In an ever-increasing on-line market, we’re told that we only have 8 seconds to grab attention or else our audience will click away.

Which means that clarity, brevity and compelling copy win the day.

So, why is it that whenever you click on someone’s offer, you’re led to a sales page that goes on and on and on and on.

Well, even though most of your branding and marketing material should be direct and to the point, when it comes to sales pages, longer sales pages often do better than short sales pages on the whole.

But, that doesn’t mean you automatically should go long each and every time.

What exactly is a Sales Page?

Before we keep going, let’s make sure we’re on the same page about sales pages. A sales page is a landing page (usually not attached to your website) that has the sole purpose of convincing your audience of purchasing one thing.

This one thing could be a product or service, but it is usually some component of your business that you’re trying to sell right now.

A sales page can be short form or long form – meaning that it has less content versus long, scrolling content. And although you would think that short form sales pages that get right to the point win the day, the data keeps coming back that long form sales pages tend to be more successful for more things.

If you’re like me, you’re a little disappointed by that piece of information. I personally hate long form sales pages and scroll all the way down to get to the point. And, as it turns out I’m not alone.

Whether you like short or long form sales pages has everything to do with your personality.

In a study done by psychologists at Brown University and the University of Colorado concluded that while some people require detailed explanation about how a product or service works before they’re willing to pay money, others became LESS willing to pay when they faced a bunch of additional detail.

The study concluded that people generally fell into two separate camps. Those who were intuitive thinkers were more “explanation foes”, meaning that they felt confident in their understanding of the product quickly and that their willingness to buy would erode by adding too much information.The other camp felt more secure with additional explanation. In fact, people in “explanation fiend” camp felt that the detailed information provided in a long sales page helped them feel more understood – in turn, making them want to pay for your goodies.

But, here’s the kicker . . .it turns out that the explanation fiends were more likely to spend money on higher ticket items and be able to explain why as compared to the intuitive shoppers. Which may have no ultimate effect on the decision to buy but could have an impact on long-term satisfaction.

So, what does that mean for your next landing page?

Meet the needs of both the intuitive shopper and the explanation fiend.

For, the last several years, the consensus has been that when in doubt go long. But, given that there are different shopping personalities, this approach doesn’t seem to make sense – or necessarily hold marketing water if you want to reach a broader audience.

One thing to consider is that no matter what kind of landing page you choose, clarity wins the day. First, let your reader clearly know what’s in it for them and what you want them to do right away (like, buy now!).

Next, adding components that meet both needs on a single landing page is paramount. Things that are visually easy to digest like an introductory video or summary sections with icons that allow people to scan will help the intuitive shopper, while having some detailed problem and solution-oriented content will allow the explanation fiend to feel confident about their decision.

You can also test different landing pages (one long, one short) and monitor which converts better with your audience. Even polling your subscribers before your launch as a way to get them excited and involved can give you better information on what kind of sales might convert better.

Plus, don’t forget keywords. Think about the terms your audience uses to search for your product or service. Consider both the explanation fiend and the foe and make sure that whatever copy you use, that you have words that might help get you found. Ultimately, if your audience feels understood – they’re more likely to buy no matter what form you use.

Lastly, if all this still feels overwhelming, you can follow some of the simple rules below to help guide your decision.

Short-Form Sales Pages Work Well when Risk is Low.

As a general rule, short-form sales pages work better where the risk of purchase is lower. What I mean by that is that when the investment or commitment is fairly low, people are more likely to commit to purchase without too much thought.

That might include a very warm audience that is familiar with your product or services. If they already know what they’re getting into, they don’t really have to be “sold” on why they need to buy.

Also, if the price range is low (anything under $35-50), people are more likely to buy without needing too much info. They’ll simply want to know that it works like they imagine it might (through testimonials or reviews) and that it solves the problem they have. Or, that if they get involved in a service that doesn’t really turn out to work the way they hoped, that they can get out easily.

Beyond that, people don’t need much when the risk is low.

In fact, it might not make sense to go into great detail about every possible thing your product or service is set to accomplish where the decision-making threshold is so low. In fact, doing so could cause your launch to bomb – so keep it short.

Long-Form Sales Pages Work Better for Complicated, Higher Risk, High Investment Products

When someone’s risk of parting with their well-earned dollars or time increases, so does your landing page. It only makes sense. People want to know that they’re actually investing in something that will bring them the solution they’ve been waiting for.

One of the biggest mistakes in this area is assuming what’s a small investment for you is a small investment for your audience – especially if your product or service is complicated. In some cases, you might think that spending $100 for your product or service is a no-brainer because it brings SUCH great value to someone’s life – but if they don’t easily understand the product or get what it can do, $100 can be as big of a purchase decision as $1000.

So, keeping in mind that people have different thresholds, erring on the side of storytelling and providing detailed information might be helpful as your offering gets more confusing and your audience’s investment goes above $50.

It’s only natural that as the stakes go up, the more convincing we need.

Even the intuitive shopper will need to be able to skim and find the buzz words they’re looking for. And the higher the cost and time; and the more difficult it is to understand the benefit, the more information and story you’ll need to provide in terms of benefit, value and solution.

It also makes sense that if someone has a low awareness about your product (e.g. they found you through a social media add), the more information they’ll need in order to finalize the deal.

Things like testimonials, about you sections, solutions, benefits, pricing and step-by-step processes are essential components you’ll want to include in your landing page in these circumstances.

And while there is no such thing as having a “right” length, your long-form landing page has to include everything you might want to know if you were new to your biz.

Don’t assume anything and remember what it might feel like to someone just learning about who you are what you do.

Ultimately when you’re doing a launch, you’ll want to keep an eye on things. There is no hard and fast rule on which kind of page will win your customer’s affection.

Using tools like hotjar or similar site monitoring tools can help you see what pieces of your landing page your audience is responding to. And, don’t be afraid to shift gears. For example, if you see that your long-form page isn’t converting the way you hoped, tweaking it or making it shorter might just make the difference you hoped.


P.S. We’re helping our client, author and life coach Nancy Levin do a long-form sales page launch this week for her life coaching membership. To get early access to her program and our long-form page, click here to join her private Facebook group and see the launch September 20!

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