Do you ever read the whole sales letter?

61 replies
I am just curious. I never read the whole sales letter myself. First off check the price, than scan for what benefits brings me.

Do you think that's just for us, who spend a lot of time on pc and don't want to waste our precious time reading 2-3 pages of copy ?

I never bought anything outside internet marketing niche .. How about you ?

Thanks,
Gabriel
#letter #read #sales
  • Profile picture of the author write-stuff
    No. (don't read the whole thing)
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  • Profile picture of the author Denise Hall
    No, I don't read the whole thing, except on VERY rare occasions when a salesletter happens to really catch my attention.

    Denise
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  • Profile picture of the author reclusivecopy
    Most people don't read all of the copy. Especially the really long copy. Even people who aren't in Internet Marketing.

    Thats why long copy dosen't mean more sales.
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    • Profile picture of the author MontelloMarketing
      Originally Posted by reclusivecopy View Post

      Most people don't read all of the copy. Especially the really long copy. Even people who aren't in Internet Marketing.

      Thats why long copy dosen't mean more sales.
      Wow... a statement spoken from the position of pure ignorance. I don't know where to even start to tell you what's wrong with this post.
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  • Profile picture of the author hukumat
    Writers and marketers never write sales page for reading.they writ it for showing impression.
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Engel
    I don't think I've ever read an entire letter.

    But I have had people who have read my letters...depending on what I'm selling. If you're selling a service instead of a product, people are much more likely to read everything. Expecially if you're setting them up to spend a lot. People want to get to know the person better, and if the letter is written right, it helps them do that. (That's also why it usually takes more than a single letter to get people to respond to services).

    Coaches, lawyers, copywriters, consultants...people WILL read your letters. Not everyone, but a high enough number to make it worth the effort to have GOOD copy. Not necessarily long...but good.
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    • Profile picture of the author SEO-IM7
      Hi gabibeowulf

      I personally do both. I tend to read the page and then as i start to get a sense of what the page is about i then scan the page for chunks of information. But if i really do intend on buying the product, i re-read the page (not scan) to see all the benefits of buying the item.

      SEO-IM-7
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  • Profile picture of the author Rayleigh
    I've read whole sales letters a few times, but on most occasions...i check the headline to see what its about...maybe the first paragraph...skip too the price and then maybe...provided the price is right and i might be interested...i'll glance over it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Loren Woirhaye
    No - never the first time. I scan rapidly and if I don't
    understand what it is quickly the copy has failed to
    reach me.

    There are exceptions... but they are rare - copy that
    is so well-written that I read it just for entertainment
    and instruction
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  • Profile picture of the author John M Kane
    I read every word...by some, like Makepeace, Carlton,Sugarman,Nicholas, Halbert, Bencivenga,and a rare few others, like Montello,and the Ritz.

    Most letters today begin to look very similar, like a kiddy carnival ride, with all the flash but, boring for an adult. Heavy on the Graphics. Those I scan big time. The better ones are written for scanners and thorough readers but, few I see are good at it.

    Our own JF Straw usually has his pix and that is it for showy graphic but, I read it all.
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  • Profile picture of the author erinwrites
    To be completely honest, for me it depends on the writing. Some sales letters grab you right away and others can turn you off right away. I usually start in "skim mode" but if the writing catches my eye, I'll read the entire thing--even if I don't think I'll buy the product. The more you read the better you write, right?
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    • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
      I agree with SEO and erinwrites. If it grabs me, I not only read the whole thing - I tend to grab pen-and-paper and copy it out by hand.

      Guess it's a copywriter thing. IMHO, a well-written, compelling sales letter is a thing of gold, a treasure to be studied.

      Dot

      PS - How can you tell who wrote a given sales letter?
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  • Profile picture of the author shardul2050
    first i read the title...
    then if i think its of some use to us to ..
    i read everything except the testimonials ...
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  • Profile picture of the author Chris_Willow
    The title and bulletpoints, BUT in very rare occasions I read the whole thing and (sadly) buy the product

    Chris
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  • Profile picture of the author keithakin
    I used to read every word . . . until I invested several hundred in products that all seemed to have had a similar sales page.

