There has been a lot of debate regarding this on the Warrior Forum, and I am not going to start a new one here. As far as salesletters are concerned, I think you will agree with me on one point:
Other things remaining the same, all of us are busy in some way or other. All of us have only 24 hours available within a day, and we would like to make the best use of those 24 hours either by doing something productive or entertaining ourselves, and reading a long, boring sales page serves neither of these purposes!
If you are like me, you take a short quick look at the top of the sales page and then quickly jump to the bottom to check the price of the product. After that, you probably spend a little more time reading through a few bullet points and testimonials before hitting the 'Order' button!
With the kind of hectic life most of us lead in modern age, we have no energy to read a 12-page long salescopy, and that too, on a computer screen! So, you should try to make your salespage as short as possible while at the same time not excluding any of your 'key selling points'.
Trust me, it IS possible to put up a short, decent converting salesletter even if you don’t know a lot about copywriting!
When it comes to salesletters, here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. The type of the product matters: A lot of factors determine the length of a salespage, one of them being the type of product you are selling. For example, if you are selling a private label ebook or article pack, your salespage doesn’t need to be a long, boring pitch!
If you have purchased any plr product from me, you must have noticed that almost all of my salespages are short and to-the-point! In the salespage I usually include sample extracts from the private label product plus chapter titles or article titles, to make it easy for the buyer to make a purchasing decision!
In case of PLR ebooks, I giveaway a Master Resell Rights version of the ebook as a sample; if people like it, they can go ahead and buy private label rights to the ebook! In such cases, my motto is simple: "If you wish to 'learn', then there's no need to pay, but if you wish to 'earn', then pay for the private label rights!" Fair enough? Of course, this applies only to plr ebooks and reports though ;)
Creating a salespage for a plr product is pretty easy, one reason why I love this plr business. You simply need to take a look at one of my newest plr products to get an idea of how easy it is:
One reason behind this is – usually, people who buy 'plr' stuff are not looking forward to learning anything; rather, they want to CREATE something of their own! Yes, a minor fraction of your target audience is simply interested in 'learning' rather than 'earning', and the free MRR version serves them right! ;)
It is important to keep in mind that this 'generosity' on my part usually brings in more sales for me! I have seen people selling those MRR ebooks for as low as $0.1 on auction sites, hehe :D
Some of those who buy the MRR ebook will obviously be interested in buying private label rights to the product as well!
With non-plr products however, some 'selling' is required on your part to convince the prospect about the benefits of your product! You can use the following approach (not exactly a 'step-by-step' formula by the way) to get yourself started!
2. Start a story: I am not going to explain the importance of headlines or sub headlines in your salesletter, since any copywriting ebook would tell you that! Once you grab your prospect's attention with a strong headline and sub headline, it is time to captivate his interest with a story!
No cocks and bulls story here, mind you! ;) The story should be about how your product or membership evolved. You could start by mentioning the kind of problems you used to face, the 'secret' you found out, and how that 'secret' changed your fortunes overnight (ClickBank or Paypal screenshots, anyone?)! :D
Since you are a 'kind' person, you have decided to share your new found 'secret' with your fellow marketers…
If you want, you can put one testimonial right at the end of your story. Or you could move over to the next element: bullet points!
4. Split bullet points with calls to action: It is a given that the main function of a salesletter's bullet points is to sell the BENEFITS of your product to your prospects (you must not try to sell 'features' unless your audience is composed of geeky and techy software professionals who already know what they are buying and why).
Now let us say that your product has ten major benefits. Instead of listing them all at once, I usually split them in the following fashion:
Bullet point 1
Bullet point 2
Bullet point 3
Order Link Goes Here
Bullet point 4
Bullet point 5
Bullet point 6
Testimonial Goes Here
Order Link Goes Here
Bullet point 7
Bullet point 8
Bullet point 9
Bullet point 10
Order Link Goes Here
There is a reason why I do it like this. Your target audience is composed of people of different natures and habits. Some are pretty naive and would probably order your product after reading the first few bullet points; naturally you don’t need to convince or bore this group of people with anything more!
