INCREASE ONLINE SALES
5 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid in Your Digital Product Sales Page
Pol Cousineau, CPA (Quebec)
President of The Digital Navigator
How To Sell Digital Products Online and the Mistakes You Should Avoid
When growing a digital product, training & coaching business it can be easy to get caught up in advanced strategies while forgetting the easier path to increasing your sales.
First we'll cover the 5 deadly mistakes so can get straight to improving your sales page. Then in the second half of the article we'll zoom out a bit to look at the overarching sales funnel stages as getting the steps prior to your sales offer are crucial for reaching more people with your products and services.
Whether you sell digital downloads, access to a video course, a paid newsletter, or other deliverable, once you’ve created or curated digital products to sell on your site, you need build out a sales funnel - which is why I encourage you to also read the second part of this article.
Note: Want a list of 6 additional sales page conversion mistakes to avoid and how to fix them (yes, this means 11 improvements in total when you count the 5 in this article)? Boost your client conversion rate by downloading our free 6-Point Digital Product Sales Page Checklist.
Special Thanks: I want to recognize Benedict Roff-Marsh that provide some feedback regarding this article which helped me improve it. Among other changes, I've swapped the 2 key sections for us to start going through the sales page deadly mistakes first and then dive into an overview of the sales process.
5 Deadly Mistakes to Avoid in Your Digital Product Sales Page
Mistake #1 - Improving Your Sales Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
Increasing sales takes multiple shapes but in all cases it looks like options overwhelm. You start off with the intention of making your program accessible and affordable. You try to avoid charging for features that your target audience may not want.
You may also think that having a ton of payment plans and options is a great idea, but ultimately, too many options only confuses interested prospects, and when they’re confused, you miss the sale.
Let’s take a closer look at some common mistakes people make.
Note: Save time and avoid pitfalls that are turning customers away with our 6-Point Digital Product Sales Page Checklist.
Payment Plan Frenzy
You see this deadly sin in action when there are too many financing options: 1 payment, 2 payment, 3 payment, 4 payment and 6 payments. Too many financing options can pull your potential buyer out of an emotional decision to throw them in calculations and comparisons. They’ll skip through purchasing altogether to avoid making the wrong decision.
If you insist on having multiple financing options, include them in a drop-down menu or toggle on the checkout page. Presenting the information concisely will make it easier for your potential buyers to pull the trigger.
Another way to drown a sale is to present multiple packages that are only distinguishable by your features. Students, clients and customers sign up for your online course, training or coaching package because of the expected results they will achieve.
I’ve seen coaches that differentiate their services by the number of sessions included. For example, they may have a group program that has the option of 2, 4 and 8 one-on-one private sessions as an add-on.
What do you think happens during the decision process?
Will I need all 8 sessions to achieve the intended results? What if I hit my goal in only 2 or 4 sessions? How effective is the program if I’m encouraged to buy additional private sessions?
By distinguishing your offering based on your features and not your benefits you are casting doubts as to the ideal solution for your prospects which causes buying resistance.
We found that providing 1 or 2 options on a sales page, including options and payment terms, typically gives best results.
Mistake #2 - Uninspiring Headline to Sell Digital Products Online
The goal of your headline is to draw your reader in, confirm that they are in the right place and communicate that you can help them achieve their goals.
It’s easy to use the name of your program, certification or course to kick off your page. Don’t do it!
People don’t care about what you do or have to offer until they believe that it will help them move forward with their own agenda. This means having a benefit driven headline that speaks to their desires, aspirations, fears and motivations.
When creating a headline for your digital product sales page, think of the top 3 benefits or problems solved by your offer and lead with those.
Avoid saying it is a “6 weeks online sales course for coaches” and instead go with “Close more coaching clients while avoiding negotiating on price”.
Pro Tip: Headline creation is the first and most important feature of any copy or content project. Whether you’re doing an article, lead magnet or book title; or whether you’re doing a headline for a sales or opt-in page; or you’re trying to create a responsive email subject line, you should do the following.
Try to think of the ultimate outcome that may be achieved by using the product/service/offer you are presenting. In other words, ask yourself, “What’s the BIG Idea behind this offer?”
