The long-form sales page was a rite of passage for any direct-response copywriter who’s been around longer than COVID-19.

Five thousand words (and untold numbers of drafts) of meticulously crafted, avatar-targeted sales copy that's supposed to make the audience scream, “Where’s my wallet? I can’t buy this fast enough!”

When I first entered this business, the long-form sales page was the true test of the copywriter’s mettle.

Could you run the gauntlet from overpowering headline to can’t-miss final close?

Could you construct a page that stopped the skimmers in their tracks and forced them to read every word?

If you could, you’d mastered the most fabled of all copywriting skills.

As a younger and hungrier copywriter, I ghost-authored my fair share of long-form sales pages. Some bangers, some stinkers. I hung my hat on the winners.

And I spent weeks brooding in a deep, dark, “I should pull my lip over my head and swallow” funk over the losers.

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Is the Long-Form Sales Page Dying?


After surviving a half dozen or so long-form sales page efforts and gaining enough experience to have some confidence in my copywriting acumen, I recognized something that should have been obvious from the get-go.

There wasn’t much difference between the winners and losers, at least in terms of the copy on the page.

The real difference between the pages that sold like crazy and the ones that might as well not have had an “order” button because no one wanted to click it was... surprise, surprise…

The offer.

I could tell when the offer was good because the page was easier to write.

Well, it’s been a couple of years since I wrote my last 5000-word, 10-draft, big-ass sales page.

And since that time, I’ve noticed a significant change in the world of sales pages.

I see fewer and fewer loooong sales pages.

And more and more often, I see sales pages like this one that Joel Erway just sent to his list:

Joel Erway sales page

Or this sales letter that Olly Richards sent to his list.

Or even this sales page that Todd Brown sent to his list.

Yes, Todd’s page still qualifies as “long-form” copy.

But the structure and length are different from what you’d typically see in his niche.

In fact, I’d argue that all three of the examples above are “offer pages” as opposed to what copywriters traditionally refer to as sales letters or sales pages.

Of course, these are cherry-picked observations.

Yet that doesn’t mean this isn’t a trend.

What Is Killing the Long-Form Sales Page?


Out of curiosity, I asked a marketing agency owner I know who specializes in building funnels for online courses about this trend.

Here’s what he had to say:

“I’d prefer my top-level copywriters focus on email copy. I’ll get a lot more out of that than I will out of having them spend time on sales page copy.”

That insight speaks volumes to me. If marketing agencies that track data across dozens of clients are shifting budget out of long-form sales page copy and into email, we could be living through the death of the 5000-word sales page.

Which begs the question, why is this trend happening now?

Why are marketers gravitating towards shorter sales pages?

This is the moment in this discussion where if you’re old and you don’t know it yet, you say something like...

“Young people just don’t read anymore.”


Trust me. That argument is invalid.

My two best-selling emails of the last year were both over 600 words in length.

And by best selling, I mean those emails shattered single-day sales records for my clients.

So I can guarantee you that if you can AI type some hot copy, people young and old (mostly older) will still read it.

That said, do you know what those record-breaking long-ass emails had in common? They were supported by a killer offer. And that’s the true takeaway here.

The point of a sales page of any length is to evangelize a unique and desirable offer.

For the longest time, it was assumed the best way to accomplish that mission was with a huge and somewhat overwhelming sales page.

After all, long-form sales letters were the weapons the copywriting legends of the 1980s and 1990s used to line the pockets of plucky entrepreneurs.

It only makes sense that every up-and-comer with a website and a dream should follow suit.

But, the post-COVID era explosion of online courses has changed the marketplace.

What Has Taken The Place of Long-Form Sales Page?


You can’t just show up and blow the world away with your ginormous sales page anymore.

Course creators are now competing with thousands of other “coaches” and "thought leaders” doing the same thing.

Even if your course is unique, it isn’t. What is unique is how you manage your list. What makes you special is how you communicate with that list day in and day out.

And once you have a sufficient list to make an offer…

What does that list need? A 5000-word sales page? Prolly not.

About 90% of your potential customers simply need to know the crux of your offer.

This doesn’t mean copywriting isn’t an important part of early business success.

It just means small to medium-sized businesses don’t need to emulate Agora.

Instead, their time and money are better spent focusing on their list and their offer.

Yes, I am aware my long-form sales page PTSD is showing through.

Heralding the death of the long-form sales page could be nothing but sour grapes on my part.

Maybe I don't have the mettle anymore.

Whatever.

I’ll stick to emails and offer pages and bring in the bucks as well as anyone.

Long live the Offer Page!

What do you think? Is the long-form sales page dead?

Or are we just waiting for ChatJohnCarlton to revive it?

Comment below and let me know what you're seeing out there in the wild.


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