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Writing the Perfect Sales Letter - the Basics

Jan 30, 2008
Here's a 7-step plan recommended by Internet marketing expert, Armand Morin, for writing the perfect sales letter:

1. Headline
2. Shocking statement
3. Tell your story
4. Introduce the problem
5. Agitate the problem
6. Give your solution - your product
7. Introduce your product

Let's take a look at the first and last of this 7-step plan.

The headline is the most important element of a sales letter. It is the first thing a person will see when they land on your website and it plays a critical role in whether a prospect will continue reading your sales copy or whether they will click away.

Many great copywriters will tell you that 90% of their time is spent on the headline because it is fundamental to the success of a sales letter. Changing the headline alone can dramatically affect your sales. Armand Morin said that a change in one of his website's headlines resulted in an 800% increase in sales. Sounds almost unbelievable but other Internet marketing experts and copywriters can also attest to such statistics.

Armand Morin also gives a basic template for a headline which is:

"If you want to do this, this and this then this is what you will receive."

Alex Mandossian's headline for his main sales page for Teleseminar Secrets is a classic example of this.

"If you're an entrepreneur, independent professional or small business owner, I encourage you to find out why my Teleseminar Secrets training is absolutely your fastest, easiest and most economical way to:"

He clearly identifies his target audience and then gives three irresistible hooks - 'ease', 'speed' and 'save money'. Althought I have used a colon here, Alex Mandossian actually ends his headline with three dots. These draw your eyes downwards to the eight benefits of Teleseminar Secrets that he lists below.

Internet Marketers use multiple ways to increase the stickiness of their websites because they know they have mere seconds to convince a person to stay or click away. Hence, the use of graphics, colour, audio, video, font size, etc.

Alex Mandossian uses a relatively small font size in his headline - just 14px and the headline is written in sentence case for Alex is talking to you, seducing you with his words. In this case it's very effective.

Now for the main part of your sales letter - point 7. When you are introducing your product Armand Morin recommends "chunking" or writing in segments. Each chunk is capable of standing alone but it also flows into the next chunk and provides a compelling reason why someone should buy your product.

In other words it describes the problem that your product will solve. After each chunk you ask for the sale. Therefore, you will end up asking a prospect to buy your product 7-8 times. If you only ask a person to buy once then if they say "no" you are left high and dry.

There's an art and science to copywriting and research has shown that, for the average person, you have to ask for the sale at least 7 times to close the sale. If you only ask for the sale once you really are shooting yourself in the foot.

You have to understand what happens mentally when a qualified prospect reads your sales letter. They are interested in your product and if they are continuing to read your sales letter their interest is increasing but as soon as you ask them to buy their interest drops. You are trying to persuade them to get their credit card out while they are thinking of reasons not to spend money.

But they stay on your website and continue reading so you give another compelling reason to buy. Their interest starts to rise but again drops when you ask for the sale. However, if your copy is working, the resistance to buy is not as great. Can you see that with a successful sales letter a person's interest will therefore climb in saw tooth fashion until they click your order button?

The trouble is you don't know what reason will trigger the buying response. This is why you need to ask multiple times. Software exists so you can actually track the effectiveness of your order buttons and this data can help you to improve the conversion rate of your sales page.

You also have to convince a person why it is important to buy your product NOW, TODAY. You have to think that your prospects will never come back and so you have to pull out all the stops while you have your prospects in front of you.

There are two main ways to persuade a prospect to buy now. One is to make your offer time-sensitive, e.g. you can have special bonuses that are only available for a limited period. You can also have a limited quantity of your product. For instance, you may be promoting a membership site that you want to restrict to a limited number of individuals.

So there you have it, some of the basics that go into creating that perfect sales letter. While I have only skimmed the surface of this topic, the beauty of this is that even if you applied just one thing from the information provided you can still dramatically increase your conversion rates and transform the bottom line of your online business.
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