Writing A Sales Letter? What Comes First?

By Jamie McSloy / October 3, 2017
writing sales letter featured image

Writing A Sales Letter? What Comes First?

The order in which you write your sales letter isn’t the same as the structure of your sales letter.

Just understanding the above will lift a weight off your shoulders and increase your copywriting speed and quality if you’re doing it wrong.

Here’s the order I’ve – far too late – decided to work in.

  1. Research
  2. Story
  3. Structure


I used to sit and start my sales letter as soon as I knew what it was about. Then I’d have to go over it all and change it because I’d come up with a better idea, the target market would be different or some other factor I hadn’t accounted for.

Here’s what you should do instead.

Start with research. Who are you or who are your clients? Who are the target market? What do they want, need and desire? Why don’t they have it?

All those basic questions are things you need to work out before you sit down to write.

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Then, look in depth at the product.

What’s the offer? How is it better than the competitor’s? What exactly do you get? How exactly does it work?

You can add your own findings to this list… but the overall point I’m making here is that if you do the above, you’ll find most elements of your sales material write themselves.

Only once you’ve done your basic research can you move on to the next step.


People in creative advertising talk about “the big idea.” They spend hours sitting doing nothing, waiting for inspiration – or at least a witty slogan – to strike.

They’d be better off just writing a story, and finding that the “big idea” then came to them.

Storytelling in copywriting is simple. If you’ve done your research (see the section above) you’ll know your target customer. You’ll know their weaknesses and strengths. You’ll know what their nightmare lifestyle is and what their dream is.

From there, you have the basics for a narrative. It doesn’t even need to go in your final product. You might even have one from a testimonial already.

But essentially, write a story about how customer A went from Loser B to Winner C.

Write it in as much detail as you can and fully flesh out the ideas. You will find a hook point that resonates if you do this, because you’re creating the exact scenario your customer wants.


Once you’ve done the above two things – and this is key because most copywriters don’t – the structure should come fairly naturally. The structure of a sales page is like the ticking of a box.

People ask me about the small details of sales letters; where do the testimonials go, how long should a call-to-action be and the like.

But if you do your research, the pieces will fall into place.

The more you hand write out good copy, the more you’ll pay attention. The more you break down copy and realise what goes where, the easier it becomes.

At this point, I don’t think all too much about a sales page structure because I kind of know it off by heart, and the rest is like I mentioned above – a check list.

So, when you look at a copywriter’s blog or you see one of those 45 minute long sales pages and you think, “This has a ton of elements” don’t worry.

Sure, you can have a 40 point structure for a sales page.

But you don’t really need to if you have a compelling story and you’ll find that a lot of the structure gets taken care of.

For instance, if you write out the intricate details of your product plus any bonuses that go with it, you’ll probably have a few hundred words even if you just list them as plain bullet points. Add in a few emotional hooks and ta-da! You’ve already hit a few of your structural points.

Final Thoughts

The hardest part about copywriting shouldn’t ever be the writing. Writing is really simple. Good writing is even simpler.

Copywriting is simpler than that. After all, with copywriting you’re writing in a simple, straightforward and direct way. No awkward turns of phrases, long allegories or anything are welcome, let alone necessary.

The “hard work” comes before the writing. The great thing is that once you know and accept that the hard work is in the research, you realise it’s not that hard at all.

The whole copywriting process becomes a lot faster, more efficient and more successful.