Sales letter tips for beginners

17 replies
Hello all!

Brand new to the forums, but hoping I can learn a lot here.

I've been writing for other people for years, but am in the process of developing my first actual CB product. (finally!)

My question to all of you amazing copywriters is this:

What is the one thing that every sales letter needs to have - or - to put it another way, how do you avoid writing a sales letter that gets nothing but eye rolls :rolleyes:?

I have a thousand other questions, but figured I'd start with this one. (ok, two)

Looking forward to meeting all of you!

Thanks,
CS
#beginners #letter #sales #tips
  • Profile picture of the author nicholasb
    every sales letter needs a very good headline. it is the first thing people will read and if its not good it will be the last thing people will read
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    • Profile picture of the author Dean Dhuli
      You're asking the wrong question.

      It's not - "What is the one thing that every sales letter need to have?"

      It is - "What is the one thing that every product need to have?"

      The answer is: A hungry crowd.
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      • Profile picture of the author AndrewCavanagh
        Yes. Dean is spot on.

        You need to know before you even create your product who the hungry market is that you're going to sell to.

        You also know exactly how you're going to get to that market effectively and what methods you're going to use.

        Then you gain an intimate knowledge of your prospect, where he's likely to be at when he reaches your sales letter and what's most likely to persuade him to buy your product.

        And that's what you put in your sales letter.

        What is most likely to persuade your prospect to buy your product.

        That will vary hugely based on what your prospect wants, what stage of the selling process he's in when he gets to your website, the price of your product etc etc.

        The two keys to writing a great sales letter that really converts are:

        1. An intimate knowledge of your prospect.

        2. An intimate knowledge of your product and the benefits it can give to your prospect.

        Ultimately the aim of your sales letter is to sell your product (obviously) so to write an effective sales letter you need to get to the point where you know your prospect and your product well enough that you can sell one to the other.

        Kindest regards,
        Andrew Cavanagh
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        • Profile picture of the author tiwi
          Originally Posted by AndrewCavanagh View Post

          Yes. Dean is spot on.

          You need to know before you even create your product who the hungry market is that you're going to sell to.

          You also know exactly how you're going to get to that market effectively and what methods you're going to use.

          Then you gain an intimate knowledge of your prospect, where he's likely to be at when he reaches your sales letter and what's most likely to persuade him to buy your product.

          And that's what you put in your sales letter.

          What is most likely to persuade your prospect to buy your product.

          That will vary hugely based on what your prospect wants, what stage of the selling process he's in when he gets to your website, the price of your product etc etc.

          The two keys to writing a great sales letter that really converts are:

          1. An intimate knowledge of your prospect.

          2. An intimate knowledge of your product and the benefits it can give to your prospect.

          Ultimately the aim of your sales letter is to sell your product (obviously) so to write an effective sales letter you need to get to the point where you know your prospect and your product well enough that you can sell one to the other.

          Kindest regards,
          Andrew Cavanagh
          thank you for these useful tips. I am also about to make sales letters but I am not very confident about it since I too am not quite sure where to start. This post gave me some bright ideas
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      • Profile picture of the author CSwrite
        NicholasB - great point, if you can't grab them right off the bat, there's no point.

        Dean - great advice - and a lot to think about.

        My issue is that a portion of my target market will be the jaded - and I'm trying to figure out how to reach them in that first 5 seconds, and avoid the "not another sales letter" problem.

        Is there a way to write a sales letter so that it doesn't come off, well, like a sales letter? Conversely, isn't that basically shooting yourself in the foot?

        (or maybe I just need to rethink my target market!)

        I think that has always been one of my biggest questions. How do you market something without going overboard, or falling into that trap of overselling?

        I really appreciate everyone's help and guidance.

        Edited to add:

        Thank you Andrew! While a lot of my target market will be those that are brand new to making money online, I think that a portion of them will probably be just like me - sick of the hype, sick of reading sales letters.

        I guess I'm trying to figure out how to market to "me." And I'm a tough nut to crack. And if I don't know how to market to me - I'm not sure I can even reach this portion of my target market.

        I'm picturing how I react to my MLM landlords (usually running for the hills) whenever they corner me about gogi this, or sugar something or other that - and trying to figure out how NOT to come off like that.

        Again, many thanks!
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        • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
          Originally Posted by CSwrite View Post

          While a lot of my target market will be those that are brand new to making money online, I think that a portion of them will probably be just like me - sick of the hype, sick of reading sales letters.
          And a portion of them will be retired, and a portion will be kids under 18, and a portion will be male and a portion femaie, and on an on...

          What you need to do is FOCUS on who your CUSTOMER is, not everyone who might possibly read your sales message.

          In any given sales situation, the majority do not buy.

          Many of those people have no intention of buying no matter what you say or do. Others are looking for AN EXCUSE NOT TO BUY from you. They are mostly only useful for helping you identify and craft answers to objections - mainly because there will ALWAYS be another objection as soon as you resolve one for them.

          These are "Bait Stealers", the little fish that steal your bait off your hook. They nibble, they peck, sometimes you even hook one.... then they spit the hook out or they're too small to keep.

          When you are fishing, you don't care about those fish except how to minimize their effect on catching a SERIOUS fish (or 10).

          When you're marketing, you shouldn't be centering your thoughts or efforts around "bait stealers" either (except to minimize costs).

          PLEASE REMEMBER: Your BUYER wants to hear from you. They want to know everything you can tell them. They already like you and they are listening so work with them.

          I guess I'm trying to figure out how to market to "me." And I'm a tough nut to crack. And if I don't know how to market to me - I'm not sure I can even reach this portion of my target market.
          Figuring out how to market to "you" can be a death sentence. Forget that. Figure out WHO your BUYER is. I can barely begin to tell you how much easier the rest is once you get the first part right.

