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Secrets of a Sales Letter: REVEALED!

Friday, March 18th, 2016
sales letters

Great sales letters seem to flow so smoothly, you are happy to go along for the ride and eager to buy at the end.  Rather than hard “selling” the best letters present readers with information they want.

This information is a blend of facts, stories, benefits, emotions, quotes, and details all designed to build trust and increase credibility in the product and company. It also helps readers clarify in their minds why they want the products and justifies their desires with rational facts.

Buyers today are savvy, jaded, and suspicious.  They will not be attracted to pushy sales letters no matter how vital the product. However, if you give them a reason to listen to their own self-interest, they will respond.  And if you layer the presentation with benefits, proof, and credibility, they can be won over.

I wrote this short promotional letter about a very common product just to show that even something ordinary can be transformed into something extraordinary and desirable with an effective sales letter.  And to help you see the techniques “behind the curtain” I annotated it for you.

You Can Claim A Piece of History Henry David Thoreau Designed…

For Less Than 15 cents

(begin with a mystery or something that creates curiosity.)

When the American poet Thoreau retired to Walden Pond to write his essays, he always carried this instrument of his own making and design.

  In commenting on natural history, the environment or even civil disobedience, this invention was always in his hand.  More than that, the income from this invention paid for his Walden Pond years and allowed him the freedom to write. (Increase the value of the product.)

Thoreau refined and perfected this small cylinder helping his father’s company became the leading American manufacturer of it in the mid 1800’s. (Tell a compelling story.)

You, too, can own this piece of history. While not the exact one Henry David Thoreau carried, you will still be able to take advantage of every fine quality that attracted Thoreau to it.  It is versatile, long-lasting, and easy to use. (Add benefits.)

When you hold it in your hands you can feel the history that stretches from Thoreau forward until today.  Both Russian and American astronauts used this device until a company invested $1 million to find a replacement. (Increase value by comparison.)

Some people might dismiss it as common, or of little worth.  But you are not “some people.”  You can see the deeper value.  You can recognize both the historical connections and the practicality of use even today. (Help readers feel special, intelligent, and exclusive.)

What piece of history can you carry today?  A pencil. (The reveal.)

Your discerning eye can see the beauty of its slender length. You feel the easy grip. And you see its value. (List benefits.)

Easy to change your mind or fix a mistake with the built-in eraser

Quick sharpening tip for detailed marks

Can write on many surfaces– paper, wood, drywall (Practical benefits.)

Simple to carry so it’s with you whenever you need it

Writes angled up without skipping or stopping

Smooth even strokes for beautiful writing or sketching (Quality benefits)

Light weight and easy to carry

Inexpensive so you can keep several in handy places

More personal writing for love letters or notes to kids (Emotional benefits)

Today’s science reaffirms the value of a pencil. The Wall Street Journal cites studies that say hand writing engages the brain and creates longer lasting learning. MRI’s show the brain activity is more advanced in those who write new concepts by hand. (Add credibility with outside sources. Show deeper, hidden benefits that only come from extra research.)

The simple pencil lets you to carry a piece of history and draw upon your innate creativity- like Thoreau did. New scientific research uncovers the unique relationship between hand writing and creating thoughts and ideas.

Virginia Berninger, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Washington says writing by hand activates massive regions of the brain involved in thinking, language and working memory.  This brain exercise keeps your mind active. (Add experts and quotes for increased proof and trust.)

Thoreau’s pencil may have increased his creativity and cognitive abilities. Could the use of this inexpensive, easy-to-grasp pencil enhance your brain power?  Try it today and find out. (offer deeper, valuable possible benefits.)

 Click here to order your pencil today. (Make life easy for your readers by telling them how to order. Add a link so they can quickly move to the order page.)

Impress your friends as you show them your Thoreau designed pencil. Then use it to write your own history. (Give emotional reasons to buy.)

Order your pencil today (Always ask for the sale more than once.)

Sales letters can start with mystery and curiosity, news, a big reveal, shock, a promise or other introductions that capture reader’s attention. But after you grab attention, you’ll need to keep it with a pace that satisfies your readers. You must add proof, credibility, and benefits.

Respect your prospective customers. The most effective sales letters use emotions and deeper benefits that resonate with their readers. You’ll seldom sell to someone who doesn’t want your product.  But you can help readers recognize the desire they already have to own your product.

