Copywriting Basics - How to Write a Sales Letter

by Mark Andrews Banned
14 replies
Copywriting Basics - How to Write a Sales Letter

Here, I'll attempt to give you some very basic copywriting knowledge... how to write a sales letter.

Copywriting differentiates itself from content writing in that typically the words used by the copywriter are designed to sell products and services.

And there's an art, a knack to getting it right.

You want the best conversion rate possible. The more conversions you make as a result of people reading your 'salesmanship-in-print' - the more money you'll make from your product or service offered.

How can you do this?

There are lots of techniques you can use, countless methods in fact which you can implement, but for the purposes of this very basic copywriting tutorial... I'll try to keep it short, simple, and to the point.

Every word you write in a sales letter will affect the readers emotions. Do remember this.

Therefore it's of paramount importance that you not only hold the attention of your target audience but also lead their emotions on a journey away from frustration and pain to pleasure. Essentially positioning your product or service as their ideal solution.

Your readers, your target audience, their problem is their emotional pain.

Empathize with this pain, acknowledge it and demonstrate clearly with your words used... why this product or service of yours will solve their frustration.

If you do this effectively you'll switch them onto the emotion of pleasure corresponding to your solution offered.

Ideally you want to switch out your readers feelings of emotional pain and frustration to a happier state of mind and if you can do this without jarring on the subconscious thought patterns of your readers... you will make more sales at the end of the day.

Typically an online sales letter will start with a preheader. The preheader is the text you see in the top left hand corner which leads into... the main headline.

The purpose of the preheader is merely to get the reader... to read the main headline.

Now, the main headline is perhaps one of (if not) the most important parts of your sales letter.

It's got to stand out and sock a very clear positive message straight between the eyeballs of your ideal target audience.

It's going to contain a very strong benefit to the reader, something which virtually compels the reader to read the first sentence. Stirring one core emotion only.

The purpose of the main headline IS to get the reader to read the first sentence.

Now, your first sentence likewise has one purpose only...

And that purpose is to get the reader, your target audience... to read the 2nd sentence down.

Many times this is where a lot of people fall down, flat on their faces. They write the most extraordinarily long first sentence. A big fatal mistake.

You want to keep this first sentence as short as possible. 6-8 words is fine. You only want the reader to slide down to the 2nd sentence after all.

Of course, you've guessed by now what I'm going to tell you the purpose of the 2nd sentence is...

Yep it's purpose is to get you the reader, to read the 3rd sentence down.

In essence you're creating a very slippery sales funnel.

First you invite the reader to 'peer over the edge' (the preheader)...

...next to stand up to attention at the edge of your sales copy (main headline) then... to sit down, ready for the slippery toboggan ride to the bottom of the page (starts with your first very short sentence) and finally...

...to gather speed and slide all the way to the bottom of the letter where your direct call to action is.

The introduction of your sales letter is often referred to as the 'deck' or the place where you create the 'buyers environment'.

Basically putting them, your readers, into a 'yes' state of mind right from the start.

To do this... you can ask a series of short questions to which the only answer in the mind of your readers is to think... "Yes!"

You don't want to pose questions which give an option for a negative 'no'. This defeats the purpose of your sales letter.

Subheadings can be used throughout your sales copy to great effect to bring readers attention back into the sales copy if you fear you are are losing their interest at any point.

Create a story shortly after your introduction...

People love reading stories. And if you segment this storyline throughout your sales copy, it can be used to excellent effect to keep the readers mind curious to find out the conclusion.

The conclusion of course you can wrap up in a PS at the bottom of the sales letter very close to your call to action / order button.

Bullet points are good for your speed readers and page skimmers. Use your bullet points wisely.

An odd number of bullet points often works better than an even number of bullet points. 7 bullet points is a very good number to use for example.

Each bullet point should contain a strong benefit. A compelling reason to buy into your product or service.

Make sure you do give real benefits and not simply features of your product or service. There is a distinction between features and benefits...

Features describe what a product does. A benefit on the other hand describes what a product actually does for someone directly.

Make sure to use previous customer testimonials in your sales copy. Try to use the customers full name, location and their website address. But don't post it up as a link. Simply post it like this example provided below...

Joe Bloggs
Eugene, OR - Widgetsxyz.com

The last thing you need are unintentional filters within your sales copy.

In this case, this filter (if a live link) is a perfect excuse for someone to click on that link (if posted) and to exit your sales copy quick as a flash.

Do this and you've just lost a potential sale.

In fact, use if at all possible a single column layout for your sales letter with no sidebars at all.

The last thing you want is the readers attention to be diverted out of the sales letter to go elsewhere.

You want to keep them sliding down your sales funnel with no distractions at all.

Use a mixture of short, punchy sentences and longer sentences. This will help hold the attention of your readers. And no more than 3-5 sentences per paragraph.

Use white space to good effect, it's perfect for splitting up larger amounts of text. And makes reading on the eye a whole lot easier.

Your buy-it-now button or options to contact you via various means can be placed in appropriate locations throughout your sales copy. Giving your readers different options to contact you works well.

If you do not use multiple buy-it-now / order buttons and have just the one at the bottom of your sales copy... make sure it clearly tells the reader what is expected of them next.

In other words, direct the action.

Tell the reader what you want them to do. And how they'll miss out big time if they don't buy into your product or service instantly.

You have to remember... people do actually love buying things. It makes them feel good buying things believe it or not. It sets off a little chemical reaction in their mind which gives them a feel good factor.

Strengthen this bond... help them to justify the purchase and chances are you'll get the sale.

There is a lot more to this than meets the eye and certainly I can't cover every detail here. But I do hope these few tips will help you to craft very well your next sales letter if you do attempt to go it alone.

