marketing-copywriting-sales-letter

COPYWRITING: The 4 Sales Letter Categories That Boosts Sales You Should Knew By Now

Selling a product is not rocket science when you know exactly what you’re doing, but many think Sales is some sort of magical, mind-blowing technique you need to master years before you’re able to sell something very well. Not quite. But I’ll poke your mind here with the next questions, so pay attention now.

Question: Do you know how to sell ordinary products with your copy, like a deodorant for instance? And what about those luxury, weird, freaky products like a golden bike that only rich guys usually buy? Or what about seemingly worthless products that no one has no interest for, like certain startup products?

That’s where Copywriting makes a hardcore difference.
Because it is too easy to sell something that has high-value and a nice, proportional price but it’s a WHOLE different thing to sell soap like a Champion or even those useless, crazy-expensive products like a golden iPhone for example.

This is why I made this article.
To teach you how to sell almost EVERYTHING like a Master using the best sales letter for each type of product. I’m giving you here 4 Sales Letter Categories you can use for whichever product lands on your lap, waiting to be sold by your golden marketing fingers.

Because selling is not that hard once you understand what’s behind every customer’s expectation and behind every “problem”.

So let’s open your mind a bit.
And remember: Almost Every product can fit into these 4 Sales Letter categories.
Now let’s give you what you need to sell more.


1st CATEGORY — CONVENIENCE PRODUCTS
This is the category where ordinary products like soaps, toothpaste, and other simple products we regularly buy at the supermarket are placed. Those common products almost no one cares about. Those products which the brand doesn’t matter much because the customer’s need is simply to fill that basic personal/home care necessity so they can get faster to the candy session and dump loads of chocolate bars in the shopping cart (because that’s what matters when you are in a supermarket!).

Yes, the reality is that humans don’t really care about detergent or soap that much. Painful isn’t it? So how do you sell this sort of product if that’s what you must write copy for? Basically, you’ll have to create a sales letter with these points below:

  • FILLS AN IMMEDIATE NEED — The customer is not going to the store or supermarket to buy specifically a soap or a toothpaste. That’s extremely rare, remember that. So this is just a basic need he needs to fulfill as fast as possible to go get the important stuff he actually needs. This is why your copy must sell what he exactly wants fast for that sort of product, without telling a story or something else that is too time-consuming. Just sell all your soap, deodorant benefits. And sell it fast.
  • FOCUS ON LOW/REGULAR PRICE — Customers won’t pay $100 for a deodorant, no matter how strong your copy is. After all, there are really good deodorants that can give customers what they want (which is basically ‘to smell good’ and prevent sweaty t-shirts), and it can all be bought for $10 or less. So the customer behavior regarding deodorants, for instance, will be to look for a good brand that can deliver the good smell he wants, whilst at the same time, it can allow him to take several of that same product home so he doesn’t have to worry about this again so soon. Therefore, pricing can not be that high for such ordinary product because he’s mostly seeking to fill his supply.
  • PLACE SOCIAL PROOF — Big brands always use this to make people believe they have the upper hand over competitors. It works. Why? Because rich, pretty people tend to spend more money even on conventional products like soap because they care about quality in each and every part of their lives. But this is a very subjective communication many don’t realize that Ads display under the hood. Also, such apparent approval from a “famous or pretty person” must mean to us that those people got that level of result (ex: freakish white smiles) by using that product, and we would like to get the same results.
  • DEMONSTRATE THE BENEFITS WITH SHORT WORDS/SENTENCES — There’s no time to waste when you have an ordinary product at hand to sell. You must sell it. FAST. Period. Because the customer’s attention lifespan will only last for a few seconds before they look to another brand just to fill his basic supply so causing a strong impact with powerful words and a great, short high-value proposition sentence is a must here. Sell the benefits, and go home.

Why all this? Because these types of products people buy without much consideration. It’s part of their routine so there’s not much to think about because they only have to consider: PRICE and EFFECTIVENESS. Period. So let me show you a few examples that will make you realize this:

screenshot--copy-dove-deodorant-propaganda

Copy:“Experience a new kind of softness”

Explanation: Simple but powerful. The use of the word “NEW” adds a different perspective to the softness benefit woman seek so much on these sort of products. Very straightforward and selling the benefits right away fast. That’s a good copy example for products of this kind.

screenshot--copy-colgate-propaganda1.1

Copy:“It takes the right kind of effort to get a beautiful smile. Introducing Colgate Visible White With Whitening Accelerators, that make your teeth one shade whiter in just one week. So that you look your best always. And dazzle the world with your beautiful smile.”

