Sales pages are one of the most difficult writing assignments for many entrepreneurs.

Hours of overthinking and hair-pulling… and you still aren’t sure you’ve got a winner. And yet you just need your thing to sell. Talk about pressure! You feel this in your own business… and your clients feel it too.

Then there’s that old debate about sales pages vs. landing pages. What do you need? When is a landing page enough? When is a full on sales page required? Your clients probably look to you for guidance – but if you’re like most designers, you might struggle with the difference yourself.

Relax, my friend. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on sales pages and landing pages, and giving you an exercise you can share with your clients to help you both get some clarity.

Sales pages and landing pages are essentially the same thing.

Both are designed to make a connection with a potential customer, share information about an offer, and persuade the customer to take a single type of action –> buy the thing, join the group, or download the free gift.

Sales pages are often permanent and a part of your top level navigation. Landing pages are often temporary, and are frequently created using a template and page builder (such as LeadPages). But, landing pages can be permanent and sales pages can be temporary.

Landing pages are typically shorter than sales pages… but not always. Some sales pages are clear and concise. Some landing pages go on…and on…and on. 😉

Both can include things like testimonials and social proof. Both often have “Buy Now” buttons or pricing graphics. They can include money back guarantees or FAQ sections.

How do you decide when a sales page is required or a landing page is the best fit? Think about Goldilocks.

Remember the story of Goldilocks and the three bears? A little girl with golden hair finds a house in the forest. She is tired and hungry, and she goes into the house to see if she can get her needs met. When you’re trying to decide between a sales and a landing page, it’s important to evaluate the offer from the perspective of the little girl in the story.

You see, clients and customers will evaluate this offer to find a perfect fit. Nothing to big… nothing too small. They’ll fall in love with an offer that’s just right for them.

Some of our offers require a short time commitment (1 hour or less) and a relatively low price. They might even be free. Perfect for a baby bear. Free resources, short email classes, and easily consumed video trainings are examples of baby bear type offers.

Some offers are a bit bigger. They require a longer time commitment, a bigger level of trust, and a bigger cash investment. They also offer a bigger outcome. Courses with a higher price point and a greater time commitment or basic web design packages are examples of mama bear type offerings.

Then there are those huge offers. Big time commitment, big price tag, big results. These are your papa bear offers. Buying things like group mentoring, extensive training courses, or premium web design packages require more from your client. They feel like a big ask… because they are.

The size of the offer determines the effort required to sell it.

Baby Bear Offers

Baby bear offers – the free or low cost things – only require a short landing page. You don’t need a lot of testimonials or social proof to get someone to download your free resource. Just tell them what it is and show them how to get it with a simple call to action like DOWNLOAD NOW.

Similarly, offering a $10 template or training video doesn’t need a ton of explanation or social proof either. When you try too hard to sell something small, you actually lose credibility. (Sit with that one for awhile, okay?)

Mama Bear Offers

Mama bear offers – the ones with a slightly bigger ask – require a little more. You might include some testimonials and a little social proof. You’ll likely give a bit more detail. You could offer payment plans or share options. It feels a bit bigger because more is required.

When you’re selling a mama bear offer, you need a longer page. It can be a landing page – especially if this is a limited time offer or something extra or different from your normal services. Or it can be a permanent sales page on your site.

Papa Bear Offers

Papa bear offers – the big courses, custom service packages, exclusive events – need sales pages with all the bells and whistles. Testimonials, social proof, and lots of benefits based language are required. You’ll want to explain the results this offer delivers, provide various payment options, and answer lots of questions.

Can you sell a papa bear sized offer with a landing page? Sure. Just make sure it’s a long one and it is carefully designed to match your branding and feel consistent with your site. The key here is consistency and brand recognition. Papa bear offers require a big commitment from a client or customer… which means you have to create a lot of trust and reassurance. It’s easier (in my opinion) to do this with a sales page.

Some tips to increase conversions…

Whether you (or your client) selects a sales page or a landing page, the purpose is the same. You want people to take a single action after engaging with the page. This is called a conversion… and you want more of them for sure.

Here are my tips to increase conversions:

  • Give people one option for action. Keep things simple by creating consistency in your calls to action. Ask them to buy or join the list or whatever. If they don’t want to do what you ask, make sure the only option left is to close the page.
  • Keep the page concise and appropriate for the offer. No one wants to scroll through pages of text to get to the DOWNLOAD button on a free offer. Similarly, we don’t spend thousands of dollars without knowing a certain amount of detail. Try not to ramble or add unnecessary detail but be sure to give me enough information so that I feel comfortable taking action.
  • The bigger the offer, the more chances I need to take action. Baby bear offers just need one (prominently placed) call to action. Mama bear offers need two or three. Papa bear offers need at least three, maybe more. Ask in the same way (repeating the call to action or only tweaking it slightly) and spread them out throughout the page text.

Most importantly, share feelings and benefits, not just features.

Your goal is to help people fall in love with your offer. This means you need to tie the features of the offer to the feelings each feature creates for the buyer.

Here’s an example…

The Designing to Delight course has a private Facebook Group. This is a feature. It is a tangible item, experience, or service. It can be described and easily understood.

The Facebook Group allows students to connect with each other, learn together, and get answers to their questions. These are benefits. They are the tangible value received from the feature.

When someone uses the Facebook Group she feels connected, supported, and welcome. These are feelings. They are the emotions students experience when receiving the benefit.

People fall in love with this papa bear (Designing to Delight) in part because they feel connected, supported, and welcome. When feelings are included in the sales page copy, prospective students fall in love with the offer, the brand, and the business itself.

Rather than focusing on the structure (sales page vs. landing page), help your client focus on the messaging.

When you guide your client to connect the features of their offer with the feelings that offer generates… and when you help them identify the appropriate length and elements of the page itself… you are leading your client to the best possible results.

How do you help your clients decide between sales pages and landing pages? Comment in the Drama Free Design Community and tag me. I’d love to hear from you.

– Michelle

Learn how to create better conversion rates for your freelance design clients. Discover when to use a sales page and when to use a landing page.
Author: Michelle Hunter

Michelle Hunter is a business strategist and copywriter with a gift for connecting entrepreneurs and their clients using great writing. She is a regular contributer to the DtD blog and co-creator of Designing Success Bootcamp - Helping designers create a strong marketing engine to power business growth. Visit to contact Michelle or learn more.

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