Which came first? - The Product or the Sales letter?

46 replies
Hey Warriors,

I just thought I would ask you which one do you produce first, Your
product or your sales letter?

In the past I've done it both ways.

I created a product and then created the sales letter to go along with it
and I've also done it the other way by creating the Sales letter first as a
guide and then creating the product.

Which way works best for you and why?

Thanks in advance for the replies.
Have a Great Day!
Michael
#letter #product #sales
  • Profile picture of the author dvduval
    For me it is always the product, but I see software, so I assume that would be normal.
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  • Profile picture of the author diamondseeker
    Interesting Question.

    I know a guy who actually announces a new product on his blog, then asks for comments, Then produces the product according to the comments recieved. He is very successful. So I think writing the sales letter would
    be the way to go, right after doing some type of survey.
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  • Profile picture of the author George Wright
    HI,

    LOL, Brilliant question.

    Sometimes when I'm working on a sales letter for a certain product the creative juices start to flow RE: Benefits and Features and as I think about them a new product is created right before my eyes.

    In-other-words, as I say it can do this or that I reexamine the product which doesn't do this or that and have to "create" a product that does.

    George Wright
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    "The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book." Mickey Spillane
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
      Originally Posted by George Wright View Post

      HI,

      LOL, Brilliant question.

      Sometimes when I'm working on a sales letter for a certain product the creative juices start to flow RE: Benefits and Features and as I think about them a new product is created right before my eyes.

      In-other-words, as I say it can do this or that I reexamine the product which doesn't do this or that and have to "create" a product that does.

      George Wright
      George, That's happens to me too...lol

      Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author R Hagel
    I've done it both ways as well.

    I like doing the initial sales letter draft first while my enthusiasm is at its highest -- I think the passion shines through to the sales letter.

    But if I do the product first (which is actually more common for me), then I set it aside for a while before working on the sales letter. Otherwise, the sales letter looks more like a tired afterthought.

    Cheers,
    Becky
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    I've done this both ways but since I write mostly for other people
    then I must see the product first. But writing the sales letter
    first keeps you honest to what you are going to deliver.

    -Ray Edwards
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  • Profile picture of the author jhongren
    Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I just thought I would ask you which one do you produce first, Your
    product or your sales letter?

    In the past I've done it both ways.

    I created a product and then created the sales letter to go along with it
    and I've also done it the other way by creating the Sales letter first as a
    guide and then creating the product.

    Which way works best for you and why?

    Thanks in advance for the replies.
    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
    Hi Michael,

    How have you been?

    Normally I would create a product first
    because the product is meant to meet
    a specific need or want and there
    is a gap which I can fill.

    Then I will do the sales page. =)

    Then I will add bonuses to complement
    the actual product so that the customer
    can meet more of his need/ wants. =)

    Cheers,
    John
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
      Hi John,

      Hope things are going well for you and yours.

      Things here have been good, Thank You for asking!

      Catch you on skype soon ;-)

      Have a Great Day!
      Michael
      Originally Posted by jhongren View Post

      Hi Michael,

      How have you been?

      Normally I would create a product first
      because the product is meant to meet
      a specific need or want and there
      is a gap which I can fill.

      Then I will do the sales page. =)

      Then I will add bonuses to complement
      the actual product so that the customer
      can meet more of his need/ wants. =)

      Cheers,
      John
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  • Profile picture of the author mikemcmillan
    Sales letter first. Then reverse engineer your product from the letter. Doing this gives a blueprint for what you product must contain. A great sales letter can sell a bad product, but a bad sales letter won't sell much of a product no matter how good it is.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
      Hi John,
      Hi Mike,

      You both bring up the points that caused me to create this very thread!

      OK, Now 3 Warriors need Help!...lol

      Anyone have test results that state one way is better than the other?

      Hey, I have to ask, OK?

      Have a Great Day!
      Michael
      Originally Posted by jhongren View Post

      Hi Michael,

      How have you been?

      Normally I would create a product first
      because the product is meant to meet
      a specific need or want and there
      is a gap which I can fill.

      Then I will do the sales page. =)

      Then I will add bonuses to complement
      the actual product so that the customer
      can meet more of his need/ wants. =)

      Cheers,
      John
      Originally Posted by mikemcmillan View Post

      Sales letter first. Then reverse engineer your product from the letter. Doing this gives a blueprint for what you product must contain. A great sales letter can sell a bad product, but a bad sales letter won't sell much of a product no matter how good it is.
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  • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
    Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I just thought I would ask you which one do you produce first, Your
    product or your sales letter?

    Michael

    Michael,

    And here I thought I was coming into a thread much like "which one came first, the chicken or the egg?" Lol now I won't be able to razz you.