Then your sales letters will create happy customers who keep your products, buy more, and share with their friends. Then your company and your profits grow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

Renew your subscriptions

 Seven Keys to Keep Customers Renewing

Hooray!  You just made more sales! New customers bought into your newsletter or continuity program. You want to maximize the lifetime value of that customer—their chances of renewing, of buying more, of the upsell.

But most businesses lose out. They could increase that lifetime value if they’d start the renewal process the day they buy. From the moment of purchase customers are deciding if you really know and understand them and offer them value. They are deciding if they want to continue to like and trust you and believe your service.

Careful follow-up right after the sale forms a bond of trust and belief that cements the relationship into long-term client loyalty and continuity.

These 7 things start the renewal and retention process–right after the sales.

  1. Thank them for the sale. Let them know they are valuable and you appreciate their trust in you. Promise it will not be misplaced. Express support for their wise buying decision.
  2. Increase trust and credibility. Send successful case studies. You might also send a short video with your guru or expert delving into and explaining the process they use.
  3. Show you care. Express your concern that they resolve the problem that led them to buy your product. Encourage them to connect with you. Ask for feedback. Help them feel their success matters to you. Small companies have an advantage with this. Larger companies need to find a personal face to bring the intimacy of caring.
  4. Use surveys and quizzes to insure you’re meeting their needs. Is the material in your continuity program or subscription of value to them? Is it what they really want to know? Customers stay loyal when you meet their needs.
  5. Surprise them. Send a bonus or special, unexpected gift. This creates loyalty as it triggers their desire to reciprocate. When the gift is aimed at their wants and beliefs, they’ll feel that you really understand them.
  6. Share stories. Personal stories of your life experiences create a bond. They must be relevant to the customer. Perhaps your rocky start is similar to their journey. An event in your life may relate to ways to improve their life. Stories increase connection and a feeling of belonging. They help clients believe in their future success.
  7. Offer Social Proof. Customers want to know if it will work for them. They gain confidence in your product when they see other people just like them who are succeeding. Testimonials are most powerful when you can include a full name, location, and photo. Videos are amazingly powerful when they project real people’s stories and emotions.

Get a jump on your renewal process at the moment of sale. Start building a relationship of trust, loyalty, and reciprocity. Help clients see your value, like you, and want to be associated with you.

As an added bonus, you immediately reduce buyer’s remorse and you limit calls for your guarantee. When you start building devoted customers immediately after the sale, you’ll find your retention rate increases at the time of renewal and beyond.

Get Customers Effortlessly

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Tune into your Customers

Put two tuning forks next to each other. If you strike one, you’ll hear the note. Surprisingly, if you silence the tuning fork you struck, you’ll still hear the note.

The second tuning fork picked up the sound… without even being touched.

This is resonance. When you are in tune with your ideal prospect, the message resonates with them. They pick it up and hear it in their hearts. Your song becomes their song.

And it is effortless. No pressure. No hard sell. It just naturally happens!

 How Can You Tune into Your Customers?

The second tuning fork picks up the sound because it’s on the same wave length. With your customers, it happens when you “sing their song.” To do that, you must know your customer.

It works when you enter the conversation already going on in their head.

1. What is your customer is thinking? What is on the top of his or her mind?  What are their attitudes, biases, or concerns?  What belief system do they have?  How do they filter the information that comes to them?

2. Who does your prospect trust? You can resonate when you use their trusted sources. Who do they believe? Do they trust polls or scientific studies? Do they respect social proof or government reports? What experts do they rely on? Use these sources as you connect with them.

Recognize that a government source will be less valid to someone who trusts Glen Beck. And Glen Beck will be a worthless source for someone who relies on MoveOn.

3. What is your Customer feeling? What keeps them up at night, worrying?  What emotions are at the forefront of their mind?  Are they worried, fearful, angry, excited, determined, discouraged, or doubtful?

Often promotions draw on customer’s fears to motivate change. And if this is at the top of their mind, you will resonate as you use it. But once that link is established, draw them toward hope. Lead them to excitement, expectation and the dream that your product can produce the solution they are seeking.

4. What is their biggest problem?  This can be tricky. You must know what your prospect imagines is the big problem. This can be very different from what the real problem is.

To resonate with your prospect, you must first address the concern is in their mind. Only then can you move on to the deeper problem your product is designed to solve.

Perhaps your prospect says his problem is that he keeps losing money in the stock market. The real problem may be impulsive decisions or following dated advice that causes him to buy high and sell low.