Explanation:“The copy above aims on 3 points: BEAUTIFUL SMILE + WHITE TEETH + 1-WEEK RESULTS. As you noticed, this is a very short sales letter because you don’t have the time nor the attention to take from your customer, who is just passing to pick a simple toothpaste to brush his teeth. Which is why the promise of delivering results in one week is made right on the headline in big, clear and white letters. And if you pay closer attention to the small letters display on the bottom of the image (which is where people look to find something suspicious about the product), you see a client’s testimony (social proof). Simple. And very effective.”

So remember to write short, powerful copy for ordinary products.
Because no one has the time nor the energy to spend to be convinced through your “my product is better” storytelling. Just state what’s better, throw the promise right in the client’s face and move on.

Understood?
Next.

2nd CATEGORY — SHOPPING PRODUCTS
A great copywriter understands that when he’s writing copy for a product, there is much to consider on the table. Writing a sales letter for a product involves selling EMOTIONS as well, not just the product or its features. Why do I say this? Because when people go out to dinner or take a walk in the mall, you can see many of them like to do some “window shopping” sometimes.

So there’s buying intent there, but most people who are doing window shopping don’t buy as much as they initially wanted.
Why? Because they haven’t been sold a good amount of the right, strong, heart-shaking EMOTIONS most of the times.
That’s why.

Emotions matter. And this is key for this 2nd sales category.
Why again? Simple. Because the mental frame of a person in this product category has completely changed. The customer is now in a state where he’s looking for the best product, digging for the best price, and hoping to get the best benefits and also the best feelings that his desired product can provide.

The customer is now doing some heavy RESEARCH here.
So in this category, there are shoes, purses, pants, TVs etc. Everything that you usually see in the market falls in this category, so it’s important to realize there’s a lot of competition here. A lot. Which is why you need to be a little more careful when writing your copy because every single selling point, MATTERS.

You need to present the same product in a more valuable way, highlighting its qualities while you’re triggering the right emotions on customers. That’s the winning edge. That’s what business forget to apply in their copy.

Ok, but let’s get practical here and reverse-engineer this category too.
Here’s what you should approach to make a powerful sales letter:

  • USE PRICING TECHNIQUES — Your product is in a very competitive ground, so knowing how to reframe your customer’s mind to make him think more on the VALUE side, instead of the PRICE side is a must for you. Use pricing techniques (like Apple’s Pricing Decoys) to destroy the notion of “expensive/cheap” in the customer’s head right away and make him focus on the value you’re providing instead.
  • USE LONGER SALES LETTER — Remember, the customer is doing RESEARCH which means he probably has been seeing lots of similar products and is having a hard time trying to decide which one is the best option for him. That’s where your copy enters to save the sales game. You use it to distinguish the product from all other options available in the market through precise data and powerful emotion-oriented words/sentences. Also, hitting all possible customer’s pains is another important point you can’t usually do with short copy, which is why you should use long sales letters depending on the media you’re approaching him (can’t do that in a bus banner of course).
  • MAKE USE OF SOCIAL PROOF — There are basically 2 best ways to do this: hard data (statistics) or real-life testimonials, and you can mix both. The approach you pick should rely on the context you’re grabbing the customer’s attention from, meaning, the place you’re exposing your sales content, among other things. For example, an article online can use Native Advertising to boost sales. Why? Because once the prospect is reading your content in a site he loves, you’re still in the game since he won’t probably leave soon and WILL read your Ads with all the data and social proof you like, if you play things right. However, a promotional banner in a store showcase at the Mall can’t apply the same level of social proof due to its short attention lifespan because people don’t read that much data in that sort of ads section. Get it? Just remember that this is a weapon you should use in this sales letter category, but remember the CONTEXT in which the customer is in at the moment, so you don’t waste time, money and effort on something he won’t look for too long. For longer periods of attention like a Native Ads article, use solid testimonials + hard data and for short attention span, use hard data or testimonials only. You don’t have practical time for both in the last case.
  • DEMONSTRATE BENEFITS THROUGH COMPARISONS WITH OTHER PRODUCTS — This is key for high-quality products because they’re competing at a whole different level. So if you sell a PHONE and if you’re one of the biggest brands in the market then your obvious contender is all other biggest brands (which usually is less than 5), and this, therefore, makes comparisons arise naturally in the mind of customers. Because products like Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Phones (just an example) are always fighting each other in such level that every single benefit matters to win the battle because every piece of that sort of product is trying to win the hardest comparison level game. And I’ll give you a funny example of this competition-based marketing style in the next paragraphs.

