Breaking Down Ramit Sethi’s Long Form Sales Copy

By Jamie McSloy / August 9, 2018

Ramit Sethi’s Copywriting Secrets EXPOSED

 

About an hour ago, Dennis Demori posted a link to a sales letter by Ramit Sethi, and then brought it to my attention.

You can read the sales letter here, but I enjoyed reading it and thought I’d break it down on the blog.

Why?

Two reasons:

  1. It’s a good sales letter and a good example of all the elements you need, and
  2. When you start off, the copying/breaking down a sales letter/recognising the elements seems tough. I will show you how quick and easy it is and the depth you can go once you follow my advice and get good at this sort of thing.

So it’s 16:18 now… let’s go.

Background Unknown

I don’t really know much about Ramit Sethi. I know he’s in the self-help and make money online niche, but I don’t know much about his offers or business. That said, he pops up repeatedly everywhere so you know he has a professional enterprise that does lots of testing and he knows what he’s talking about (or his team does.)

(Time Out: If you’re enjoying this article, then you should probably sign up to my mailing list, where I give out ideas and business tricks that I don’t share publicly. Click here, fill out your details and get yourself on the list! You won’t leave this page.

Now Back To The Regular Programming Schedule…)

So that’s a crucial first step because it tells you whether a sales letter is worth studying or not, and also it tells you that this sales letter is part of a massive network of other stuff.

That’s important because the sales letter depends on the funnel. It’s holistic.

Moving on.

Let’s Start You Off…

I’ll be honest, I’m not a fan of this headline.

What I am a fan of is the three headline set up. If you take it all as one headline, it works well. We have a couple of questions, three benefits you get from the sales letter, and a key universal benefit that’ll keep most people scrolling down.

(Who doesn’t want to turn negative energy into something productive and powerful?)

We’ve also got the not-so-secrets of the secret successes coming up. It is what it is.

Then we get rid of social proof in the form of a divider that you scroll past. Well done.

And we’re into the sales letter… or are we?

Hi, I’m Ramit, And You Are…

This first section is all about pacing to the audience.

In other articles here, I’ve recommended using rhetorical questions as bullets at the start of a sales letter.

This is the same thing, but without the rhetorical question. It’s phrased as a series of things you already know but probably use against yourself.

You want to be successful. (Obviously)

What are your objections?

… because Ramit will give them to you as “we know it’s not that” form.

Not rich enough?

Nor handsome enough?

Not smart enough?

Looks like your myths have been busted pal… you can still be a success.

But don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Every Day Life Is A Nightmare

In long form sales, you’ll often have a “worst day of my life” scenario where you realise that you’ve reached a point of no return.

Until this point, you’ve looked in the mirror, said “oops, I’m fat” and your life has been pretty bad, but we’ve all got bad habits and I guess your vice is just and will always be food. That’s how it goes.

But eventually, if you want real change… you snap.

It’s not just that looking in the mirror makes you sick, and it’s not just that the Dr. says you’re at risk of Type 2 diabetes…

Your nightmare story is something incredibly painful. Your girlfriend leaves you saying, “I’m moving in with Jim the Hunk because you’re a fat slob and I just can’t bear to see your wobbly mess of a body in my bedroom anymore.”

And the sad thing is, if that isn’t bad enough, the one thing about the nightmare story is that when you think it can’t get any worse, it does.

So you think, “my girlfriend has left me… better get drunk.”

And you go out, and you go to the cash machine on the shady side of town because you know a dive bar there and you want to get black out drunk and as you’re checking out your horrid form in the reflection on the ATM…

SMACK.

The next thing you know is that you’re on the floor, being beaten up by a roving gang of thugs. They’ve got your bank card, they’ve got your wallet and they’re stealing your shoes.

And just when life can’t get any worse, you’re there crying in the dark alley with no shoes, no wallet, no booze and no way to get home, you realise this one thing that makes it all worse…

You’re too fat to pull yourself up.

And this is the worst day of your life.

But it gets better…

Rise Like a  PHOENIX

Let’s look at this next section…

Now, we’ve got our viewers feeling like Ebenezer Scrooge, staring into their own grave at this point.

You can’t leave them in hell. You have to bring them out.

How did you get out?

You got out the same way everyone else gets out. You pulled yourself out, like Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises. Somehow, he goes from having his back snapped to being able to traverse a vertical pit just in time to save Gotham.

But Batman doesn’t have superpowers, right?

I digress. (Or do I?)

But the point is, at this point you’re clawing your way out. Our sales letter now lists all the things you’ve learned. All the things you’ve tried. You list the solutions your reader knows about as well as some that they don’t know about.

This is the path to salvation, and it’s tough… luckily you’re not selling the path. You’re selling the expedited ticket.

More on that in a second, first we’ve got to give something away to get something.

Mythmatics

The whole, “three myths” thing is more common in webinars. It’s one of the more interesting things about this sales letter.

Be under no illusions though: The myth section serves an important role:

  1. It establishes authority
  2. It immediately solves a problem
  3. We use it to reinforce the beliefs of our readers
  4. It addresses objections in a non-confrontational way

And then in the third myth (not labelled as one in this sales letter – but it’s the magic bullet)

We get to the core, painful limitation our readers have. This is what the product sets to solve.

Here, it’s “magical bullet thinking.”

And we pull the weakness to pieces.

If a person is fat and wants to lose weight, we go hard. We tell them that they’re sad when they look in the mirror and they’re at risk of heart problems.