          Hope this helps,

          Brian
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          • Profile picture of the author Yogagirl
            Originally Posted by LoudMac View Post

            And a portion of them will be retired, and a portion will be kids under 18, and a portion will be male and a portion femaie, and on an on...

            What you need to do is FOCUS on who your CUSTOMER is, not everyone who might possibly read your sales message.

            In any given sales situation, the majority do not buy.

            Many of those people have no intention of buying no matter what you say or do. Others are looking for AN EXCUSE NOT TO BUY from you. They are mostly only useful for helping you identify and craft answers to objections - mainly because there will ALWAYS be another objection as soon as you resolve one for them.

            These are "Bait Stealers", the little fish that steal your bait off your hook. They nibble, they peck, sometimes you even hook one.... then they spit the hook out or they're too small to keep.

            When you are fishing, you don't care about those fish except how to minimize their effect on catching a SERIOUS fish (or 10).

            When you're marketing, you shouldn't be centering your thoughts or efforts around "bait stealers" either (except to minimize costs).

            PLEASE REMEMBER: Your BUYER wants to hear from you. They want to know everything you can tell them. They already like you and they are listening so work with them.



            Figuring out how to market to "you" can be a death sentence. Forget that. Figure out WHO your BUYER is. I can barely begin to tell you how much easier the rest is once you get the first part right.

            Hope this helps,

            Brian
            Brian, that's a great analogy with the bait stealers and the big fish.

            I'm a copywriter but I just launched a side business (network marketing type business) and that analogy is something I need to definitely keep in mind when I'm working on my sales.

            I don't know if it's just me but I've read a few posts tonight and it seems like some of the people on here aren't quite getting the concept of basic marketing and sales.

            I've noticed a few people are jumping to writing the copy in order to sell their products. However, it seems like a few steps are missing--like forgetting to do basic market research (target your markets/buyers and who is actually going to buy their product).

            It goes back to another thread. If your product isn't great and there isn't a demand for the product, all the fabulous copy in the world isn't going to sell it.

            Also, I agree with Brian--you have to take the "you" out of the equation. "You" aren't your buyers. Dig and research and figure out the demographics and psychographics of your markets/buyers.
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            • Profile picture of the author lauraswane
              I would say, use a video to display the success of you product. When people see it, they believe it.

              As for writing the sales letter, this whole post has been very helpful.
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              • Profile picture of the author DVN
                I absolutely agree with what has been said about knowing your customer FIRST. Most everyone that I know who has launched successful products have told me that the key is to get to know a niche, ask THEM what they want, and then go find it or create it.

                You can have the greatest product in the world, but if nobody wants it all the great copywriting in the world is a waste.

                Also, if you KNOW YOUR NICHE, then it's much easier to write to them because they've already told you all of their fears, sources of pain, and the dreams that keep them going.

                Once figure out what fears and dreams motivate them, you're holding the keys to the vault.

                Bottom line is that both copy and product creation are about knowing the customer first and foremost... if you do, the rest will nearly take care of itself.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark McClure
    Long before a single word is written the master copywriter creates the "irresistible offer", as Bob Serling has said.

    Now that takes some thinking time!
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    • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
      : What is the one thing that every sales letter needs to have - or - to put it another way, how do you avoid writing a sales letter that gets nothing but eye rolls?
      Welcome.

      Every sales letter must to contain your Unique Sales Proposition.

      a/ Each sales letter must make a proposition to the consumer. Each sales letter must say to each reader: "Buy this product, and you will get this specific benefit." People want benefits not features.

      (some examples:
      - Red Bull: "Gives you wiiings"
      - FedEx: "When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight"
      - Head & Shoulders: "You get rid of dandruff"

      b/ The proposition must be one that the competition either cannot, or does not, offer. It must be unique—either a uniqueness of the brand or a claim not otherwise made in that particular field of sales letter.

      c/ The Unique Selling Proposition must be so strong that it can mobilize the crowd, i.e., pull over new customers to your product.

      Hope it helps,

      Sandor
      __________________
      "Nobody, who did not enter, gained a competition yet." (A.Bennett)
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  • Profile picture of the author Niel Rose
    Funny enough, this thread could be used as a great source of getting to know your niche.

    CSwrite is looking for the secrets to great copy right?

    Now that I have read through a lot of her questions and problems, I know what a person in the "How to write good copy" niche should be focusing on in their sales-letter and/or video.

    So let's say for example, I need to sell my awesome copy writing product, I would be on this forum, reading through some of the complaints, problems and inquiries of people wanting to learn how to write great copy.

    I will know exactly what to focus on in my product and my sales-letter.

    Peace
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  • Profile picture of the author The Copy Nazi
    Banned
    It's not so much the writing - it's about being "on target". The slickest of copy will fall on deaf ears if you're pitching a book on "The Gay Guide to Knitting" to a bunch of truck-drivers.
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    • Profile picture of the author DanielleLynnCopy
      Originally Posted by The Copy Nazi View Post

      It's not so much the writing - it's about being "on target". The slickest of copy will fall on deaf ears if you're pitching a book on "The Gay Guide to Knitting" to a bunch of truck-drivers.
      I was tempted to check Amazon for that book. It would be the ultimate 'coffee table book conversation starter.'

      Regarding the topic at hand - everyone here has put in great input. At the end of the day, just remember that there isn't a 'formula' per say - there's methods that are tried and true; basically what works and what doesn't work.

      As several people have already mentioned you need to know your market before you even pick up your pen/keyboard.

      My suggestion: Do that heavy research and understand what your market responds to. Then answer to your question of what to write and how to unfold the pitch to them without triggering eye-rolling will come naturally.
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