118: Landing, Sales & Checkout Pages Defined

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Today’s episode is a peel back the layers type episode. We’re going to break down the differences between landing pages and sales pages and checkout pages. All these types of page have a critical role in your online art education business and I know that they can be confusing at times… so here we go 🙂

Let’s start at the beginning…

While a landing page can be defined as any page on your website that you drive traffic to, the specific definition of a landing page that I want to work with is that it’s a dedicated page on your website that has one unique goal — to begin the process of inviting people to go deeper in a relationship with you.

The landing page isn’t going to have your normal website header — the home, about, contact, services links — rather it’s going to go straight into the page purpose.

This page is going to consist of a headline – what it is that you’re asking them to sign up for, an image or graphic to represent that ask, a short description or bullet points and a signup box for their name and email address.

That’s really about it for this page… it should be kept short and succinct so that it loads quickly, especially on mobile devices, and so that it doesn’t take a lot of brainpower to understand what it is that you’re trying to have a viewer do.

From here, we direct our new subscribers to a thank you page. I’m not going to go into too much detail about the thank you page. At its simplest level, we just want to let people know that we’ve received their email address and to check their inbox for an email with next steps and their access or download or whatever you are offering.

There is a lot more that can go on a thank you page, but to start with, this is all I recommend. Get something up and working and then tweak it… don’t try to get to 100% before starting to share.

There are a variety of tools that can be used for landing pages like this. Most email marketing platforms have built in landing pages which is the simplest way to get started. There are dedicated tools like LeadPages and Instapage. And a host of all in one platforms like ClickFunnels and Kartra that offer landing pages for simple and more involved funnels. Since I know my way around WordPress and have the tools to support me, I build landing pages right inside WordPress. You can see an example of one (and hey, while you’re there, sign up!) at https://techofbusiness.com/onlineproduct.

When it comes to building the landing page, the most important thing is to be in the mind of the viewer — what enticed them to click over? What are they dealing with that you could be solving or helping them with? What do you need to put on this page to help them take the next action step and enter their name and email address?

In the Expand Online Summit, I gave each of my 22 speakers the opportunity to share a free gift for the attendees… so I saw a lot of different tools and formats of these types of pages as I was putting the summit together — just one more reason to sign up, so that you can see how other artists are using landing pages in their businesses. Totally a secret benefit!

While I use the term landing page, you might also see them referred to as a squeeze page, capture page, a splash page, a lead magnet page, an opt-in page, a gift page, and a free offer page. They are essentially all the same thing!

But one thing they are not is sales pages and checkout pages, so let’s move on, shall we?

Sales Pages

These may look similar to the landing page in so far as it doesn’t have your website header, but otherwise it’s completely a different type of page.

In my mind, and what I help my clients with, a sales page is a long form invitation to work with you or enroll in your online program. It takes your prospective buyer from being curious to being interested to making the purchase.

Think about the last time you bought an online course or program. What was on the sales page? How did it make you feel when you first got there and by the end of the sales page how were you feeling differently?

We want to take our prospective customer through a journey of emotions on this sales page. First we want them to know we have a program or course that will offer the solution to what they are looking for. Then we’re going to build trust that we understand their struggles or worries. And from there we’re going to go back and forth between sharing information about the course or program and helping them see why it’s a good fit for where they are at and what they are wanting to do next.

A sales page length ties directly to the investment in the product. If you’re asking someone to buy a seat at your online Paint and Sip workshop on Saturday night, the sales page can be far shorter than asking someone to join a 10-module course or a 12-week group program.

And another thing about sales pages, they need to be more robust the less your relationship is with the prospective client. So, if you’re bringing your offline work online to the same people you’ve worked with in person in the past, they are going to be far more likely to sign up for your online program with a short sales page than someone who has only ever had brief encounters with you online. That second person is going to need to be wooed with a longer sales page.

There are a few really great sales page and conversion copywriters available to help you create the right sales page for your new online opportunities. One that comes to mind is Jenn Robbins. She was a guest on the podcast in episode 92. 

So, that’s really it about a sales page, it’s there to help your prospective customers get a better understanding of your course or membership or one-on-one service or group program. They are there to inspire others to take action and trust you to be part of their successes.

And, when someone says yes to trusting you, the next page they are going to go to is your checkout page. I really encourage you to create this as a separate page, rather than blending the checkout into the sales page — and that’s for one specific reason — retargeting. We’ll get to that in a moment, but first let’s define the checkout page.

The Checkout Page

The checkout page is where your prospect becomes your client. This is where they enter their credit card information or pay you through PayPal or whatever other online payment system you choose. The checkout process should be simple and streamlined. It is a transaction rather than an experience. It’s taking someone from trusting you to investing in you.

The more information you ask for on the checkout page (or the landing page for that matter) the lower the follow through rate will be. Think about it, do you need someone’s email address, yes. Do you need their first name, yes. Do you need their telephone number, probably not. Do you need their mailing address, only if you need to charge tax… What about their birthday and favorite flavor of ice cream… well, you see where I’m going.

Having the phone number or birthday or favorite flavor of ice cream are great things to extend the relationship and foster a greater sense of community but you don’t need those at time of purchase. You can send a new client questionnaire or similar form after the transaction. The checkout page has only one goal, to take them from prospect to customer.

The checkout page will either live external to your other tools, like on ThriveCart, or internal to the platform that you’re going to use to contain the program content. If it’s internal, they will get immediate access to the portal. If it’s external, there are a couple additional steps that will need to be taken, but those are outside the scope of this podcast episode.

After the transaction, your checkout page will redirect your new customer to a thank you page where you provide them instructions on how to access or what to do next.

And that’s about it — we’re squared away with landing pages and sales pages and checkout pages.

Do you have any questions for me about these pages and how to get them going for your business? Download the Expand Online Getting Started Guide and reply to any of my emails with your questions!

Have a great week — next episode will be a recap of the 2020 Expand Online Summit.

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