The second group consists of those who are a bit more skeptical, who have been burned time and again by the so-called 'scamsters' and 'gurus', and therefore, would only buy products which are backed up by testimonials from well known people of the industry. That's why I asked you to put a testimonial between the second group of bullet points and the order link!
The third group is composed of the 'advanced' types: those who already have a fair knowledge of 'how to' stuff, and are not going to part with their money unless they are sure that your product has at least ONE thing which would benefit their bottom line!
To make sure that they are making the best use of their cash, they would want to read about ALL the benefits your product has to offer to them! So, the third group of bullet points is for these types of people!
Remember that multiple calls to action are very important in a salespage: you should include 'Order links' or 'Order buttons' after every couple of 'hot points': 'hot points' are by the way those points where the prospect is likely to make a buying 'decision'.
People have limited time as I've already told you, so the less you waste their time, the more your salespage would convert!
5. Testimonials: Speaking of testimonials, I am sure you are not unacquainted with those salespages which have 101 testimonials from each and every guru of the industry! I don’t know if it works for them, but if a salespage contains too many testimonials, it naturally triggers the 'skeptic' side of my brain; I become suspicious of the product's quality since the seller chose to rely on testimonials rather than himself to backup his claims.
I won't buy a product from someone who doesn't have the guts to stand behind his product. If you're confident of your product and stand behind it, that confidence would show up in your salesletter, and you won't need more than 3-4 testimonials!
Usually I don’t use more than 3 or 4 testimonials on my salesletter: one at the beginning, another in the middle of bullet points, and a couple before or after the order link!
If, by virtue of luck, I get more testimonials, I usually create a separate page where I put up all the testimonials, and then link to it from the salesletter (I link it in such a way that the 'testimonial' page opens in a new window; this way, the prospect still remains on my salespage)
6. Offer them a sample: If it is possible for you to offer your prospects a sample of your product without hurting your business in any way, then OFFER it at the start of your salespage! You will find that many a time, this sample would help you close more sales than any bullet point or testimonial ever could!
While an ordinary car dealer would try to convince you of the benefits of his car with exaggerated sales lingo, the smarter ones would allow you to drive the car a bit for free! Why? This to convince you of the quality of the car!
People have a natural tendency to avoid salesmen, but once they taste a sample of the product, they won't have any reason for not buying it, provided that they like the sample!
With plr ebooks, I usually offer a Master Resell Rights version of the ebook as sample, while with plr articles, a sample article is just enough. With softwares, you will want to have a demo or trial version available for your prospects to try out. So far as ebooks are concerned, you can giveaway the first few chapters of the ebook as sample!
It is important that your sample product should link back to your salespage from at least two key points: one at the start and another at end; this to make sure that your prospect doesn't MISS that link!
With trial softwares of course this becomes easier; you can, if you want, nag your prospects with a trial screen which would remind them of the remaining trial period as well as where they could buy the full version!
You can, if you want, make your prospects optin to a squeeze page before they can download the sample; I however, don’t do it!
7. Give them a reason to order NOW: Most copywriters would tell you that is what really makes people buy a product right away. However I have tested my salesletters even without this option and they still convert well for me. If you want, here are some of the things you can use to convince the prospect to buy NOW:
a) Limited time offer (this offer will expire after …)
b) Limited time discount (this coupon will expire after …)
c) Scarcity: Only a select number of copies will be sold (I will stop selling this product once I have sold 60 copies)
Only a select number of members will be allowed (this membership would be closed once I get 100 members)
d) Price is subject to increase anytime
And so on.
8. Offer a money back guarantee: Some marketers have found success even without offering any money-back guarantee on their salespages; however, I offer it and will probably continue to offer it! I offer a 1-year long guarantee which does well for me.
I actually started using this '1-year guarantee' after a veteran marketer told me that it had not only boosted his conversions but also minimized the return rates!
Of course, you can select any guarantee periods you want! If you are using Clickbank, then of course your guarantee period must not exceed 56 days (or 8 weeks).
