Sales letter copywriting may seem overwhelming for the sheer length of the document, but as long as you stick to a few basic principles it’s not as hard as it looks. You don’t need to be a professional copywriter to pull it off for yourself.
Some businesses choose to hire a sales letter copywriter, and some choose to do it themselves. You’ll need to be passionate about your product and your offer, and be able to speak in a meaningful way with your potential customer. Once you gain a feel for this, you can write a more powerful sales letter that will achieve results.
Writing a strong sales letter is also similar to writing a landing page. You’re putting your best message out there in order to convert sales.
6 Sales Letter copywriting Tips
Grab attention fast (and keep it) – Picture your reader walking out to the mailbox and finding your letter. They run their finger through the envelope seal and open it. Your letter came on a day where they have a pile of bills, as well. They may even be reading while standing over the garbage can, ready to “file” your hard work. There’s not a lot of room for error.
This is why headlines are so important. You have to provoke readers’ curiosity and keep them proceeding down the page. Your reader needs to feel a powerful pull with that headline, and keep them reading sentence by sentence. One of the best things you can do is study headline writing. David Garfinkel’s Advertising Headlines that Make You Rich is an excellent resource. So is John Morrow’s Headline Hacks.
Identify with the reader – In a sales letter it is critical to lay out the problem in a way that the reader can identify with. You have to show them that you understand exactly where they are coming from, and how your offer is their solution. When you do this well you start to build up trust.
There are other subtle tricks you can use to identify with the reader as well. For example, you can subtly acknowledge typical objections and put them to rest. A Q&A section to the letter may be a good format for doing this.
Think of an attorney building a legal case. It’s slow and methodical. Brick by brick they are making their case. When you show that you can identify with the reader you’re building the foundation. They’ll begin to trust you. From there it becomes a whole lot easier to make an offer. This is one of the most important sales letter copywriting tips.
Provide Social Proof – The reader expects you to sell. They expect you to rattle off all the benefits of your product and talk about how great it is. They want to know if the people who already bought your stuff are singing your praises as well. Testimonials are a great way to show that other people love your product or service. Make sure to include at least a few on your sales letter.
When you select the testimonials to use, make sure you find the ones that are relevant to the products or services in the offer.
Write Conversationally – As I mentioned earlier, a critical element to sales letter copywriting is creating a document that keeps people reading from one sentence to the next. To do that effectively, the copy needs to convey a friendly and conversational tone. With that in mind, it’s best to keep the industry geek speak to a minimum, and tone down the $10 words. If you have to use an inside-baseball term, define it first. Contrary to what your high school English teacher told you, contractions are perfectly acceptable.
Like any other form of marketing, you want to know exactly who you’re writing to. Once you have your target audience in mind, picture your customer sitting across the table from you, over a cup of coffee. Now write how you would talk to them.
Use emotion – We all fancy ourselves savvy consumers who only buy based on logic and facts. The reality is that’s far from the truth. We buy based on emotion. Fear, greed and other emotions can help you sell more.
People want to be safe and have fun. They want to make sure their family’s have enough resources. These are basic human reactions. The more you can make your reader feel, the more you’ll sell.
Use Laser Focus – A traditional sales letter is a long document, often somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 words – depending on the product and the offer. This doesn’t mean that sales letter copywriting is sloppy or unfocused. Your letter needs to carry the basic structure of laying out an argument for the reader.
You’ll need to stress the benefits of your product and how it can resolve their situation. Every last sentence needs to work toward that sale. If your letter is written to sell “Product A” then “Product B” has no place. Off-topic sentences about a different subject have no place. If a sentence isn’t in some way supporting the sale of Product A, it needs to be deleted.
Sales letter copywriting can still be an effective way to reach prospects, but the message needs to be strong. Businesses can write their own sales letters, as long as they keep some of these tips in mind. If the process seems a little daunting, you can always contact a professional sales letter copywriter.
Matthew Brennan is a Chicago-area marketing copywriter and copy editor. He is also the author of Write Right-Sell Now.