This may inspire a headline like, “Ready to Earn Six-Figures from Home in the Next 11 Months as a Well-Paid Email Writer?”
This headline presents a pretty clear picture by giving a dollar amount that may be achieved, timeframe in which it can be achieved and how it may be achieved. Also, questions are the single most responsive way to write headlines because they force the reader to answer the question!
Mistake #3 - Long-Winded Descriptions for Your Online Digital Product
You frequently see this in long lists of bonuses and when there are multiple collaborators such as in Online Summit VIP Passes. Bonus stacking isn’t a bad thing and can be persuasive but going overboard is going to hurt more than it helps.
When selling all-access passes to a virtual summit with over 20 speakers the business owner felt it important to describe the high point of each talk. Customers buying the passes would also get an additional bonus talk by each of the experts.
When analyzing users’ behavior on the sales page, we noticed that most visitors would leave the sales page somewhat in the middle of the description of everything that is included with their VIP access. With most people online scrolling, the content was simply overwhelming.
When we condensed the content in easy to read bullet points we saw a surge in sales. More is not always better.
Mistake #4 - Not Tracking Data of Online Digital Sales
How is your sales page performing?
Without basic data it’s impossible to know what’s working and what’s hurting.
You can drop a simple Google Analytics code on your sales page for free and you don’t have to be a nerd to make decisions that will grow your revenue.
Once the tracking code is installed, you can go to https://analytics.google.com and locate some information that will steer you in the right direction.
High Bounce Rate? Your webpage may load too slow, your headline may not resonate with your audience or the content doesn’t align with what visitors are expecting after following your link.
Low Time On Page? The body of your text copy may not be compelling or resonate with your audience. Try installing a heat mapping software like CrazyEgg to find the point where people are leaving your page to change your content.
What is the % of visitors that purchase? Known as your sales conversion rate, this gives you a measure of the impact your changes are making on your online digital sales.
Even if you delegate data analysis to someone in your team it’s important for you to get a regular pulse of your business.
Mistake #5 - How to Sell Digital? Avoid Being Silent on Common Objections
There are questions that are too common or basic that we forget to answer or take for granted. It’s natural for us not to spell out the obvious.
But when it comes to your online digital products, training or coaching program it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make a list of all the questions you’ve heard from potential students and customers.
Did you answer each of these in your sales copy?
It might feel like you will overwhelm your prospects, but it won’t if done in the right way. In my free 6-Point Digital Product Sales Page Checklist you will get my #1 Objection Handling Method that reveals how to answer sales objections and convert undecided visitors.
No matter how you do it, you must answer all the questions in the head of your potential buyer. Instead of reaching out to you to get their questions answered, most people will forfeit your offer altogether.
When does your program start?
Are recordings available?
Will there be a certification exam?
Do I need any prerequisites?
Don’t leave it to luck when it comes to making sales
Let’s now zoom out to take a broader look at steps you can take BEFORE a person arrives to your sales page to improve enrollment and sales.
How to Make a Funnel
In an effort to be thorough, and give you a full picture of how to increase sales of your digital products your sales page I want to start by taking a brief look at how to make a funnel.
This topic is so important to the success of your sales page because the frame of mind your prospect is in when they arrive at the sales page will determine whether you get the sale or not.
Regardless of how great the sales pages, if they are not preconditioned to buy before they even get there, you likely won't make the sale.
That's why we've written an entire guide on this topic called Sales Funnel Stages: Step by Step Guide to Building a Sales Conversion Machine. For a more detailed account of sales pipeline stages, refer to this guide.
Let's start by defining a sales funnel.
What is a Sales Funnel?
So, what is a sales funnel? A sales funnel is a step-by-step sales and marketing process that you guide business prospects through in an effort to generate a sale of your product or service. Some sales funnels are longer while others are shorter. You can have multiple sales funnels for the same business because sales funnels are most effective when targeted to specific offers.
If you have lower-priced products or services, you may decide to build a short sales funnel, because the work it will take to convince prospects to buy may be less exhaustive. On the other hand, your higher priced digital products and/or coaching, or consulting services may be best presented in a longer funnel.
