All of the marketing experts I have studied have a sales letter template. They use it like a checklist to remind themselves of all of the most important elements of persuasion.
If they leave something out, good chance it will flop. If they check all the boxes, there is a good chance it will work.
And the reason they use a sales “letter” template as opposed to a sales “video” template or any other type of template is because the words can be reused in other places like a sales video.
Once you have the words, you can use it any way you want.
It can be used in any medium, with or without design, with or without audio, with or without video, live or recorded, in any way you want.
I think of a sales letter like a sales person thinks of a script.
It’s the prepared message you want to deliver. It’s the sequence you want to communicate. It’s the talking points that you know are important to the prospect.
The exact words you use, the slang, your voice, etc are less important than the ideas you are communicating.
It’s WHAT you communicate, not HOW you communicate that is important.
These are in order, from the beginning of the letter, to the end, but broken up so that I can explain the importance of each. After I explain the elements, I will demonstrate how they fit together by writing a fictional sales letter, so that you can write your own sales letter.
Element 1: Attention
If you were at a festival and you want to get everyone’s attention, you would use a megaphone and speak loudly. That will get their attention. It works a little different online. You would replace the megaphone with a headline.
Notice how you scan through your news feed to look for interesting ideas. That is the right way to get attention online. And you get attention by making them curious & by revealing how your marketing is going to benefit them.
Element 2: Interest
After you have their attention, you have to generate interest. Speaking loudly with a megaphone may get them to look at you, but if what you have to say is not better than what they already had their attention on, they lose interest.
And since we don’t have a megaphone online, you want to use words; to make people interested. This portion of the marketing campaign is known as the lead. It leads people into your sales letter. It’s goal is to expand on the headline. You made a promise to improve their life, in the headline, now use the lead to explain what you meant.
Element 3: Problem
Your words have been compelling so far, so they are listening. Now it's time to rub salt in the wound. They have a problem in their life (which your product solves) and your marketing so far has promised to help them with it.
In order to keep their interest, you have to remind them of the problem in their life. Not at a surface level, but a deeper level. You do that by showing them the consequence of not doing anything.
Element 4: Solution
This is where you reveal your solution… not your product, but the fact that you are here to solve their problem. You are here to guide them. There is a solution to the problem in their life that you just reminded them about. You are the bearer of good news. Today, they may never have to worry about it again.
Element 5: Credibility
Now that you promised to help them, they are going to be curious about how trustworthy you are & how effective you are at helping people in their situation. So you have to build credibility. You have to prove to them why you (or your brand, etc) are qualified to help them. Why should they believe you?
Element 6: Proof
Once they believe in you, their next question is going to be, why is this solution the best solution on the market? Answer that question by sharing testimonials, success stories, stats, awards or anything that proves that your solution works.
Element 7: Benefits
Your solution most likely improves their lives in more ways than just the one you have talked about so far. For example, a golf membership does not just provide golf and all of its’ benefits, it also provides a pool, tennis, dining, a community & all of their benefits. Whatever the most important benefits are to your market should be addressed here.
Element 8: Offer
Now it’s time to make your offer. This includes the price, the terms, the features, any guarantees, any bonuses and a reason to respond now.
Element 9: Call To Action
This is a simple command. It’s simple because it’s short & easy to understand. It’s a command because it’s telling them what to do next, very clearly, because some people would hem & haw if you don’t tell them firmly & confidently what to do next. This can either be a hotlink or a button they click, which takes them to the order form.
Element 10: Warning
Warn them of the consequences of not taking action. It’s not mean, but it’s not nice either. It’s a sentence or a phrase that is strongly encouraging someone to move to the next step.
If your loved one had an addiction, you wouldn’t ask them if they want treatment, you would force them to check into the rehab center, knowing that if you don’t show some tough love, they are going to overdose.
This has that same level of urgency. If you really care about your market, and they really have a problem, and your solution really is best for them, you would be acting like an enemy if you didn’t do everything in your power to get them to solve their problem.
It’s the hard truth, the tough love, the leadership of a coach that they may not be getting from anywhere else but will often push the right people in your direction, because they WANT leadership, they WANT a coach, they are willing to hear some hard truths, if it means they can solve their problem. And by you taking this posture, the right people are MORE interested in you now, not less.
And this only works if you have delivered value beforehand. They must feel excited by your message because they are feeling a sense of hope, because you sound like you know what you are talking about and your solution makes sense.
Element 11: Urgency
Give them a reason to do it RIGHT NOW. Not tomorrow, not in an hour, RIGHT NOW. They are likely to get distracted and all of your hard work will amount to nothing if you don’t strike while the iron is hot.
You do that by creating a sense of urgency, using a deadline, a limited supply, an extra bonus or something that is true, but only available if they act immediately.
Element 12: Reminder
Many readers are skimmers, so if you are going to publish this in text, you want to provide the skimmers with a summary of the whole message.
It could be a “PS”, if could be a “last thought”, “summary” or whatever you want to call it, but it covers the main points in a couple of sentences.
Usually you will talk about the benefits & the offer because they care the most about how you can improve their life and if they can afford it.
As promised, I am going to walk you through each element in a sales letter. You may have noticed that I color coded each element using 3 different colors. In the following sales message you will see the same pattern below, so you can read the description above and then see how it could look in a sales letter...
Fictional sales letter for example purposes only...
Now You Can Fly To Your Friend’s House
No, it’s not a helicopter… it's not a marketing gimmick and this is no joke…
It’s a new innovation that is coming out, that I discovered in my investment research.
There is a company that is building drones that fly humans, right now.
They should be available for purchase in a couple years.
And right now you are ahead of the curve & if this is the first time hearing this information, you know I am right.
Some are saying “the Jetsons were prophetic”.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true… just like you never would have believed that you can order almost anything online and have it delivered within a day… and now it’s a normal part of our society.
In this letter, I am going to make the case that you should be considering this as an investment opportunity, because just like anyone who invested in Amazon a decade ago, this has the potential to change your financial future.
If you’re like most investors, you have had your fair share of economics bumps & bruises. The stock market crashes, the Real Estate market crashes, businesses fail, partners bail & you no longer know what to believe… so you do nothing… because not losing money is better than losing money.
That’s about to change!
See, the good news is that when you follow the advice in this letter, you are no longer going to have to worry about where you get your financial wisdom. I am going to show you which companies are positioned to explode, how to avoid paying brokerage commissions, where all the smartest investors are investing & why they don’t want you to know what they are investing in... and much more.
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You missed out!
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