So is my first sales letter complete crap?

23 replies
Hello pro copywriters and beginners alike,

I'm looking for suggestions on my first sales letter here at WebsiteNoob.com

Any input is appreciated!

Steve
#complete #crap #letter #sales
  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Complete? That's a little harsh.

    First off, the "website in a box" is an old, old idea. Targeting website "noobs" is also what everyone gravitates to. The web is old. Noobs are not as big a target market as they once were.

    Worst of all, noobs don't have the pain of having put up sites, dealing with web developers, and so on. Copywriting 101 is about finding pain and showing how what you do eliminates the pain.

    There is really nothing more than "start a website" here. Nothing about how to start a website with the very best chance of success. Nothing about the big mistakes people make while selling online.

    Having a site just to have a site? That's vintage "why you don't want to hire a web developer" gold. It leads directly to "Yippee ...we're on the Web! ....Now what?!?!"

    Try a product which distills the wisdom of the people making a fortune on the web. ... Developing a product in no time flat. ....The ten selling mistakes web developers make. ....Templates which boost response 1000% because they don't just look different from the default Wordpress theme.

    What do a growing number of people think when seeing the default Wordpress theme? They think the person behind the site doesn't buy into the superficial, trivia crap having zero to do with boosting response that saturates the thinking of everyone with even a minute of web development experience.

    As far as these people are concerned web development is a mind altering drug that practically forces you to focus on factors proven, time and again, have the very least influence on sales ...while ignoring huge marketing and sales blunders.

    Related:

    Why Your Site Doesn't Need to be Pretty Why did the consensus gravitate to the loser "pretty" versions ...pretty much every time? Who knows. My pet theory is web development is a mind altering drug which should be regulated by the FDA as a dangerous hallucinogen.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      Complete? That's a little harsh.

      First off, the "website in a box" is an old, old idea. Targeting website "noobs" is also what everyone gravitates to. The web is old. Noobs are not as big a target market as they once were.

      Worst of all, noobs don't have the pain of having put up sites, dealing with web developers, and so on. Copywriting 101 is about finding pain and showing how what you do eliminates the pain.

      There is really nothing more than "start a website" here. Nothing about how to start a website with the very best chance of success. Nothing about the big mistakes people make while selling online.

      Having a site just to have a site? That's vintage "why you don't want to hire a web developer" gold. It leads directly to "Yippee ...we're on the Web! ....Now what?!?!"

      Try a product which distills the wisdom of the people making a fortune on the web. ... Developing a product in no time flat. ....The ten selling mistakes web developers make. ....Templates which boost response 1000% because they don't just look different from the default Wordpress theme.

      What do a growing number of people think when seeing the default Wordpress theme? They think the person behind the site doesn't buy into the superficial, trivia crap having zero to do with boosting response that saturates the thinking of everyone with even a minute of web development experience.

      As far as these people are concerned web development is a mind altering drug that practically forces you to focus on factors proven, time and again, have the very least influence on sales ...while ignoring huge marketing and sales blunders.

      Related:

      Why Your Site Doesn't Need to be Pretty Why did the consensus gravitate to the loser "pretty" versions ...pretty much every time? Who knows. My pet theory is web development is a mind altering drug which should be regulated by the FDA as a dangerous hallucinogen.
      i'm not asking if people think there is a demand for this information, i already know this product is a solution to a problem many people have. i'm just looking for tips to improve the sales copy, thanks though.
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      • Profile picture of the author aneel90
        I feel the actual sales page is a little too much towards the left and I feel it should be a little towards the center.

        Another thing is the page looks too black and white try adding color.
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      • Profile picture of the author John_S
        Yes. It's the free Wordpress theme market.

        There are more than enough tips there for improving the sales copy.

        However, don't take the reader to another page just to view the default theme. Twice.

        Do "before/after" images which show what you're talking about. They don't have to be full screen, reduced size is fine as there's little there to see.
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        • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
          Banned
          [DELETED]
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          • Profile picture of the author Steve L
            Originally Posted by alexa_s View Post

            Hi Steve, are a few minor grammatical observations welcome?