The length of the funnel is simply determined by the amount of effort that needs to be put in to generate a healthy conversion rate. The length of the funnel is simply a byproduct of the fact that you are providing more value leading up to big-ticket sales, while you don't need to provide as much value in order to achieve lower ticket sales.
For instance, we all get coupons in the mail, right? Usually these coupons are for low priced products and services, right? I get coupons for pizza, burgers, and other restaurants; as well as discounts on clothing, oil changes and other local retail businesses.
I've never received a coupon in the mail asking me to purchase a multi-five-figure website development package. It stands to reason that more needs to be done in order to convince me that I need to spend upwards of $20,000 for a website instead of just setting up a GoDaddy template over the weekend for pocket change.
Pro Tip: Coaches usually have higher priced programs that they wish to sell. There are thresholds that you should be aware of as you proceed to sell your services via the internet.
Prospects and site visitors pretty easily make purchases from $1 to $200 from the internet without much fanfare. But how do you sell a $5,000 to $20,000 coaching program or group mastermind through a website?
Answer: First, you will need a longer sales funnel! This should start with joining your list, selling a lower priced content piece and then, perhaps, inviting people to a webinar event. This way, they get on the phone or on a live webinar WITH YOU, the person behind the static headshot on your About Us page. On webinars, you may typically have success selling products that are priced from $400 - $2200.
For those who invest into these higher priced programs, you invite them to a 1-on-1 call where you sell them your $5,000 - $10,000 offers. To sell at that price point to a group, you may invite people to a live, such as an in-person event that’s 1 to 3 days long. The more time they spend with you, in person, the higher the price point you can sell - as a rule of thumb.
Sales Pipeline Stages
Again, here we are just going to briefly list out the sales pipeline stages involved in a sales funnel. We also have a more detailed and complete guide on sales funnel stages.
Awareness – At the very top of a sales pipeline, people discover you. This is why content marketing so powerful for online is a success. When you share content through YouTube videos, and iTunes podcast, search engine optimized posts on your blog, Facebook live sessions and other types of valuable content with your target audience they become aware of who you are and which offer.
The more content you make available and is easily found by being search engine optimized on the various platforms that you post and share content, the more traffic you will generate into your sales pipeline.
Entry Point Offer
In the awareness stage of your sales funnel you are sharing valuable content in places where people can easily find you, such as a YouTube video. In that video, at some point you want to invite people to take the next step. What is the next step? Join your e-mail list.
No matter what new media springs up online, the person who has the biggest e-mail list is king. This is the only thing you can really control online. It's your only real asset on the Internet.
However, you won't just come right out and ask a person to join your e-mail list. You will make an ethical bribe you with to get it. You will give them something of value and in exchange they will entrust their e-mail address, and perhaps their first name, to you.
These ethical bribes are commonly call lead magnets today. Some of the popular lead magnets include checklists, case studies, roadmaps, white papers, reports, cheat sheets, guides and recipes.
When you offer your prospect to get more valuable information that is related to the information they're already consuming, their response is the natural next step towards a profitable relationship between you and the prospect.
Once you have managed to persuade that prospect to sign up to receive some free lead magnet of value, deliver it, as promised. When you deliver it you have just won yourself a new warm prospect.
Entry Point Offer [Part 2]
While you have this new prospect in a state of interest in something that should have you should try taking the relationship further. You can do this with an entry point offer it takes a bigger commitment of trust and perhaps time. For instance, you may invite your new prospect to attend a live webinar you have coming up or watch an automated webinar you have. You may offer a free 14 day trial of your membership platform, give them with a one-on-one consultation or strategy session, if it's worth it to you, or a diagnostic.
Next, you should make a splinter offer. If you offer a free webinar, you will of course be making an offer in this presentation. This offer should be for a particular deliverable that is desirable and high converting. It may be your flagship program, service, or digital product.
Pro Tip: A good splinter offer should be one silo of the bigger - profit maximizer offer you have.
So, if you’re offering a full body exercise program as your $199 profit maximizer product, you may offer just the Abs video as your ‘Splinter Offer’ for $27.
At these price points and in this niche, you don’t need to do a webinar necessarily. A sales video and sales page will do just fine.
