How to write a high-converting long-form sales page

Lewis Folkard

Lewis Folkard Copywriting -- Funnels | Landing Pages | Sales Pages | Emails | Websites | Social Media Ads

Sales page copywriting is direct response in its purest form. It’s like your invisible sales team working their magic, handling your prospect’s objections, establishing credibility, building desire, and ultimately selling your product. All through the wonders of the written word. 


But not only does a sales page require great copywriting, but also great thinking. Because, yes, your writing needs to hold your reader and convince them to say “yes”. But you need to research, discover and think of a big idea that’s going to compel them to do so. Without a big idea, you have nothing substantial to write about.


Fortunately, the principles of turning a big idea into a persuasive sales page are well-vetted. Through this article, you’ll be able to see what they are so you can, too, write your own persuasive sales page and turn prospects into customers with ease.


Let’s start simple.


What is a sales page?

A sales page is the ultimate mode of written sales copywriting. The complete selling job. And it leaves no stone unturned, speaks in terms of reader benefits and caters for all decision-making modalities.


Online, a sales page is usually a web page that persuades prospects to become customers. This page is often their last destination before exchanging their money for your goods. 


You have long-form sales pages and short-form sales pages. Both inherently do the same thing, just in different ways. Long-form sales pages sell hard. Short-form sales pages sell soft. 


But which is right for you?


Choosing your sales page type

Technically, any business can use a sales page. If you’ve got suitable traffic (either organic or paid) that links to your business, you can use a sales page to sell them. Whether it’s the best mode of selling, though… well, that depends on your situation.


Long-form sales pages are usually paired with high ticket offers, complex products or a highly sceptical audience because they require more convincing. A short-form sales page, on the other hand, is normally used with small-ticket offers, less complicated (or demanding) products or highly aware audiences. 


However, regardless of the sales page size, you should only use a sales page to sell one product to one (type of) person. If you have multiple, you’ll need a sales page for each.


Conditions for using a long or short sales page



Before you get into crafting your persuasive, long-form sales page, let’s make sure you have the prerequisites in place. You should:


  • know what you’re offering (i.e. the product, price and terms)
  • have all your forms of credibility organised together (e.g. reviews, ratings, awards, video testimonials, guarantees)
  • you should have all your bonuses (and their features) with their respective monetary value


Once you’ve got these in place, let’s have a look at the steps you’re going to take.


The 3-step process to crafting a high-performing sales page

Like most copywriting projects, a high-performing sales pages has three steps:


  • Research
  • Write
  • Edit


This article will take you through each of these steps, so you can follow along and complete as you go.


Step 1: Researching your sales page

Research is arguably the most important step in crafting a high-performing sales page. And it’s broken into three categories: audience, product and competition. The aims of this step are simple. 


Audience research

Here, you need to find (or crystallise) who you’re talking to, what pains they have, what they’re sensitive to (i.e. their stage of awareness), where they’re looking to go and what that looks like to them. You need to know all the little details that help you see the world like they do. Pay attention to any ‘moments’ you discover that could help you create your overarching story. 


Product research

Next, you need to find how your product will best become the vehicle of transformation (from pain to pleasure). And what features of your product best support that. This area of research also involves digging into the sector itself and the context in which your product sits so you can elevate its benefits (e.g. recent news, fears or desires you can hone).


Competitor research

Finally, you need to see what others are saying so you don’t say the same. Repeating competitor claims and mechanisms doesn’t help you stand out or make it easy for your prospect to pick you. You want to be perceived as unique with no competition, minimising your prospect’s alternatives to your product.


Whilst what you’re looking for is simple, finding it isn’t always so. Research is a time-consuming process for a reason. If you’re reading this, you’re likely a copywriter and already have your own research process and methods of finding your gems. 


But ultimately, all your research findings are going to give you the bits you need to think of your big idea. We head there next.


How to uncover your sales page’s big idea

Like a lot of things, uncovering a big idea is easier said than done. But vital nonetheless. In short, there is no hard and fast way to think of – or discover – a big idea, but there are characteristics to look for. Your research is your magnifying glass.


Your big idea should combine: 


  • Your reader’s strongest motivation/desire
  • You stating it in a new, interesting way
  • Your reader desperately wanting to know more


But as big as your big idea is, it should be simple enough to fit on a post-it note. If not, it’s going to be too complex to reinforce throughout your sales page, and your pitch will seem disconnected.


Step 2: Writing your sales page

A sales page has a number of components that need copywriting. For example, you have the overall page structure – or the page formula – the story you’re going to weave into it, your lead and many more. In this step, I’ll take you through each of them. 