            - You should lose the apostrophe in "fee's"

            - You might hyphenate "ugly looking"

            - You should insert a comma after the word "then" in the sentence "So create a website then right?"

            - You might substitute "for" for "to" in the sentence about the "the best system to building ..."

            - You should insert an apostrophe in the word "days" in the sentence about "one days worth of work"

            - You should close the inverted commas that begin before the words "the hard way"

            - You should remove the apostrophe after the word "within" (where you comment about replying to emails within 24 hours)
            good lookin' out, thanks
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  • Profile picture of the author dave147
    [DELETED]
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  • Profile picture of the author retz
    Originally Posted by Steve Longoria View Post

    Hello pro copywriters and beginners alike,

    I'm looking for suggestions on my first sales letter here at

    Any input is appreciated!

    Steve
    I think people are being incredibly charitable here. That web site has absolutely everything wrong with it, from the poorly written copy (with inexcusable grammatical and punctuation errors) to the ugly layout, to the absurd premise.

    Maybe this is harsh, but nobody who has been on the web long enough to have tried to create a web site (and it's two words, by the way) and went as far as to create a blog with Wordpress or other software would need the product you are selling.

    Nobody that far along needs help understanding tags, keywords, search engines or style sheets.

    Anyone who doesn't understand how to set up a simple blog or to market their site isn't smart enough to use what you're selling, either.

    So, first, you are trying to sell something that nobody needs. Or, you are trying to sell something to someone who isn't even smart enough to use what you are selling them, thus you are just ripping them off some more.

    Either scenario is a scam, IMO.
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    I despise the non-word "noob" - it's too much a jargon some
    reader's may draw a blank on. I understand what it means but
    your visitors may not. You are kind of stuck with it here, so
    I'll grit my teeth and overlook it.

    I just looked. Headline. Not tight or succinct but not 1 of the awful
    49-word "kitchen sink" headlines we see here often.

    malibumentor.com Copywriting - The Problem With Headlines These Days <- A blog post I wrote about headlines.

    Here's yours:

    "Discover how to finally make a professional website, in less than 1 day, even if yesterday was your first day on the internet."

    1. Every word should have the first letter capitalized. When you get
    more experienced you may want to play games with the rule, but for
    now capitalize every first letter in your headline. "and, a, the..." these
    words can stay lower-case or not.

    2. Lose the period. The period stops the THOUGHT. The reader
    has an opportunity there to decide "oh, whatever" and leave...

    If your headline is not actually structured like a complete sentence
    (ie. made without and ending) then your reader is invited to go
    deeper.

    3. Lots of copywriters put quotes around the headline. It often
    lifts response.

    Use at least 12 point throughout. Not everybody has sharp eyes like you.

    Try not to begin a sentence with "So," - it's a weak, vacillating, tentative
    word. It's also weird to ask yourself a question in your own copy -
    excessively self-conscious. I don't know where writers get the idea.

    Let me qualify and say it's ok when Eric Louviere asks "Eric, what do
    I get" in his salesletter for his own $1200 plus $97. mo. product. Not
    for you because your visitors don't know you from Adam.

    You've got:

    "So What's Included In The WebsiteNoob System?"

    why not:

    "Here's what you GET!"

    ???

    Anyway - your pitch for what they get is weak - too weak to sell
    this at $37. Dude! That's forty bucks! Would you give you
    forty bucks for a few paragraphs of promises?

    Beef it up. Length implies more value.

    Don't be boring though.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by Loren Woirhaye View Post

      I despise the non-word "noob" - it's too much a jargon some
      reader's may draw a blank on. I understand what it means but
      your visitors may not. You are kind of stuck with it here, so
      I'll grit my teeth and overlook it.

      I just looked. Headline. Not tight or succinct but not 1 of the awful
      49-word "kitchen sink" headlines we see here often.

      malibumentor.com Copywriting - The Problem With Headlines These Days <- A blog post I wrote about headlines.