9. Order button: I have found that buttons convert better than links. But as a matter of fact, you should always make your own tests regarding this!
10. P.S.: Copywriting gurus say that not all people will buy your product at first instance; some of them will go down the salespage to read more about it before making the final decision, and the P.S. section offers you yet another chance to close the sale by repeating the major benefits of your product.
Usually I don’t use 'P.S.' in my salesletters; heck, I don’t even use it in my emails, as you can see! :D Instead of a 'P.S.', I usually include two types of links after the order button:
a) FAQ (Frequently asked questions): If prospects have questions about a product, they can visit this page!
b) A link to contact me: Remember that at the end of the day, a salesletter is as lifeless as your PC, and some customers might want to interact with a living breathing human being to make sure that your product is for real and that you are not scamming anyone. These people might contact you before making the final purchase decision!
So, those are usually the two links I have under the order button.
11. No kind of distraction should be present on your salesletter: Any copywriting guru worth their salt would tell you that the more distractions your salesletter contains, the poorer its conversions would be! Some of the things which can kill your conversions are:
a) Links to free articles: The primary focus of your salesletter should be to SELL, and nothing else! If your articles are more of 'sales pitches', and are geared towards selling your product, then linking to them may not harm your conversions; however, if you are simply linking to unrelated or unnecessary articles from your salespage, it could reduce your conversions!
b) Popups: I cannot tell you how many times I have left a salespage in disgust simply because that damned thing blocked my vision; I might have purchased that product if not for that popup! However I think that exit popups are okay!
c) Optin forms: Okay, I won’t ask you NOT to use them, because some marketers say that including an optin form works well for them. They say that at any given point of time, there would be several cold prospects who won’t buy from you at first instance! However, they might purchase from you once you 'warm' them up with a series of followup messages (preferably 7 or more).
Personally, I cannot remember the last time I purchased anything from a 'followup' message. More often than not, I get bored with such inane follow-ups and eventually unsubscribe from those lists. Now it could be that I am not their target audience. :)
I don’t include optin forms on my salespages for a reason:
They are a major cause of distraction. My personal belief is that you can convince your prospect to take only one action at a time: either make them buy your product, or have them optin to your mailing list. However, you cannot convince them to do both!
If you have two different calls to action on your salespage, it would confuse your prospects! Some of them would simply leave your salesletter without taking any action at all, while others would choose the 'optin form' option since it is not costing them anything, plus they are getting some freebies in the process as well! ;)
This is the reason why I usually don’t make people optin to receive samples of my products; instead, I make the download link available right from the salespage itself!
People might say that I am 'losing traffic' and 'leaving money on the table'; if so, be it! I prefer to do things MY way!
If you want to take the help of follow-ups to convince your prospect to buy the same product which he didn’t feel inclined to buy at first instance, you need to do your job really well in those followup messages. Then again, don’t forget that not all of those 7 follow-ups would land in the inbox of the prospect, even IF you use a service like Aweber!
We internet marketers probably receive more messages in our inboxes than others. We not only receive the usual 'spam', but also emails from other marketers, plus there are JV requests to handle as well!
All these factors make it very difficult for a marketer to convince a prospect with followup messages, especially in IM niche. This followup formula works well in non-IM niches though: one series of follow-ups for each product… :D
Still I think you should test things on your own before making the final decision!
And finally, the optin form makes some people feel that you would continue to chase them with 'sales pitches' for eternity, unfortunately because some marketers seem to follow this practice time and again! So the smarter ones won’t even opt in!
Let's face it, with each one of us getting so many 'sales pitches' to cope up with, do we need any more? :)
But as always, feel free to test things out for yourself.
Barring point no.11, I hope the rest of the article would help you craft a short and sweet salesletter :D
To conclude this article, I would only say that your salesletter should give ENOUGH information to the prospect to convince him that he is getting the biggest bang for his buck; apart from that, everything else could be done away with!
Don't you find it funny that while my salesletters are short, my articles are exceptionally long? Maybe that is why I am a 'Nuttie' Guru! ;)
I am not a 'copywriting guru' though, so your comments are always welcome. :)