Surviving the Sales Page

Some of our most valuable products were once offered to us from that very thing which we so often cite as an endless annoyance: the sales page. Without forswearing sales pages altogether, how does one still absorb the information one needs, without becoming completely overwhelmed?

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This morning while driving to work I told my husband that I could count on one my hand the number of times I had bought an Internet Marketing product which I should not have bought.  Considering the amount of time I have been involved, to one degree or another, in Internet Marketing, that is probably not so bad – all considered.

“All considered” is a euphemism actually.  More accurately, one could state, “considering the onslaught of marketing pages promotional emails, sales pages, and offers that any Internet Marketer is subjected to throughout his tenure in the field.”

It’s pretty hard to avoid.  And it is not something that should be entirely avoided.

After all, we do need to learn internet marketing strategies, right?  We do need to discover and utilize new services, products, software, and tactics, which will help us expand our businesses.

One can not condemn all sales pages when one takes into account the fact that some of our most valuable information products, software, and services, were once offered to us from that very thing which we so often cite as an endless annoyance – the sales page.

I would not be where I am today if I had never purchased an eBook, service, software program, or other product, from one of those pesky and ubiquitous sales pages.

So how does one strike a balance.  Without forswearing sales pages altogether, how does one still absorb the information one needs, in order to make the decisions one has to make? Without becoming overwhelmed, and without losing too much time (and/or money) in the process.  And, without making purchases which we later regret.

Here are a few points to take into consideration before purchasing a product or service from a sales page, a promotional email, or anything else.

1.  Will this product help forward your current projects and goals, or distract from them?

If you are already successfully moving forward on Project A, it might not be the best time to buy a Product which would help you with Project B which you have never even started with. In fact, this product, no matter how high its quality, might serve to distract you from what you should be concentrating on, or disperse you on to working on more projects than you have time to work on and successfully complete.

2.  Is it vital, truly useful, or a nice-to-have?

Is this a product which will make a life-or-death difference in your ability to progress on or complete a project?  Or will it speed up your progress considerably, making the time saved well-worth the investment?  Or is it simply a “nice-to-have” which would be beneficial, but which you could do without.

Once you have determined the above, consider your budget, any other products/services you also need to pay for, and the importances involved.  Don’t buy a nice-to-have Product A if it means you won’t be able to afford a vital Product B.  Or if it will cause you to overspend your budget.

But don’t pass up on a product that is vital or considerably useful in terms of moving your key project(s) forward, just to save the $47 which you would have otherwise spent on gummy bears.

3. Does the value justify the expense?  And conversely, would passing up on this item, and saving the expense, justify passing up on the value?

If a $97 product will truly save you 100s of hours of work, and will do a good job at the same time, it is well worth considering the expenditure.  As long as your time is worth more than $1.00 per hour.  (But not if it means you will be overdue on your rent).

Conversely, what about those products which are meant to save you 100s of hours but really won’t.  Maybe due to poor quality.  Or maybe the product is only useful when you are running a video sharing site.  If you are not running such a site, what’s the point?

4. Has the need already been fullfilled?

Let’s say you already own Keyword Elite and a year’s subscription to Wordtracker.  You are using those tools for all your keyword research and they seem to be doing the job fine.  Now you see a promotion for a new keyword research tool.

Ask yourself, do you really need another keyword research tool?  Maybe you do – maybe this one does keyword research in a different way which is perfect for one of your existing projects.  But then again, maybe it doesn’t!  Maybe it is just another tool.  Well, if you already have one (or two) that you are happy with, you might conserve on your funds for something more vital.

5. Unreal promises in the sales page?

Unreal promises in sales pages are big red flags.  Pictures of fancy cars and houses are big tip-offs.  Anyone telling you you can make tons of money without working should be taken with a few grains – no, mountains – of salt.

Then again, someone might have a perfectly good product and a horrible sales-page writer who thinks false promises are the best way to get conversions.  But be on your guard when you see unreal promises in sales pages.

6.  Making a scientific, thought-out decision, buying on whim, or buying because someone you respect recommends it?

If your reason is not the former, but is one of the two latter, stop and think.  No matter how much you respect someone, the fact that they recommend something does not automatically mean you need it.  It may be useful to them, but does that mean it will definitely be useful to you?

7. Keep a priority list.

If you are like me, there are plenty of tools on your personal wishlist or shopping list (whether written or not), which you would like to be able to purchase for your business.  Keep a prioritized list of these, so that every time you are ready to make a purchase related to your business, you make sure you purchase the highest priority item(s).  You can adjust the list if and when you see fit.  But be systematic, logical, and prudent.  Not rash and whimsical.  The former is a factor of success, the latter is not.

8. No loans, please.

I consider the common addiction in to loans, credit cards, and monthly payments (with interest) in the U.S. to be nothing less than insane.  Many Americans pour thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, down the drain over the years, just in interest alone.

I avoid loans or monthly payments like a plague.  I rarely use a credit card other than in an emergency, and even then I pay it off before interest accrues.  There are a very few cases where it might be financially logical to get a loan – such as paying a mortgage which is similar to what you would have paid in rent anyway.  But even then I would pay that mortgage off fast as humanly possible.  I consider “refinancing” to be a form of financial suicide.  Why put your home, your most valuable possession, at risk?  Only to become a slave to the economy, to your monthly bills, and (let’s not forget) to the bank itself.

