Four Essential Elements in (Almost) Any Sales Copy
Much has been written on the structure of a sales letter, and copywriters everywhere all have their own opinions about what must be included in a sales letter or promotion.
In this article, I will explain what I believe are the four essential elements of sales copy. Others may argue that other elements are essential too; however I believe these to be the most important.
1. The headline.
The headline is the most important element of any sales letter. Here’s why.
The headline qualifies the sales letter, and often serves as a screening device. The headline sets the tone for the entire letter. It must summarize what will follow without “giving away” too much. It must grab the attention of the reader and convince them to keep reading. If the headline does not do its job, the letter will not get read.
You can see why many copywriters spend more time on the headline than on any other part of the sales letter.
2. The offer.
What is being offered? If it’s not compelling to the reader… or not communicated in such as way as to seem compelling to the reader, the sales will be flat. The offer must be stated in terms important to the reader.
Although there are exceptions, generally testimonials are going to be a very important piece of the building we call sales letters. There’s an ancient saying that goes like this: “let another praise you and not your own lips”. People today, just like people of times gone by, tend to be distrustful when others praise themselves. Testimonials break though much of the natural aversion and allow our satisfied customers to speak on our behalf.
4. Handling objections.
This element goes by different names, and here is how it works. If we were to sell our product or service in person, most of our prospects would have various reasons for not making a buying decision. If we are to persuade them to buy, we must answer those objections.
Selling in print is no different, and reality carries more importance for meeting objections than face-to-face sales. The reason is simple: as copywriters, we will not have the opportunity to answer our prospects’ objections individually. We must therefore proactively predict their objections and meet them head-on.
I am fully aware that these four elements alone do not a sales letter make. However, the copywriter would do well to spend the majority of time on these particular elements. They will “make or break” the sales letter. The business owner can make the process much easier by collecting good testimonials and by creating excellent products that his or her target market is actively seeking.