There is no magic combination of words that will guarantee you’ll write a sales letter that produces a huge response. If someone tells you that they can guarantee you’ll get a flood of leads or profits with their ad copy then you should run for the hills as fast as you can because it’s nonsense.
To have the best chance of achieving a successful response rate from your sales letter you have to do more than just write ad copy well. Even the best sales letter ever written will fail miserably if it’s sent to the wrong people.
- What do you think the response rate will be if you want to sell dog collars and you send your dog collar sales letter to a bunch of cat owners?
- If you want to sell motorcycle insurance and most of your list is made up of people who don’t ride motorcycles you are probably not going to get a good response.
- But, if you want to sell your real estate photography services to realestate agents and you send a well written sales letter to the top agents in your area, you may get a satisfactory or good response rate.
In other words make sure you do your research and target the correct audience. After you do this, then you can start writing your sales letter.
Write A Sales Letter That Sells!
A powerful headline is one of the most important parts of any ad. A headline is the one thing that grabs the reader’s attention and says “Hey, stop for a second and look at me!” Because we don’t read through magazines, newspapers, websites, etc, just looking for the ads, right? So you’ve got to interrupt the reader’s train of thought and get them to read your ad.
There are several types of headlines, the one I’ve used here is what’s known as a ‘fear’ type of headline. This headline highlights the reader’s concern of not having enough insurance. Is this the best headline for this ad? You will never know, at least not until you test it! Try other headlines too, and measure each one’s results, to single out the best performer. Try alternatives like:
“Are You Making These Mistakes With Your Insurance?”
“They All Laughed When I Took Out Pet Insurance,
But When The Dog Got Hit By That Car…”
“To People Who Want To Save Up To 75% On Term Insurance…
…But Can’t Get Started”
These headlines have all been based around ‘classic’ direct mail headlines, which have proven successful over the last hundred years or so. Simple plug in your details, you can change the headline around to suit whatever problem you want to solve, and test test test.
The key is to come up with compelling titles. For example if you are an insurance agent you could try these (needs some work but you’ll get the idea):
“10 Ways To Save Up To 75% On Your Term Insurance”
“8 IRS Approved Tax Reduction Strategies Your Account May Not Know About”
“How To Protect Your Assets From Financial Devastation”
“How To Use Whole Life Insurance To Create Tax Free Income At Retirement”
Or, if you are in the High Tech industry and you sell telecommunications equipment you might want to try something like this:
“10 Little Known Ways VOIP Can Save You Up To 35%
On Your Telecommunications System”
“How To Increase Cash Flow Profits With These Simple
Changes To Your Voice Mail System”
“How To Save Up To 55% On Your Telecom Bill In Just 30 Days”
“11 Costly Mistakes Most Businesses Make When
Choosing A New Phone System”
The main copy in this ad goes by a tried-and-tested formula – Problem, Aggravate, Solve. First, you remind them about a problem they’re having, it could be paying too much for insurance, being overweight, having no money, no friends, no dates, whatever, and then you aggravate the problem, stir up their emotions. Then comes your solution, in this case it’s a free report and a DVD.
You’ll notice I’ve put in little ‘subheadlines’ throughout the copy. This is to provide for the ‘skimmer’ who skins through the ad as quickly as possible, while the ‘reader’ can read every word. They’re basically ‘mini-headlines’.
It’s also done in an ‘advertorial’ style, unlike most ads it’s actually designed to look like just another article in the publication. The ‘drop capital’ at the start is also proven to increase readership. Tests show this format has a much higher readership than any other layout.
The bullet points in the third column are very important. One single bullet point could convince a skeptical reader to order your free report. In fact a rewrite of this ad would probably have to bring the bullet points into the middle column.
Bullet points are another kind of mini headline. Anyone who is not a person who reads every word carefully will find it much easier to get the idea if it’s cut up into bite-sized chunks in the form of bullet points.