    Seriously, I am not a copywriter by no means, but I prefer to create the product first. This way the bullet points and benefits are already drilled into my head, so all I have to do is type them out, and fill in the rest.

    As far as this question goes ...

    Anyone have test results that state one way is better than the other?
    I think the results would be hard to determine because each person is different, and something like this would be determined on personal preference wouldn't it?

    Just a thought ...


    Mary
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  • Profile picture of the author kempos
    For me it would be a product, however Mike McMillan has a point
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    • Profile picture of the author mmurtha
      Originally Posted by kempos View Post

      For me it would be a product, however Mike McMillan has a point
      Would you care to elaborate as to why you would do it that way?

      Just curious ...

      Btw, you may want to extend your posts beings how you just joined and posted very few comments. Doing so may keep your posts from getting deleted so quickly.
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      • Profile picture of the author kempos
        Originally Posted by mmurtha View Post

        Would you care to elaborate as to why you would do it that way?

        Just curious ...

        Btw, you may want to extend your posts beings how you just joined and posted very few comments. Doing so may keep your posts from getting deleted so quickly.
        Yes, sure.

        I think I would need a product to be able to write a sales letter. This is pretty much the reason I would start with a product. It is easier for me this way.

        I see some interesting post here, like working backwards - yes, it sounds like a grand idea, but I do not think it would work for me. It does not mean however that it is wrong.

        thanks,

        kempos
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  • Profile picture of the author INFOSEEKER-2009
    I would say that it really depends on the market that is being Targeted ...

    Technical products develop easier without the product ...

    Personal products develop easier with a product ...

    From a copy writer's point of view ! ! !
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
    Originally Posted by mmurtha View Post

    Michael,

    And here I thought I was coming into a thread much like "which one came first, the chicken or the egg?" Lol now I won't be able to razz you.
    Guilty as Charged, Razz Away!

    Seriously, I am not a copywriter by no means, but I prefer to create the product first. This way the bullet points and benefits are already drilled into my head, so all I have to do is type them out, and fill in the rest.
    Good Points Thanks!
    As far as this question goes ...

    I think the results would be hard to determine because each person is different, and something like this would be determined on personal preference wouldn't it?

    Just a thought ...


    Mary
    Hi Mary,

    Don't look into the light!
    Keep it simple and allow it to complex on it's own.
    Life is tough enough don't you think?
    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
    Originally Posted by kempos View Post

    For me it would be a product, however Mike McMillan has a point
    Hi Kempos,
    Yes, He had a good point, I hope others will add fuel to the fire so that we can see the whole picture.

    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
    Originally Posted by INFOSEEKER-2009 View Post

    I would say that it really depends on the market that is being Targeted ...

    Technical products develop easier without the product ...

    Personal products develop easier with a product ...

    From a copy writer's point of view ! ! !
    Originally Posted by Traffic-Bug View Post

    It depends on the type of product you are promoting. As infoseeker-2009 has put it in words.
    Hi INFOSEEKER,
    Very True!

    Each situation could require a different plan of attack.

    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
    PS, Traffic-Bug, Thanks for your input!
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
      Basically product, but I tend to make notes for my sales page as I'm developing the product. As I see the benefits it will offer, I note the ideas down for the letter.
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      Kevin Riley, Kevin Riley Publishing, Osaka, Japan


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      • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
        Hi Kevin,

        Thanks for the reply!

        I tend to do the same thing but then some times weird thinks happen such
        as waking up in the middle of the night only to see Hamsters going
        through my Secret Files?

        You wouldn't know anything about that would you? I Have two
        detained here now but they won't talk. I May have to Google "Water
        Boarding" and give that a try! :rolleyes:

        Still not sure if it was a Bad Dream or Something I Ate the night before?

        Anyway, Gotta go now!
        Talk with you later,

        Have a Great Morning/Day!
        Michael
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        • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
          Hah! My agents are tougher than that. You'll waterboard them and they'll just thank you for the dip. We don't send any sissy hamsters out into the field.




          Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post

          Hi Kevin,

          Thanks for the reply!

          I tend to do the same thing but then some times weird thinks happen such
          as waking up in the middle of the night only to see Hamsters going
          through my Secret Files?

          You wouldn't know anything about that would you? I Have two
          detained here now but they won't talk. I May have to Google "Water
          Boarding" and give that a try! :rolleyes:

          Still not sure if it was a Bad Dream or Something I Ate the night before?