It's important that you seek to maximize the opportunity of winning a new customer who purchases your splinter offer. In other words, it's important for you to wow the new customer with excellent material, customer care and more.
Now that you have this new customer, your reputation is on the line. You owe it to yourself, more than anybody to provide a white glove service to your new customer. You’ve worked long and hard to get to the point of making a sale, so let’s not blow it by failing to deliver material that’s good or properly laid out. You want to make it as easy as possible for your clients to reach their intended goal that brought them to make the purchase.
If you leave your new customer feeling good, warm and fuzzy, then they will likely go further with you to the next steps of the sales funnel pipeline.
Making a splinter offer does not have to be put in of that purchase. With you may get a coupon in the mail offering a discount on a flagship burger. But don't be surprised when you get in the restaurant and they offer you fries and a drink with that discounted burger. The fries and drink are their profit maximizer's.
Your profit maximizer may be a bigger, more expensive digital course that you sell, or monthly access to your membership site.
Everybody knows that the best business you will ever get is referral business. People trust their friends and family more than they trust your advertising, right? So, you've not done your job until you ask your new customer for a testimonial that you may use to generate new business, and a referral, to share you with their friends.
These are all of the stages of a solid sales funnel.
If you are focused on selling digital products such as many courses that may be priced at under $500, you may not need all the steps in this sales funnel. For instance, if you are selling a digital course at a price point of, say $297, you may just need a short sales funnel.
This short sales funnel may include awareness, entry point offer one, and then straight to the splinter offer. If you’re just getting started with selling digital products online then you may only have one digital course. In that case, this is your core offer, which will take the place of a splinter offer.
As your business grows, you will then develop sales pipelines that lead to each of the offers in your business.
Sales Funnel Software
Today, as more companies compete for your business, there are an ever increasing number of sales funnel software that people utilize to implement their sales pipeline game plan.
Software such as ActiveCampaign, One Click Upsells for WooCommerce, LeadPages, ClickFunnels and more empower you to implement and operate your sales funnel strategy.
If you have solid sales funnel templates that allow you to simply fill in the blanks, you can easily build a practical, solid and functional sales funnel strategy.
The software you choose to implement your sales funnel strategy is essential to your success. These days, with so many competing apps and software, it can be confusing trying to figure out exactly what you need and don’t need to build your business successfully.
At the heart of most online strategies is the sales page; the point where you pivot the relationship from lead to client.
Most marketers make big mistakes at this critical stage. I’ve seen these mistakes countless times and each one is like shooting yourself in the foot.
Note: In this article we go through the deadly mistakes to avoid in your digital product sales page. Boost your sales conversion rate even higher with our free 6-Point Digital Product Sales Page Checklist.
When you are trying to improve your online digital sales, the minor tweaks usually trump complete redesigns. Avoid the tendency of deleting huge chunks of content as it could have adverse effects, such as a reduction in Google Search Ranking (SEO) or the loss of copy pieces that highlight a primary benefit.
The easiest way to get started is to fix proven issues that are known to reduce your conversion rates. For major changes it’s best to work with an expert or do a deep dive into your page data through tools like heatmaps and Google Analytics.
Improving your digital sales one step at a time
If your existing digital product, training or coaching program is driving sales, how can you make it better?
Answering this question could be the key to explosive growth.
That’s why you should take the next step and download our free 6-Point Digital Product Sales Page Checklist which will show you 6 easy changes that you can make to improve your sales page to convert more leads into clients without wasting time and resources on expensive redesigns.
You can also get help by scheduling our free 73-Point Review to Double Your Sales for Digital Product, OnlineTraining & Coaching Businesses to identify the easiest way to reach more clients without getting overwhelmed with technology.
Finally, if you are a fast action taker you can work with us to build your Predictable Sales Funnel.
[Video | Guide] Getting a website for your business is not enough. You need need a constant flow of relevant traffic and leads... which is exactly what we cover in this series.read more
The best 10 minutes you can spend to help you bring more leads and clients into your business with a landing page and other alternatives.read more
In this interview on How to Sell Digital Content between myself and Jay Rooke, host of from the Know Pain Know Gain podcast, you’ll hear some wisdom nuggets on how business owners should be thinking about digital marketing.read more