But enough with the euphemisms.  Let’s just say I recommend you think twice, three times, ten times, or a hundred times (if you are not too bright) before you consider getting a loan to purchase an item from a sales page, and that includes using a credit card.

9. Step away from the sales page, ma’am.

At times I find myself becoming very enthusiastic when reading a promotional offer.  When the screen and the sales pitch are right in front of you, it can be easy to get lost in the viewpoint of whomever is writing the copy – and telling you why you should buy.  After all, that is their job.

I have found it useful to step away from the screen and take a walk outside.

Go outside and walk around the block, down the road, through the forest, on the beach – whatever works for you.  Consider the product in a new unit of time.  Consider the points I brought up above, the pro’s and cons of the product.  Consider other products you might also need, what their priorities are, and how much they cost. Will the expense of buying this product hinder you from acquiring something you need more?  Or will skipping it cause you to lose time, money, sales, or results that could have been saved/made by purchasing the product?  Take an exterior viewpoint to the whole matter and take time to look at all factors and options.  Then return to your computer and either buy it, or don’t.

10.  Your turn.

I’m sure you can think of additional points to consider when reviewing a sales page and deciding what to buy.  I’m sure I will think of many more as soon as I hit the “Publish” button on this post.  But I would like to hear from you, what you think, and what you recommend.  I’d be happy to hear about your experiences as well.  If you have any feedback, questions, suggestions, or advice to add, please feel free to use the comment section below.

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12 Responses to “Surviving the Sales Page”

  1. Luca Di Nicola
    April 7, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Oh the dreaded but necessary sales letter. When I first started working online I actually read sales letters until I learned that most (not all) really don’t say much at all. It’s like listening to a politician answer a question – they never get to the point. Of course now that I’ve been doing this for awhile I know that is the intent of sales letters – only give as much info needed to peek curiousity.
    I love your point number 8 – always take a step back and come back after you’ve had a chance to think about the other points you mention. The offer will still be there – really!!
    The only thing I could add is to only buy what you know you will use right away or for a project that you know will actually happen. I’ve purchased products with good intentions and they’re now collecting dust somewhere on my hard drive.
    Great post – thanks

  2. Anna
    April 15, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    Thanks Luca! Actually that was what I was trying to say in point #1 – maybe you articulated it even better :) Yes, point #8 has come in veeery handy at times.

  3. Dave Doolin
    May 10, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    I’m cool with sales pages now. I’ve developed a sort intellectual appreciation of the “art form.”

    I stay far, far away from webinars though. Far away. Deadly stuff those webinars!

  4. Heather
    May 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm #

    Webinars are fun! If they’re free, but then again, I’m in a different industry to you Dave…

    Anyway, Sales pages are ok – it’s fun seeing the ones that work vs the ones that don’t. Interesting point about people you respect recommending it though, I’ve seen me trip there a few times. =)

  5. Richard Cummings
    May 13, 2010 at 4:32 am #

    Anna, how true it is…and then, to be smart, you look for reviews of the product and simply find reviews from a bunch of people who are promoting the product through affiliate links. It’ s hard to find diamonds in the rough but they do exist.

  6. Sophia
    May 17, 2010 at 4:24 pm #

    If the sales page spans more than 20 pages — you can forget about it. While I may be exaggerating, excessively long sales pages are a big turn off to me — and given my cheapskate-ness (…yes I did just create a new word), I’m more inclined to finding a free alternative first!

  7. Sharon
    June 10, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Sales pages are annoying, constantly asking for my information before I am even sure that I want to give it to them. But they have been in use forever, so I guess they work. The really long pages are tiring, you keep scrolling and scrolling, but the page never ends.

  8. mitsubishi klima
    August 4, 2010 at 1:51 am #

    Leading companies in sales volume had doubled to 10. enter the world without the internet at high risk firms

  9. anjela
    August 19, 2010 at 4:50 am #

    I will agree with Anna, how true it is…and then, to be smart, you look for reviews of the product and simply find reviews from a bunch of people who are promoting the product through affiliate links. It’ s hard to find diamonds in the rough but they do exist.

  10. atl car insurance
    September 16, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    I agree with point 9. “Step away from the sales page, ma’am.”

    Many of these sales letters have cost $25,000 or more to be written by professionals that use all of the most persuasive, hypnotic trance inducing nlp language to ADDICT you to want this product.

    The solution is to step away.

    Refocus .

    Then think clearly.

  11. Algarve Hen Weekend
    November 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm #

    I’ve developed a sort intellectual appreciation of the “art form.”

  12. Rob McCance
    December 4, 2010 at 5:14 pm #

    Nice article. So far I have resisted the temptations. As far as I’ve gotten is the free PDF which is just really a larger ad for the real product. I’ve also done a few webinars, which typically will have some decent info embedded in them…and the full court press to buy the real product.

    The only thing I paid for in quite a while was the registration key for CyberDuck which makes it no better but it’s just so darn good I felt like making a donation.

    I really don’t feel like there’s much (if any) info worth paying for on the net regarding blogs, SEO, etc., that you can’t figure out for yourself.

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