Do long, cheesy sales pages actually convert?

28 replies
I am fairly new to IM and see alot of people pushing long sales pages full of pros for the product, testimonials and "buy now or forever lose out" text, videos etc.

Personally, it screams out "scam" to me, but are there people out there who look at them and think "shit, I am lucky as hell to see this. Take my money!"?
#cheesy #convert #long #pages #sales
  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    In my experience (as an affiliate, having promoted and still promoting large numbers of ClickBank products in 9 different niches) they can convert well, but their conversion-rates seem to be roughly in inverse proportion to their "cheese" content.

    Perhaps not surprisingly?

    The old-fashioned "screaming headline in bright red with every word starting with a capital letter" tend not to convert for me.

    Fake scarcity and fake urgency don't convert for me.

    Income claims and cancer-curing claims don't convert for me.

    Hype doesn't convert for me.

    But more subtle ones of the same overall, single-long-page design can convert very well. (And way better than video!).

    Mostly, it depends on their content and on the copywriter's skills.

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  • Profile picture of the author kris01
    I'd say it all depends on the type of list you have, or the type of the traffic you buy/send etc
    if the list you have , is built fom these type of offers, it will convert faily well...
    but as Alexa mentioned above, "Mostly, it depends on their content and on the copywriter's skills"
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  • Profile picture of the author sunnyp81
    Thanks very much for your quick response. Also bookmarked your linked to comment about selecting the product. I have also sent you a PM - hope you dont mind!
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      This is actually a fascinating subject. I don't think anybody can definitively say what will or won't convert in general. As Alexa said, certain things don't convert for her, but that's just her own experience. Mine may vary. In fact, my very first product back in 2006 had a big stop sign at the top of the sales page. Talk about cheesy.

      It converted.

      One affiliate did 100 sales in his first month. Add that to the 100 I did personally and that's 200 sales first month between 2 people. My product went as high as number 46 at the Clickbank marketplace.

      The sales page looked like crap.

      But the message? I wrote the hell out of that thing and THAT'S what converted.

      Would that same type of page convert today? I don't know. I'm not in the MMO market anymore so I don't bother with that stuff. I've moved onto a niche where I don't feel I have to be as over the top. In fact, the product will pretty much sell itself when I get it done.

      Ultimately, I think it comes down to what the product is, what it will do for people, and how well the copy is able to get the benefits across to the prospect. And I don't believe the amount of hype or lack thereof is going to make that big a difference if the main message is on target.
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  • I get where you are coming from. Even as new or intermediate internet marketers our scam alert goes up when we come across these cheesy sales pages but think about it, why would so many people be doing them if they didn't convert. I guess there is a middle ground reached by the successful sellers where they don't do too much but just enough copywriting to get people to buy.
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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Originally Posted by Kitottile Rheingold View Post

      why would so many people be doing them if they didn't convert.
      In internet marketing, sometimes (actually quite often!) the answer to that is as simple as "because everyone assumes that so many people are using them because they convert, very few people test them, and they just become assumptively self-perpetuating without necessarily working well at all".

      That's why some people carry on using all this idiotic nonsense like "only 9 copies remaining" (for a PDF?? On ClickBank?!) which understandably drives most of the customers away because they know the vendor's a liar.

      In other words, sometimes everyone's using them just because everyone else is using them. That does happen, with a lot of things, in internet marketing!

      But not necessarily in this case, I think - these do actually convert targeted traffic well, if they're well-written and free from hype, tricks and deceptions.

      The "scammy-looking" ones barely convert at all.

      Those are often owned by inexperienced vendors who have either tried to write their own sales page by copying other badly-converting ones, believing that "these things must work", or have sometimes had the misfortune to encounter people pretending to be copywriters (often, in those cases, because they wanted to buy their sales page copy for $300 or something, not realising that a long sales page will typically consume many days' work for a professional copywriter, and not themselves really being able to distinguish between a copywriter and someone pretending to be one ).

