results to succeed example.

After that, he explains what “The Finisher’s Formula” is all about.

Note how he immediately addresses the common objection of “I don’t know what I want” with “Even if you don’t know what you want to do with your life yet.”

Sales page addressing common objections.

Then there’s a more detailed description of the course where he explains what exactly is included in it:

Sales page detailed description of a course.

Below that, there’s a section in which he lists what the potential customer will learn in this course, with each point designed to:

  1. Resonate with the potential customer. This is achieved through a combination of addressing specific problems and using specific language.
  2. Pique their curiosity.
Sales page addressing specific problems with specific language.

Now, of course Ramit would say that his course is great, everyone expects that. What they really want to know is what his students think.

So he provides two powerful customer testimonials.

Sales page customer testimonial.

One testimonial is from Nicole S. who always wanted to be an author. With Ramit’s help, she finished a book on deployment while sleeping an average of 4 hours a day (!!!).

Sales page customer testimonial with a photo.

The other testimonial is from Sarah B. who provided a bulleted list of the stuff she has accomplished so far.

It includes publishing articles, expanding her network, starting a virtual group, joining a Toastmasters Club, giving speeches, and increasing her annual salary by nearly $16k. Pretty impressive!

Sales page customer testimonial with a photo.

Note how these testimonials are focused on specific results.

This is important because vague “My life is so much better now!” type testimonials don’t have much impact.

Below there’s the “Frequently Asked Questions” section which includes questions and concerns such as:

  • “Ugh, I don’t want this to become yet another thing on my to-do list.”
  • “What if I fall behind?”
  • “What if I’m just lazy and unmotivated?”
  • “How does the course work?”
  • “Is this course live?”
  • “How much time does it take to do this course per week?”
  • “Does this work for international students?”
  • “Does this course include material from other courses?”

Pay attention to how the first two questions address the same fear: “What if I fail to finish this course?”.

Then the third question addresses another fear: “What if I can’t change?”.

FAQ sections often only answer questions related to the product but you can also do what Ramit did and address common objections as well.

Sales page frequently asked questions.

He ends the FAQ section with this sentence which immediately gives him more credibility.

Telling the potential customer that this course is not for everyone helps Ramit to position himself as a trustworthy person.

Sales page credibility example.

Then there’s the “This product is not for you if…” list.

It helps Ramit to:

  1. Come across as honest and trustworthy.
  2. Make the product more appealing to the right people.
  3. Make the product less appealing to the wrong people.
  4. Set correct expectations.
Sales page listing reasons a the product would not be for the customer.

And then there’s the “This product is for you if…” list.

It helps Ramit to:

  1. Clarify who this course is meant for. 
  2. Strengthen the emotional connection with the potential customer. 
  3. Set correct expectations.
Sales page clarification of a course being sold.

Below this list, there’s a 60-day money-back guarantee which completely eliminates the financial risk of purchasing this product.

Sales page money back guarantee graphic.

Ramit then takes time to explain this guarantee:

Explanation of a money back guarantee.

Finally, there’s a call to action, which includes:

  1. Clear payment terms. 
  2. A large call-to-action button.
  3. An appealing call-to-action button text. 
  4. A discount offer to those who are willing to pay in full straight away.
  5. Customer support contact information.
Sales page get instant access call to action example.

But this isn’t the end of the sales page yet.

After the call to action, there’s more sales copy.

This section starts with Ramit saying that he wants the potential customer to be able to trust themselves.

Sales page one last thing example.

And he ends it by reinforcing the idea that there is hope, that the potential customer can change, and that they can get to the point where they are proud of themselves.

And then he presents “The Finisher’s Formula” as the solution that the potential customer needs.

Sales page with why the customer needs the product example.

This section is Ramit’s last attempt to create an emotional connection with the potential customer and persuade them to buy the product.

It is followed by another call to action that looks the same as the previous one:

Sales page call to action.

And that’s the end of this sales page!

As you can see, not only is this page long but it also has a ton of copy, which is why it’s a long-form sales page.

As we have mentioned previously, Ramit is widely recognized as a master of copywriting, and especially of long-form sales pages, so you may want to study how he sells his products.


Want to make money online?

Then you need to learn how to create persuasive sales pages. There’s just no way around it.

However, it’s important to understand that if you want to get the most out of your sales page, you need to pre-sell the potential customer before they get to it.

Our co-founder, Russel Brunson, has created a system for that. It’s called the Value Ladder sales funnel. Want to learn more about it?

Our 5 Day Challenge will show you exactly how to implement it in your business.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads.
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…in just five days.

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