If a person is poor, we tell them that their family isn’t safe, or that one medical bill could put them under.

We’ve established who they are, that we are one of them and that we have the same problems they have. Now we’re talking frankly here… the problem needs to be solved.

And we’re going to show them how.

The Truth Is…

We’ve given them the nightmare and we’ve shown them their fate, and now we get to the good stuff.

The truth is, our reader has been led down a merry path their whole lives, and they are probably doing it to themselves in many cases.

And now you give them a choice…

Do they continue down that same path to misery, or do they change their life and walk down a different path.

And I mean, you’d want to walk down a new path if you knew that you’d be led to despair and ruin by doing the same thing right now, wouldn’t you?

Our goal here is to get a person to agree to their new life before we mention the product.

This is what a lot of copywriters and business get wrong – “Better start with the product and price otherwise people won’t get this far!”

Don’t fall for that.

Long form sales letter writing means you convince the person before you offer them the product.

That makes selling the product as easy as possible.

Let Me Teach You…

Ramit Sethi (or his copywriter,) takes the above to the extreme.

We have several more sections that are basically, “Here’s what I did… here’s what I can do… and here’s how I can teach you.”

These follow the same basic pattern as the myths. They entertain. They teach. Authority is built.

Remember, this is good. If you read the letter and think, “Why can’t you just get on with it?” then you’re hooked. You’re still there and you’re literally feeling the anticipation building inside you.

And are we ready?

Sure, because all that value I’ve just given you for free is just one of the lessons you’ll learn in the actual product. This is an easy way to demonstrate value and not give the entire game away:

(It’s almost like people read my blog when they write this stuff.)

Introducing …The Offer

I remember once having a client. He said to me, “The sales letter is great until you get to the call to the action. Then it’s pretty boring and not very salesy.”

And I said something along the lines of, Oh ye of little faith.

Here’s the thing:

We’re two-thirds of the way through a massive sales letter at this point. Everyone’s scrolling to either get to the end of the story or hit the buy button.

You don’t need much fanfare in the call to action if you’ve already put in the work.

We’ve taken a hungry market and made them realising they’re starving.

Now we introduce the product and they already know what’s in it. You just give them the details, give them a big, obvious BUY BUTTON and hand the control over to them.

And that’s what we do for our call to actions, because the hard work is done.

 

I would have had a buy button here, but whatever.

We then go into some bullets which are just emotionally charged chapter titles.

Then some quotes for proof.

Then the returns policy.

And an FAQ…

and Jesus, I really would have had some buy buttons before this.

But then we get to the buy button, and that’s a wrap.

But Is It?

It is in terms of new information.

After the buy button, you have some more testimonials. You have some segmenting (which I think is weirdly placed, to be honest,) and you have some large-scale reiteration in the P.S. One Final Reminder section.

The goal here is to fill the space without detracting from the buy button.

And that’s all there is, folks.

Final Thoughts

It’s now 17:00.

It’s taken me under 40 minutes to write this breakdown and decode this sales letter as I was going. Once you have experience with copywriting, building swipe files and deconstructing them, you can take a sales letter that’s 1,000’s of words long, look at the language, structure and other intangibles and break it down handily within a few minutes.

This is a high level skill, and if you master it, you are going to succeed at copywriting and business. 99% of people won’t even read this whole breakdown, let alone sit and do breakdowns themselves.

Most people won’t ever learn the mechanics, and then they’ll wonder why they don’t get it.

I know for a fact I could take this sales letter, spin it around and change it to sell any product in any target market in a few hours technically, and a few days if I had to research a whole new market.

If you follow the above process and break down the material you read like I have, then you will be able to do the same.

 

P.S. Often, idiots will say, “But why would anyone pay so much for writing?”

You’ll notice that I haven’t even talked about the actual language above.

The value in copywriting is being able to understand all of the stuff I’ve written above and being able to take all of that information, pin it to a target market, sell a product to said market and have the page convert highly.

And let me tell you… hardly anyone on the planet can do this effectively.

That’s why a good copywriter charges a ridiculous amount of money. Because the skill is magical.

  • Nidge says:

    Fantastic breakdown, Jamie.

    I’d love to see these breakdowns become a regular feature on the site (especially some legendary sales letters).

    This is probably a noob question, but as a copywriter, how do you decide if a product should be sold via a long-form sales letter like the above, or something shorter?

    Does it depend completely on the price of the product? or on the audience as well?

    For example, if my client sells a subscription product for $130/month, does this warrant a similar length sales letter.

    Hope I’m not missing the point, but it seems like sales letters are most common when it comes to info products, courses etc.

    • Jamie McSloy says:

      Hey there,

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting.

      I’ll write some more on long versus short form soon. (I might have already but we can retread the ground.)

      Basically though, it’s not so much about price (although that does factor in – no point in a 5,000 word sales letter for a $5 book) but about complexity of the product and the level of knowledge your audience have of the product to start with.

      So if you’re sending cold traffic to a $130/m subscription, you’ll need a ridiculously awesome sales letter, because people aren’t going to plunk down $1k+ a year on a three hundred word page that says “buy my stuff yo.”

      On the other hand you CAN sell $130/m to people with a short form letter if they’re warm or otherwise don’t mind spending that money.

      Generally though, long-form = considered purchase where you need to inform and educate your audience.

      I’ll write more about this.

  • Asante says:

    Very helpful post, the hero’s journey is always present in good sales letters.


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