When it comes to selling things online your sales letter is key. All of your advertising and marketing can be good, even great, but if the sales letter fails to do its job no sales will be made.
For the sake of clarity, let’s start with some basic definitions.
SALES LETTER – This is nothing like a letter you mail your Aunty Wilma wishing her well. A sales letter is a web page that does its very best to convince people to buy a product, and buy it now. There are many ways to write a sales letter, and many parts to a great sales letter.
CONVERSION – Conversion simply means the number of people who buy from your sales letter when compared to 100 people visiting your sales letter. So if 100 people visit your sales letter and 10 people buy you have a 10% conversion rate. If 100 people visit your sales letter and 1 person buys you have a 1% conversion rate.
So the time comes when you need a sales letter. You are finally selling your own product and are going to keep 100% of the sales. Happy day! No more 30% commissions for you! You are going to make customers of your own, build your customer list and build a strong online business.
It is an exciting time.
But for all of that to happen, you are going to need a sales letter. And not just any old sales letter. You need one that converts at the highest rate possible.
In a moment we are going to look together at six sales letter styles that can work well for you. But first, there are three principles you need to know before you create your most excellent sales letter.
- Getting any sales letter up on the web is better than waiting for the perfect sales letter. Perfection is the enemy here.
- Write like you speak. Just be yourself and you will do well. Don’t try to imitate some guru or highly paid copywriter. Honesty and transparency shine through online. Be your honest self. Be true to you.
- Improving your sales letter is an ongoing task that leads to greater profits. Increasing conversion by only 1% pays huge dividends because that increase is repeated day after day after day. It’s not a one time benefit, it is an ongoing benefit.
Now for the six sales letter styles that work like crazy.
Video Sales Letter (VSL)
You see this almost every day. You click a link in your email, go to a web page and a video starts to play. The person on the video is explaining how he or she has a solution to a problem you may face. Video sales letters are just about that simple.
Sharing how you can solve a problem the person may be facing is the key to creating great video sales letters.
VSLs work very well, even now. No longer a novelty, VSLs are proven effective and well worth your time.
Here’s a tip – you do not need to appear on the video. I use VSLs every day and have never yet appeared on camera. It’s just not my thing. Happily, it’s not necessary.
Writing a great VSL involves writing a strong outline. That is your first step.
After that, you simply make the case that there is a problem out there you can solve, tell the visitor how you can solve it, and justify the price you are asking for the solution.
To make a VSL you will need only a presentation app (like Power Point or Keynote for the Mac) a good microphone and some practice.
Hint: A USB microphone from Best Buy, WalMart or Amazon does a great job. It’s what I use and have for years. No need for expensive “studio grade” equipment. Especially not at first.
Hybrid Sales Letter
A hybrid sales letter is a mix of a traditional sales letter and a VSL. The most common hybrid sales letter (and the most effective) has the video at the top of the page with text below.
The text on the page can be a short-form sales letter if you want to do that. But a better choice, for me at least, is to include some testimonials, a summary in bullet-point style and a big old “add to cart” button that can’t be missed.
If you are making a special offer be sure to display that prominently. And be sure to include your guarantee as well so buyers feel safe moving forward.
A hybrid sales letter is worth testing if you are already comfortable with making VSLs. In my testing hybrids outperform a standard VSL. I think it’s because some people want video, while others want to read, and a hybrid satisfies both.
Long Form Sales Letter
This is the Dan Kennedy style 3000 word monster that has worked well online for almost 20 years. When people think “sales letter” they often picture a 3000 – 5000 word page in their mind.
A long form sales letter, when written well, converts better than any other sales letter I’ve seen. I believe there are a few reasons for this.
- People need time to get comfortable with an offer. A sales letter that takes 15 minutes to read gives them the time to get comfortable.
- Your entire story is on one page. Your visitor can go back and re-read any section he or she wants, and take their time making sure they understand your offer. Many, if not most, VSLs do not offer a “rewind” feature.
Advocates of VSLs say they like a video over words because it “forces” visitors to pay attention. I heartily disagree, preferring to let customers consume my sales letters in the way they prefer. That’s why the hybrid is my favorite. Even if I don’t use it every single time I market.
Long form sales letters work, and always will in my view. To begin writing them well, or improve your skills, read as many of them as you can. The best writers are avid readers, and that is doubly true with long form sales letters.
Recap Sales Letter
This is a short “just the facts” type of sales letter that works wonderfully well. It’s what I use at the Directory of Ezines. And believe me, I am very serious about conversions at all my sites, especially DOE.
The recap sales letter works well for one simple reason … people are in a hurry. They want “just the facts” or “ the bottom line”. How many times has a salesman droned on and tempted you to blurt out “just give me the bottom line”?
To write a recap sales letter just make a list of all the features and benefits of your product, then write each one as a bullet point, and then add an “add to cart” button at the bottom. Then put it online and see what happens. I believe you will be pleasantly surprised.
Personal Contact Sales Letter
This approach works very well for consulting offers and other offers when your personal expertise or knowledge is for sale.
The idea here is simplicity itself. You tell the reader how you can help them and then provide a form for them to ask for more information. This works for list building of course, but it works for increasing conversions as well.
The reason for increased conversions is that you will be in one-to-one contact with your prospective buyer. This is more powerful than words can say. The Internet is an impersonal and cold place, and true contact with a real person is becoming more and more rare.
By adding the personal touch you will almost certainly sell more, and learn more about what prospects for your product really need.
Qualification Sales Letter
This takes the personal contact idea one step further. With this type of sales letter the visitor has to actually prove to you that they are qualified to buy from you.
I’m sure it is obvious that this is best used for only a few products and in only a few cases. If you do this with a Clickbank product it simply won’t work at all.
But if you sell a higher-ticket item, or sell your time as a coach or consultant, and you want to pre-qualify prospects this works very well. Clients who use this often close over 90% of the people who fill in the form and make contact. Now that is selling power!
If the idea of creating a sales letter worries you, don’t be worried. A sales letter online is nothing more than you telling another person why they should consider buying what you offer. If you focus on benefits (not features) and you are yourself, you will do well.
Writing a great sales letter is like getting to Carnegie Hall. It takes practice. But once you get the hang of it you will have the power to sell any product you want, pretty much any time you want.
And that is a powerful (and beautiful) thing indeed!