Creating an engaging sales letter

Writing sales letters is a big part of being a copywriter.  You are always writing stuff to help your clients sell products and services.  Some sales letter are long and some are short; it all depends on what your client wants to say or rather what you want to say on behalf of your client.  Your sales letter, in order to be a successful sales letter, needs to accomplish the following:

  • Once people start reading your sales letter they should read it completely
  • Your sales letter should prompt the readers to take the action desired by your client or by you

Yes, just two things but they are the most important things/actions your sales letter needs to perform. How do you achieve this.  You can try the following:

Grab the attention

The Internet is full of distractions; and people on the Internet are not particularly the patient types.  This is not a fault, it’s just that there is so much choice on the Internet, easily available choice, that a person doesn’t even think twice before heading to another website. What do you do to avoid it? You grab the attention from the very first line.  How do you do that?  There are many ways you can grab the attention immediately:

  • Offer something irresistible in the beginning itself using a headline
  • Ask a question that elicits some kind of a natural response
  • Use a graphic or a video that grabs attention (this goes beyond the realm of copywriting, of course)
  • Shock the reader (the shock must be relevant to the topic of your sales letter)
  • Promise something exceptional
  • Be witty

Here the main purpose is to encourage your readers to read further.  A good way of writing is to prompt the readers to read further after every sentence.  After every sentence the readers should want to read the next sentence and this should go on and on. It is often said that the purpose of every sentence is to prepare the ground for the next sentence.

Use action words

This may sound clichéd (because you find this suggestion on practically every article on copywriting), but it is the best way of encouraging people to indulge in an action of your desire.  If you want them to subscribe to your newsletter then ask them to do so.  If you want them to purchase your e-book or subscribe to your service, ask them to do so.  It doesn’t mean that after every second word you prompt them.  Use the action words where you feel that they would be emotionally ready to perform that action.

For instance you have just explained a great benefit of your product or service.  In fact the benefit is so overwhelming that if a person can make use of it, it can really turn things around.  Take my copywriting services.  After explaining in a paragraph how exceptionally I can help you improve your bottom line (explained logically, not just claims) I can ask you to contact me.  Here my main purposes to encourage you to establish a communication channel.  In fact I have done this on my homepage — I prompt the reader to contact me after every one or two paragraphs.

Repeat some of your most powerful expressions

Repetition doesn’t make a lie truth, but if there is something that can really make an impact you should repeat it often on your page but just make sure that you don’t put people off.  Don’t blow your horn if that’s what you plan to do in the repetition process.  You can repeat action words at appropriate places.

Show empathy and converse with your readers

Talk to people, not at them. You cannot simply command people to buy from you.  You need to empathize with them; they have a requirement and you politely inform them that you can meet the requirement and even exceed their expectations. For that you have to understand what their problem is, what nags them, what troubles them. If a person doesn’t get good search engine rankings he or she doesn’t want to see his or her link among the first 10 results just for an ego boost (ego boost is fine for the initial couple of times), he or she wants some good traffic so that he or she can increase his or her business so that he or  she can make more money.  So if a person wants higher search engine rankings than that person is actually looking to increase his or her business prospects.  You have to cater to that desire in actuality.

You need to sound concerned and encouraging at the same time.  If all you can do is paint a depressing picture of the current scenario and then offer your search engine optimization services then it is not going to make much impact. Instead, sound encouraging.  Explain to your reader how things can be turned for the better and how he or she can use your services to increase his or her business.

Create a sense of urgency

I never believe in creating a false sense of urgency, but it really works sometimes.  Make an offer that holds only for a particular period of time.  For instance you can offer a 50% discount to the first hundred buyers of your e-book and you can display the number of remaining people (descending fast) who can avail this discount. Or if you are offering a treatment then you can list a few, true, dangers of not treating the ailment on time.

Highlight the main points

You can do this by using headlines on headings or whatever you may call them.  These are one of those bold, enlarged portions that you can quickly go through without having to read the fine print.  Headlines make it easier for the reader to quickly skim through your text and decide whether he or she wants to read further or not.  Highlighting also highlights your main points so there is no chance of missing them.  Don’t highlight every second paragraph.  Use highlighting only when it is absolutely necessary otherwise it becomes noisy and people leave your website, totally irritated.

I find writing sales letters far more challenging than writing the regular articles and blog posts because most of this work involves direct response and your client immediately gets to know how well or badly you have done your job.  This also means that you can charge more for writing sales letters compared to the regular stuff.

Does it require lots of training, writing sales letters? I don’t think so.  You need some common sense, you need conviction, you need to be able to articulate well of course, and you should be able to empathize with your readers.  If you can do that you can surely write a productive, engaging sales letter.