      Here's yours:

      "Discover how to finally make a professional website, in less than 1 day, even if yesterday was your first day on the internet."

      1. Every word should have the first letter capitalized. When you get
      more experienced you may want to play games with the rule, but for
      now capitalize every first letter in your headline. "and, a, the..." these
      words can stay lower-case or not.

      2. Lose the period. The period stops the THOUGHT. The reader
      has an opportunity there to decide "oh, whatever" and leave...

      If your headline is not actually structured like a complete sentence
      (ie. made without and ending) then your reader is invited to go
      deeper.

      3. Lots of copywriters put quotes around the headline. It often
      lifts response.

      Use at least 12 point throughout. Not everybody has sharp eyes like you.

      Try not to begin a sentence with "So," - it's a weak, vacillating, tentative
      word. It's also weird to ask yourself a question in your own copy -
      excessively self-conscious. I don't know where writers get the idea.

      Let me qualify and say it's ok when Eric Louviere asks "Eric, what do
      I get" in his salesletter for his own $1200 plus $97. mo. product. Not
      for you because your visitors don't know you from Adam.

      You've got:

      "So What's Included In The WebsiteNoob System?"

      why not:

      "Here's what you GET!"

      ???

      Anyway - your pitch for what they get is weak - too weak to sell
      this at $37. Dude! That's forty bucks! Would you give you
      forty bucks for a few paragraphs of promises?

      Beef it up. Length implies more value.

      Don't be boring though.
      awesome, thanks for the input buddy!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[962155].message }}
    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by Loren Woirhaye View Post

      I despise the non-word "noob" - it's too much a jargon some
      reader's may draw a blank on. I understand what it means but
      your visitors may not. You are kind of stuck with it here, so
      I'll grit my teeth and overlook it.
      Google Trends: noob, newb, newbie
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  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    Hi Steve

    I haven't read other people's comments, because I didn't want to bias my own impressions of your copy, so let me share with you my thoughts...

    (1) Who are you targeting? What is your target audience? If it's newbies (as implied by your site name and first headline), then I think the second headline...

    << Amazing new "open source" technology threatens to put "old school" Website Developers out of work! >>

    ... is a kind of "mismatch". It presupposes they know what "open source" is, and that they care about "website developers" and whether they are in / out of work. To my mind, it doesn't fit in with the way a "newbie" would think.

    (2) Reading until "Fast forward 3 years"... so far the copy is not bad ... but I'd suggest you break it up with sub-headlines, that (a) tell the story as well, and (b) break up the copy to make it easier to read.

    (3) In the same paragraph, you said: "It is an open source script, free for everybody to use!" ... here's where you're explaining "open source". Don't assume they already know what it means... so I'd rewrite this slightly and say...

    "It's what they call an "open source" script... which means that it's free for everybody to use!"

    (Incidentally, is Wordpress actually open source? I thought it was still "proprietary" in some way. Ah well...)

    (4) Looking at this paragraph...

    << The only thing is, there is still a learning curve to create a customized website/blog hybrid using Wordpress that is also built to be optimized for the search engines. It was this learning curve for the complete Noob, that I had in mind when I decided to create... >>

    I would suggest cutting out ALL jargon... "customized website/blog hybrid"... "optimized"... this paragraph has an example of two uses of jargon.

    If you're targeting "newbies", assume they are also newbies with regard to "customized website/blog hybrids, and put it in terms a 10 year old could understand... ie. "making a blog and a website work together"... and "optimized for the search engines".... i.e. "that people would be able to find using Google and the other search engines."

    OK, I skimmed the rest, and it seemed OK...

    One suggestion that may help you to get more sales... instead of getting them to buy now, why not offer them one section free of charge, in exchange for their email address.

    You can then follow up on these, and at the same time, you can still pitch them the rest, once they've signed up.

    The other benefit of doing this is psychological... once they've watched Video 1, they have started your course, and so you have the psychological desire to complete what we've started working for you.

