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How to Write a Sales Letter That Works

Jul 21, 2008
I've been a freelance copywriter since June 2005. And I've worked with scores of clients in different markets. Some clients have been working with me for longer than two years. So I've had the opportunity to write and test copy in hundreds of different situations.

After trying a number of different approaches, I've concluded there are two primary ways of writing a sales letter that works.

Method #1: Write the best sales letter humanly possible.

Most folks want the "best" letter possible. They don't want anything less.

A client of this mindset will request -- demand -- endless revisions and edits, no matter how minor they are. He will tweak words and paragraphs on a whim. Worse still, he will "flip flop" -- saying one thing, but then changing his mind back again minutes later.

A client like what I've described is convinced that a long, drawn-out editing process will produce the best sales copy possible.

But let me ask a question. What is "best?" Do you mean "best" based on your own opinion? Or do you mean "best" based on the market's opinion?

A person who attempts to write the "best" sales letter possible truly believes he knows what's "best." And so he spends countless hours editing the copy, thinking that he's improving it -- when his activity is actually counter-productive.

I mean really... is a single word buried on page 14 in the middle of a paragraph going to affect conversion or how prospects feel about you and your product or service?

Not really.

Here's the bottom line: No individual knows what's truly "best" when it comes to crafting sales copy and creating customers.

We only have educated opinions.

These opinions are proved true or false when the sales copy has been tested in the real world.

With that in mind, let me show you...

Method #2: Write a "good enough" sales letter.

This second method is completely different than the first. It acknowledges up front that all we have are educated opinions. This assumption leads us to create a sales letter that's good enough so we can then test it to see how the market responds.

Using this somewhat controversial approach, you can write a strong sales letter that hits all the key selling points and makes a noble effort to win customers to your product or service.

You may edit the letter after you complete the first draft, but the editing will be minimal. That's because your goal is to test the letter to see how well it works in the real world.

So. We've got a good enough letter, we send prospects to read it, and we see how well it works.

But it doesn't stop there. The next step is to test various elements to see how they affect conversion -- for better or worse.

Clearly, the idea is to strengthen the sales letter by degrees until you are confident you have a letter that is great.

Which method do you currently use? Which method do you think you should be using?

The first method is for writers/clients with big egos. They are convinced their way is best. They believe the greatness of a letter is determined by how much they love it.

The second approach is for people who want results. They believe they don't have all the answers. And they believe that a great letter is not necessarily one that gives them an ego boost... but rather one that brings in sales.
About the Author
Before making another sale, discover business growth strategies and copywriting tips you can apply right now to get more customers and increase revenue.
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