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  • Profile picture of the author IanGreenwood
    I have been copywriting, creating and testing my own long form copy and web pages for over 10 years now, in many different markets.

    First a couple of comments.

    The market generally decides which form of presentation it will respond to. I saw the conversion results from a long and comprehensive golf market test last year. The golf market - it would seem from the test results - prefer the long form sales letter type of presentation rather than the same information presented in a video.

    The shorter the space to present your message the more you have to smack the reader between the eyes with your message. So, in classified ads for example, you need to have a very powerful message in a short space. This makes perfect sense, and is backed up by results.

    These are my general results.

    1. "Cheesy" copy is different from powerful copy. Powerful copy is emotive but believable. Cheesy copy is just that. It makes you think "Yeah! Right?"

    2. Presenting "Proof" is the thing that converts. Your proof MUST be believable. In the past I have actually reduced the claims in the sales letter for clients and gained a larger conversion. This is because the original product test worked spectacularly well and the results were just ... well, unbelievable.

    3. The market you are in decides what kind of presentation it wants.

    The IM market (that is, the "make money online" market) is very special. Never in history has there been a market that has been so exposed to every imaginable form of copy and presentation. And, never in history has there been a market that has been driven to be so jaded and cynical so quickly.

    There are so many people in the IM market who are unskilled at copywriting and immature in marketing. They think like this. "If 'X' converts then 'More X' must convert better." We have seen this time and again. If a bonus ebook worth $20 dollars increases conversions, then 200 ebooks worth $40,000 must convert more. If a webinar of 30 minutes converts, then a webinar of 3 hrs must convert more. If a free course worth $47 dollars gets sign ups, then a free course worth $850 must get more sign ups.

    This has happened time and again in the IM market, and speaks volumes against the skill, maturity and experience of those who poison the market with this kind of thinking.

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  • Profile picture of the author JensSteyaert
    I think a lot of people like yourself are becomaing very suspicious when a sales page throws exaggerated claims in your face like that. That's why i really believe that these type of sales pages have decreased conversion rates than some years back.

    I think people really want proof these days something works, not just words.

    The result of that is that retargeting is becoming very popular. People hardly buy anywmore the first time they get to a sales page and first look for reviews, proof, maybe even case studies on forums etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author sathuri
    Actually the conversion ratio depends on many variables not only on length of the salespage or the amount of cheesy it is. some of them are in no particular order

    Describe Benefits Clearly
    Include Real Testimonials
    Make It Easy for People to Contact You(after sales service)
    Offer a Guarantee(refund)
    convincing Call to Action
    Your Unique Selling Position
    Photos an A/V media
    Killer Headlines

    and many more like how targetted your traffic is, etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author sbucciarel
    I asked this question in another forum over 10 years ago ... and they're still being used a lot, so I guess the answer would be a yes, to a large degree.
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  • Profile picture of the author Klemen Znidar
    The longer time a visitor spends with you, the more chance you have of him buying from you.

    But this doesn't mean to just hype something for the sake of having a long sales letter.
    If you can provide a lot of proof, then do so.

    People will search for reasons not to buy, so you as skilled copywritter must answer all their concerns and questions in the sales letter.
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  • Profile picture of the author travlinguy
    What do you call cheesy? Outrageous claims like, Ninja strategies? Dirty little secrets? Done for you? No heavy lifting? Legally steal? Weird tricks. I've noticed one of the new adjectives describing MMO stuff these days is "weird." Bikini babes standing around a Ferrari with cash swirling in the air?

    This stuff still works. It may have been watered down some from the glory days of cheesy sales pages but it still works in certain markets. Stroll over to the WSO section and have a look around. I saw an offer recently where the vendor was promising some ungodly reward for only 15 minutes of work per day. I clicked and there were lots of responses and lots of sales. The copy was as cheesy as it comes.

    The answer to your question is yes, in some markets cheesy not only works, the target audience expects it. Though they don't think of it as cheesy.
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  • Profile picture of the author HappyComputer
    I would like to know how these strategies can apply to real product, real services. Not just another E-book. Don't get me wrong, they are nice, and very informative, quite helpful. But Can a cheezy squeeze landing page bring profit to a brick and mortar company?