    Now, I scan through to check out the benefits and promises of the product, I then read a few testimonials, then go down to the glorious "buy now" button and decide!

    I too have not purchased outside the IM niche thus far.
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  • Profile picture of the author IRON_STRONG
    the reason most of you never read a sales page or sales letter is becuase
    1. we are all in marketing, sales pages are the standard means of delivering our message (we have become rather numb to them)
    2. every sales page may not be "the right offer, at the right time, to the right person" when you are there, meaning it may not be directed 100% at you.
    well written copy targeted to a specific audience WILL cuase them to read the enitre offer, unless they are marketers, or not that interested.
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    • Profile picture of the author AlexKaplo
      Originally Posted by IRON_STRONG View Post

      the reason most of you never read a sales page or sales letter is becuase
      1. we are all in marketing, sales pages are the standard means of delivering our message (we have become rather numb to them)
      2. every sales page may not be "the right offer, at the right time, to the right person" when you are there, meaning it may not be directed 100% at you.
      well written copy targeted to a specific audience WILL cuase them to read the enitre offer, unless they are marketers, or not that interested.
      Wow, that's well said, I couldn't agree with you more.

      Personally the only marketer I actually read the entire sales letter or always read their newsletter is Frank Kern, and most of the time it's not because I want to buy anything but because it's entertaining and funny
      and I never know what to expect from this guy. This is an approach I always try to achieve as well.


      Regards,

      -Alex Kaplo
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      • Profile picture of the author Darken
        as internet marketers, we are quite "numb" to sales copies already. personally, i don't read the whole sales letter, i check out the benefits and the price. if they are good, i might consider reading the whole sales letter.
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  • Profile picture of the author AnarchyAds
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    • Profile picture of the author keithakin
      Very good point AnarchyAds!!!
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    • Profile picture of the author IRON_STRONG
      Originally Posted by AnarchyAds View Post

      If I need to scroll to get to the point, the copy is not good enough.
      not sure what you mean here, are you saying there is no need for long copy?

      if so you're sadly mistaken. if not forgive my mis-understanding. although i do agree that if you dont have a clue as to what the offer is, or what the benefit of it is, it is worthless. i do however belive that a 40 page letter well crafted and structured to precision is compelling and engaging. as a matter of fact just last night i found a resource calle dthe copy writers tool box that was very long and possibly one of the best sale letters ihave ever read.

      i conider myself numb to sales page sites, but this one was extremly enticing and had me with my credit card on the table half way down.
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    • Profile picture of the author ic7
      Originally Posted by AnarchyAds View Post

      If I need to scroll to get to the point, the copy is not good enough.
      I have to agree. If I start scrolling, I'm bored. I think most copy is left unread because it's boring. We have to write copy that captures people from the first words and never lets them go until clickthrough.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dmitry
      Originally Posted by AnarchyAds View Post

      If I need to scroll to get to the point, the copy is not good enough.
      Or it simply wasn't targeted for you.

      A good sales letter is a combination of the right targeting and the right persuasion.

      I still remember the sales letter that brought me to the world of online marketing. It was packaged as an ebook and frankly I thought it was a very valuable ebook till the very end. I was sold right from the first word.

      Frankly I still haven't seen anything like it. It was amazing!
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  • Profile picture of the author Eric Engel
    He is saying that no matter how long your sales copy is, you need to be clear with prospects on why they're on the page and what you can do for them. You can keep talking to them. You can lead them by the hand. But you've got to be clear from the start.
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rogers
      Originally Posted by Eric Engel View Post

      He is saying that no matter how long your sales copy is, you need to be clear with prospects on why they're on the page and what you can do for them. You can keep talking to them. You can lead them by the hand. But you've got to be clear from the start.
      It goes beyond "being clear" and "what you can do for them." It's about drawing them closer... forcing them to sit up and lean in as they read. That happened to me yesterday with Mark Joyner's simple-ology letter (anyone know who wrote it?)