Choose your sales story

Once you’ve researched and you know your audience, product, market, competition and big idea, you’re ready to start piecing together your overarching story. 


Why do you need a story? Well, stories evoke emotion. And emotion sells. They also help you bypass your prospect’s sales defences. That way, you can spend more time building rapport with your prospect and charming them with your sales pitch. 


All sales pages use stories to some extent. But the sales page copywriters don’t just close their eyes and pick one – no. Your resources and research findings will dictate what story type is best suited to your sales page. 


There are four main types of sales page stories:


  • The “Two Picture” – A before and after story
  • The Origin – Using the past to make the present more interesting
  • The “Future Shock” – Using the future to make the present more interesting
  • The Quest – The hero’s journey


As I mentioned, knowing what story to pick depends on what you have available. For example, if you have lots of testimonials and transformations, then a “Two Picture” story could be the better option. If you have some compelling predictions about the future of your market/product, then an “Origin” story could be best. Use what you have to your best advantage.


Choose your lead type

So, whilst sales stories are (very) important, you don’t have to necessarily lead with them. In fact, there are a number of ways you can open a sales page. The book Great Leads, written by Michael Masterson and John Forde, shares six different types. 


Before we look at them, let’s understand why the sales lead is so important. 


In a few words, your lead is your first – and only – chance to emotionally engage and persuade your reader. If your lead doesn’t grip them, they won’t read the rest of your sales page. And if they don’t read your sales page, you can almost guarantee they won’t buy your product. So it all starts here. 


According to Masterson and Forde, these are the six main lead types:


  • The Offer Lead
  • The Promise Lead
  • The Problem-Solution Lead
  • The Big Secret Lead
  • The Proclamation Lead
  • The Story Lead


They start direct and become increasingly indirect. And generally, the level of directness depends on your audience’s stage of awareness. For example, you’d pair a direct lead with a highly aware reader. 


The stage of awareness and lead type spectrum


To make your lead as gripping as possible, you should also use the 4Us to help. This isn’t a checklist but rather a consideration. You’re not trying to force these Us into your lead, but you should see if you can make them more so. 


  • Unique
  • Useful
  • Urgent
  • Ultra-Specific


How to structure your sales page

Story? Check. Lead type? Check. Now, it’s time to assemble your sales page. 

Many of the great sales page copywriters start with a page formula. They’re proven persuasive structures that get you thinking in the right way. So, with your own page structure, there’s no rigid framework to follow. Just guidelines that should then tailor to your reader and product.


Every sales message – whatever the format – inherently has the same components. They don’t always have to be in the same order or to the same depth, but for a message to sell, they need them.


The components of a complete sales message are: 


  • Make a promise
  • Hit a pain point
  • Tell a story
  • Establish credibility
  • Prove the promise
  • Handle objections
  • Make an offer (increase perceived value)
  • Push for the sale


You can then take these components and put them into the following tried-and-tested sales page structure.


  • Problem 
  • Agitation
  • Solution
  • Introducing 
  • Why 
  • Try
  • Buy 


Remember, they don’t have to follow this order. Your research might lead to you starting with the solution – or dream state – and then going back to agitate a problem. It might even invite you to blend some together. Similarly, each section doesn’t have to be the same length. For example, you could have multiple crossheads and mini-sections within your Agitation or lots of objections to handle in your Why. That’s perfectly fine.


Let’s have a look at each section and see what kind of information you need to cover.



If you’re starting with the problem (and likely a more indirect lead), you need to hit a pain point. The more vibrant you paint it, the better. Great copywriting understands the reader’s situation because that’s the fast track to trusting you. Like all leads, it needs to be bold and attention-grabbing. So make sure you’ve considered the 4Us.



Next, you’re trying to rub salt in the wound. Dramatise the problem. Hone in on the details. Consider who else is affected. This is going to make your copy more emotional, so looking for a solution becomes all the more inviting. Remember, you can weave this into your story. As long as it’s relevant, your reader will draw parallels and feel connected.


Note: If you’re not following this section with Solution, don’t let your reader drown in their pain. End with a way out. Offer hope.



Once you’ve agitated their problems, it’s time to show them the magical remedy that fixes them. Your copywriting should show you understand what they’ve been through and what they now need. Empathy is a very persuasive tool. 


However, you’re not introducing your product yet – that’s next. Right now, you’re making a promise of what the solution does and what the other side of this pain looks like. You want your reader to long for the “how”. 


Note: You can sometimes lead with the solution (in a more direct lead). You’ll then follow that with the Problem and Agitation.



