One key role of design in a sales page is to create a sales environment that is sync with the product and audience.
Despite my training as a graphic designer, I often underplay its importance in sales pages.
Intelligent design can greatly enhance a sales message, but more often than not design’s thrown into the mix just to make a page look pretty.
However, the more I consider it, the more I realize that there’s potentially a fine line between styling a page in a way that sets the sales environment and in a way that just prettifies everything.
What does “setting the sales environment” mean?
This is probably more commonly understood in the real world.
Think of a big box store that is pushing the value for money that they provide their customers. The store interior may be plain and simple, with a ,imited range of items stacked high to help stress that the business is focused on providing value for money first and foremost.
It’s a completely different experience to a highend clothing retailer where you have to ring a bell to request admission, and if the condescending sales assisstant thinks you look right and lets you enter, you find yourself in a rarified and often slightly uncomfortable atmosphere with hyper-personal attention from the staff.
That potential for discomfort may be a common feeling when attending a funeral parlor to make plans for a loved one, where you’ll find yourself in a very sombre and solemn environment that’s pushing you towards a high-ticket purchase while trying to be respectful of your grief.
There are many, many more real world sales environments, from buying a burger and fries to buying a five course meal in a French restaurant, from buying a Ford to buying a Ferrari, or buying a hamster to buying a rhinocerous.
Simple practicalities play a part in forming part of the sales environment, but those who study the science of retail will have a much greater role in deciding the setting that these different types of sale occur in.
Each sales environment has formed over time because each business has found that every evolutionary step and change they’ve made has generated greater profits.
Setting your sales environment online
Different products and audiences merit different sales environments online, just as in the real world.
If you make a sales page for a low cost product look like a page from a luxury brand that sells high price items, you risk losing visitors who make an unconscious decision to exit without reading more than a heading or the first sentence.
Equally, if you’ve selling a high-end mastermind while rocking a Costco vibe, unconsciously at least, some potential customers are going to be pushed away by the cheap feeling and might not spare the time to learn about how it could be just the right group for them to move their business forward.
The best advice when it comes to considering the type of sales environment you should create is to look at existing well known brands that already serve the demographic you’re aiming at.
If you’re selling a financial product to experienced investors, then being inspired by The Wall Street Journal for your font and style choices should help readers feel comfortable page almost immediately.
The more traditional feeling of serit font headings will align with their expectations. It’s what they’re used to when reading about high finance and makes your page feel congruent. As an aside, if you’re thinking that serif fonts should be chosen because they’re more legible, here’s an article where I’ll try to persuade you otherwise.
Selling an information product to a more female weighted audience? Someone like James Wedmore may be worth studying. The last of his funnels that I’ve looked at had a split of client testimonials that were 75% female.
Your audience is more male weighted? Perhaps Rich Schefren would offer more suitable inspiration. Having just looked at the Strategic Profits home page, the representation of experts is overwhelmingly male as I write.
Let’s face it, unless you’re offering something that’s truly left-field, you will know others in your field who serve a similar audience. Look to them for inspiration on how to set your sales environment.
And forget about familiarity breeding contempt. People tend to feel comfortable with things their familiar with, so tap into that to help make an immediate connection with your visitors.
Only be inspired by
For complete clarity, I really do mean only be inspired by other entrepreneurs and their sales pages.
You should be looking at things like colors and font choices, not replicating their page designs wholesale.
The obvious reason is that it’s just wrong to copy someone else’s work and it might potentially leave you open to claims of copyright infringement.
Additionally, if they’re better known than you, many visitors to your page are likely to realize that you’ve created a blatant copy. You’ll look like a tribute act playing sticky floored dive bars, boosting the their credibility, while taking a wrecking ball to your own credibility.
There’s a less obvious reason too.
Maybe their sales page isn’t very good.
The 2022 sales page for James Wedmore’s Business By Design looked utterly chaotic.
In terms of a sales environment, it was the online equivalent of being sold to in a sonic boom loud night club by someone who’s spiked your drink with pills and powders that will keep you awake till Monday.
The sales copy might have been epic, but I couldn’t sit still long enough to read it.
However, despite the fact I’m critical of that page, I still believe if you’ve got a similar audience, you can learn from the design language that was used.
Sometime, I’ll try and find the time highlight various lessons that can be learned from that specific page and other parts of the funnel it was in.
In the meantime though, this article channels the pros and cons of two different spoons to highlight an important truth about sales page design.
I’ve also listed some common sales page design mistakes in why are my sales pages more crappy than a wood full of bears?
And in case you’re deadset in your ways and care more about your copy looking nice than being easy to read, then if it’s hard to read, it’s hard to do might be worth a read.
Actually, I think they’re all worth you reading.
Each one can help you use design to more effectively set a positive sales environment in your sales pages.