The goal is to sell 100% of the product. Period. Without leaving any benefit left behind unclear, which is why you must specify every benefit whenever you have the chance to do it. At the same time, pricing is something that needs to be forgotten by the customer at the moment he’s watching/reading your Ad, and VALUE is what must take its place instead (as I said before in this section).

So if you’re selling pants then tell people how the fabric is, how it FEELS in the body, how it will differentiate from other brands once you wash it, among other things. Because your competition is really high here, so you must do everything to stand out (without looking needy, of course).

To make things simpler, here’s an example from Apple TV.
Pay attention on how many points they hit and how well they display the key points:

screenshot--copy-apple-TV

Source: Check out the full page here.

See? Apple TV knows how to sell. The product is being carefully shown in EACH section to strike EACH type of customer (gamers, TV addicts etc). And as you can see, this is a much longer copy compared to Colgate’s copy because Apple has to go point by point in its Ads to get a maximum ROI out of it because after all, several personas can buy their product.

Just think how many buying personas can buy jeans from your clothes store, for example.
Lawyers, businessmen, teenagers, teachers, athletes etc. There are many types of people who would buy jeans and this is the reason why you should try to hit their exact buying motivations, just like Apple did. The more you make things clear for every type of buying persona, the better (as long as your product actually serves them).

OK! Now one more thing: PRICING.
If you haven’t clicked on this link about pricing techniques, then do it. It will help you learn some key points on pricing. You’ll understand how to deal with pricing in a way that it draws customers and make them buy more. Truly helpful core pricing techniques.

And here’s the funny competition example I promised featuring Pepsi vs Coca Cola:

PS: Did you see how Pepsi highlighted “ZERO CALORIES”? That’s comparison in action, my friend. This is what you must write in written form if it is an advantage over the competition.

3rd CATEGORY — SPECIALTY PRODUCTS
Here is a nice piece of hard work for a copywriter: Make people spend a lot of money on something they DON’T need! Yes, that’s a hard sale, my friend. Freaking hard. Ok, but what exactly people don’t need here? Well, in this product category lies: Exotic goods, Luxury cars, Expensive jewelry and Art. So HERE, you’re playing a whole different game with your copy because there’s not much BUYING INTENT when it comes to specialty products, either you create strong, deep desire for what you’re selling or you just wait until rich people find your product and hope it to get delighted by it.

Ok, but how can you outlast this problem?
Well, first, before writing anything at all you must understand the product completely. That’s step one (actually that’s necessary for every product, but here this is crucial because copywriters are not usually familiar with this sort of product). OK. But why you need to do some heavy research in the first place? The answer is simple. Because you don’t know WHY people would buy an abstract painting for instance, where all the Art looks like the painter has spilled ink on a whiteboard and that’s it. So you have to know what is COMPELLING about it.

And this brings you 2 options.
One: You’ll have to do an INTERVIEW with an expert/specialist OR Two: Become an expert yourself (not really practical for most). So if you’re the business owner who wants to sell your thing, then it’s easier (technically speaking) to learn how to write better copy to sell your product OR hire a Copywriter. But if you’re the copywriter who’s working for someone who’s selling Art, then the best approach usually is to interview experts because by doing that, you can know where to put some “pressure” on your copy. This is why you need to do this step really well, so you can know where to attack the customer from. Understanding what the product actually provides is a must.

OK, so here’s what you should do to sell specialty products better and faster:

  • PROMOTE URGENCY — Something luxurious naturally has a certain level of competition between potential buyers because once a product has high value, rich people tend to fight for it. So what do you do? You throw some firewood by using urgency into your copy, which will obviously raise competition levels forcing customers to start a race towards buying the product you’re selling. In case you’re still new about how to apply Urgency, you can start with this great article from Copyblogger.
  • PROMOTE HIGH STATUS — The High status I mean here is success. The type of success that draws everybody’s attention and that people love to have, like money, respect, fancy things etc. Everything that the world sells as “success”. So the goal is to explore this and present the product as a high-status artifact, so you can poke the PRIDE of this kind of customers and SLIGHTLY manipulate them to make them want to buy your product, just because of its status. Get it? You start a competition for status, that’s all.
  • WRITE VERY DESCRIPTIVE, LONG COPY — A luxurious product usually is an expensive product and when it comes to spending more money, humans do need a good, grounded reason to give more money to you. It’s just like Apple’s TV sales letter I presented above, where the description of each and every point hit as many people as possible because that way it gets a lot easier to close a sale. But in order to reach every buying persona you need to be a little more specific, and this takes naturally more words than usual, but this is key in this category. The reason? Because although a BMW is still a BMW, you still need to do 2 things for this type of product: [1] Support Pricing AND [2] Differentiate the Product from same-level competitors. (sometimes you hit both with one stone)

