“Talking” with your prospective buyer is essential regardless of what you’re trying to sell. The sales letter (also called “sales copy”) you send out, whether through email or “snail mail”, is when and how you talk to your prospect.
Winning sales letters “talk” to the potential customer by creating an image in their mind. They set “the scene”, so to speak, by appealing to a desire or need, sometimes even creating a desire; and then they flow smoothly into the “visionary” part of the sales pitch by giving a detailed description of how “wonderful” life would be and, how “good” the buyer is going to feel after he’s purchased your product or service. This is the “body” or “guts” of a sales copy.
To be honest, a successful sales copy follows a time-tested and proven formula:
1) Grab their attention
2) Get them interested in what you can do for them
3) Make them desire the benefits of your product so desperately his ‘mouth begins to water’
4) Demand action – tell them to click the correct button or send for whatever it is you’re selling without delay – any procrastination on their part might cause them to lose out on this ‘very special offer’.
This works, and it is called the “AIDA” formula
(Attention, Interest, Desire and Action).
Your sales page on your website, should be the same length it would be if you were doing a direct mailing, or possibly longer if you’re using bullets to emphasize benefits in order to build the desire. Letterhead stationery or the cost of postage is off course something you don’t need to worry about on the Internet, which saves you considerable amounts of money compared to direct mailing by post.
If, however, you want to also do a mailing campaign by post then the following would apply:
The sales letters in mailings that pull in the most sales are almost always two pages with 1 1/2 spaces between lines. For really high value items, they’ll run at least four pages – on an A3 (11 by 17) sheet of paper folded in half. If your sales letter is only two pages in length, there’s nothing wrong with running it on the front and back of one sheet of A4 (8 1/2 by 11) paper. However, your sales letter should always be on letterhead paper – your letterhead printed, and including your logo and business motto if you have one.
No matter how long your sales letter is, it should do one thing – and that is to sell, and sell hard! To close the sale, you have to do it with your sales copy. Never be “wishy-washy” with your sales copy. The actual selling and the closing of that sale is done with your sales letter – any brochure or leaflet you send along with it in your mailing will just reinforce what you say in your sales letter.
There’s been a heated debate in the past few years regarding just how long a sales letter should be. A lot of people ask: ‘Will people really take the time to read a long sales letter?’ The answer is a simple and time-tested yes indeed! Many surveys and tests over the years prove beyond doubt that “longer sales letters” sell much better than shorter ones. Therefore, don’t worry about the length of your sales copy – just make sure that it sells your product or service for you!
There’s an “inside secret” to make your sales letter so interesting, and “visionary” with the benefits you’re offering to the reader, that he can’t resist reading it all the way through. You do this by breaking up the “work” of reading by using short, punchy sentences, underlining, or highlighting, important points you’re trying to make, with the use of subheadlines, indentations and even the use of a second color, and leaving lots of white space around it. On your website, remember that the sales letter should run down the middle of the page so the viewer doesn’t have to keep adjusting the screen to see the whole sentence. This would be distracting and more likely to send that reader to another site rather than losing their patience reading a long letter.
When it comes to the brochures and leaflets you may want to include in your mailing with the sales letter – providing the materials you’re enclosing are of high quality, they usually reinforce the sale for you. But, if they are of poor quality, look cheap and don’t compliment your sales letter, then the opposite would be true. Another thing: it will definitely classify you as an independent business owner if you hand-stamp your name/address on these brochures or advertising leaflets instead of having them printed.
If you have high quality brochures to send out, have your printer run them through his press and print your name/address whenever possible – even your telephone number and company logo – on them before you send them out. You want your prospects to think of you as their supplier – the company – and not as just another Internet Entrepreneur trying to strike gold. Yes, you could get by with less expense but you’d end up with fewer orders and in the end, less money in the pocket.
Another thing that’s been debated for years is whether to use a post office box number (P O Box) or a proper street address. Personally, I don’t like P O Boxes in a business address – because it transmits an aura of not wanting to be contacted or having something to hide. If your business is run from home, get a mail box from a post box vendor that has a street address. You can, for example get one from my-uk-mail.com. Then your address looks like, 123 Willow Lane, Forest Hill, AA11 2BB – the ‘box’ will appear as a real UK street address. I’m sure there are similar companies in other countries.
However, if you live in a remote area where your address is 7890 Main St., RFD 42, Box 123, Your Town, then you have no choice but to include both your post office box number, AND, your street address on your sales letter. For your website, on the other hand, put your street address, telephone number, and email address at the bottom of the page. In most cases the customer will contact you via email, but it creates trust if the buyer sees that you’re willing to give your address. This open display of your honesty will give you credibility and dispel the thought of you being just another “fly-by-night” mail order company.
Above all, you have to include an order page on your site (or coupon if you’re mailing). The coupon has to simple and easy to fill out and return to you. The order page on your site should already be filled out, with perhaps just the shipping options left to choice. If your product is an instant delivery eBook or software, you don’t give any options to choose from. A number of sales are lost because the order form is just too complicated for the would-be buyer to fill. Don’t get fancy! Just keep it simple, and you’ll find your prospects responding with a smile.
Finally: Should you include a free-post self-addressed reply envelope (SAE) in your mailing? Again, statistics show though that when you send out a “winning” sales letter to a good mailing list, a free-post reply envelope will increase your response rate massively. See Royal Mail’s website for more details and pricing.
Now, get writing that Million Dollar Sales Letter!