Another sales letter critique please

17 replies
Do you mind taking a look at this.

This letter will be part of a pack sent out to leads after they have request a quote for photography. With the letter will be a portfolio book chocked with testimonials and sample images.

Currently the prospect only receives a quote via email and normally that's how they buy. But we want to try and increase the conversions.

The goal is to get the prospect to try the service or go ahead with the quote they originally requested.

Here's a link to it.

Thanks!
#critique #letter #sales
  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    1. I think that the letter is too long to serve this purpose. One page should be enough.
    2. The letter is also too NEGATIVE. Why take almost the
    first half of the letter to knock the competition? One or
    two lines of warning should be fine.
    3. The TESTIMONIALS and the SAMPLE pictures are what's
    going to do the real selling.

    This kind of letter may work if someone hired different photographers
    for an occasion and got bad deals. But most people only have ONE
    photographer for any occasion so this is not a frequent type of buy
    to have met all these bad experiences.

    -Ray Edwards
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    The most powerful and concentrated copywriting training online today bar none! Autoresponder Writing Email SECRETS
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    Yeah, your positioning and tone is way too defensive. Just a waste of energy and space.

    Let me ask you...

    Who's your ideal client? Do they have money? Do they care about branding? Are they interested in getting a big ROI? If so, your copy feels like it's going after price shoppers, rather than who you wanna work with... and help.

    Rethink your approach. And make sure you're speaking to what savvy clients want. Not what they don't want.

    Mark

    P.S. You sound more jaded than your prospects likely are. Let go of the negative voice in your head. Position yourself as an advocate for the prospects who know when they've found someone that demonstrates authority and experience.
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    • Profile picture of the author adrian078
      Ok thanks for the feedback.

      Ideal clients are small/medium business with more than 7 staff. They're normally business owners or marketing managers in loads of different industries. The best clients buy multiple times per year and have a lifetime of several years.

      What I'm trying to sell is that we get the job done right first time and that will save, time hassle and money.

      So I strip the first half done to essentially that, will that help do you think?
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      • Profile picture of the author adrian078
        Ok I stripped a lot of the first part of the letter. Is this letter any better?

        What else can I strip to make it shorter?
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        • Profile picture of the author splitTest
          Originally Posted by adrian078 View Post

          Ok I stripped a lot of the first part of the letter. Is this letter any better?

          What else can I strip to make it shorter?
          I see you plan to put a portfolio of samples in the mailer, but...

          Offering a photography service without pointing prospects to abundant samples on a quality website? Makes no sense in this day and age...

          I mean, you mention that you take pics for websites right in the headline (of draft 2) ... yet you have no website to speak of yourself?

          It also sounds like you're still set on sending a pair of dice in draft 2. Why? In copywriting, you can't be wed to an idea just because it's "cute"...

          I'd suggest getting rid of the line "When you hire someone to do a job, you roll the dice (sorry about the bad joke). But seriously you do." It's really a "throwaway" line, out of place (and it applies to your services just as much as the competition's)...

          By the way, your objective shouldn't be to make your letter "shorter" for shorter's sake. The length of a sales letter depends on what you need to say to get the prospect to convert. I think Raydal suggested you make it shorter because you were wasting a lot of real estate in draft 1 on stuff that won't help you sell...

          Anyway, my main suggestion is if you want to be a photog in this day and age, get a quality website and put up good samples. Otherwise you're putting the cart before the horse...

          Showing samples in a mailing is expensive and probably less effective.

          edit: (Perhaps you already have a website? Where are the requests for quotes coming from? If you do have one you should reference it...)
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Pescetti
    I don't think your positioning, as a whole, is effective.

    "Perfect image?" What does THAT mean? Does it mean I make more money? Because if so, it ain't clear.

    Your copy should be about what getting professional product shots does for me, my brand, the growth of my company... and how it makes my marketing more believable. And believable or authentic marketing is effective marketing. So if my marketing is more effective, what potential happens? I can make more money, right? I can stop working so damn hard... every second... of every day... and enjoy life a little more, right?

    Okay... But...

    If my photos fail to capture the essence and awesomeness of my products, what happens? People don't see my value, right? So I may as well just flushed that cash down the toilet, don't you think?

    So HOW do you capture my products in their best light? What's your process? Why is it different?

    Tell me you know what I really want from you (because of the impact your talent will have in my life and business.) And tell me why you're the person or outfit to get me there.

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
    I think you're overthinking it.

    This is my buddy: Portrait Sessions - photographybybusa

    He doesn't have to write sales letters, either to people planning special events or to people who want business portraits done.

    You may have to, if you're new. But the point is eventually you should get here.

    His work speaks for itself. Then the references do the rest.

    You're a photographer? Give 'em something to look at.
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    Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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    • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
      Banned
      Originally Posted by angiecolee View Post

      You're a photographer? Give 'em something to look at.
      This must be right, surely?
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  • Profile picture of the author RickDuris
    Adrian, selling people this way will not work. You'll be wasting your money.

    Instead, you want to create LEADS, not sales.

    One strategy is to create a postcard representative of your work that drives people to a website showing your portfolio. Make them a special first time customer offer there.

    There are several moving parts to this. Work with a copywriter familiar with this strategy. (Maybe Steve?)