But let me desmontrate this myself with an example.
(BMW, you don’t need to pay me for this, ok?):

car-BMW

Copy:“This time we are bringing something entirely new to the market. There’s Power. There’s Style. There’s comfort. And there’s Ultimate Technology involved. BMW has definitely surpassed its last model and was able to create a racing machine with the look of a businessman’s car. Once again, after several years, true innovation was summoned.

With a computational upgrade of more than 80% this car’s efficiency is now at a whole different level. You can now switch gears and turn on the car’s TV using voice recognition commands, or even turn on/off the air conditioning with one word: ‘Hotter’ or ‘Colder’ and it’s all calibrated to obey only your voice. Powerful. That’s the new power of Artifical Intelligence we are now showing to the world. Also, the leather seats all have individual heat configuration levels so every person inside can regulate their own temperature based on personal preference.

Yes, this is a boss ride.
You’ll feel different. You’ll act different. You’ll be a brand new person in it. The interior design gives you this sense of ownership. It is so impressive that it looks like you’re inside the fancier office, but with that sporty style you love so much. The new Auto-pilot feature was rebuild and it has now the ability to take over the wheel in all places of the Earth, whenever you want to relax and enjoy the view. Riding in beautiful roads like Oberalp Pass, Switzerland or Tianmen Mountain Road, China will be a totally different experience from now on.

But the difference lies in strong reliability and security.
This model has a military-grade autopilot system which was heavily tested by military programs until it reached….perfection. There’s no such level of technology in the cars market yet. The dedicated GPS system is now updated every 30 seconds by BMW’s headquarters in case you’re wondering.

This is why we dare to say that until now, this car is definitely reached perfection regarding its machinery.
The design, though, we let you decide.
But we are pretty confident, as well.

Meet BMW’s next generation car.
There are only 10.000 models made. [urgency through scarcity]

Let the race begin.”

Have you imagined yourself inside that car? Have you pictured yourself relaxing and watching the view while the car is on autopilot mode and you are just enjoying the ride? Have you imagined controlling everything inside just by talking to the car?

Well, this is how you sell expensive things. You highlight its awesomeness and bring the experience to the customer’s mind with your copy.
Got it?

Next!

4th CATEGORY — UNCOMMON PRODUCTS
Ok, the final category is interesting. This is where you sell products that people have never realized their lives were totally INCOMPLETE without them. It’s like selling something like Google for a person who keeps guessing websites names to find what he wants, but without that level of demand (ouch!).

In this category, it’s like selling products that seem to offer no value, no usefulness and no reward at all to the customer. This is a little hard to master because although this seems very similar to the specialty products category, there’s one tiny difference:

These products aren’t luxurious and don’t offer high status (social value) most of the times.
GREAT!!! That’s exactly what we need! A product without something that can leverage itself besides its innovative approach.

Startups’ products fall in this category most of the time.
OK. So how do you sell something people don’t actually think they need, and that doesn’t have that much social value at all?

Well, here we go.
These are the core strategies for this product category:

  • PROMOTE A NEW STATUS — This is a little bit tricky to do, but in essence, you must CREATE a NEW status quo and place your customer inside of it, making him imagine the level of greatness of using your new, innovative product. It’s like creating a new clothes trend for instance, on which you suddenly define that a half ripped jeans is now awesome. Get it?
  • COMPARE REAL-LIFE EXPERIENCES TO CREATE NECESSITY — When you’re selling people something that they don’t think they want, and never complained about the lack of your solution before, you must CREATE demand in the customer’s head. That’s key. And in order to do this faster, you need to compare hard, real-life experiences with the level of experiences your solution will provide. Because it’s like selling a Book Vending Machine. People don’t actually NEED IT so hard, you know? So the fastest option to pick your customer’s brain and make him realize your product is a must for him is building bad real-life scenarios in his mind to THEN introduce your innovative project with a positive real-life scenario. You compare the now, with the future. Period (which obviously involves your product).
  • ASSOCIATE VALUE TO THE PRODUCT, NOT PRICE — The best option for a product most people don’t understand or don’t care much about is to attribute lots of high-value to it. The value proposition must be so great, that the customer needs to feel embarrassed for not buying from you. Pricing has to be destroyed at all costs for the customer or else he’ll quickly feel like he’s wasting money on something entirely useless. So play this card as much as you can.
  • WRITE LONG SALES LETTERS — Long copy is necessary for this category again because you need to paint a board, a new necessity out of a real life situation and that takes words. Lots of it. Write the necessary steps to rebuild a situation in his mind perfectly and place your innovative solution in it to make it more powerful and useful. You must create solid context before you introduce your product, or else you’ll lose the customer depending on what you’re selling.