To resonate with your prospect, first focus on their perceived problem. Then you can expand to explain the true problem and offer help.

 Start Where They Are

Your prospects have a certain level of awareness. Some of them know they have a problem, the see the solution, and just want to buy and get started.

Some know they have a problem, but they don’t know what the solution is. Maybe they’ve tried a bunch of things but they haven’t worked. Then you can show them the right direction and they’re in.

Some don’t even recognize they have a problem. They just feel a general dissatisfaction.

To be effective, you have to tune into your prospect where they are. For example, with an iPhone user, you don’t need to convince them to buy the newest iPhone.

They know about it. They want it. You just need to give them the best price and they buy.

For those who don’t even know they have a problem, it may be most effective to tell a story or case study. Start the story from where your prospect is—just generally dissatisfied. And show the journey of the case study from discovering the problem to finding the solution.

Perhaps Jim feels hopeless about ever having enough money to retire.  As readers see him making trades-without any skill, but with the help of your guru—they see a solution.  They have hope.

As your prospect relate or resonates with the story they come to realize they don’t have to feel helpless. There’s a better way. Your way!

But if you start in the wrong place, they won’t realize your product applies to them.

Effortless Persuasion

When you totally understand what your prospect thinks, feels, and worries about. When you know who they trust and the understanding they have of their problem, then you can write video scripts, web pages, emails and direct sales messages that resonate.

Like the tuning forks, they hear your message and immediately start singing the same tune. They feel understood, valued, and respected.

They jump in. They join your tribe, trust you and buy from you. No hard sell. No difficult persuasion. It naturally follows—like one tuning fork picking up the sound from another.

Sandy Fox specialized in copywriting for newsletter retention, renewals and win-backs. For more information contact her at Sandy@InvestmentCopy.com or visit her website at www.InvestmentCopy.com.

 

Choose the Realtor Best for You

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Buying a home or investment property is an important decision.  It’s essential to know who your real estate agent is really serving.  Is his or her loyalty to the buyer or seller?  Who are they representing?

When they work for the seller, you may not learn how anxious the seller is to sell.  You may not hear how flexible he or she may be on the price.  You’ll never hear the concessions they are willing to make.  It can cost you thousands of dollars.

Some states make sure you know who your agent represents…. after you write a contract with them.  Learn what you need to know before you start working with your agent.  You can choose your agent ahead of time to make sure they have first loyalty to you.

Here is a great article that explains agents– who they work for and what the terms mean.

Brokers and Agents: What are the Differences?

How Do You Pronounce Tomato?

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Today I looked at some interesting maps. They show the different ways people in the United States pronounce different words. It’s a simple thing—how do you pronounce Tomato or Pecan Pie?

Do you drink from a drinking fountain, a bubbler, or a water fountain?

Do you wear sneakers or tennis shoes?

Depending on where you live in the country your answers vary.

Go here and take a look.

http://www.businessinsider.com/22-maps-that-show-the-deepest-linguistic-conflicts-in-america-2013-6?op=1

 

 How Does this Relate to Investing and Copywriting?

It shows the necessity to understand your client and your audience.  When you speak the same language as your client, you develop trust and strengthen relationships.

Sometimes it’s the small things that make the difference.  A small error can send up the shields of mistrust and doubt in your clients. And the small things can unite and strengthen relationships.

As you work with your clients, make sure you understand who they are, where they are coming from and what their needs are. Then you can help them more effectively.

As a copywriter writing to your clients, I need to know them intimately as well.  I need to be where they are, understand how they think, and relate to their worries and concerns.

Only then will I be able to connect with them and offer a solution that will benefit both you and your clients.

If you’d rather not write persuasive letters to your clients, connect with Sandy and let’s discuss how to strengthen your relationship with your clients and increase repeat purchases.

 

 

 

52 Essential Resources for Alternative Investments

Saturday, June 15th, 2013

 

 Powerful Resources for Start-ups and other businesses

I want to share with you an article with powerful resources.  As you scan through the list of websites, organizations, e-books, guides, kits, and links, you’ll find resources to help your business expand customers and revenue.

Alternative investments will find these resources useful even though the article is geared to start-ups.

Be sure to scroll down to News/Blogs/Sites/Discussions and Tools/Web Applications.  The market research will help novice and veteran businesses.

Take a look at The Entrepreneurs Handbook: 52 Essential Resources for Startups

 

Are You at Risk for Failure?

In the beginning of the article, it mentions the high failure rate.  Part of that failure comes not because the idea isn’t great.