    Visit my site!
    Email me opinions!

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  • Profile picture of the author CollegeCEO
    I can't stand those long sales pages. They are a complete turnoff and I never understood why so many people like them. I find that it's much more effective to just get to the point.
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    • Profile picture of the author greenowl123
      Originally Posted by CollegeCEO View Post

      I can't stand those long sales pages. They are a complete turnoff and I never understood why so many people like them. I find that it's much more effective to just get to the point.
      I can`t stand the long sales pages either.

      When I am reading a sales page and am considering whether or not to buy the product, I like to see 5 to 10 bullet points of what the product will do for me. I want to know how it will help me solve a problem, make a task easier for me to accomplish, what information will I learn from it which I can not easily find somewhere else, etc.

      If 2 or 3 of those bullet points really peaks my curiosity, I will typically buy the product.

      Having said that, if any prospective buyer continues reading a super long sales page or watching a super long sales video, they are the ones who are more apt to buy the product.

      The tire-kickers, mildly curious, lookie-looz, will lose interest in almost any sales page very quickly any way and usually are not the best prospects.

      It also depends on the demographic of the audience as well. Some people are more credulous, gullible, un-informed about certain things than others. As an example : I recently had to convince a family member NOT to buy a natural product which promises to lower cholesterol (I have done research on that product and others and know that the capsules he wanted to buy have never been shown to effectively reduce cholesterol.)
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Yes long "cheesy" sales pages convert. They're not cheesy though. Imagine that you ran a large company with a bunch of sales reps. The sales reps that make you the most money are the equivalent of the cheesy sales letters that get you the most sales... and that have hype and flamboyancy within them. It's all about style and how you come off to people.. Copywriting helps too.

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  • Profile picture of the author SonnyKing
    Ok here is my 2 cents...

    I'm do copy (sometimes) I can tell you that the word "cheesy" is very subjective.

    I find that when you start to get to a "chessy" level, its mainly because some copywriters often
    stray from conveying their message and start to use an excessive amount of hyped up words
    to try to sell you on the product. However not all long form salespages are cheesy.

    Long sales pages work when you are following a formula and using that formula convey the message
    of 7 second headline, what this is, why you need it, what it will do for you, closing, CTA.

    I have wrote sales pages in long (20 pages) and short format and seen both models works but it's
    all about staying on that flow that keeps your eyes following the text.

    When it becomes "chessy" is when the copy isn't engaging anymore..
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Originally Posted by sunnyp81 View Post

    I am fairly new to IM and see alot of people pushing long sales pages full of pros for the product, testimonials and "buy now or forever lose out" text, videos etc.

    Personally, it screams out "scam" to me, but are there people out there who look at them and think "shit, I am lucky as hell to see this. Take my money!"? (emphasis mines)
    Here you are grouping a FORMAT as meaning "scam" and I'm sure
    you have your reasons. But infomercials also follow a format, are
    they all scams?

    Long sales letters do work and always will--as a FORMAT. What makes
    the difference is the CONTENT.

    -Ray Edwards
    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author Nightengale
    Ian is right: the biggest, most important component is your audience. THEIR needs, THEIR expectations, THEIR wants, THEIR level of skill and sophistication will drive what works or doesn't work.

    Whether or not something is "cheesy" is purely subjective. What's cheesy to you may not be cheesy to someone else. That's why it's so important to focus on your market and ignore your own beliefs about a particular sales page. The real question is: "Does it convert?" Meaning, does your audience find it believable and your product or service attractive enough to buy?

    That's all that really matters.

    Also, IM is a bit unique: we're mired in this stuff all day long so it's even harder to convince us. The IM market is incredibly incestuous: IMers selling to other IMers and nobody believes anybody! So it's quite a feat for someone to sell to this market successfully and believably.

