Crafting sales letters is something we are all largely familiar with. I’m sure you’ve buried your nose in plenty of materials guiding you through the standard ‘how-to’ steps that form the basic shell of your next sales piece.
(You can also refer to last week’s post, where I included reference to Dan Kennedy’s ‘The Ultimate Sales Letter’…)
Now for this week’s post. Which, I can tell you now, will NOT give you steps like headline, problem, solution, bullets etc. What I’m going to explore is the nucleus of the sales letter form, the technical stitching and underlying layers that add substance to what you already recognize as the steps to writing a sales letter… and how to tailor it to an EXACT audience.
Quite simply, your sales letter must be readable. If it doesn’t make sense, you won’t sell anything.
You need to consider a number of different factors when it comes to your sales letter’s readability:
*Sentence length: what’s going to read better? Reams of long sentences with too many clauses and badly-formed syntax, or short, easily-digestible sentences that get straight to the point?
*Correlation: how well do your promises correlate to what your customer avatar desires/needs?
*Paragraph length: note: lengthy paragraphs aren’t visually appealing to people who want to read through your letter and still have time to eat their dinner.
*Vocabulary choices: do your words paint a compelling and irresistible picture in your reader’s mind? Do your words pack a punch? Can readers still understand what you’re saying?
When you sit there and think about your audience, do NOT (I repeat- DO NOT) assume they’ll understand your letter at the same level you do when you write and edit it.
Remember- not everyone in the world is a competent reader… while you may have majored in English at university, others may have found their niche elsewhere, such as math. Some people will read your letter and struggle with some of your phrasing.
This where you need to find equilibrium between your words and their effect. Use power words in your marketing efforts, but make sure your writing isn’t over-complicated.
Words matter. So many people I speak to who studied English at college say the same thing; there’s always a better word. For example, why label your lead magnet as merely a ‘workbook’ when you could probably sell more if you called it an ‘expert guide’?
Think about your verbs. If your offer includes a set of DVDs that help people learn more about starting their own bakery business, don’t say ‘learn’. Say ‘discover’, so when people read it they think less about ‘learning’ as they did at high school and more about ‘discovering’ something new and awesome that can make them lots of money.
Now, reiteration is something that constantly crops up when it comes to selling. Reiterating the offer, reiterating the unbeatable price if taken advantage of today, reiteration of why this product will solve all their problems.
When writing a sales letter, reiteration can prove to be successful when harnessed and leveraged in the right way. Again, I urge you to find dynamic equilibrium. Repeat, but not to the point where your reader gets sick of your words and promptly discards your letter into the trash.
You could make your claim in your headline. That’s the first instance taken care of. Then, you can reiterate in the following examples:
*In the bullet points (re-phrased)
*In the testimonials
*In the offer
*In the guarantee
*In the title for the order form
*In the P.S
Finally, I bring your attention to a major factor that influences the writing of a sales letter for a specific audience. Dual Readership.
You’ll find half of your recipients will fall under the ANALYTICAL category, where they take the time to read through long copy, make logical decisions based on statistics and facts, spend time musing over the testimonials and only take action when they’ve been provided with an avalanche of information.
The other half are IMPULSIVE; people who skim read, look out for the large bolded headlines, highlighted words and phrases, photographs, celebrity social proof and are stirred by emotional pulls.
Got an important promise embedded in a short paragraph? Underline it. Maybe highlight it too. Every heading and subheading can benefit from being emboldened. Italicize other words and phrases that you feel serve a bigger purpose in your selling endeavours.
In order to appeal to both readership paths, you must again search for and nail the appropriate balance. Your sales letter should offer enough information to satisfy the analytical readers, but not so much that the impulsive readers give up.
I recently sent out a piece of sales copy to a list of people, who we at GKIC have invited to attend our upcoming bootcamp this month. How did I lay it out? Completely handwritten, with titles written in a thicker pen. In fact, my opening headline was ‘I Don’t See Your Name On The GKIC Bootcamp List???’
Every so often I underlined words and phrases, such as ‘HUGE mistake’ and ‘This really is for everyone’. I even added appropriate strikethroughs when explaining how much money people have made from our bootcamp strategies. It’s these little touches that both the analytical and the impulsive notice.
As my P.S, I used the reiteration tactic; ‘you’re probably wondering why I sent this as a handwritten letter? In a plain envelope? I did it because it’s one of the most successful formats that has now been used in over 100 different business categories… at the bootcamp, I’ll tell you more about it.’ A successful way to drop the subject of my entire letter into the close!
I’m going to leave you with two things.
Firstly, a quote. Sean Platt discloses in his article ‘5 Reasons Why All Freelancers Should Learn To Write A Sales Letter’; “Sales letters are roads paved with words which lead buyers to solutions, sellers to profit, and writers closer to their happily ever afters”.
You, dear friend, are both the seller AND the writer. Get your sales letter right and you’ll profit AND live happily ever after.
Secondly… an exclusive announcement.
At GKIC we’ve been working really hard to make our mark across another content channel; Podcasts.
Podcasts provide an excellent opportunity for busy business enthusiasts to tune in and listen to your strategies, whether it’s on the subway or in a cab, getting ready in the morning or relaxing last thing at night.
Introducing our very own podcast:“The Small Business Marketing Hour: Hosted by GKIC”
We don’t want to give too much away… so why not check it out for yourself?
Available now on:
*Soon to be available on I Heart Radio (May 21)
Tune in and give us a listen.
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