They don’t fail because the product isn’t valuable or doesn’t solve a pressing need.

Many times failure comes because there is a disconnect between product and buyer.

Websites alone will not drive sufficient purchases to your product.  Emails and lists will only capture a small percent of possible buyers.

To give your start-up product or alternate investment product the best chance of success, you need several avenues to reach prospects.

 

 Copywriting and Marketing Can Spell Success

Effective writing is vivid, creative writing that grabs readers by the neck and yanks them into the picture. Paint your benefits in such a clear picture that customers WANT to buy your product—then support that decision with compelling information.

Additionally, success comes with a great a marketing plan.  It can’t be the same as the business down the street.  It can’t mimic the other financial competitors. It has to represent you.

It must give clear unique selling points—things that only your product offers or only your company offers.

Your marketing plan places your products in the public’s bulls-eye with an orchestrated system.  What are the needs of your target audience?  How does your product solve that need?  What are the best ways to get that information in front of your ideal audience?

Expos? Direct Mail? Emails or web copy? Webinars or seminars? Banners—on the web or flying over the football game?  A special report or a case study?  Brochures or flyers? Booths at the fair?

Perhaps carefully targeted sales letters to your ideal prospects will have the cash register ringing.

As you take advantage of these 50 resources for start-ups or other investment businesses, don’t forget the vital tool of focused copywriting and a powerful marketing plan.

How has copywriting and marketing moved your business toward success? What avenues have you found most effective for your product?

Check out Copywriting Options

There are many useful books on copywriting.  But often your best use of time is where your strengths are.  If words and writing aren’t your favorite thing to do, hire a professional.  Talk to Sandy about innovative ideas to bring your product to the forefront.

Is this a good time to invest in Real Estate?

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

 

Time to Jump into Real Estate?

I find it fascinating that there are always opposing points of view.  The sky is always falling when you listen to some pundits.  It’s a great time to invest… if you listen to others.  Who is most persuasive?

Oddly enough.  Sometimes they are both right.  This is especially true when it comes to real estate.  In some places RE values are rising.  But more than rising prices, investors are looking for great ROI’s.

This list of top 20 rental markets is a great place to start your search.   Follow this link and see where the best places to get a good ROI are at this time. http://realreturnrealestate.com/index.php?option=com_wordpress&p=694&Itemid=87&goback=%2Egde_42408_member_243206393

Of course, within any market, the most important number is the price you pay for the real estate.  That determines profit in renting, flipping, or holding to sell.

I’ve read that the rise in housing prices is attributed to many investors and investment funds buying up houses to rehab and flip.  The authors felt that in two years, when these houses came back on the market, the prices would fall again.

Smart investors aren’t in the business to lose money.  My feeling is that when those houses come back on the market, they will be priced higher.  They will be priced to make the investor a profit.

But more than that, those houses aren’t in the same league or competition as the ones they bought up.  A rehabbed house is never going to sell for the same cost as a foreclosure.  It’s like comparing apples to oranges.

But if you buy right, and set up your houses or investment properties to give you a good ROI when rented… it doesn’t matter what property values do.  You will have a winning property.

So check out these locations, and decide if this is the right time for you to delve into, or add to your Real Estate investment portfolio.

Where are you investing now?  How is it working for you?

Copywriting for Real Estate

Copywriters help investment companies break through the chatter, clutter, and wild variety of statement so their investors can hear a clarion call to what will bring them prosperity.  Contact Sandy@InvestmentCopy.com to help your message have the power it deserves.

Why Copywriters Charge What They Do

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

When you ask for a price quote, what are you getting?

Here’s a great post that helps you understand better.

http://thecopyblock.blogspot.com/

I’ve been working on a sales page.  I’ve spent hours working on features and benefits and deeper benefits.  I’ve put myself into the prospect’s shoes and considered the ideal prospect.

What does he/she want?  Why does she/he want it?  What will it look like when the prospect has what he/she wants?   When you answer these questions, you know what motivates the prospect and what the solution will look like.

I’ve pondered leads and headlines while raking leaves, driving, or cooking dinner.  I’ve told my brain to think about the problem when I go to bed and give me an answer in the morning. (It works!)

I’m glad I work on a project based fee instead of hourly. Creativity can’t be constrained to the time one sits in front of a keyboard.  And, indeed, clients aren’t real eager to pay for time staring at a blank screen.