    The very same type of copy and sales devices that may not work on us would work in almost any other market. Obviously, the copy has to push the right buttons and be believable, but as long as it focuses on something your market WANTS, it will work.

    I've bought from sales letters in different markets that I might not have bought from in the IM market. In other words, the letter used nearly identical language, format and copy devices, but because it wasn't the MMO market/info, I was less skeptical and bought immediately.

    We tend to over analyze IM and MMO info and sales letters in a way we wouldn't in any other market.

    I despise the incestuous nature of IMers selling to other IMers. So I got out. (Actually, I was never in that market to begin with.) And life is much better!

    "You can't market here. This is a marketing discussion forum!"
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by HappyComputer View Post

      I would like to know how these strategies can apply to real product, real services. Not just another E-book. Don't get me wrong, they are nice, and very informative, quite helpful. But Can a cheezy squeeze landing page bring profit to a brick and mortar company?
      Take away the word "cheezy" and the answer is an emphatic yes.

      Long form presentations are successfully selling things like insurance, investments (not just forex bots), mortgages and more.

      It does take more than a landing page, especially a "squeeze" page to bring profits. But a good one will keep people moving through the gates, where you get a chance to strut your stuff. One good example is a purely sales-oriented autoresponder sequence, which is often simply a long form sales letter broken down into a series of emails designed to lead to a buy button.

      Good sales copy of any length has to meet the prospect where they are. Those little handwritten signs ["We buy ugly houses for cash!" and the like] look cheesy as heck when you're driving down the road. But if the property taxes are overdue and the foreclosure date is getting near for you, those little signs can be very attractive (and effective).

      Don't confuse the tactic with the execution. You see so many poor executions in the IM/MMO space because so many people with so little knowledge have such easy access. So they copy something that they think is working without knowing why it's working, then wonder why it isn't working for them.
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  • Profile picture of the author moneymagneto
    When I was a n00b back in the day, I used to get sucked in by sales pages and bought several products I thought would help my problems. However, I was young and didn't know any better. After learning IM techniques and Madison Avenue advertising, I learned people tend to believe what they are told and yes these pages do convert to certain groups of people.
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  • Profile picture of the author Edwin Torres
    Yup those type of pages work but aren't very evergreen. They tell you "You must purchase now or the praise will raise to XYZ" and usually the product owner doesnt actually increase the price. Its fishy and scammy but sadly it works, people are bought into those crazy schemes, and purchase.
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  • Profile picture of the author Matthew Trujillo
    I would say it all depends on the visitor. If the visitor thinks he can find use only what the sales page is promoting it is his risk to see weather or not it is worth the money. But remember. At the end of the day what matters is , did YOU take action on the actual project itself or are you looking for an excuse?
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  • Profile picture of the author LimitlessTraffic
    I guess it depends on the niche and where the sales page is seen. Look at the WSO section for example. Almost every good WSO needs a good design with a long form cheesy sales page... If you were to advertise the same page on say Bing PPC. I could imagine the conversion dropping heaps due to scepticism
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  • Profile picture of the author a2hosting
    I would say yes and no, and agree that it depends on the offer and visitor. What sells for some offers or some audiences, doesn't sell for all. That's the beauty of A/B testing. A lot of A/B testing advice will recommend that you change a button color or a CTA. I recommend that opposite. Test a short form versus the long, cheesy sales page and see which performs better.
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  • Profile picture of the author kencalhn
    i only use long copy when I want to actually make sales...

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  • Profile picture of the author franergy
    Great copy sells. Period.

    If it's in a long form, yes, it works.

    If it's in a 12-min VSL video sales letter, yes, it works

    Not about the length about the hypnoticism of it

    And frankly - if the right eyes have landed on the sales page and you're speaking to their deepest desires and outcomes- they will be more likely to buy.
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  • Profile picture of the author MattBrighton
    I guess if it's done right, then you'll see good conversion. I've designed many sales pages and the best ones have a great story, that are well written and have a lot to offer. There's a lot of rubbish posted about the warrior forum - the products with great value are the ones that always do the best.
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