cwKnow the Person You’re Writing To
Who is she? How old is she? Is she married? How many kids does she have? What kind of personality does she have? Is she happy? What is her average day like? What does she have for breakfast?…
You can’t write an effective sales letter unless you know who you’re writing it to.
Talk to Your Salespeople
Talk to the salespeople and customer service staff at your company. What do people complain about? What are the most common objections your salespeople get from prospects?
Go to the Forums
Go to online forums and see what people are saying. What questions are they asking? What words are they using to describe their pain?
Risk-Reversal Tactics
Make a guarantee so good that even if your product doesn’t work your customer ends up winning. You could do a 110% money back guarantee + free return shipping, or maybe your customers get to keep part of your kit for having tried your product.
Test the Price
You never know how much to charge until you test it. If you’re charging too much or too little, you’re leaving money on the table. Use prices ending in 7 ($17, $27, $39.97). To test prices, start low and increase them from there. When the total revenues decrease, go back to the price that worked best.
Up-Sell and Cross-Sell
Up-selling is upgrading an order (as in “get the Premium version for $5 more”) and cross-selling is offering related items (if you sold a digital camera, sell them a case and extra batteries).
Use Benefits, Not Features
A feature is a characteristic of a product; a benefit is what that feature does for your customer. For example:
– This camera has a 10x digital zoom (feature), which will allow you to take close-up photos of small objects from a block away (benefit).
Get Specific
Specific data is more believable than general data. Don’t say “studies show that people taking this pill lose a lot of weight”; say “a study conducted in 2008 by ABC Labs Inc. shows that people lost an average of 7.32 lbs. in 8 days from taking this pill”. Don’t make stuff up though! Back up your data; show evidence.
Use Scarcity
Tell people why they need to take action NOW!
Use Social Proof to Overcome Objections
Find out what the most common objections are and find testimonials, case studies and expert reviews to overcome those objections. For example, if one of the most common objections people have is that if your product doesn’t work they won’t get a refund, put testimonials on your site from people who got fast refunds.
Use “Conversational Style” Copy
Write as you talk. Persuade people with strong arguments, not silly “corporate copy”.
Write Positive Copy
Keep a positive tone across your copy. For example, if you sell an acne treatment cream, talk about how beautiful your customer’s skin is going to look; don’t focus on how ugly it is now. Use positive photos too.
The Headline is Everything
If you can’t engage people with your headline, you’re out. That’s why top copywriters write about 50-100 headlines before picking a winner. This is my formula for writing headlines:

  • I write a headline that includes the 3 main benefits of my product (e.g. “All the Cars in One Place, the Lowest Prices in Town and FREE Lifetime Guarantee”)
  • I write a “How to” headline (e.g. “How to Get Rid of Acne in 6 Weeks Using Stuff You Already Have in Your Own Kitchen”)
  • I write a qualifier headline (e.g. “If Your Car Insurance is from Geico, This Letter Is for You”)
  • I write a “news” headline (e.g. “82-Year-Old Dutch Woman Accidentally Discovers Acne Cure While Cooking Lunch for Her Grandson”)
  • I go to my swipe file and adapt some of the 100+ headlines I have there to my own products. Start putting together your own swipe file; every time you come across a great headline that gets you to read the rest of the copy, save it.
  • I write 50 headlines combining all the different tactics I wrote before
  • I choose 4 and split-test them
  • I find a winner
  • I write variations of that headline to try to beat it. It’s a fun game and some headlines can increase conversions by over 100%.

First Paragraph
In the first paragraph you need to say who you are and why you’re writing. “Credentialize” yourself (i.e. tell them why they need to listen to you and believe what you’re saying).
Use Bullets
They’re easy to read and a great way to highlight your main benefits. There are two different kinds of bullets:

  • Open: this is when you give away the “secret”. For example: Why using cucumber oil can actually make your acne worse.
  • Blind: this is when you tease your reader but don’t give away the secret. For example: The one thing you can get for free from your car mechanic, rub it on your nose, and never again get a pimple there.

You need a mix of open and blind bullets. Blind bullets tease your readers and make them want more; open bullets give away some of the information, which gets people to think “Wow! If this is what this guy’s giving away for free, imagine how great the paid stuff will be!”
Close the Deal
Don’t forget to ask for the order. Have a call to action in your sales letter. If you don’t ask people to do something, they won’t do anything.
Use a P.S. at the end of your sales letter to summarize your offer and tell your readers why even if your product doesn’t work at all they’ll still come up on top.
Thank You Page
Use your order confirmation page to reinforce the fact that they made a great decision, congratulate them on taking action and let them know how to reach you if they want to.
Get 2 People to Read Your Copy Out Loud
This will help you identify the parts where your copy doesn’t flow so well.
Follow a Logical Path
Make sure that your sales letter flows smoothly from beginning to end and that each link of the chain is connected with the links that come right after and right before it.
Don’t Go Out of Your Way to Get Your Reader to Like You
Don’t try to be funny, charming or clever. Just say what you’re about to say, then say it and finally tell them what you told them. That’s it.
Avoid Adjectives
Use strong verbs and power words instead. These are some of my favorite power words:
You, satisfied, respected, knowledgeable, humiliate, outraged, pissed off, crave, squeeze, steal, stumble, shock, cured, astonished, killer, miracle, suffocate, liar, bribe, lure, rocked, infested, bandit, abandon, slaughter, tickle, inflame, coax, tease, blast, ridicule, slay, boost, implode, anger, wealthy, ecstasy, heaven, delighted.
Use Captions
Captions are those strings of text that go under images. They almost always get read, so make the most out of them.
Make Your Copy Easy to Read
Most people won’t read all your copy; they’ll skim through it. These are some tips to make your copy “skimmable”:

  • Use short sentences
  • Use short paragraphs
  • Use bullet points
  • Write at a 5th grade level
  • Use simple words

Don’t Preach the Choir
Don’t tell people about their problems; they know them better than you do. Just give them a solution. This is an example of copy that preaches the choir in the acne market:
“I know how you feel. Acne is awful. Waking up every day and having to walk around with an acne face is no fun.”
What’s the point of writing something like this? People that suffer acne already know it’s awful and no fun. They just want you to help them get rid of it.
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