    Anyway, I hope that helps! I don't think the copy's too bad at all. I know there are other ways it could be improved, but fairly good for your first sales letter!

    Oh yeah... testimonials. That would help. A good way of getting them is to go into the main Warrior Forum and offer your product for FREE to 10 or 15 people in exchange for an endorsement if they like the product. You should find 10-15 people willing to do that, easily enough.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

      Hi Steve

      I haven't read other people's comments, because I didn't want to bias my own impressions of your copy, so let me share with you my thoughts...

      (1) Who are you targeting? What is your target audience? If it's newbies (as implied by your site name and first headline), then I think the second headline...

      << Amazing new "open source" technology threatens to put "old school" Website Developers out of work! >>

      ... is a kind of "mismatch". It presupposes they know what "open source" is, and that they care about "website developers" and whether they are in / out of work. To my mind, it doesn't fit in with the way a "newbie" would think.

      (2) Reading until "Fast forward 3 years"... so far the copy is not bad ... but I'd suggest you break it up with sub-headlines, that (a) tell the story as well, and (b) break up the copy to make it easier to read.

      (3) In the same paragraph, you said: "It is an open source script, free for everybody to use!" ... here's where you're explaining "open source". Don't assume they already know what it means... so I'd rewrite this slightly and say...

      "It's what they call an "open source" script... which means that it's free for everybody to use!"

      (Incidentally, is Wordpress actually open source? I thought it was still "proprietary" in some way. Ah well...)

      (4) Looking at this paragraph...

      << The only thing is, there is still a learning curve to create a customized website/blog hybrid using Wordpress that is also built to be optimized for the search engines. It was this learning curve for the complete Noob, that I had in mind when I decided to create... >>

      I would suggest cutting out ALL jargon... "customized website/blog hybrid"... "optimized"... this paragraph has an example of two uses of jargon.

      If you're targeting "newbies", assume they are also newbies with regard to "customized website/blog hybrids, and put it in terms a 10 year old could understand... ie. "making a blog and a website work together"... and "optimized for the search engines".... i.e. "that people would be able to find using Google and the other search engines."

      OK, I skimmed the rest, and it seemed OK...

      One suggestion that may help you to get more sales... instead of getting them to buy now, why not offer them one section free of charge, in exchange for their email address.

      You can then follow up on these, and at the same time, you can still pitch them the rest, once they've signed up.

      The other benefit of doing this is psychological... once they've watched Video 1, they have started your course, and so you have the psychological desire to complete what we've started working for you.

      Anyway, I hope that helps! I don't think the copy's too bad at all. I know there are other ways it could be improved, but fairly good for your first sales letter!

      Oh yeah... testimonials. That would help. A good way of getting them is to go into the main Warrior Forum and offer your product for FREE to 10 or 15 people in exchange for an endorsement if they like the product. You should find 10-15 people willing to do that, easily enough.
      i really like your suggestions, thanks!
      {{ DiscussionBoard.errors[962162].message }}
  • Profile picture of the author Paul Hancox
    OK, now that I've read the other comments (I'm glad I held off from doing that until now), I'd like to address some of the fallacies raised by some of the other posters.

    Originally Posted by John_S

    First off, the "website in a box" is an old, old idea. Targeting website "noobs" is also what everyone gravitates to. The web is old. Noobs are not as big a target market as they once were.
    What does that matter? Steve has identified a "niche", and he is selling to that "niche"... which I'd suggest is quite a big one, since millions of people are still coming online each year... and millions of people who have never set up their own website and wouldn't know where to begin. Most of the people I know in real life fall into that category.

    Originally Posted by Retz

    I think people are being incredibly charitable here. That web site has absolutely everything wrong with it, from the poorly written copy (with inexcusable grammatical and punctuation errors) to the ugly layout, to the absurd premise.
    Ugly, to whom? Actually, I imagine to a "newbie" the look may be quite reassuring. It doesn't look too much like a sales letter, but more of a cross between a sales letter and a blog. To find out, you'd have to ask "newbies" what they thought of the design.