Call To Action:
The call to action is another critical part of any ad. To have a powerful call to action, you must have a powerful offer. A strong reason why the prospect should do what you ask, whether that’s call for a free gift, go to a website, or buy something, and why they should do it now.
Just don’t wimp out and try to be subtle here. Tell them straight out what you want them to do. Say “Call right now to book your free consultation”. Leave nothing to chance, no room for confusion.
Your response mechanism also plays a big part. I’ve used the set up most likely to get the most leads, a toll free number and message bank. Making the call free removes one excuse for not calling. A message bank removes another excuse, the fear that they’ll be ‘sold’ over the phone. They don’t want to talk to you just yet! They’re just ‘gathering information’ right now, and of course the information you send them is what makes the sale.
You can test things like adding a web address, a fax number, an ‘eavesdrop line’, and so on. Once they’re in your system, you start your sales follow-up process. And this is an absolutely vital component of the whole system. Get this right and your prospects will call you, ready and eager to buy from you.
So, as with the emails, once they make leave their name and address, out goes letter #1. The headline reads something like:
“Here’s How You Can Finally Get Cheaper Insurance/Plan For Your Financial Future/Choose The Right Phone System/Lose Weight/Make Money/Attract Women”
…which ever one is most appropriate.
You can actually use a ‘grabber’, a small object at the top of your letter, something they can feel through the envelope. This’ll increase the chances of your letter getting opened and read, which is a challenge you must overcome. Aspirin tablets, balloons, tea bags, are popular grabbers. One step further is to send it in a package, in a FedEx box, anything you can send in the mail which will attract their attention, and maybe even get put on a shelf instead of being thrown in the trash.
This letter goes on to talk about the benefits of your product or service, why it’s better than the rest, has some testimonials and a powerful value-added offer.
Then, if you don’t hear from them after about 10 to 20 days, it’s time for a second letter. This one reads “Hi, I’m the guy who sent you the letter with the tea bag at the top, I haven’t heard from you, so I thought I’d better check up on you…”, it has another copy of the report, another offer, maybe a better offer, and 10 – 20 days after that, if they haven’t called you yet, then out goes the third letter.
This one reads “Frankly, I’m puzzled, I’ve sent you this report a couple of times now, but I haven’t head back from you…” It has another offer, another deadline, and the rule of thumb is considered to be that you’ll double your response with a second and third letter instead of just one. If you’re only planning on sending one letter, save your postage money.
In fact, you can keep going, no reason to stop at 3 letters. Send them an issue or two of your newsletter. Use ‘voice broadcast’. Send them faxes. (If you’re allowed to). Send them a postcard. Don’t let up until the buy or die.
See, we don’t know when they are going to go from ‘thinking about it’ to ‘ready to buy’, but we sure do want to be there when they do!
On this page is a sample letter that uses a million dollar bill as a grabber (you can use any number of grabbers like this. I have customers who used Gold Coins, real money, and even more creative ones). This letter can be used at the beginning or end of your sequence.
What About Writing An Online Sales Letter?
Writing a sales letter for use online is a tricky business because not only are there many different techniques and strategies to use as a result of technology and social media, but you’ll also get differing points of views on how the letter should be written.
The main argument is that you have one camp that says you should stick to the same formula for offline marketing (above) as you do for online marketing.
The other camps says that you should focus more on educating your prospects and only use soft selling techniques because most people who go online are looking for information. So if you try to sell something to someone who is looking for information you will turn them off. As a result of this you see a lot of lead generation activity online.
The way I have done it, and I have done it successfully and continue to do so, is I’ll get people to my website organically (free traffic). I use articles and video content to get rankings in the search engines.
As the traffic trickles in I present opportunities for these people to get more information on a particular subject and they provide their contact information in exchange for this information.
After I get this information I drip more content on them and establish myself as the expert and then eventually I present them an offer (a sales letter) to buy something from my company. This is explained in greater detail here.
Pay per click is a similar ball game, but that requires a separate article which is coming soon!