The 4 part layout that became a hallmark of the King of Madison Avenue

I had a few comments after last week’s emails about Course of Action [closed for now, this is the waitlist].

People get obsessed about the technology for online teaching and wanted to know why I’d picked Gumroad to launch on.

After all, it’s not the most sophisticated platform out there.

But that’s the exact point.

Gumroad has very very few options and in particular, there’s almost no flexibility in design.

But that’s it’s brutal advantage.

You can’t faff about with fonts and how big the logo is. You have a fairly basic sales page layout and a checkout and that’s all.

But that should be enough to test out a product while you refine it.

If you look at any of the ads by David Ogilvy, they have almost the same layout:

  1. Large image
  2. Headline
  3. Copy
  4. Call to action (coupon or phone number in his day)

Let’s see a few:

The classic Rolls Royce ‘ticking clock ad.

The Man in the Hathaway Shirt

Dove Soap

Ogilvy knew that despite how excited clients would get about visuals, they were the least important element of an ad.

What matters is the offer, and who you made it to.

These could be tested easily with a reliable layout, even in black & white.

This format was so reliable that he’d refuse to even spend money on colour printed ads until the basic idea was pulling enough response.

Gumroad’s “Newsletter” theme gives me exactly that layout.

I don’t write huge long sales letters for them yet either, my longer copy is in emails and social posts so the selling is done already. When I start to run ads then I need more copy.

I can have a product up and making sales on Gumroad in less than an hour.

If it flops on Gumroad, no amount of fancy tech and design is going to help. I need to go back and work on the offer, and make sure I’m talking to the right audience.

If you want to know more about creating string offers, I write a guide about it which you can get for free as a subscriber to my list:

It’s called An Offer They Can’t Refuse.

Stephen Pratley
Copy & Conversion Consultant
The Conversion Co.


c/o The Conversion Co., 2a The High Street, Thames Ditton, KT7 0RY, United Kingdom
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