Categorized | Copywriting Tips

“7 Critical Steps To Writing A Salesletter!”

- by Jason Hart

Next to the originator of a good sentence is the first quoter of it. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

What Steps to Take Before Writing Your Sales Letter

If you think that you can whip out an award winning sales letter in a few days your wrong!  Any truly effective sales letter takes a lot of preparation and work.  Before pen goes to paper there is a lot of work that goes into writing the copy. I spend on average 50% – 70% of my time PREPARING to write copy. Gene Schwartz, one of the greatest copywriters of all time and one of the gentlemen I study and try to emulate, credited his great success to the fact that he spent more time doing his homework and preparing to write the copy than any of his pears.  When he was done preparing, he knew more about the product than the author or creator of the product. If you don’t do your homework, the chances that your copy will fall flat on its face increase dramatically. So, in order to help you avoid that type of situation I have organized a simple checklist to enable you prepare for writing your own sales copy.

  • Use the product or service yourself. How can you write compelling sales copy about something you have never experienced?  And yet we see it everyday from affiliate marketers who bombard us with the latest “secret” technique, system, or trick but have never ever implemented it themselves and then they expect us to buy it.  I wouldn’t dream of writing copy about something I had never experienced and you shouldn’t either. If you have your own product, let someone else test it out and then interview them about it.  But don’t stop there, let them interview you as well.  There is a lot of really good copy material that can come out of these sessions. By knowing the product (like Gene Schwartz knew his products), you will gain a much more complete understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.
  • Research your target market thoroughly. It is fundamentally important that you know your market inside and out.  The more you know about your market, the better you can write to them specifically and address their specific wants, desires and needs. Segment your market down by age, income, marital status, etc. Then write out a detailed conversation with ONE PERSON in your target market – by carrying on a conversation with one “ideal” specific person in your target market you can better focus the structure of your letter to that one person instead of the entire market.
  • Spy on the competitors. Hey, it’s OK to spy on your competition. But you have to know what you are doing in order to be effective. Make yourself the customer to your competition.  Yes! This involves buying their product. Then study, study, study.  How do they handle marketing, the delivery, the follow up and the customer service. Only by knowing your competitor inside and out can you truly capitalize on whatever weaknesses might be prevalent in their operation. Go ahead sign up for their ezines, study their websites, collect their direct marketing campaigns.  Keep copious notes.  Believe me, I know from personal experience that if you do not write down and detail every aspect of your discoveries with competing sites you will forget what you learned. You have to learn to think like they do in order to uncover the differences between your company and theirs. Once you do, you’ve got them.  They are dead in the water because your unique selling position rises like a phoenix out of the Pacific!
  • Anticipate objections by writing out the FAQs ahead of time. This is one of my big Halbertisms (ie from Gary Halbert).  Slip on those shoes your customer has been wearing.  A little warm aren’t they?  Starting to feel a little like how your customer feels?  GOOD!  This is just were you need to be in order to ask the questions that come up to stop a sale dead in its tracks.  But here is a little secret to will exponentially increase your sales, it requires that you be intimately involved with your customer psychologically as well as knowing the rhythm and cadence of your copy.  Gary Halbert was a master at this; he brought up the concerns and questions that might be going through a prospects mind at precisely the point in the copy when those questions would arise.  This is mastery and not an easy task but to the degree that you can achieve it, stratospheric sales results can occur.
  • Identify the features and benefits. It is a known fact that people are driven to buy more through emotional stimulus than any logical process. This is why it is fundamental that you develop a list of what your product or service does (features) and how each feature makes your customer’s enjoy a better quality of life (benefits). Here is the key, dig deep!  So often these are cobbled together because everyone knows how important they are to a successful sales letter but they do not realize how important they are to the conversation.  The key to a successful sales letter is to carry on a successful conversation with a member of your target market.  This involves knowing your customers deepest wants, desires and needs only by knowing that can you even begin to stimulate the emotional juices in your client by showing them how the benefits are going to enlarge their life, the deeper the connection goes the more effective the sales funnel.

  • Collect compelling stories from the client. Storytelling is the great lost art of copywriting.  This use to be a hallmark of great copy and you can still find it by reading the copy masters of the past.  Claude Hopkins, Maxwell Sackhiem, Robert Collier, John E. Kennedy, etc., etc, etc. These masters knew how to write compelling copy and they knew how to tell a good story.  Nothing pulls us in psychologically more than a good story. God designed us to respond to a good story. The Bible is rife with stories that were told for the express purpose of generating a direct response. In good copywriting storytelling you grab your readers attention with a hard hitting short story and then relate it back to your product.

  • Gather testimonials from happy customers. Have you ever seen a testimonial telling you how bad a product was?  Of course not testimonials are designed to increase credibility. They put a face on the people who have had success with your product. How it worked for them, how it made them wealthier, more content, more slender. It gives you the opportunity to let them speak for you. However, be careful to use only legitimate testimonials, if you do your credibility grade goes way up!

Is this the be all and end all of copywriting?  No way, but, if you follow each of these steps thoroughly BEFORE you sit down in front of a blank piece of paper or a blank screen, it will provide you with all the elements you need to write a successful sales letter.

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