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How to Write a Sales Letter

How to write a sales letter is something that often haunts people who are marketing online.

In this article, I’m going to lay out the basics of writing sales letters.

Here are the common problems in online copywriting:

1. Don’t believe long sales copy works.

While split testing can give you a definitive answer in a specific case, the whole history of direct response marketing and advertising shows conclusively this fact:

Sale letters can NEVER be too long. They can ONLY be too boring!

The reason you see people on blogs and forums saying that long sales letters don’t work is because they don’t! That’s right. THEIR long sales letters don’t work. A marketing letter that bores the reader to tears, doesn’t use proven emotional selling principles, doesn’t follow time-tested and proven methods of sale letters and doesn’t use every secret of persuasion available won’t work.

There’s a reason top copywriters get thousands of dollars to write sales and marketing letters that pull in orders: It’s just as much an art as it is a science.

Having said that, while it is a skill, it’s a learnable one.

2. Don’t hit on deep emotional benefits.

It’s one thing to state the features and benefits of an offer. It’s quite another to dig beyond the surface and hit the emotional nerve that gets the reader to react and respond. Plain vanilla copy you can get for $250 won’t do that.

And neither will the SAME copy in an online video. People mistakenly think there’s something magic about videos as opposed to sales letters. There isn’t. They’re just different media in which you implant your effective sales message.

3. Don’t cover all the features and benefits possible.

I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve avoided buying from a web site simply because the web site didn’t tell me what I needed to know in order to make a positive purchase decision.

Instead of being afraid your reader won’t read, be afraid of NOT telling them all they need to know in order to make a positive buying decision.

Now, the more an item is an impulse purchase, the less the copy is required to sell it. The greater the emotional involvement in the decision, the more long copy is needed to sell it.

A lot of the comparisons between videos and sales letters aren’t fair because they’re dealing with impulse purchase items.

But let’s take a product or service that involves an emotional decision. Long copy will work to sell that item because people want to get all the facts before they make a decision.

Why You Should NOT Use Either Sales Letters Or Videos Alone

The truth is that your best response will likely be obtained by using BOTH a video and a traditional long-form sales letter. That way the people who want to read can read. And the people who want to watch a video can watch a video. And people who just want to listen can listen.

You cover all the bases:

* Readers

* Visual responders

* Auditory responders

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Videos are a powerful selling tool. But combine them with long-form direct response sales letters to obtain the highest response possible.

Marlon Sanders

How to Write Your First Paragraph

Most attention in how to write sales letters info products focuses on writing headlines. But your first paragraph is very important.

Here are a few ways to begin. I’m borrowing liberally from John Caples’ classic Making Ads Pay. A lot of people don’t realize that in addition to Tested Advertising Methods he also wrote two other books: Making Ads Pay and How to Make Your Advertising Make Money. Both are awesome in classic John Caples style.

1. Continue the thought of the headline and expand on it

Whatever your main thought in the headline is, continue this in your opening paragraphs and expand on it. The headline is a promise of a result. So you open by elaborating on that result by painting a picture of it or telling a story that illustrates it. Or simply by explaining more about it.

2. The Gary Halbert If You-> Then Opening

This is one of my favorites. Gary didn’t originate it but he sure made it famous. And he always executed it so well.

Back in the day, the opening to Amazing Formula read If you’d like to sell your products by the hundreds or thousands, listen up. This might be the most important letter you’ve ever read.

Here’s why….

That’s vintage Gary Halbert style. For those of you who don’t know who Gary was, he was a legend of copywriting and a hero to many entrepreneurs, in spite of his checkered history.

3. Begin with an authoritative quote

The classic sales letter for Dale Carnegie’s timeless book How to Win Friends and Influence People began with a John D. Rockefeller quote.

John D. Rockefeller, Sr. once said: “The ability to deeal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability than any other under the sun.”

That’s beginning with an authoritative quote.

