Play To Your Strengths … Hire To Your Weaknesses
I am not a writer … I am a speaker. Or, so I thought? I have been writing blogs for years, and they have looked better over the last few because I hired a virtual assistant who specializes in writing and grammar and makes these more readable (thanks Kristi). You can't put a USB cord in the back of your head and download your thoughts (but you can talk content into your computer which is close).
Writing a sales letter or page is much harder than writing a blog (in my humble opinion). A blog is comprised of thoughts, concepts and musings. It can be pretty free form and as long as it's entertaining, has some valuable content and some kind of audience, it's fairly clear cut.
One of my favorite pitchmen was Billy Mays (king of the infomercial – RIP) who understood the long-form selling process via the infomercial. There was a lot more to that 30-minute TV commercial than met the eye or ear.
A sales letter or sales page is more of a process. I used to loathe those long-form sales letters and sales pages. “Who is going to read all that? What's the point? IF you have to sell that hard, I don't want it!” I changed my tune once I learned how and why they work.
I Hated Long-Form Sales Letters…
They work, because there are proven formulas that draw people in, agitate desire or pain, and then offer solutions that people have an emotional connection to. Then, you have to prove it and show the value that makes people want to pay you to fix their problem, and feel confident that you are the RIGHT CHOICE!
There are gurus, like Armand Morin, Dan Kennedy, David Garfinkel, who have systems to help them (and you) write more persuasive and profitable content. In my interview with Armand Morin, he let me in on his 11 Step Plan to the perfect sales letter.
Prior to that interview, I worked with coaches, masterminds, and focus groups to help me write my sales page for www.baconcoach.com. I wanted to share this page as a good working example of the principles I will explain.
My Sales Letter
After all the feedback and input, this is what I came up with as the parts of my sales letter…
- The Headline – This has to state the problem in a very emotional way. If the headline does not click, then people will look around and stop there. It has to draw them in to read more, and it also has to speak to your audience the way they want to be spoken to.
- Agitate Desire Or Pain – You have to connect with the reader in a way that says “I have been there, done that, and I know your pain!” This is the connecting point that makes you an ‘almost' trusted friend, and not just another sales person.
- Offer Hope – You have to make it clear that there is a solution. Be careful not to over-sell here, because you can come off like a snake oil salesperson. Again, you are an ‘almost' trusted friend.
- Provide Benefits – Most people (including me) want to jump into the features. People don't buy features, they emotionally buy on benefits. “You will get a blue knob, that goes to 11, and feels like butter in your hands.” What people want to hear is “Our knob will let you dial in just the right amount of solution that you need, and we will guide you through the process to make sure it's the best solution for you!” See the difference?
- Proof Of Concept – This is where you have to prove the solution is not just another sales pitch. You may have to sell yourself, your company and your past successes. This is where testimonials will help you provide proof. Make them short, to the point, and include a picture of REAL PEOPLE. Some people can smell a stock image a mile away!
- Explain The Value – This is simple, yet complex. “You can spend hours learning to do it yourself, but we can teach you to do it in half the time!” What if they DON'T WANT to do it themselves? You have to make sure that the value is so easy to understand and important to them, that they are willing to part with their hard earned dollars. Show them the real ROI (return on investment) and how it can change their lives.
- Guarantee – Be prepared to give them their money back, but set parameters. This was a hard lesson for me to learn, but the minute I understood it, it made it very easy to offer a 100% – 30-day money back guarantee. Doing this gives people confidence that if the message does not match what is delivered, then they don't bear the risk. You know when you order online and can return the item, but you have to re-box, and head to the UPS store and pay for the return shipping? Well, sometimes we just keep it to avoid the expense and hassle. I can tell you to date, I have only had 1 (one) person ask for and get a refund, and I was happy to give it to them!
- Limited Time Offer – You have to create a sense of urgency. Kohl's (department store) is the king of this. They send catalogs with a hidden coupon that expires and gives you 15%, 20% or 30% off. We do a happy dance at our house when we get the 30% off and hit the computer to make sure the coupon does not expire. Then, they send you Kohl's Cash, with an expiration date, for the money that you spend, so you log in and claim your prize (and spend more). If your letter or page has an expiration date for the special offer, you will have a higher conversion rate.
I want to assure you, this is not about manipulation or coercion. It's about using proven tactics and techniques that help you to convert people, who need and want what you have, to offer to take action. That is why the money back guarantee is so important. We have all suffered buyer's remorse, and we have put up a shield to prevent ourselves from being taken advantage of.
That is why I always hated those TV infomercials and long-form sales pages. Was I tempted to buy a Snuggie? Did my wife want the NuWave Oven? Have I ever bought from emails or long-form sales pages? Oh Hell Yes! Why? Because they work. I now have a better understanding of the psychology, and I am still learning to perfect writing them (I have a long way to go). AND NO … I do not own a Snuggie!
I would love to hear your thoughts, comments and feedback. Comment away!