    Maybe this is harsh, but nobody who has been on the web long enough to have tried to create a web site (and it's two words, by the way) and went as far as to create a blog with Wordpress or other software would need the product you are selling.
    His target audience seems to be people who have not gotten that far. If that's the case, your conclusion is faulty.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by Paul Hancox View Post

      OK, now that I've read the other comments (I'm glad I held off from doing that until now), I'd like to address some of the fallacies raised by some of the other posters.



      What does that matter? Steve has identified a "niche", and he is selling to that "niche"... which I'd suggest is quite a big one, since millions of people are still coming online each year... and millions of people who have never set up their own website and wouldn't know where to begin. Most of the people I know in real life fall into that category.



      Ugly, to whom? Actually, I imagine to a "newbie" the look may be quite reassuring. It doesn't look too much like a sales letter, but more of a cross between a sales letter and a blog. To find out, you'd have to ask "newbies" what they thought of the design.

      His target audience seems to be people who have not gotten that far. If that's the case, your conclusion is faulty.
      thanks for responding to that, i couldn't have done it better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kunle Olomofe
    Hey Steve,

    First off, great product idea and price -- never mind what the dark forces are saying (no hard feelings dark forces -- web site noobs are probably always going to be a hot market, you just gotta find them and get them interested in buying from YOU (and that has more to do with your promotion, marketing and relationship building than your copy trust me on that -- ever seen really ugly sites with crappy copy making money? The secret is what the site owners do behind the scenes... a la promo, marketing, relationship building etc... copy matters but not as much when you can't get all the other stuff right...

    Second, your letter is good... I'm not sure what anyone is finding REALLY wrong here, reads great and makes sense, it's also believable though you use a lot of sales copy cliches but so what, they're noobs!

    Third, yes you have typos, so clear those up.

    But generally as a sales piece you've done well in my book, especially for your FIRST letter, I mean common guys, give him a break, this is a darn good first effort.

    You need to work on the following...

    1. The fonts are too small for the actual letter and don't match the headline font which is pretty eye catching. So change that font and make it easier to read by increasing the size perhaps one notch. You also want to remove the spacing, it looks really amateur. Keep your copy well spaced to make it easy to read.

    2. Edit that letter like your life depends on it, it probably does at this point ;-) So don't leave any room for people to question your professionalism, clean that site up and make sure your grammar and spelling are unquestionable (though some people won't care, do it to appease the naggy readers, they're important too;-) And anyway it's the right thing to do.

    Once you're done with those changes (and those made by others that you want to go with) the only real test you can give this site is to send some good targeted traffic to it and see what happens then tweak as necessary from there.

    Oh yeah, on a totally unrelated note... any relation to Eva? ;-)

    Cheers mate,

    Kunle Olomofe
    Signature
    Celebrity Marketing Formula - How To Quickly Become A Celebrated Authority In ANY Industry/Niche... Coming Soon.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by Kunle Olomofe View Post

      Hey Steve,

      First off, great product idea and price -- never mind what the dark forces are saying (no hard feelings dark forces -- web site noobs are probably always going to be a hot market, you just gotta find them and get them interested in buying from YOU (and that has more to do with your promotion, marketing and relationship building than your copy trust me on that -- ever seen really ugly sites with crappy copy making money? The secret is what the site owners do behind the scenes... a la promo, marketing, relationship building etc... copy matters but not as much when you can't get all the other stuff right...

      Second, your letter is good... I'm not sure what anyone is finding REALLY wrong here, reads great and makes sense, it's also believable though you use a lot of sales copy cliches but so what, they're noobs!

      Third, yes you have typos, so clear those up.

      But generally as a sales piece you've done well in my book, especially for your FIRST letter, I mean common guys, give him a break, this is a darn good first effort.

      You need to work on the following...