      I read (and study) at least one ad or sales letter all the way through every day - so to get sucked in that hard is rare.

      Frankly, anyone who calls themselves a copywriter and has never read a sales letter is fooling themselves. Go back to your cubicle.
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      • Profile picture of the author Eric Engel
        Originally Posted by Kevin Rogers View Post

        Frankly, anyone who calls themselves a copywriter and has never read a sales letter is fooling themselves. Go back to your cubicle.
        I think everyone here has read sales letters. I think the point is do you read them when someone is trying to sell you something.

        But really, whether you suck someone in or not, you have to be clear about what you're selling. I think a sales letter that talked about insomnia for the first 3 pages, without once mentioning a product, and then finally tried to sell someone a mattress would be a total flop.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kevin Rogers
          This question of reading sales letters and is long copy dead comes up often here. It's a valid question in regards to "do your tests show they outsell other methods?" - but what floors me are all the responses from marketers who apparently feel tortured by marketing.

          The only reason I can see asking a forum full of marketers and copywriters if they read sales letters is to ease your conscious for not reading them yourself. But, it doesn't matter if other people read them or not. No one reads bad sales letters anymore than they read bad articles or watch bad movies or listen to bad music. (some of those are difficult to qualify, admittedly)

          If YOU hate long copy sales letters so much then don't use them...

          Don't write them, don't read them, don't sell with them. Use your disgust to fuel change in the way you approach your market. You might find something that works much better. Maybe even create a new enterprise for yourself. Think Steve Jobs.
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          • Profile picture of the author Eric Engel
            Originally Posted by Kevin Rogers View Post

            The only reason I can see asking a forum full of marketers and copywriters if they read sales letters is to ease your conscious for not reading them yourself.
            You really think so? Could be. I saw it as a simple discussion...maybe someone wanting to know how well long copy works when selling to other marketers...or copywriters specifically. Could almost go in the chat area, if it weren't directed at copywriters.

            Either way, I can't see anyone feeling guilty for not reading sales letters...except as part of their jobs. I mean there's a difference between analyzing a Makepeace letter so you can learn, and reading Joe Blow letter to decide whether or not you want to buy a certain type of software.
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            • Profile picture of the author DavidJohnson
              To answer the question first proposed in this post: I always read everything, always have even before I began writing for a living. Now that I do write for a living I pay even closer attention because I can learn just as much from bad copy as good copy.

              As with most posts this one has taken a different turn and I would like to give my own personal spin on it. As far as long copy goes I personally believe that length doesn't matter as long as each word written gets the next word read, each sentence the next sentence, each paragraph the next paragraph and each page the next page.

              Some products and/or services need more copy than other products and/or services. The only rule of thumb is that the copy be only as long as needed to sell. Nothing more, nothing less.
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  • Profile picture of the author Darken
    well, sales letters works best for urgent consumers that is what i think. they probably read the whole long letter unlike us
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  • Profile picture of the author Brockmoney
    I am like you quick check price. Then I do read the entire page.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steven Fullman
    If I'm about to buy: Always

    If not: Almost always

    I'm probably atypical.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author OMI
    I head straight for the price to see if I can afford it first. If I can afford it, I'll scan over the sales copy, watch videos if there are any, view the demo if there is one, and finally do some research on Google to see if it's legit.

    I think the demo or research is the most important aspect for me to buy it. "Testimonials" can be made up and "profit screenshots" can be doctored, so they never hold much weight for me.

    Sometimes, even if I can afford it, it looks good, and I'm ready to buy...real world experiences or testimonials can change my mind or confirm that it's a good deal. That's were the research comes in. I check forums mostly, since there are usually dozens or hundreds of affiliates out there who don't even own the product, but are just promoting it. I'll also check youtube for any video testimonials.

