Adventures in Internet Retailing
Here are more secrets of powerful online sales letters. The rules of the Web writing game have emerged, and you will find them being used over and over again. They draw on the best practices of direct mail for a simple reason: the Web is a direct response medium.
So borrow from the best and apply these direct response writing tactics. Your job is to persuade with compelling, memorable copy. Here’s how…
According to Bill Myers, one of America’s leading direct mail experts, when people receive an offer through email or direct mail, they scan it in this order:
- The Headline
- Any Captions for Photos or Drawings
- Any Large Text Subheads
- The PS
- The Order Card
- (Finally!), the Actual Text itself
Customers actually place orders for Bill’s products without ever reading the text (and his products range from the $100’s into the $1000’s). Which means, attention paid to the elements listed above is of prime importance.
Here are some key formatting tips that will keep your prospects reading so you can close the sale.
- Break the copy up into short copy paragraphs. A single-sentence paragraph can make a striking point.
- Use headlines and sub-headlines.
- Use bullets, numbers, and dashes (-) to further break up copy, allowing plenty of white space to make reading your offer even easier on the eye.
- Use arrows (–>), boxes, color or shading, graphics, indentations, bold lettering, CAPITAL LETTERS, italics, and punctuation!! Note: use a light touch here, rather than the ‘HIT them over and over ’til they beg for mercy!’ approach.
- Give customers premiums. Over-deliver on the offer that first interested your prospective customer any way you can (expert writer Marlon Sanders calls this the ‘dollars for dimes’ approach – you give your customers far more perceived value than they actually pay for). Premiums can add tremendous value to your offer without substantially increasing your cost of delivery.
- Emphasize the word FREE wherever it applies.
- Use fast-loading graphics that actively support your message. Avoid generic clip-art ‘success’ graphics if you can.
- Provide testimonials. If you don’t have them, get them ASAP.
- Urge ‘Immediate Action’. State a time limit to your offer (note: many marketers offer their premiums only if prospective customers buy within a window of 3-14 days).
The better you know your target audience the more sales you will make. The key is to know how badly your customers hurt, and what they most want to achieve.