      1. The fonts are too small for the actual letter and don't match the headline font which is pretty eye catching. So change that font and make it easier to read by increasing the size perhaps one notch. You also want to remove the spacing, it looks really amateur. Keep your copy well spaced to make it easy to read.

      2. Edit that letter like your life depends on it, it probably does at this point ;-) So don't leave any room for people to question your professionalism, clean that site up and make sure your grammar and spelling are unquestionable (though some people won't care, do it to appease the naggy readers, they're important too;-) And anyway it's the right thing to do.

      Once you're done with those changes (and those made by others that you want to go with) the only real test you can give this site is to send some good targeted traffic to it and see what happens then tweak as necessary from there.

      Oh yeah, on a totally unrelated note... any relation to Eva? ;-)

      Cheers mate,

      Kunle Olomofe
      thanks for all the kind words and helpful tips! and no, i am not related to Eva hahaha. i get that a lot though
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  • Profile picture of the author apollion
    Hi Steve..just a quick one..I miss the list building factor in your approach :-(

    Give away something for free.

    The site looks nice btw..

    Cheerz Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by apollion View Post

      Hi Steve..just a quick one..I miss the list building factor in your approach :-(

      Give away something for free.

      The site looks nice btw..

      Cheerz Mike
      i may add an opt-in freebie within' the sales letter, but I don't want to mess with pop-ups, i don't care for those.

      for the most part though, i'm trying to offer low cost/high value products to build my list with.

      steve
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  • Profile picture of the author Emma Ngin
    Hi Steve!

    Overall, some grammatical errors can be fixed.. (but nothing that bad).

    Try a much harder sales PITCH (yes...It is weak), do something that will make them want your product the moment they finish reading your first to second paragraph.

    So far...so good for your very first sales page.

    P.S. It's nothing like Crap, ok?
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve L
      Originally Posted by Emma Ngin View Post

      Hi Steve!

      Overall, some grammatical errors can be fixed.. (but nothing that bad).

      Try a much harder sales PITCH (yes...It is weak), do something that will make them want your product the moment they finish reading your first to second paragraph.

      So far...so good for your very first sales page.

      P.S. It's nothing like Crap, ok?
      thanks emma! i actually received my first sale so that's exciting. so far the sales letter is converting .5% lol ... i haven't even start marketing or split testing yet, so i feel good!
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      • Profile picture of the author netwiseprofits
        Hi Steve,

        Hey for a first kick at the cat not bad, you should have seen my first sales letter. There's a story for disaster, but hey we all have to start somewhere.

        Let me share with you some basic ideas that can help you:

        1) Your pre headline (still struggling.....) Capitalize the first letter of each word, you may even consider highlighting the whole headline.

        2) Your main headline should be in a different color so it stands out, and again capitalize the first letter of each word. Also put this headline in quotes (")

        Another tip is you can use contrasting colors so if your headline is in red you can have a few key words in black (finally, 1 day)

        3) I would change the "1" to the word "one" for constancy

        4) I would change the background color, dark colors are hard on the eyeballs, a soft grey, a very light blue, something along those lines. Or even a white background and have your copy (page) bordered.

        5) Use 12 point font Tahoma or Verdana is easy on the eyes and easy to read for us older guys and gals.

        6) Create sub headlines to break up your copy.

        7) People want to know things like "How does this help me" "What's in it for me" So really explain all the benefits of your product. Make your copy benefit rich.

        8) Give away something for free to build your mailing list. Every effort should be geared towards building your list. 97% of the people that end up at your site will not buy. So when they leave they are gone forever.

        However if you get them onto your mailing list, you have the opportunity to provide them great information plus the ability to sell to them.

        9) **** The best resource for you to maximize your copy skills is go get a free copy of Ken Evoy's book Make Your Words Sell, just type in google Make Your Words Sell and his site will pop up.****

        Hope that helps, I think it is safe to say not everyone's first sales letter was as good as it could have been. Like anything it just takes time and practice to get better.

        So no worries you'll be fine.

        To Your Success
        Leo Emery
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