    It all boils down to how it will help ME. If it solves a problem, will help me save time, or will help me make money, then it's worth it to me.

    The most I've spent on a digital product is $297, but it has made me thousands over time, so it was a good investment to me.
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    • Profile picture of the author Wan Mohd Hafiz
      I always read the whole salesletter if I have interest to buy it. If not, I just scan it, look at the price and then bye2.
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      • Profile picture of the author djleon1
        I scan then if interested drill down a little further. Can't say I ever read the whole thing. Makes a case for shorter letters maybe more bullets etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author LeannaLuck
    For me, it depends on whether or not the copy is extremely eye catching and interesting. So, my answer would be no for most sales copy that I read. However, I will have to say there have been a few (very few) that I have read completely.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pointman
    Most long sales letters I skim only. Unless reading it for educational purposes like Frank Kern's Mass Contol.

    One reason is before getting most sales letters, I have received numberous emails leading up to it. Also the testimonial portions are often time filled with the Usual Suspects.

    If I get a sales letter cold that piques my interest, then I will read the whole thing.
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    • Profile picture of the author Phil Coleman
      I love reading copy. I'm a copy junkie!

      If the headline draws me in I will read the subhead. If that draws me in I will read the first paragraph. Etc, etc. Isn't that what good Copywriting is supposed to do?

      I do tend to check the price though. I mean, what's the point in reading a 10 page sales letter, deciding it's a must buy, only to find it's $1265 and you only have £2.74. LOL


      I will usually rate the copy I am reading and can usually tell if it's written by someone who knows what they are doing.

      I have a direct mail piece written by Bob Bly for a high priced ($2000 I think) "How to market your Copywriting services" course. I think it is pure brilliance. It's quite long but I read every word, then sat trying to work out how I could get the money to pay for the course!

      Some writers seem to have a knack for coming up with the "thread" for a salesletter. They know how to keep you engaged.

      Unfortunately, I think too many sales pages are better than the actual product. You are drawn in, reach for your credit card, then 15 minutes later you sit there thinking "Hang on a minute . . ."

      But that's the nature of this business I suppose. I think the art of Copywriting has in some instances surpassed the art of product making.

      But it's still the most interesting and exciting business on the planet, right?
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      • Profile picture of the author SandyDuPlessis
        From a consumer point of view, prior to getting involved in Interet Marketing, I never read the whole sales letter. I simply read what was above the fold and then if it grabbed my attention, I moved down to the price.

        From there I would do a Google search (that was how I found WF in the first place) and if I couldn't find someone credible who had used and reviewed the product - I ran the other way.

        On the other hand there were a handful of occasions, when what I read sounded so good, I simply could not resist purchasing - usually to my disappointment.

        Today! No - I very rarely read the whole sales letter. I simply copy whatever grabbed my attention and file it away. If it is something that I want to consider purchasing, I then contact a few acquaintances for their input.

        On the other hand, there are a couple of marketers whose products I will happily buy without even looking at anything else - assuming the price is within my budget.

        Perhaps when my own first product is completed, I may see things differently.

        Sandy
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  • Profile picture of the author TianYan
    Yes, I do read salesletters word to word. But it depends.

    If it is an online salesletter, I would read it if it is a written by a master I'm trying to learn from. If it is for a product for purchase, I mostly skim and scan.

    The biggest insight about this though, is that I read offline related salesletter word to word for most type of products. Even if it came in with 16 pages. Online, the scroll bar is the biggest giveaway on whether I want to read, or skim.

    So why did I say I read salesletter word-to-word?

    I do that a lot, but rarely for generic online salesletters. Disguised salesletters in the form of an editorial or blog post is something that gets under my radar a lot. It's ingenious.

    Be Well,
    - Tian Yan
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  • Profile picture of the author Ryan Dodson
    The only time when I don't read the whole thing is when I know I'll be buying the product.

    Other than that, I often like to be entertained by what the seller has to say in his/her sales letter.
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    • Profile picture of the author Lambert Klein
      I skim though it then may go back and read it if it's really is interesting.

