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Help! How to write a sales letter? Part 1

So, you have a product for sale?  Well done for getting to this point.

However, your next challenge is to have a sales letter.

No need to panic.

Why not?

Because virtually  anybody can write effective sales copy.

And , the aim of this post and the following series is to give you the confidence to do so.

Of course you can always outsource it. And as your business grows you ought to, so that you can leverage other people’s time and expertise

But, if you are working to a tight budget and starting your empire you should consider writing it yourself.  Actually, I would highly recommend that you did so, anyway. At least for a few times, to start with.

The truth is, nobody has a better understanding of your business better than you do.  You, better than anybody else, understand and know your offer.

You would gain immensely if you were to invest a few hours understanding the process of writing sales copy.  The process involved, from researching your niche “wants” to writing in a way that connects with your market would furnish you not only with the skills and awareness necessary to make you a well rounded marketer but would also better equip you to be able to outsource your copy projects.

The encouraging fact to take on board is that writing sales copy is not an art but a science.

Thus, there are proven formulas to writing sales copy.  So, if you can write an email, a memo or compose a letter, you simply have to follow proven formulas that allows you to turn your writing into a sales letter or other sales copy for that matter.

So lets start with the things that you don’t need to have or be in order to write a successful sales letter:

  • A Major in English. In fact you could even have dropped out of your high-school English class.
  • Any practice to date nor have written any single sales copy.
  • You are not expected to be a gifted writer.
  • Professional, polished salesmanship (This equals faceless sales pitch without soul).

So what are some of the things that you need in order to write a successful sales letter?

  • A deep understanding of your niche.
  • Ability to follow a proven tested formula and fill the blanks.
  • Belief in your offer.
  • Genuine passion for what you are marketing.
  • Own “voice” that reflects your own personality.

If you have the above you can consider yourself extremely qualified and on the way to write your sales copy.

There are many proven formulas that you can use as your template when writing sales copy.

Lets go into some of them.

One such formula is by Brett Mcfall (a copywriter with over 16 years experience in 153 different industries), and one of my mentors, and is known as BURPIES formula. In his book How to Make Money While You Sleep: How to Start, Promote and Profit From an Online Business Brett defines BURPIES as:

Big promises (“The first thing you need to do is to grab your visitor’s attention with a big promise in the headline.”)
Use Imagination (“The next section of your sales letter should engage your visitors by having them use their imagination in relation to the product.”)
Rarity (Find the Unique Selling Position (USP) of your product and make stand out.)
Points (“Here is where you get the chance to tell your reader about all the great things they are going to discover when they buy your product or service”.)
Irresistible offer (“You must create offers that make people want to take action right there and then.”Bundle with quality bonuses that could be products on their own.)
Evidence (“Prove your claims.  Let others say how good the product is.  Include a strong guarantee.”)
Sign off (Remind them of the major benefits they are going to get, including bonuses, money-back guarantee, etc.)

Brett goes into much more detail in his book with examples and case studies.  But this gives you a snapshot what the formula consists of.

If you are still really dreading at this point writing your sales letter but cannot quite stretch hiring a professional copywriter, then have a look at Brett’s BURPIES software, which will require only that you literally fill in the blanks where 95% of it has already been pre-written by Brett

However, if you at this point are getting quite excited about writing your own sales copy I suggest yet another formula, this time by Gerry McGovern who wrote Killer Web Content: Make the Sale, Deliver the Service, Build the Brand.

His cop-ywriting formula is:

Be honest. Promise only what you can deliver or even better over-deliver.
Be simple, clear and precise. Time is scarce.  Never use five sentences when one will do. Avoid jargon.
State your offer clearly.  What exactly is it that you sell?
Tell them about your product limitations if any.
Have a clear call to action.
If you are not selling digital products and are selling physical products tell your customer at the outset if you will not be able to supply owing to stock shortages.
Edit! Edit! Edit! There has never been an article that cannot be made shorter.(OK! Guys.  I know, I know. I’m working on it.)
Give your audience detail.
Write for the web.

These guidelines by Gerry are in fact to be applied in a more generic sense to websites rather than sales letters per-se.

Hence, to keep on topic I would like to share one of the best formulas for writing long sales letters that I have come across:

The 12 step formula by IMC:

Headline and sub headline
Create the problem
Establish your credibility
Tell a story
Identify with the reader
Provide an overview of the solution
Give them tons of benefits
Begin the close
Pile on the bonuses
Use a strong guarantee
Ask for the order
Don’t forget the P.S!

Hopefully by now, you should have enough to consider on your next step towards writing your sales letter.  If there are any of the 12 steps written above, that you would like me to cover in more detail just drop me a comment and tell me which one and I will cover it for you.

So roll up your sleeves and get down to work.

Please do leave a comment if this post resonates with you in any way. If it stirs you positively and you feel someone else can benefit from it, feel free to share this post.

Wishing you great success

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • George Nieves April 27, 2010, 12:03 am

    Hi Chris,

    That was a great post! It sure spells out what frustrates many of today’s marketers…and that’s writing good sales copy. This is an issue that can make or break the success of your product.
    I’ll be looking out for Part 2.

    Best regards,
    George Nieves
    .-= George Nieves´s last blog ..Let’s Tear This IM Industry Apart =-.

  • Terry Conti April 27, 2010, 4:19 am

    Hi Cris, great post, thank you. A very good reference when writing your sales letter. T.
    .-= Terry Conti´s last blog ..Week 11 John Thornhill’s Masterclass Program =-.

  • Sue Schlaiffer April 28, 2010, 10:18 am

    Hi Cris,
    This is a fantastic post and just what I needed to help get me started with my sales page. Now I have more idea how to construct my own sales page and that is great because I need to keep my costs to a minimum at the moment. So to get a little help to get me started with this is going to help me so much, and I am sure it will help others too.
    .-= Sue Schlaiffer´s last blog ..The Importance of Professional Graphics. =-.

  • Craig May 8, 2010, 4:32 am

    Hello Cris,
    I am changing my blog over to helping out MC students. I am a 2009 MC graduate and will have oodles of great information to take advantage of. You will learn from all of my mistakes and make this journey more lucrative and pleasurable! GUARANTEED!

    visit> http://www.craigstringham.com

    Sign up to my e-mail and rss feed and never miss a single bit of the excellent material I have to offer all of you.

    Here’s to your success,
    .-= Craig´s last blog ..Cheap Zippo Lighters and Accessories =-.

  • Barry Wells
    Twitter: barry_wells
    May 8, 2010, 5:10 pm

    Hi Chris, thats a well written, well structured blog post that is full of good solid info.

    You’re bang on about writing your own to start with, like you said we know the product.

    Excellent advice Chris.
    Regards, Barry
    .-= Barry Wells´s last blog ..Part 9 of The Newbies Guide: Uploading Your Website With Filezilla FTP =-.

  • Jacinta Dean
    Twitter: JacintaDean
    May 13, 2010, 6:30 am

    Hi Cris,

    You have let the cat out of the bag! 😆

    Brett’s book is awesome and his software is so easy to use. I actually used it to help me write my sales letter for my product. It gives you a good basis that you can then edit and change.

    I hope everything is going well with JT’s course. See you back here soon! 😎


    Jacinta 😀
    .-= Jacinta Dean´s last blog ..Fire And Loss And A Business And Personal Lesson For You! =-.

  • Roman October 24, 2013, 5:26 pm

    Hi Chris,

    I’ll start a product creation phase in P2S program soon so I bookmarked your series of posts about writting a sales letter.

    Best wishes.

    Roman´s last blog post ..Mind Maps

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