Most successful sales letters don’t just happen. They are the result of a strategy developed by the sales letter writer with the goal of getting the desired response from the reader.
Developing a good sales letter strategy requires knowledge of the potential customer’s wants, desires, needs, hot buttons and previous mail order buying habits. Using this information, a ‘plan of attack’ is developed, with hopes of winning the customer’s attention and ultimately the product order.
Here are some tips on developing a successful sales letter strategy.
- Imagine that you could sit and speak to your potential customer for just five minutes. What could you say in those five minutes to cause that customer to place an order?
Chart out the logic you’d use, and the important elements you’d want to cover. Then use that as a starting point for your sales letter.
- Create a list of the issues that are most important to the customer, the things he will likely be thinking about the day he receives your sales letter. Then use these points to gain the customers attention and interest.
- Make a list of things that might turn potential customers off, making him mad enough to ‘tune out.’ Then be sure to avoid these topics in your letter and offer.
- Always place the customer first. The customer isn’t usually interested in your desire to make a profit. He wants to know how you can help him.
- Get on the customer’s side. Open your letter by saying something he or she can relate to. Be sympathetic to their situation in life.
- Sell the major benefit... that is the real product. Paint a picture of the benefits of having and using the product. That’s what the customers wants to know. How your product will help him.
- Tell success stories... how others are doing with the product. Give specific examples to build confidence.
- Drop some names. Tell the buyer who else you’re doing business with, the names of well known and respected customers.
- Sell only one product in the letter. More than one product causes confusion.
- Keep the offer simple. Throw too much at the reader and he won’t remember anything.
- Considering showing the product. Doing so builds the customer’s confidence that the product actually exists. The customer can see what he is getting. It makes it real. (This is especially true for products with lots of components — a package of books, tapes, CD ROMs, etc.).
- Better yet, show someone enjoying the benefits of using the product. But be sure the person enjoying the product fits the customer’s profile!
- Never introduce the possibility that the customer won’t buy. Do not give the reader a chance to think negatively. Avoid saying “if you get this,” instead say “when you get your own...”
- Look for the hot buttons. identify the things the buyer is really interested in and work them into your letter. But don’t overuse this... customers can recognize a snow job.
- Be honest — it’s refreshing and gets attention.
- Don’t put too much technical information in your sales letter, unless you are sending the letter to people who want technical information.
- Speak the buyer’s language... get to know the buzzwords of his hobby or profession.
- Use facts, stay away from cliches and forget the exaggerated benefits.
- Use a guarantee, the longer the better... 30 days, a year, 10 years, 20 years, 25 years, 50 years and a lifetime.
- Give good reasons to buy. When the reader gets enough reasons that are acceptable, he makes up his mind to buy.
- Move up on the reader’s want list. People give priorities to the things they want to buy, which means you must compete for the reader’s resources. To do so effectively, you must create an irresistible offer. A free gift or an add-on often makes a big difference in the response rate.
- Sweeten the offer. Throw in something else. We call it ‘piling on.’ Once you have the reader excited about the product, then reveal all the extras he gets when he orders from you. Usually these include free books, reports, video tapes, etc.
- If your presentation is too short... a brief, one page or less letter might subconsciously make the reader think your cause or product is not very worthy or important.
- Always give the price.
- But hold off on naming the price until later in the letter, unless you are making a big deal about the price. Then you might approach it early in the letter. You might even put it in the headline.
- An incredible price? If your principal sales argument is the extremely low price, the reader might feel no one would sell anything of quality for anywhere near that price. In mail order, low prices usually mean less sales.
- Promise ‘Rush’ delivery. When people want something, they want it now.
- If you can ship in a hurry, say so, with something like, “We ship within 24 hours.” Such a guarantee increases orders but will also hurt you if you don’t live up to the promise.
- Economy or deluxe? Consider offering two versions of the same thing. Either the basic model or the deluxe. In most cases, the customer will order the deluxe.
- Some things that add to your credibility: how long you’ve been in business, customer’s testimonials about your product, awards it has won, high quality materials, bank or credit references, and your money back guarantee.
- Don’t be clever for the sake of being clever. The product is the star, not the writer.
- Put the best argument last. Some experts say when listing a series of arguments list the most desirable one last and the next most desirable first. People remember the last name longest, the first name next longest.
- How many mailings? The higher the price tag, the more mailings, but three mailings is the standard. Generally if someone is going to order, they’ll order by the third mailing.
- When doing multiple mailings to the same person for the same product, vary the content and headline of the letter. Don’t send the same letter three times; doing so can make you look incompetent.
- When mailing a series of follow-up letters... seek continuity in those letters, possibly referring to something said in previous letters.
Source: 301 Direct Mail Tips, Techniques & Secrets