    - Rick Duris

    PS: I realize they originally requested info. The point of the matter is you need an inexpensive way to stay in front prospects. This will allow you to do that.
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  • Profile picture of the author elmo033057
    If you send dice in a letter, the machines at the post office will jam up. My wife worked there for 15 years, and she said it's a real bad idea. You'll get charged more because it will have to be hand sorted, plus you'll get a bunch of postal workers real mad at you.

    God Bless,

    ELMO
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  • Profile picture of the author adrian078
    Ok thanks all for your feedback. I'll rethink this idea completely.

    Yes I already have a website and that's where the leads come from. So now it's a case of converting the lead to a customer. I think it's better to spend time on converting rather than more leads at this stage. If you can't convert them, what's the point of more leads (my current conversion is about 30%).

    But maybe a sales letter is not the way to do it? Or just a much better thought out letter.

    I can tell you that no one else (in my geographic location) would do this, which doesn't mean I should do it but it will mean I would stand out. The others simply send them a quote and wait.

    By the way, we're talking about B2B sales but it shouldn't really matter that much.

    If you have any better strategy ideas let me know. Thanks!
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    • Profile picture of the author splitTest
      Originally Posted by adrian078 View Post

      Ok thanks all for your feedback. I'll rethink this idea completely.

      Yes I already have a website and that's where the leads come from. So now it's a case of converting the lead to a customer. I think it's better to spend time on converting rather than more leads at this stage. If you can't convert them, what's the point of more leads (my current conversion is about 30%).

      But maybe a sales letter is not the way to do it? Or just a much better thought out letter.

      I can tell you that no one else (in my geographic location) would do this, which doesn't mean I should do it but it will mean I would stand out. The others simply send them a quote and wait.

      By the way, we're talking about B2B sales but it shouldn't really matter that much.

      If you have any better strategy ideas let me know. Thanks!
      If they're asking for a quote, why aren't you on the phone asking for details about the project so you can sell them personally and (as importantly), give them an accurate quote?

      Don't you have their number? Have they specified "no calls"? I'm surprised you're sending "lumpy mail" and telling them what a big risk it is to work with unknowns in response to their request for a quote.

      Your letter should have a different tone altogether. Maybe something about your reliability, your experience in their specific industry, lots of social proof. ...Kinda like the stuff starting with "why should you hire us" in draft two.

      ...But to start, make it personal to the project they're about to hand to you. No more prospecting to an anonymous list with a generic pitch. Address their specific needs based on info you've gotten from them when they requested the quote. If you haven't gotten any info, perhaps you need to change the form on your website, so at least you can qualify the lead a bit and respond intelligently.

      Maybe I'm confused, but it sounds like they've contacted you and you're sending a pitch for them to contact you again. You need to get them on the phone (or at least into a person-to-person communication) if they're really a lead.
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      • Profile picture of the author adrian078
        Originally Posted by splitTest View Post

        If they're asking for a quote, why aren't you on the phone asking for details about the project so you can sell them personally and (as importantly), give them an accurate quote?
        Yes they either contact through the landing page or call. Yes I try and get details from them and do a needs analysis on the phone. Some of them don't want to give their phone number - in which case maybe they aren't a serious prospect.


        I'm still thinking I should send them something tangible in the mail that gives social proof, examples of the photography and also something that makes the company look like a quality company. In other words, something to convince them that we can do the job and our price is worth it.

        I think your idea of giving them a more specific pitch is the way to go I think. Maybe just answering their key needs in the package.
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        • Profile picture of the author ewenmack
          What are the most common questions you get
          before someone buys?

          Best,
          Doctor E. Vile
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          • Profile picture of the author adrian078
            Originally Posted by ewenmack View Post

            What are the most common questions you get
            before someone buys?

            Best,
            Doctor E. Vile
            I have X number of X product, how much will it cost for photos to be use for our website/print brochures?

            How long will it take?

            How does it work?
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            • Profile picture of the author angiecolee
              Originally Posted by adrian078 View Post

              I have X number of X product, how much will it cost for photos to be use for our website/print brochures?
              Price shoppers, 9 times out of 10. Looking for the lowest price more often than not, don't necessarily care about the quality unless they're the kind that expects a Mona Lisa on a paint-by-number budget

              Originally Posted by adrian078 View Post

              How long will it take?
              You can't possibly answer that accurately without detail. Definitely get a fairly firm scope before ever committing yourself to a time promise. This is a close-on-the-phone-or-in-person type question.

              Originally Posted by adrian078 View Post


              How does it work?
              Good opportunity to sell.
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              Aspiring copywriters: if you need 1:1 advice from an experienced copy chief, head over to my Phone a Friend page.

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  • Profile picture of the author WebOutGateway
    Hi Adrian 078,
    First, my admiration for an effort to tell a story. But the story ate the whole premise of the copy.

    Honest to goodness, the only thing I need to mention about your copy is that it is not direct to the point. there are terms used to beautify the letter as a whole, but not helpful anymore. What do you mean by perfect image?

    The wrong photographer will waste your time & money. You'll probably also feel regretful and stupid for choosing them in the first place....... ---> what do you mean by this? it's not relevant, say what you want directly and tell them what to benefit from you, don't mention others.


    Just a tip: Don't waste their time extracting their creative juices to understand yours. Letters must be simple, direct to the point,and will provide prospective customers need in abrupt.


    Hope I'll help.
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