          Anyway, Gotta go now!
          Talk with you later,

          Have a Great Morning/Day!
          Michael
          Signature
          Kevin Riley, Kevin Riley Publishing, Osaka, Japan


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  • Profile picture of the author Steve L
    i made my current product first, sales letter second.

    isn't the other way around called "dry testing"? i plan on trying this out in the future
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  • Profile picture of the author dageniusmarketer
    For me personally, its always the product. I then take my product apart piece by piece to formulate all the benefits and features for the salesletter. Thats my usual process, cant see me deviating too much from that technique going forward.
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    • Profile picture of the author David_Thompson
      I would say product first then salesletter, but as I'm working on the product
      itself I make notes in a dummy salesletter template so I can go back later
      and write the whole thing...

      But I'm no copywriter so it is always just a draft of what I would want...

      Product developers ain't always the best people to write their own copy
      so hiring out is a must for most of us...

      --David
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  • Profile picture of the author Dan Ambrose
    Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post

    Hey Warriors,

    I just thought I would ask you which one do you produce first, Your
    product or your sales letter?

    In the past I've done it both ways.

    I created a product and then created the sales letter to go along with it
    and I've also done it the other way by creating the Sales letter first as a
    guide and then creating the product.

    Which way works best for you and why?

    Thanks in advance for the replies.
    Have a Great Day!
    Michael
    For me, it's DEFINATELY the product.

    I generally outsource a lot of my sales letters (to Loren Woirhaye - super copywriter) and therefore need to show the product to him so he knows what to sell in the letter.

    If it was the other way around then the convo would go like this:

    Me: Hi Loren, can you put a sales copy together for me?
    Loren: sure thing bud, what ya sellin?
    Me: Don't know yet.
    Loren: erm...

    You see my point.

    Daniel
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  • Profile picture of the author Revolves
    I read this somewhere long back (I mean before 2005), that one of the tricks is writing your sales letter first. See how electrifying your sales letter is, and then write your ebook or create your product in such a way that ALL points you promised in your letter are delivered. Well, but I'm still on the verge of creating my first product. So lets see how it goes!
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  • Profile picture of the author artwebster
    Fascinating!

    Obviously only digital products are being spoken of - a miniscule part of the market place trying to set the rules for the rest.

    I do know one company that creates extruded plastic gizmos and every so often they will survey their clients and ask them what they would like to see added to the product range. If they get a high enough repsonse for a particular gizmo they will set the tool makers to work, set up an advertising campaign and get the reps out on the road with a 'write up' of the new gizmo to take advance orders. They sometimes have sold the first production run before the machines are set up to produce it.
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
      Originally Posted by artwebster View Post

      Fascinating!

      Obviously only digital products are being spoken of - a miniscule part of the market place trying to set the rules for the rest.
      Hi Art,
      No one is trying to set any rules here, we're just discussing how we do a particular thing.
      I do know one company that creates extruded plastic gizmos and every so often they will survey their clients and ask them what they would like to see added to the product range. If they get a high enough repsonse for a particular gizmo they will set the tool makers to work, set up an advertising campaign and get the reps out on the road with a 'write up' of the new gizmo to take advance orders. They sometimes have sold the first production run before the machines are set up to produce it.
      Been there and Done that my self as the Senior Engineer for an Automotive Company.

      Have a Great Day!
      Michael
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  • Profile picture of the author artwebster
    Hi Art,
    No one is trying to set any rules here, we're just discussing how we do a particular thing.


    Point taken - I stand corrected.
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    You might not like what I say - but I believe it.
    Build it, make money, then build some more
    Some old school smarts would help - and here's to Rob Toth for his help. Bloody good stuff, even the freebies!

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  • Profile picture of the author ktpasco
    Here's what works for me:

    I go find a niche that I like and want to promote. Create a product and then create the sales letter and promotional tools. It's that easy.

    If you create the sales letter first you're just hoping it sells which isn't smart at all.
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  • Profile picture of the author Valeriu Popescu
    I don't think there is a general rule for this, so I'll share here my latest experience for my JV book.

    First I make a draft that include the main chapter of my book. Than include the parts of the chapters and translate all into a "sales letter".

    Second, I start writing my book.

    After it was finished, I came back to the sales letter and improve it. Since I don't like hype, I'we stay away from this. I include into the letter EXACTLY what my book is talking about. NO hype, NO false promises...

    Finally, I start testing different elements of my sales letter using Adwords before I release it to the public. When I thought I had a winner, I launch it.

    Hope this help!

    Valeriu
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  • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
    Creating a salesletter for a potential product that you still haven't developed is a good way to test the market. Depending on the results you get, make a decision to either develop the product or scrap the idea.

    Tyrus
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    • Profile picture of the author David_Thompson
      Now I'm seeing a few interesting points here some people think it's better to start
      with the salesletter first then test the market, to me that's just setting yourself
      up for a major letdown...and way too much work or I'm missing something here...

      --David
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      • Profile picture of the author INFOSEEKER-2009
        David,

        Revise ... Revise ... Revise ... Rule of Thumb in Marketing ... ! ! !