4. Hit ’em With a Challenge

This works well in the Internet age of skepticism. Instead of coming across hard sell, begin with a take away right off the bat questioning whether or not the person qualifies.

Here’s a classic quote by Bruce Barton:

“About one man in ten will be appealed to by this page.. The other nine will be hard workers, ernest, ambitious in their way, but to them a coupon is a coupon; a book is a book’ a Course is a Course. The one man in ten has imagination.

And imagination rules the world.”

Wow! What a great opening.

5. Lead off with a blockbuster testimonial

This is another one that works great in the Internet age. Lead off with your best testimonial.

You just can’t provide too much proof of credibility in the Internet age.

6. Spin a story that illustrates the main benefit

That’s another classic way to begin a letter.

John Carlton does this better than just about anyone. He’s the master of leading with a story that pulls you into the letter.

Now, once you get that killer sales letter written, you need a web page for it.

How to design web pages that sell.

That’s an article I wrote over on Go Articles.

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Sales Letter Template | A nifty template for your sales letters|

Sales letter template? Looking for a good one?

Seems that everyone is. So in this article, I’m going to give you a simple yet powerful template you can plug into sales letters, marketing letters, online ads and many other things.

This template is built on 3 key steps:

1. Your sales letters or marketing letter MUST have a big, juicy benefit for the reader.

It’s not enough to have plain old boring benefits that everyone else has. You need that one, big dominant benefit that causes the mouth of your potential buyer or responder to water.

That benefit could be promising a solution to an annoying or painful problem they have.

It could be promising an end result they desperately seek.

But you MUST have a dominant benefit.

Template formula: Put the one big, dominant, giant, juicy benefit in the headline of your ad, sales letter or marketing piece. Focus on ONE benefit that really stands out. The one thing you can really hang your hat on.

If you only had 10 seconds to get someone to buy from you, what’s the ONE REASON you’d give them? Put THAT in your headline.

2. Your sales letters or marketing letters MUST have dramatic proof of performance.

In this highly skeptical Internet age, it’s vital to include PROOF of performance early on. And proof that is different or more powerful than what the potential buyer or responder is routinely used to seeing.

You’ve gotta stand out.

Your template now looks like this:

Headline: Big, juicy, dramatic benefit.

Opening: Restate or elaborate on the juicy benefit.

Proof: After the opening, launch into the single biggest and most dramatic piece of proof you have.

Differentiation: This is the NEXT element of your sale letter template.

What makes your solution DIFFERENT from everything and everyone else? Is it faster, cheaper, easier, safer or differentiated on some other attribute?

This is where you talk about THAT, giving examples, illustrations, bullet points, videos, before-and-after pictures or whatever you have.

Finally, there is the call to action. You gotta give people a reason to respond today. This typically means the use of deadlines and scarcity or a limited supply or availability of some sort.

The Ultimate Sales Letter Template

1. Headline — Big, juicy benefit

2. Opening — Elaborate on the big benefit

3. Proof — Go with your biggest proof element

4. Differentiation — How is your solution different?

5. Credibility (optional) — What is the background of your company or the person providing the solution? What are their credentials?

6. More proof — If you have more proof, present it here.

7. Bullet points (optional) — If you want to provide bullet points concerning your solution as a summary, put them here.

8. Call to action

Give ’em a super powerful reason to respond to. Often, this involves extra bonuses or a price discount for a n immediate response.

There you have it. This is an incredibly powerful sales letter template or persuasive template to get people to RESPOND to whatever your offer or cause is.

No longer will you wonder what you should put in your marketing letters or communications. instead, you’ll know to zero in immediately on your dramatic benefit, your super powerful proof of performance and credibility and what makes your solution different.

Do these things and you’ll find out why I call this the ultimate sales letter template.

For more help with your sale letters and persuasive communications, go to: sales letter software

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How to Adjust Your Sales Copy To The Audience

When I was a young copywriter just starting out, I didn’t understand how to adjust my sales letters to the tone of the audience.

