Monday, August 6, 2012

What Makes A Great Sales Letter?



What Makes A Great Sales Letter?

As a direct response copywriter, I'm often asked what elements are needed to create high-performing sales letters. Now, this is a difficult question to answer because there are many factors involved, so it's tricky to pinpoint just two or three. (In fact, when writing sales copy for my own clients, I use a 12-point formula that I've devised myself through many years of testing.)
Keep People On Your Sales Page
However, on a basic, fundamental level, I'd say that creating successful sales copy is all about keeping people on your sales page. Now, this may sound obvious, but you'd be surprised at just how many people seem to lose sight of this basic requirement.
And how do you do this?
Well, first of all your headline must be interesting, intriguing, exciting or shocking, in order to keep the prospect reading. And you must never forget this.
You see, what you're ultimately looking to do when writing a headline is to keep people on the page, so that they continue reading down to the sub-headline. Then, the role of the sub-headline is to keep people reading so that they continue onto the body copy. And so on and so on, for each and every paragraph.
Of course, to enable this to happen, the copy must be fluent, easy to read and written to a very high standard so that the prospect is drawn further and further into the sales letter, but an even more powerful way of keeping people on your sales page is to...
Tap Into Their Needs & Wants
Your copy must speak to your readers on a personal level, identify their most pressing problems and concerns, and then provide a solution. If you're selling a skin care supplement, for example, the prospect's problems/concerns would be wrinkles, breakouts, ageing, etc. The solution, of course, is wrinkle-free, clearer and younger-looking skin.
Which brings me to another important point...
Emotions.
Many online orders are impulse purchases, and are powered by emotions, rather than logic. So when writing your own sales letters, always try to tap into people's emotions. To use the skin care example again, people hate the idea of getting old. They long for the days when they had youthful, supple and glowing skin, without even trying, so anything that offers the chance of feeling young again carries a powerful emotional pull.
Likewise, many "make money online" products speak of being able to afford all the things you've ever wanted, to take as many vacations as you like, and be able to spend more time with the family - which all serve to tap into the prospect's emotions and innermost desires.
Build Value
Once you've managed to address the reader's problem, provide a solution and back it up with emotional pulls, it's time to build perceived value.
At the end of any sales letter, the price that the prospect is expected to pay must be viewed as an absolute bargain! And the key to doing this is to keep building up the value of the product in the minds of your prospects.
The most effective technique for doing this is to break down the product package and assign a specific value to each component.
For example, let's say that you're selling tickets to a one-day "make money from property" bootcamp. Instead of simply saying that the boot camp costs a bargain £497 to attend, you say that component #1 of the product package (the one-day bootcamp) carries a value of £2,997.
Then you say that the prospect will also receive component #2; the accompanying workbook, valued at £497. Then you include a few bonuses, which all carry individual values. All together, the value of the course becomes something like £5,000. You repeat this numerous times as you move towards the actual price, and when it's revealed to be JUST £497, it suddenly seems like an incredible saving, and well worth the money.
Of course, there are many other factors that make up a hugely successful sales letter, but if you bear these points in mind, you're almost guaranteed to have a very high converting piece of copy on your hands...
And remember, if you don't have time to write the copy yourself, you can always hire a professional direct response copywriter to do it for you!
Nick Cobb is a Direct response copywriter, online marketing consultant and the founder and Managing Director of Write For You Ltd, a copywriting agency based in London. If you'd like an order-grabbing, profit-pulling Sales letter for your business, then contact Nick via his website at Red Hot Sales Letters.