Copywriting 101: Writing Your Sales Letter
This is part four of the Copywriting 101 series. Previously we have covered headlines and the importance of and how to craft an engaging selling story for your body text after your headline. This week we will move onto other elements of the body copy, which include bullet points, testimonials, guarantees and calls to action.
You can check out previous articles in the series here:
1. How Bullet Points Can Make Your Sales Message Shine
- Bullet points are great because they don’t require any transition from one point to the next (so you can just pile all your thoughts on top of each other and you don’t need to worry about the flow).
- They are great to catch the attention of skimmers because it doesn’t look that intimidating to read a bunch of bullets as opposed to paragraphs of text (and sometimes for those skimmers, all it takes is one bullet that resonates with them to turn them into a buyer).
- When done properly they are tremendously powerful and can add a lot of value to your copy like a great 1-2 knockout combination.
The bad news is that bullets are often done poorly.
Product creators or manufacturers are often obsessed with features and bullet points become the place where they pile all the features that they are so proud of. Often this can result in a big heap of technical jargon for the prospect and a whole bunch of words that don’t actually mean anything.
When you write your bullets or features think about the benefits for the prospect.
Recently in Australia there has been a car company doing some television advertisements just like this. A car savvy friend’s jargon is translated by his wife to a non car savvy friend. It is a great way to do both the features and benefits:
e.g. Car savvy person “it’s got twin fuel injected overhead cams.”
Wife to non car savvy friend “means it goes really fast.”
Poor Bullet Examples
Recently I had a client ask me to look at his salescopy. He was happy with the copy and thought the reason his sales page wasn’t converting was because of the layout and design. He was promoting a weight gaining ebook and these are a few of his bullet points about what you will learn in the book:
- What to eat
- How much to eat
I almost fell asleep reading the bullet points. And this is not an isolated example. I am often astounded at the under utilization of bullet points in copy. Make sure your bullets are loaded and stacked with value and benefits for the prospect. Off the top of my head I told him that maybe we could jazz up the bullets a little bit and suggested something like this:
- Discover exactly what to eat to gain weight. We layout the ultimate weight gaining eating plan in plain black and white so there is no more guess work… it’s so easy a child could follow it.
- XYZ manual reveals the right quantities you should be eating (most of what you read on the Internet is dead wrong in this department)… this crucial factor alone can make or break your weight gaining dreams.
Really Loading Your Bullet Points
John Carlton is a master of bullet points. He loves to write them for the previously mentioned reason. He has said that he once wrote a salesletter with eight pages of just bullet points!
Something we can learn from Carlton is loading your bullets, which comes back to the features versus benefits. But it also comes back to knowing your prospect and realizing you are not selling a product or service. You are selling the dream, the real benefit the prospect wants. Let’s go through how we would load a bullet point for a sports car.
Feature and benefit
- 320 horsepower engine means you will go really fast
Feature, benefit and dream
- 320 horsepower engine means you will go really fast (and when you do eventually stop all the cute women won’t be able to take their eyes off you)
So think about your bullet points and really make them prospect value driven.
Testimonials are vitally important because they build trust and social proof. Remember last article I spoke about “checking off boxes” in the prospect’s mind before they pull out their wallet to make a sale. Well testimonials and providing social proof is one of those boxes that need to be ticked off.
If your product is new and you don’t have testimonials then you need to get them. So you may offer the product for a discount in order to get some feedback. The other thing people forget about testimonials is sometimes you have to ask for them. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials.
If you do have great testimonials, don’t hide them away. This is a common mistake I see in copy. It is almost like the testimonials are thrown in as an afterthought.
If you are making bold claims and you have the testimonials to back it up, then introduce them into the copy early on. Put a stop to any “bull crap” detector prospects may have with your bold claims with some crushing testimonials.
Just like testimonials, this is another “check box” that needs to be ticked off in the prospects head before they reach for that credit card.
Lots of people are scared of guarantees, thinking that they will be taken advantage of and people will try and rip them off. It is important to note that a large majority of people are honest and will not intentionally take advantage of your guarantee to get your product for free. So you have nothing to worry about.
I never advise making poor quality products. If you need to learn how to make a good quality product or ways to add value to your product, check out my product creation blueprint. So refunds based on poor quality products are a different matter.
That being said regardless of how good your product is there will always be refunds. It is just probability. For any market, it is estimated if your refund rate is below 7% you are doing great. But the amount of refunds you get by offering a guarantee will be far out weighed by the amount of sales that having the guarantee in place generates.
How Long Should I Offer A Guarantee For?
Usually the longer the guarantee the more assurance it gives a prospect. You may not always have control over your guarantee length because of your payment processor. Paypal will allow a 30 day refund period and Clickbank allows a 60 day period. You can do what some savvy marketers have done and take matters into your owns hands, which has led to two types of interesting guarantees:
1. As long as I have a pulse guarantee. Basically as long as the product owner is alive he will honor your guarantee for a refund.
2. Anytime guarantee. Even your grandchildren can get a refund on this.
Although extreme examples, it shows confidence in their product and will totally put the prospect’s mind at ease.
4. Asking For The Sale
This is also a common area where I see clients fumble the ball. After a great sales pitch, that checks all the boxes in the prospect’s mind, the sales pitch falters at the very end. It forgets to ask for the sale.
The reason this is so commonly overlooked or forgotten is that it may seem like the next logical step of making purchase so obvious. Don’t make this mistake. Don’t leave anything to chance. Tell the prospect exactly what they need to do next. Don’t assume they will know the next logical step is buying the product.
This is classic direct response marketing. So don’t forget to ask for the sale. And don’t be afraid to ask for it a few times also.
Well that covers the content of writing a salesletter. If you are looking for a shortcut or crash course you can check out my copywriting in a hurry post. There you will find a simple outline for writing a salesletter in a very short amount of time.
Stay tuned for next week where I will cover conversion testing and tracking. This is hugely important and I am shocked every time I speak to clients who are not utilizing proper testing and tracking. In my mind, that is just leaving money on the table.
Click here to read part five of this series.
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