Give your prospects the reasons behind the deal you are making and you improve the chances of it being accepted; it’s a technique often suggested by savvy marketing experts. I’d like to share another aspect of ‘reasons why’ explanations that can also be very persuasive.
It’s connected to the ‘objections’ – or ‘reasons why’ your prospect may not buy. Answering the concerns your prospect has; reassuring them that purchasing from you is a wise decision is crucial to your sales letter campaign’s success.
Now, if you met your prospect face-to-face you could answer any and all the questions they might ask. But when you are writing your sales message you have to try to answer those potential ‘stop-them-buying’ questions in your description of the benefits and features of what you are offering.
Give Reasons Why They Won’t Buy…
There is another, more direct approach that may work for you – especially if you are giving a seemingly outrageous deal that is likely to make someone think “What’s the catch?”
You start by telling your reader that your marketing experts do not expect a high take up of your offer – citing perhaps only a 10% or 12% response. And you then say that although that is OK from a business point of view, it worries you that someone may miss out because you haven’t explained the deal properly.
So you tell how you brainstormed with your people to think of reasons why someone may refuse the offer. And then tell them what you came up with and – of course – answer those objections.
Including supporting testimonials as you answer each objection makes it even more powerful and persuasive.
It’s a technique I discovered many years ago and have used in different letters.
In the example I’m giving you here I wrote the letter for an office equipment company who specialised in supplying equipment to estate agents. It was an ideal fit because the offer this company was making (a free colour, laser printer) was absolutely unbelievable, although a perfectly viable business proposition for them as well as a fantastic deal for their clients.
I’ve extracted just the pages detailing the ‘reasons why’ and, for confidentiality, my client’s company name and their clients’ names have been removed. (These pages demonstrate the real, powerful reason for collecting good testimonials too… see The Heart of The Matter for more on testimonials).
So, next time you decide to make an incredible offer to your prospects or customers consider if this technique might work for you.
“I’m a direct response fundraising copywriter and a big believer in the power of subheads. But here’s the thing. I’ve just come across a very successful creative director who won’t use subheads at all.
‘A letter should look like a letter’ He says. But prove me wrong. And that’s just it. I can’t find any split test results of a letter with subheads vs one without.
So that leaves those of us who don’t like them, and those of us who do, with just our gut feeling to go on. Any chance you’ve got some test results up your sleeve to confirm the efficacy of subheads?”
It’s not something I’ve tested. I’ve always, like Jules, gone with my professional gut-feeling that subheads break up a formidable-looking long letter and act as a magnet to skimmers.
But it is an interesting question, so I emailed some of my copywriting colleagues to find out if anyone had ever tested a letter without – versus a letter with – subheads.
And I got a reply from Steve King a long-time, direct response copywriter who lives in Devon.
Steve told me he had undertaken such a test, although it wasn’t a direct A/B split test.
His client, like Jules’ creative director, did not want subheads in his B2C sales letter. So the first letter was sent without subheads.
Steve then persuaded his client to test the same letter, with powerful subheads added, to the same database.
Steve revealed the second letter ‘bumped up response by 36%‘ So validating his advice to his client.
The only times I would not use subheads are:
1) In a lift letter that is recommending/endorsing the offer in the main letter (a lift letter is a shorter letter accompanying the main sales letter. It is usually from someone, either a satisfied customer or a professional within the industry, recommending the business making the offer. It is called a ‘lift letter’ because its purpose is to lift response to the main letter).
2) A one-page, quick letter to an existing, active customer base.
As I’ve said before, in copywriting, testing is a good philosophy to follow. I’m regret having to say I’ve never tested the subhead element of a letter – but feel rather relieved that a colleague’s test results has confirmed my instinct.
If you’re trying to create a brand for yourself on the internet then this tip could be extremely useful for you.
Chris Knight of Ezine Articles gave the hint and – at the same time – cleared up a bit of a mystery for me.
Have you ever noticed on blogs or social network websites that some comments have a small picture against them and others haven’t?
I was curious as to how these pictures appeared, Chris answered that question… these people have a gravatar!
What the heck is that?
Well, an avatar is a small pictorial image, whether that’s your picture or a graphical logo designed to represent your business, that you can use on the web.
A gravatar is a globally recognised avatar.
It is intended to save you time by having just one single graphical image (the avatar), associated with your email address. It means you don’t have to upload your graphical image to, what can seem like a hundred and one, different websites!
You can set up a free account at gravatar.com and upload your image. It is extremely easy to do and the point I really liked is you don’t have to worry about the picture content; for example it could be a group picture you want to use because it has a particularly good image of you. You simply upload the whole photo image and then trim the photo to the area you want to have displayed.
Whenever you add a comment that includes an avatar in the design (most WordPress blog designs do) your picture automatically appears.
Chris suggested trying it out – and I did.
Why not have a go – pop over to www.gravatar.com (if you use this link it opens up in a new browser window), set up your account and pop back to add a comment here. It will be nice to put ‘faces to names’ and to get to know you better.
When I got an email from Rich Schefren about the passing of a well-known figure that had inspired and taught him so many marketing gems, I didn’t know who he was talking about (the guy is not well known outside the US).
In his farewell post (a 27-page insightful sharing) Rich reveals – and describes fully – no less than 5 incredibly effective sales process steps Billy Mays always used. Each of these is a huge eye-opener for anyone using direct response marketing to promote their products or service…
#1: Picking The Right Product – or more specifically, how to make it obvious yoursis the right product
#2: Ballying The Tip – great phrase and no, I didn’t have a clue what it meant either until I read Rich’s description! But it is a strategy you will have come across many times both in posts on this blog and – I daresay – elsewhere.
#3: Nodding Them In – some great examples of how this process can be easily used in your sales letters or on your web page; taking part in the conversation
#4: The Chill Down – ramping up the excitement and compulsion to buy
Do you use a freely available email program such as Google Mail? Have you ever sent proprietary material (e.g. PDF, MP3 etc) as an attachment?
Apart from it being a potentially insecure media to use – it looks like you may be ‘giving your material away’ without realising it. Let me explain. . .
I was doing some research online for a client’s copywriting project when I came across this video on YouTube. It highlights the importance of reading the small print whenever we sign up for a service; whether that’s email or one of the social websites.
Now – I’m not a legal whizz-kid; not by any stretch of the imagination so I’m curious… is this a true and correct interpretation of the terms and conditions quoted?
Take a look – it’s only 4.5 minutes long (and yes, it is advertising an event so it may be hype – I don’t know) – and share your thoughts or, if you happen to be a legal-eagle, tell us… should we be extremely careful about what we’re putting out on these free websites?
Of course there may be some content you don’t mind having passed around, but if someone else is gaining revenue from the content you generate without giving you a share, it doesn’t seem very fair to me. Or am I getting paranoid here?
~ Carol Bentley
P.S. Site update nearly ready to go live – just doing some final testing.