Okay, you know you have your product (or service) in front of you. Now it's time to get the word out with an attention-grabbing sales letter. But where do you begin? Whether you hire someone to write your copy, pass it off to a staff member or learn to write it yourself, you need this checklist.
The Critical Steps to Take Before Writing Your Sales Letter
One of the biggest misconceptions new clients have when they come to me is I can whip out a sales letter in a few days. Wrong, wrong and wrong. A lot of preparation goes into writing copy. I spend on average 50% - 70% of my time PREPARING to write copy. If you don't do your homework, the chances go up exponentially that your copy will fall flat on its face. Use this simple checklist to get you prepared for writing your own sales copy.
- Use the product or service yourself. I wouldn't dream of writing copy about something I had never experienced. (If it's your product, you may want to let someone else test it, then interview her about her experience. ) It's one of the fastest ways to get a complete understanding of its strengths and weaknesses.
- Research your target market thoroughly. If you know anything about the way I help others write their own copy, you know about the “tarket" concept. Basically it goes like this. Segment your market down by age, income, marital status, etc. Then write out a detailed description of ONE PERSON in your target market - your “tarket".
When you write, speak only to that person.
- Spy on the competitors. Make yourself a customer to your competition. Then study how they handle marketing and customer service from A to Z. Sign up for their ezines, study their websites, collect their direct marketing campaigns. Learn to think like they do.
Soon the differences between your company and theirs begin to reveal themselves. Your unique selling position pops its head out!
- Anticipate objections by writing out the FAQs ahead of time. Put yourself in your customer's shoes and think like she does. What questions come up for her that would stop her from buying? Expect those frequently asked questions to come up and address them in your copy.
- Identify the features and benefits. We already know people buy more on emotion than logic. So have a list of what your product or service does (features) and how each feature makes your customer's life better (benefits). The more you can stimulate an emotional response in your client with benefits, the deeper the connection goes.
- Collect compelling stories from the client. Nothing pulls us in psychologically more than a good story. Humans are a storytelling society. It's in our genes. So give them what they want. Get the reader entranced by your copy with a hard hitting short story. Then connect it back to what you're selling.
- Gather testimonials from happy customers. How often do you read a testimonial about how badly this product stunk? Not very often. Testimonials are designed to increase credibility. To put a face on people who have had success with your product. How it made them richer, happier, thinner. Let them speak for you. Your trust quotient goes way up!
If you follow each of these steps thoroughly BEFORE you sit down in front of a blank screen, you have all the elements you need for a successful sales letter. I know. I know. Putting the pieces to the puzzle together can be easier said than done. But no matter what your skill level is at today for writing copy, we all start from these same basic steps.
Where to Go for More Help
If you're looking for more direction, let me again recommend the Red Hot Copywriting Bootcamp. You not only get my one-on-one expertise, but you never know what other pros come onboard to teach you like Alex Mandossian (conversion expert) or Marty Foley (traffic and testing expert). The Red Hot Copywriting Bootcamp is a complete copywriting brain dump (that sounds a little vile, doesn't it). Bottom line: You won't find a more thorough, hands-on program on the subject.
Of course I'm partial to my course, but you can also check out “Michael Masterson's Accelerated Program for Six Figure Copywriting" through AWAI-American Writers and Artists Institute. I personally took this course by Michael Masterson and I definitely recommend it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
International copywriting trainer, author and speaker, Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero has been a freelance writer and journalist for over 25 years. Her words have made her clients hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now she focuses her vast experience on teaching others the skill of copywriting. Lorrie is the author of an award winning copywriting course, creator of the Red Hot Copywriting Bootcamp and founder of Copy Campus, a unique membership resource site designed to support copywriters and entrepreneurs on all levels. Visit her site to learn more at http://www.red-hot-copy.com .