The more research goes into a project, the more powerful the project is likely to be.  Clients can cut down on the time for this by offering their research.  Even though  more may still be needed, this can cut the time considerably.

Recently someone asked a question of Clayton Makepeace, a legendary copywriter who probably makes $1 million a year.  He asked how Clayton managed all the research needed for long pages sales letters for the health industry.

Clayton said, “They pay me to write copy.” Did they want to pay astronomical sums for him to do research?  No.  They hired researcher for that and presented him with the abstracts and pertinent information.  Clayton told them the kind of information he needed.

Copywriters will likely adjust their rates up or down depending on the amount of research they need to do… or the amount you can provide.

Now you know a little more why copywriters charge what they do.

Integrated Marketing

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Sometimes you come across something that explains a concept very well.

I liked this video for that reason… plus, it’s cute: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPr0iRKQ7IM&feature=player_embedded

Today the verbiage “Integrated Marketing” gets tossed out a lot.  What does it mean?  Why do you care?

If you want to promote a product or sell something or you write for those who do, it matters to you. It means that each piece of marketing needs to fit together.

You don’t write a direct mail piece and have it totally different from your website…or your social media… or even the way your business answers the phone.  Every piece of the sales puzzle works together.

You listen to what your customer wants.  You understand they are busy and have a short attention span.  You create an entire marketing program designed to answer their needs. You show them and tell them you’ve listened to them and here is the product that will resolve their concerns in the very best way.

As you speak to your clients, make sure you know how the other parts of the marketing piece  are working.  That way you can be sure your part will mesh seamlessly to create a powerful presentation.

View the process and back story here: http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=170611820&gid=58585&trk=eml-anet_dig-b_nd-pst_ttle-cn&ut=05AxxPq8Cb7Bs1

Using Stories to Sell

Saturday, May 11th, 2013

Is Fear Keeping You Back?

Today I helped out a Boy Scout troop.  They’d gone canoeing on a river.  I needed to move their van to the bottom of the river where they would take the canoes out.

No problem.  I hopped in the van.  The weather was cooler and I let a breeze flow in the window as we drove.  The road wound around and we passed deer, a flock of munching buzzards, and a wild turkey.

Then the sun came out and it warmed up.  I looked at the gages.  GAAK!  All these buttons!  I decided to ride with the window down.

But then I started getting hot and sweaty.  I glanced at the buttons again.

Dashboard controls

There were masses of them and they were so intimidating.  Should I pull over and figure them out?  Should I poke a few and see what happened?

I drove for a bit.  Then I realized I was stopped by fear.  I’d just glance at the buttons and there were so many, I was afraid to even try to figure them out.

I know those of you who have vans are thinking, that’s dumb!  It’s so easy to use the controls.

I say that’s because you’ve taken time to learn them.  Then it becomes easy.

But when I realized it was FEAR that was keeping me back, I got stubborn.  I don’t want to be a slave to fear.

So as I drove, I glanced again at the controls.  Recirculate.  Nope.  Something with windows. Nope.  Rear defroster. Nope.  Auto.  Hmmm.   What about Auto?

I punched Auto…. And COOL AIR started blowing!

Joy!

I felt joy for two reasons.  One, I got cold air.  Two, I had overcome my fears.

Sometimes we ride through life being uncomfortable.  Maybe there’s something know will be good for our business, but fear of failure or doing it wrong  holds us back.   We put up with being less effective and less profitable because we fear doing what might make us successful.

We think we don’t have time to pull over and check it out. Or maybe we are afraid of the solution.  And so often, after we face our fear—it turns out to be no big deal.

If  you know you need a marketing plan but have stalled on it.  If you know case studies or white papers will grow your business but you’re too busy… Now is the time to do it.  Face your fears, worries, or time constraints.  Accept the risk and focus the rewards.

Study and do. You can write them.  There are classes and courses that will teach you how.  Simply factor in the learning curve.

Or reach out to a professional who will do it for you.  Work with them to help them know your audience and product.  It may cost less than you think.  When you see the ROI, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it years ago.

Accept the possibility that either choice  might not be as daunting as you first think.   Take the risk.  Face your fears and move forward to increased productivity and business success.

***

I’ve just shown you how to take a story and turn it into persuasive copy.

Check it out.  Did the story draw you in?  Did it keep you engaged?  Did you relate?  Was there a smooth transition from story to application for the reader?  Daily life stories can share a message that draws action.  This technique works especially well with emails.

Tell me what you think.