I remember once writing a headline for my dad’s TV business that read something like “I double dog dare you to XYZ.”

Now, my dad serviced TV’s for hotels and motels. That was a totally inappropriate communication for his audience.  But I thought it sounded cool.

A simpler approach would have been better:

“A picture on every channel of every set for only $1.00 per set.”  That happened to be my dad’s USP (unique selling proposition) and would have sold marvelously.

In my current business, I sell to entrepreneurs.  So I language that communicates to entrepreneurs.  But others in more conservative industries likely feel it’s over the top.

The only way I can respond is to say that I know my customers.

What about your audience?

Are you using words and concepts they identify with vs. what you think is cool to say?

Sales 101 is to get out of your own head and into the head of your target audience.

Marlon Sanders
The King of Step-By-Step Internet Marketing

Sales Letter Software

I created a category or genre of software called Sales Letter Software.  It’s what some people use as training wheels to write sales letters with.  A pro doesn’t need it. But a newer person sure does.

Here’s WHY I created this software:

1.  I created a 12-step formula for writing copy.

What I found is that MOST people didn’t follow the formula, no matter how much I encouraged them too. That’s when I got the idea to practically force feed people the formula.

Push Button Letters was born.

2.  It uses a proven formula

There are many formulas for writing sales letters. The oldest one I know and, in my estimation the least useful, is AIDA. Attention-Interest-Desire-Action. That’s a dumb formula because it doesn’t explain HOW to do those things.

My 12-step formula lays it all out.

3.  You need to start with structure

A little structure to start with is good. Before you learn to break the rules, learn to follow them.

3 things to look for in sales letter software

sales letter software If you’re considering getting sales letter software to write sales letters with, don’t be like this girl with her eyes shut!

Be smart and consider the 3 most important criteria for a successful sales letter software purchase.  Since I created the category of products called “sales letter software” generators, I’m  pretty qualified to give you a few tips:

Key criteria #1:  Look for software that is built on a tested, proven sales letter formula

Believe it or not, from what I’ve seen a lot of the software programs weren’t created by copywriters or anyone with much sales letter writing experience.  They’re created by someone who threw up an ad for a programmer and hired a designer to do some pretty graphics.

The formula I developed has 12 steps and was the first codified 12-step formula I know of.  I taught it in over 120 seminars around the world.

Key criteria #2:  Realize the purpose of sales letter software is to help you WRITE a sales letter, NOT to design a pretty website

What I’ve noticed is a lot of people confuse the two.  I believe the reason is it’s obvious if a site looks pretty or not.  But whether or not the site will get people to buy or take an action isn’t readily apparent without access to sales figures.

This means people tend to judge software programs for writing sales letters based on what looks pretty vs. what creates effective copy.

Key criteria #3:  Avoid saving 20 bucks on the cheapest program that could cost you thousands or hundreds of thousands in lost sales

It’s surprising how many people are short sighted.  They have thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands in sales up for grab. And they want to buy the cheapest sales letter creation software they can find.  Unbelievable but true.

If you’d like to see the sales letter software I created, click that link.

How to Differentiate Your Product or Service Using Sales Copy

The text below is supplemental to the video, so watch it first. Then read what follows.

As you know, there are 3 basic steps in my marketing method (5 if you want to use the full Amazing Formula). But the 3 basic ones are:

1. Target buyers

2. Get them on a list

3. Make sales

To make the most money from sales, you want to get a premium price. The way you do that is by differentiating. Let me explain.

The way you win in product marketing is by getting a premium price for your product or service.  But how do you do that?  Today’s Marlon’s Marketing Method video covers that topic.
Watch the video then read the below:

There are many methods to DIFFERENTIATE your product or service. Some people call this “positioning a product.” The method I want to talk briefly about and have you think about is called “differentiation by product attribute.”

What that means is you differentiate your product from others by a single ATTRIBUTE. What’s an attribute?