      Most of them are way too long for me. I think I worn my trackball thumbwheel out on a few Swear it was smoking...

      Maybe they should throw in a guarantee for a new mouse/trackball. LOL
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  • Profile picture of the author TianYan
    A neat discovery. Some people reading a direct mail piece will read the signature at the end first just to see who it is from. That's when the PS kicks in and reel them into the copy.
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    • Profile picture of the author myob
      Most people do not read long sales letters, but long sales letters actually pull much better than short copy. The sales letter should answer as many conceivable objections as possible.
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  • Profile picture of the author Darken
    Yes long sales letters are better than short ones because it explains more about the product/service.

    Targetted traffic would not mind reading the whole long sales letter.
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  • Profile picture of the author jbolte1976
    I was just discussing this topic with someone. Personally I get a little turned off by a sale page that seems to go on and on. My opinion is keep the fluff to a minimum. Otherwise you're at risk of me skimming over something important and I may miss an important point. I'd say get the the point quickly so you don't lose your reader.

    Just my 2 cents though.

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  • Profile picture of the author Darken
    what jason says makes sense too. my conclusion is a sales letter that is neither too short nor too lonnng... a moderate enough length is good.
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    • Profile picture of the author Gift
      I go over the headlines and try to pick the whole idea. If it's interesting, I give it a second read. But if I purchase the product, it's only after I gave it a 3rd read.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ross Bowring
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  • Profile picture of the author shreder
    I never read the whole sales letter except for times when I'm really interested in something and if I found the sales letter to be that good for me to learn from.

    Sale letters are not built to be read, you will probably find some very "stupid" notes if you read a whole sales letter.

    That's the whole point of a sales letter - grab the buyers attention without needing him to read it all.
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  • Profile picture of the author moneymake
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    nope i dont read. its boring to read.
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  • Profile picture of the author Internet Stores
    I usually don't read the whole sales letter, but if I know I am going to buy the product and I have time before either the product launch, I will read all the way through.
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  • Profile picture of the author teenmoney
    I never read all of a sales letter. Basically i know whether or not i want a product before i get to the sales page
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  • Profile picture of the author Li Weng
    I do, but only the good ones. I read to learn from them. I believe you need a longer sales letter for a more expensive product or service. If it's something like $20 then you wouldn't need such a long letter, as it's easier for people to decide to buy.
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  • Profile picture of the author BrainDance
    For your basic eproducts I scan it first, then...
    • Check to see how it looks overall. images, screenshots,video if any.
    • Check if contact info is available
    • What requirements are for the software if any.
    • Is there a return policy
    • Are the photos/graphics old and squished (usually indicates a reseller)
    • Is the copyright up to date
    • I then check the testimonials.
    • If there are websites listed I check to see if they are actually using what they say they bought.
    • if I am really interested but the rest is kind of 'off' I write the owner using the contact email on the site. More time than not, the link is dead or they never get back to me.
    I read the sales letter for information, but tend to skip over the fluff.
    If the letter is stupidly long, I leave the site totally.
    Though I do the above for all I check, sometimes it doesn't matter. Hence the initial scan for the refund policy.
    Check my review on some kunaki paypal products in the product review section.

    For non-eproducts such as higher end scripts and software I do a google search for reviews and comments from other sites/forums. It has saved me over 1500 in the past few months by taking the time to research what I am getting into

    LindaB
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  • Profile picture of the author jadsn
    i dont think i ever read the whole thing. i tend to buy a product based on a review from an unbiased source
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  • Profile picture of the author jazzyjeff
    I read every sales letter.

    The reason being is that for me, it is an educational experience. The more sales letters that you read and break down, the better you will be at your own copywriting.

    For all copywriters who want to get better, I suggest you keep a folder on your computer and save all the best sales letters that you have ever read. This way, you can see which Headlines, words or paragraphs work to get the audience hooked.
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