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How to Create Web Pages That Sell

There's an old adage in direct marketing that goes: The more you tell, the more you sell. It's every bit as true today as it was back in the 1950s.

Most amateurs think a sales letter or web page ought to be as short as possible. I've often had clients tell me there are too many words in the ad, and that people will "never read all that."

This myth is totally incorrect. People don't buy because the advertiser is kind enough to leave out a bunch of words. People buy because they're excited about the product on offer, and the advertiser was thoughtful enough to answer all their questions on the sales page.

The less you tell, the harder it is to buy

Consider this from the perspective of someone looking to buy life insurance on the Internet. What are the questions such a person might ask?

• Is the product right for me?
• Is the company credible?
• Can I afford it?
• Is it overpriced?
• Will they pay out on claims?

These are the key questions relating to life insurance, in the mind of someone who has already decided to buy.

A web page that aims to sell life insurance must answer every one of these questions. If it doesn't, the person is unable to buy. He or she is simply left with unanswered questions, and will be forced to leave the sales page to get the answers they need. As soon as that happens, the sale is lost.

So how much should you say?

That's a good question. I learned everything I know about writing sales copy from a genius, who consistently produced wildly successful ads. He would answer this question with an exasperated grunt and a roll of the eyes... You say exactly as much as you need to say to get the sale. And no more.

In other words, leave out everything that doesn't contribute to the sale. Exclude nothing that's necessary to close the deal. If you can say it all in two sentences, then do so. If you need 100,000 words to say it, then that's how many you should write.

It sounds simple, but it takes experience and skill to get it right. But please don't be discouraged by this. All you need to do is try different versions of your sales page, and measure the results. You'll soon find out which approach works best.

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