        I think ... lol ...

        Originally Posted by David_Thompson View Post

        Now I'm seeing a few interesting points here some people think it's better to start
        with the salesletter first then test the market, to me that's just setting yourself
        up for a major letdown...and way too much work or I'm missing something here...

        --David
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  • Profile picture of the author Stefan Vee
    Excellent question!

    Here's what I do (and it works perfectly)

    It starts with an idea...
    I then create an excellent product cover, a small pitch letter (great title + launch date) and a subscribe box (product will be launched by invitation only on "this" date)

    This gives me a time-frame that forces me to finish the product by that time.

    If the amount of subscribers doesn't meet my expectations, I blow the project off. But usually, the amount of subscribers motivates me enough to create a great info-product.
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    • Profile picture of the author kempos
      Originally Posted by Stefan Vee View Post

      Excellent question!

      Here's what I do (and it works perfectly)

      It starts with an idea...
      I then create an excellent product cover, a small pitch letter (great title + launch date) and a subscribe box (product will be launched by invitation only on "this" date)

      This gives me a time-frame that forces me to finish the product by that time.

      If the amount of subscribers doesn't meet my expectations, I blow the project off. But usually, the amount of subscribers motivates me enough to create a great info-product.

      Really great idea. Never thought about it to be honest.
      Nice one and very clever.
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    • Profile picture of the author INFOSEEKER-2009
      I Like your Time-Enforcement Idea ...


      Originally Posted by Stefan Vee View Post

      Excellent question!

      Here's what I do (and it works perfectly)

      It starts with an idea...
      I then create an excellent product cover, a small pitch letter (great title + launch date) and a subscribe box (product will be launched by invitation only on "this" date)

      This gives me a time-frame that forces me to finish the product by that time.

      If the amount of subscribers doesn't meet my expectations, I blow the project off. But usually, the amount of subscribers motivates me enough to create a great info-product.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kelly Verge
    I've always done product first, but usually as I write the sales letter I end up discovering other areas that can and should be added to the product to fill in benefits. This often makes me feel like I've missed something in the product during the initial creation step.

    It's good to see that some create the sales page first. It kind of validates my post-sales-page additions. I'll have to try doing the sales page first to see if it helps my flow.
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    • Profile picture of the author Ram
      Frequently the sales letter in a rough form.

      We get an idea. Then we start mapping out the sales letter - all the bullet points we can think of. All the promises. Then we make the product do what we want it to.
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  • Profile picture of the author blogginvixen
    For me, it's the product that comes first. Once I have a specific idea in mind and write it out (9 times out of 10 it's an eBook), then I can craft the sales letter. That way, I can truly speak on the benefits of the book and what it has to offer readers.
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  • Profile picture of the author elle56
    For me, the product comes first before the sales page. It allows me to formulate my pitch better.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kyle Tully
    I usually outline my product as a mindmap first. Then write my salesletter based on that. Finally create the product and deliver everything I promised in the salesletter.
    Signature
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  • Profile picture of the author rohar
    When I started reading this thread, I was fairly sure that it was a simple process of
    1 )finding out what the product needed to contain
    2) out lining the benefits that had to be delivered - and hence the seed of the sales letter - the pitch to persuade folks that it was worth doing
    3) create the product ensuring that the sought for benefits were present
    4 ) modify / polish the sales letter to encompass new found benefits that came from the techniques used to create product.
    OK I admit that steps 3 and 4 sometimes got repeated a few times...

    I come from a software background and we used a similar process to get resources for creating products. Somehow I just expected to use the same process for info products.

    Now I'm not so sure. There seems to be a lot more flexibility about this than I had thought and reading between the lines it seems to be a combination of personal preferences and past experience.

    At the very least it make me think - thanks I think <grin>
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    • Profile picture of the author Michael Mayo
      Hey Warriors,

      There have been some interesting replies to my question, Thanks!

      I believe it is a matter of choice to which way works best.
      Some times I find when I create the Sales page first it helps to keep me
      focused on creating the product to specs. It also reminds me that I need
      to get the product to at least what the sales letter states there by stopping
      me from constantly improving on the product while it's under production.

      Some thing I learned a long time ago is that when you are creating a product
      It's very easy to keep adding things to make it better and better.

      The problem is the fact that you never seem to finish it and begin to earn
      any profits if you keep making it better. I find it's better to get the project
      to the point where your original plan stated then after the launch, send
      out updates.

      This does a couple of good things for you. One it allows you to contact
      the purchaser again and you are giving them something with out asking for
      anything in return, second it builds relations with the customer increasing
      the open rate of your future emails.

      Thanks for all the replies!

      Have a Great Day!
      Michael
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