And now, you’re giving your reader the “how” – your product and offer details. This is the vehicle of transformation. Include some form of credibility here, like ratings, awards or authoritative figures who have used/made your product. These can be text- or image-based. Whatever you think best suits your sales page. At this point, though, you’re not including your bonuses. They’ll come later as deal sweeteners. 



The question that next arises in your reader’s mind is “Why should I choose this product?”. This section answers it. Fortunately, you have a few ways you can do this: establish credibility, prove your product does what it says, handle objections and separate your product from others on the market. 


You can include reviews, case studies, video testimonials, guarantees, specific product features and more to help. If you’re handling objections and anxieties, use proof that supports those objections in particular (it’s more persuasive than just saying it).



Now, you want them to visualise their life with your product so they can see (specifically) how much your product will improve their life. Again, include more credibility to keep doubts to a minimum. You can show people using your product and what their new-and-improved life looks like.


Once you’ve crystallised their impending happiness and your product is as desirable as it can be, you can introduce your bonuses. These should escalate how much your offer will help them and sweeten the deal, making a “yes” even more likely. Using images and your bonuses’ monetary value will help further. If you have a guarantee, now’s a good time to share it.



Finally, it’s time to summarise – and remind your reader of – the key parts of your offer and push for the sale. You can close out with a short body of text or a (long) list of everything they’re getting with your offer. Don’t forget your bonuses. If you haven’t introduced any urgency, make sure you do. If you have, reiterate it. You can also add more proof (e.g. reviews) beneath this section to minimise doubts.


Optional: Questions

If you have other objections or useful bits of information that you’ve not been able to work into earlier copy, adding a list of (FA)Qs beneath your close can be a great way to do so. The answers to their questions act as motivations to take action. Make sure you add a CTA button at the end.


Where to put images

As the adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. So images on sales pages are a very wise choice. But like your copy (and everything on a sales page), they need to be relevant. The pictures you choose should magnify the impact of your words.


For example, images in your “agitation” might show the real pains your protagonist had to endure. Images used in your story add credibility to what you’re saying. The more ‘native’ and authentic, the better.


Similarly, you should add plenty of pictures of your product and bonuses. The more your reader can see your product, the more familiar it becomes. And familiarity begets believability. You could add professional pictures to your ‘Introducing’ and plenty of videos or images as testimonials. You could even use some from customer’s social media. This adds another dimension of credibility.


But with all images, make sure you add captions. Captions have high readership and thus high ‘influence-ability’. Use them to add context and reinforce your body copy.


Where to put CTA buttons

Most sales pages move the reader through awareness levels. Most readers won’t be aware of your product or offer when they start the sales page. So, until you’ve introduced your product or offer, there isn’t much point in adding a call-to-action button. If you do, you’ll only encourage curiosity clicks (which interrupt your pitch…).


However, once you’ve introduced your product (and bonuses), regularly include buttons and in-text links. You can add buttons at the end of a mini-section or in-text links mid-mini-section. Now your prospect knows what they’re getting and what it’ll do for them, you want to increase the opportunities to buy and make it as easy as possible to do so. 


Step 3: Editing your sales page

Now you’ve written your sales page, it’s time to edit. This can take some time, and you need to be ruthless with yourself and your work. Here’s what you need to check:


  • Have you tapped into the key pains and desires?
  • Is everything you’ve said honest? I.e. is your copy compliant?
  • Is your sales page suitable for scanners? Do your crossheads and images fit the narrative so scanners understand the story without reading the full piece?
  • Does your copy flow? Are the transitions smooth from section to section? Does each line pull you into the next?
  • Does your proof support the transformation? If you’ve used weak proof, can you replace it? If not, have you sandwiched it between stronger proof?
  • Is your headline and lead suitable for the traffic source?
  • Are there any further incentives you could use to nudge your reader over the line?
  • Does your sales page look easy to read?
  • Is your copy as short, sharp and clear as it can be?
  • Are you using low-effort language?
  • Have you handled all objections and anxieties?
  • Have you included lots of call-to-action buttons and in-text links?


Writing and editing are intentionally separate steps. They shouldn’t overlap. When you’re writing, you get sucked into it and lose perspective. Taking a break and separating the steps helps your editing because you regain it. Edit aggressively, cut out anything you can that doesn’t reinforce your core message.


Go get ‘em

And that’s how to write a high-converting sales page. Congrats. Of course, once your sales page is live, you get to begin the iterative process of testing – but that’s an article for another day.


You know the steps. You’ve got the tools. So, now it’s time to start writing and selling. And ultimately, create something too good to say no to.


Originally published on


Featured image courtesy of Алекс Арцибашев on Unsplash

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