Are Your Sales Letters Confused?

By Jamie McSloy / July 16, 2017
general writing thoughts featured image

Sometimes people come to me and say, “Hey Jamie… can you take a look at my sales page? It’s not converting/I don’t know whether it’s good/etc.?”

Sometimes, people have spent weeks working on a sales letter and they’re not sure whether they need to work on it more or simply pull the trigger.

The other day, I wrote an article about creating a sales page quickly and effectively by avoiding the big mistakes and basically getting on with it.

I missed one thing in that article, and it’s the most common thing I get when I’m reviewing people’s sales letters.

Is Your Sales Letter Confused?

When you read a long form sales letter – especially those really long ones – you probably think, “God, they’ve thrown everything but the kitchen sink into this one.”

Maybe you’ve got a client who says, “Hey… write this sales letter. It’s a nutrition pill that helps women diet so it’s good for athletes who need to hit a certain weight and women who’ve just had a child and want to lose the baby weight.”

Or maybe you’ve written an awesome product about personal finance that’ll help students clear their loans quickly but is also great for married guys who need to quickly recoup their gambling losses before the wife finds out.

(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…)

These are common issues and they tend to lead to one thing: confused sales letters.

It’s very rare that you can hit more than one angle during a sales letter. So when you see long form sales letters that tell you the hundreds of different features that are available and whatever else, those tend to all concentrate on one potential customer.

If you have a product that’s designed for old people and young people but works for completely different reasons in a different way, it’s very difficult to target both of them in the same ad.

The better option is always to run two tests and target both.

How To Diagnose If This Is Your Problem

If your copy is converting amazingly, then you obviously don’t have this problem. If your copy is not converting so well, then it might be this problem, or it might be something else.

It’s pretty difficult to hypothetically cure a sales page, but here are some tips.

The Headline

Your headline is the most important part of your sales letter, assuming you’re linking to it from elsewhere and even if you’re not… it’s very important anyway.

Think about an ideal customer when you right your headline. It’s one sentence. Maybe it’s two at a push. Your headline can therefore easily be addressed to one hypothetical person. It should be. Even if the rest of your sales letter addresses two angles (it shouldn’t – we’ll get to that) your headline can’t.

“Do you need to lose weight quickly and safely? This miracle cure will help you shed 10lbs of fat in 10 weeks or less – and you don’t have to change a single thing about your routine!”

Theoretically, this could appeal to all sorts of people and if the situation called for it, you could make it more specific:

“Are you tired of your post-pregnancy weight? This miracle cure will help you shed 10lbs of fat in 10 weeks quickly and safely! You don’t even have to change your diet or start exercising!”

But you’re not making the mistake of mixing signals:

“Do you want to cut weight for your athletics meet? Or are you a new mum who’s looking to shed 10lbs in 10 weeks? Everyone can lose weight quickly and safely without changing their routine!”

That headline is going to attract more eyeballs, but more than half of them won’t convert before you’ve even started. You have two markets and it’d be very difficult to get a new mum’s interests to align with an athletes. Which brings us to the next part.

The Lead In

The purpose of a lead in is to build your ideal customer and paint you as “one of the guys.” You’re explaining how you’ve had their specific problem and how you discovered a way to fix it.

So, you might have this story:

“It was my 20th birthday, and I was miserable. My girlfriend had ditched me two weeks earlier, and I was due to go out with my best friend that night. He had to bail though because his Mom was sick. I looked in the mirror, all dressed up for a night out I wasn’t having, and you know what got me? My favourite shirt was practically ripping at the seams I was so overweight. I was in a dark place… but you know it only got worse…

Now, presumably that’d lead in to potentially multiple offers: There’s the dating, the social issues, the mental issues and possible depression and the obvious weight gain. Hell, you could even spin this into a fashion/style story.

But you couldn’t mix that with some athlete cutting the last 10lbs before wrestling, a guy who is looking for a guide to being a player with the ladies, or some product about picking the right $900 sunglasses.

It’s just a different market… yet many sales letters try this.

“Have you ever felt so alone it was like nobody cared about you in the world? Or maybe you want a million Facebook friends who send you adoration daily. Our social skills guide has everyone covered.”

The above lead in would never work.

Call To Action

Remember, one product = one solution. You’ve got the solution to a very specific problem. That problem is the customer’s life.

Most products will hit the big problem in multiple ways. A dating product will tell men to work out, it’ll give them style advice and it’ll teach them how to talk to girls.

But it’s one big problem. It’s not a product targeting guys who want to get fit, guys who want to talk to girls and guys who want style advice. It does that but it’s all for one goal: Fixing their dating.

The call to action reveals a confused sales letter because you should be able to say:

Want To Fix Your Life By Getting X? BUY NOW

Where X is the major goal. You wouldn’t take that example above and write:

Want To Get Better Style And Improve Your Life? BUY NOW

This Dating Product Will Help You GET RIPPED! Buy Now

The only thing your call to action should be stating is:

Click Here To Fix Every Possible Problem In Your Dating Life And Find The Perfect Girl For You RIGHT NOW

Every call to action is a call for your customer to fix the biggest problem in their life.

Final Thoughts

There are other signs, but those three are clear.

Essentially though, your sales page should be the story of how one person fixed one clear and major problem and how the product you’re selling saved their life and solved the major problem. All of the different benefits – the secondary benefits – are exactly that.

I mean, if you need to lose weight for your health, you’re going to do it hopefully. You’ll also look better, feel better and your skin will likely be healthier too – but a doctor doesn’t say, “Hey man, you’re about to die from a heart attack if you don’t lose 100lbs but listen – losing weight will give you great skin.”

Your sales page should work towards solving a major problem by providing a single solution. This will often mean you have a specific customer in mind – that’s ok, if not good. Think of the old proverb and apply it to your sales letters:

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.