Think of it this way. Many years ago Stephen Pierce came out with a product called THE WHOLE TRUTH. That was a product attribute. If you wanted to know the Whole Truth, then that was the product to get.

I later created a positioning for an amazing product by Tinu called the Evergreen Traffic System. Evergreen = product attribute. Since then, other marketers have grabbed the evergreen attribute and ran with it.

Your product or the product you promote as an AFFILIATE may be the most complete or the fastest method. Or one of a million other product attributes. The thing is, there are thousands of attributes available. Almost an infinite number.

Go to your grocery store or drugstore and look at the hair color products. Look at Shampoos. Look at deodorants. Many of these differentiate on an attribute like “shine” or “color” or “longest lasting.”

This is important even if you promote as an AFFILIATE because you STILL need to KNOW the attribute and differentiate based upon it.

If you do NOT differentiate what you sell, whether your own product or on a pre-sell page as an affiliate, then you’re just competing on the basis of a commodity where every product is just as good as another.

There’s no price premium in that Game. And no marketing advantage.

The way you gain an advantage is by differentiating and getting a price premium.

There are many ways to differentiate but one of the easiest to use and apply is differentiation by product attribute.

Is there some attribute YOU could differentiate by? For example, early on the differentiation on Amazing Formula was that it was a FORMULA. That was more or less the attribute. Now, you may feel you don’t know of any ideas. But just think of products you yourself have bought. Why did you buy them? What made them unique, different and valuable to you?

Now, how could you make whatever you sell or promote — a product, service, business, group, idea or organization UNIQUELY VALUABLE? Is there an attribute people highly value that you can emphasize in your marketing and promotion? If you’ve listened to or read old Jay Abraham stuff, you know he always gives the Schlitz USP example. That example was really about PURITY. That was the trait they differentiated on by explaining the elaborate process they used to brew their beer. It was all about differentiating on the attribute of purity.

My corporate name is Higher Response Marketing. Originally, my idea was to differentiate on the basis of response. Of course, that was a long time ago when I still wrote copy fully or partially for a living. So response was a valuable attribute to clients. I still think it’s one I might dust off and use again.

That’s your product marketing lesson for the day. Your comments are welcome.

Sales Marketing Letter | How to Use A Sales Letter to Boost Revenues

If you believe what you hear in the news, many countries of the world have gone through a bit of a recession.

Let’s say that you want to boost sales without spending a lot of money.  How can you do it?  You already know the answer.  Marketing.  More marketing.

Here are the steps:

1.  Ask yourself, “What do my customers really want?”

Even if it’s something not directly related to your product or service, perhaps you can find a way to tie it in.  I remember reading a great story about how one marketer for a minor league baseball team in Hawaii needed to drum up attendance.  It seemed that everyone loved attending picnics.

So this enterprising marketer created a picnic night at the ballpark. People ate it up.

2.  Target a specific segment or group of your customers

You can’t develop a great offer for a nebulous blog of people.  Instead, select a sub-group of your customers, so you can create a great offer for them.

For example, in my business I have a segment of customers who are under age 30, have graduated from college but are disillusioned with the corporate world.  For these people, I could put together a special package called the “Up-And-Comer’s Kit For Escaping The Corporate World and Finding Fulfillment.”

What OFFER could you put together for a specific group of people that would uniquely meet their needs?  Maybe you get a few other businesses to throw in a few things to make your package more attractive.  And in return, you give those businesses something of yours they can package in.

For a specific group or segment of customers, you’re creating the ideal offer.

3.  Create a sales letter, teleseminar, webinar or web page that systematically gives the benefits of taking advantage of the offer today.

I’ve always felt that good sales letters are me-to-you communications.  In other words, a good sales letter sounds just as though we were sitting down over coffee and I was explaining the offer to you, casually and without sales pressure or hype.

That’s what a great sales letter does. It’s a conversation.  Now, that sales message can be printed on paper, put on a web page, sent in an email or delivered via fax.  The VEHICLE that sends the sales message is far less important than the message itself.

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