Now let’s go straight to the copy.
I’ll write one myself again, and we will sell that Book Vending Machine I spoke about just now.
PS: We need to sell to the place owner now, not the end customer. Keep that in mind.

screenshot--vending-machine

Copy:“We are here to give you something special: A New Interesting Environment for your Company. But what do we mean? We mean we change the place’s atmosphere of companies like yours, completely, from the inside out. We make old, ordinary, boring places have a different vibe with a small change so customers desire to stay at your place more than necessary, just because of what we sell.

And now you’re asking “How do you do that” and “What do you do”, right?
Let’s answer the “What we do” question, first.

We provide to your customers a new, interesting, favorite spot in your Airport or Subway station to them so they can sit quietly for hours and hours, just enjoying the place without causing you any sort of problems. We create new environments where customers like to spend their time, instead of that place where people are annoyed by waiting. We change the vibe and we bring more profits indirectly.

Ok, now how do we do all that?
We sell Book vending machines.

And this is how it works (explanation in 30 seconds).
Our machines come with 1.000 books “choose-yourself” categories to match your target audience preference. So if you know for sure that your Airport attracts more business owners, for example, we can send you a Book vending machine with 1.000 business books to match your public style. If you see lots of kids in your place, then we have children books ready for you. It’s your choice. That way, you’ll always keep most of your customers engaged in good readings whenever they spend some time at your place. And combining this with food/candy vending machines or a snack bar works beautifully for profits because you can build a place from where people won’t like to leave very soon.

A Great Environment. That’s what we are selling.
And we surely speak from experience that your customers will definitely prefer your place over the competition because the value this simple box will add to their lives in their routines while they’re eating or waiting for the next plane is priceless. Priceless. Customers will prefer to go to the place where they can have some good reading options while they do daily, ordinary tasks. Guaranteed.

People will talk about your place and they’ll naturally market it much more.
Your company will be known for one of the few in the market that encourages customers towards constant reading and personal development. [new status quo]

Now here are some interesting statistics.
We have customers who told us that their space has gained an INCREDIBLE increase on people of 73%. Just because our Book vending machines were placed in a strategic spot that customers sit and wait for hours. Others increased profits by 83% just by placing a book vending machine next to their cafeteria, forcing people to read more on lunch hours. And others, got powerful business exposure in magazines thanks to this innovation and word-of-mouth marketing from customers.

This is actually normal behavior 90% of the time after companies acquire our product.
And here’s why:

– Because there are people who find good books there that sometimes aren’t findable online.
– There are people who don’t have a good place to sit and read alone and they go there just do their readings.
– And others have met their life partners because they were about to grab the same book at the exact same time.

As we said before, we sell a Great Environment.
We bring stories to your company, both from your customers as from books themselves. Always.

So here is what you must answer to yourself:

How much would you pay to crush the competition and create an incredible environment for your customers? How much would you pay to rest assured that your snack bar is profiting more than ever? How much would you pay to make your business partners and stores in your place much happier thanks to at least 50% more daily clientele?
[price worries destruction]

Give your place a new atmosphere with our Book vending machine.
Transform your environment now. Because we are not here to make money. Definitely not.
We are here to build more life stories.
And we hope you are one of them.

Regards”

Not secrets here, right?
Very straightforward and easy to understand. Just keep in mind, though, that I haven’t written a RELLY long copy because in this case there’s no need to do it, there’s no need to stretch the sales letter. We could, though, add more data on it and more testimonials, but you got the picture.

Ok? Now it’s your turn.
Put smart copywriting work and see what happens.

CONCLUSION?
Remember to do things in order so you don’t get lost. Always start by analyzing the product’s category first. That’s step one. Then, use the right sales letter framework to maximize the power of your copy before you think on the actual copy itself. That’s step two. And THEN, write good, powerful, brainwash-level copy that sells.

That’s step three.
Now you have all you need. Execute.
And have fun while doing it.

Take care.

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