You can of course invest in a few good copywriting books.

For the sake of a few dollars, some time invested digesting the valuable knowledge within them... the positive payoff for you will be tremendous. A fantastic return on your investment.

Or to save yourself all the heartache simply think about hiring a professional copywriter.

I hope one or two of you find this useful.

Obviously this is just bare bones very basic advice but apply this knowledge and you should be well on your way to writing a superb piece of sales copy.

Warmest regards,


Mark Andrews
#basics #copywriting #copywriting advice #copywriting basics #copywriting help #copywriting tips #letter #sales #write #write a sales letter
  • Good stuff. I think I know Joe Bloggs.

    There are some more good copywriting tips here (no affil, no connection):
    http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...over-edge.html
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    Marketing is not a battle of products. It is a battle of perceptions.
    - Jack Trout
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  • Profile picture of the author The Marketeer
    Nice post. Like the close.
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    • Profile picture of the author WittyBlogger
      Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

      Therefore it's of paramount importance that you not only hold the attention of your target audience but also lead their emotions on a journey away from frustration and pain to pleasure. Essentially positioning your product or service as their ideal solution.
      Wouldn't it be more effective to rub the salt in the wound? Agitating the problem until it becomes so significant that the problem needs solution? (And then proposing an achievable solution in his grasp later)

      I do think that content writing headline techniques can also be applied to the headlines for sales copy though, since sales copy these days are better off "disguised". I mean, look at Cosmo and Men's Health! :p

      Great stuff, Mark. Comprehensive.


      Originally Posted by Joe Ditzel View Post

      Good stuff. I think I know Joe Bloggs.

      There are some more good copywriting tips here (no affil, no connection):
      http://www.warriorforum.com/warrior-...over-edge.html
      I particularly like the part for "I'm offering this to you because I want the car". I can't remember what swipe it came from though... My memory needs a little jog.

      -wittyblogger
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      7-figure entrepreneurs aren't made overnight. You can make money online with a full time income through blogging and making words crackle with energy. ;)
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    Thanks for sharing Mark. I am sure this information can benefit everyone who reads it, myself included. Expertise is great when it's shared openly like this.
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    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Visit my site for more info

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  • Profile picture of the author unclebuck
    Mark,
    Thanks for taking the time to share all of that useful information. You can have the best product in the world, but no one will know about it or very few will know about it unless you position it right with the right copy. Thanks again.
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  • Profile picture of the author toby26
    Thank you mark. I read from the beginning to the end. Thumb up!
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  • Profile picture of the author Hobo82
    Thank's Mark for a great informatve thread, it will help many of us.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      You're all more than welcome, my pleasure.

      Obviously this is just very basic stuff here. Stating the obvious. Although sometimes it's needed.

      In all of the fog of so many threads pertaining to so many different elements of copywriting we need to (for the newbies sake) get right back to basics at times in order to help them (you guys above for example) the most.

      It goes without saying there is no set mechanism or methodology for sales copywriting.

      What works for one market may not necessarily work for another market.

      This is why it's so important to find out what has worked before for other similar niches and then all you have to do is 'swipe and deploy' these ideas across to your own niche marketing efforts either for your own marketing or on behalf of your clients.

      Swipe and deploy by the way is simply taking ideas from one niche and applying the same priciples of that idea across to another business sector.

      Not to be confused with outright copying which obviously goes against the grain.

      All the best,


      Mark Andrews
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  • Profile picture of the author JamesCx
    Caught my attention and had it all the way until the end and I bet you weren't even trying!

    Really helpful though, appreciate it when people take the time to write this amount of information, whether it's back-to-basics or not, it's always beneficial to someone. And in this case, it's me - thanks for that.
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  • Profile picture of the author legendkeeper
    How about adding a point that your message writing tone must be positive and should not sound that you are implying something rather it must be like you are dependable on the reader!
    It is a good approach as it gives user the confidence that it still has something that you care about
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  • Profile picture of the author max5ty
    Good post Mark.

    Anyone can tell you definitely know what you're talking about.

    Thanks for the guide.
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    • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
      Banned
      Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      Good post Mark.

      Anyone can tell you definitely know what you're talking about.

      Thanks for the guide.
      Thank you Marcus.

      Coming from one of America's most successful copywriters in the retail industry, this means a lot.

      Thank you for the compliment.

      It's much appreciated.

      I'll contact you again soon.

      Your mobile number btw seems to have been out of action the past few days?

      Kindest regards,


      Mark Andrews
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    • Originally Posted by max5ty View Post

      Good post Mark.

      Anyone can tell you definitely know what you're talking about.

      Thanks for the guide.

      Surely a mistake Max - Mark knows what he's talking about?

      I've never noticed that (lol)

      Only joking.

      Good post.

      Keep writing this stuff Mark - it'll really help our good friends who are just getting into this wonderful world of copywriting.


      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author Mark Andrews
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Steve The Copywriter View Post

        Surely a mistake Max - Mark knows what he's talking about?

        I've never noticed that (lol)

        Only joking.

        Good post.

        Keep writing this stuff Mark - it'll really help our good friends who are just getting into this wonderful world of copywriting.


        Steve
        I'm saving the best advice for my new copywriting course Steve.

        The above advice is just elementary level stuff - commonsense.

        Mind you, it's needed in these parts lately judging by many of the pitches we see here. Hopefully it'll help one or two out who are struggling to write their own sales copy. Help them to get their priorities in order.

        Thanks for recognising the fact I know my game. Good on you.

        Ya cheeky little blighter lol.

        Warmest regards,


        Mark Andrews
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