Jack Sarlo

"How To Write A Sales Letter (Beginner Friendly Guide)!"

sales letter
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  • Copywriting

sales letter is like your personal salesperson that sells your product or service over the Internet around the clock. It never tires or asks for a raise.

It’s a vital “tool” if you have an Information Business, that’s why I’m going to reveal as much as I can on how to write a sales letter in this free post…

I’ve learned how to write a sales letter about 7 years ago by reading a bunch of articles and watching videos from one of the world’s best copywriters. 

I’ll talk more about him in this post and you’ll see some of his latest videos too.

But I become quite good at writing sales letters only after I practiced what I was learning. Over time my sales letter writing skill improved and so can yours!

The first time you try to write a sales letter you’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed, because you have little or no idea what to write.

But after you write (or re-write the same sales letter) your second and third sales letters you’ll notice that you’re able to write a sales letter faster and easier!

And I’ve included a step by step sales letter template in this post so if you’re totally clueless about writing a sales letter you can simple follow the template…

English is not even my first language… 

If I can write a sales letter so can you… there’s nothing complicated once you follow some guidelines and practice a bit.

In this post you’ll also find links to several resources for additional information on this topic because I cannot tell you everything in one post.

So let’s get started…

Table of Contents

How To Write A Sales Letter

sales letter writing guideA sales letter is like a personal letter you send to a friend. The objective is to convince and persuade him or her to buy a product or service…

When writing your sales letter you’ll use the same general copywriting techniques we’ve discussed in my other post which is basically a mini copywriting course

Techniques like the use of ‘power words’, talking about benefits more than features of the product, and so on…

But there are also some specific copywriting techniques that you can use when writing a sales letter.

When you’re writing an ad for Google Adwords or Facebook you’re restricted by how many words you can write. 

But when you’re writing a sales letter you can write as much as you want to.

This is an advantage because you have more room to mention everything you possible can that will persuade a prospect to buy a product. 

And you can use images and videos as well in your sales letter.

Sales Letter Format

Some sales letters are shorter or longer than others. In general if you’re selling a $297 course your sales letter will be longer than if you’re selling a $19.95 product. 

Because it’s more difficult to persuade someone to give you $297 instead of just $19.95, so you’ll have to write more copy…

However if you’re selling an inexpensive product, perhaps $25 or less don’t assume you don’t need to write a lot of copy. 

Write as much as you have to until you have a sales letter that can completely convince someone to buy a product.

Whether you’re selling a $7 or a $197 product there’s a specific framework or structure that copywriters adhere to. 

This structure contains certain parts that are included in almost every sales letter!

For example every sales letter will start with a headline and end with a call to action.

Here’s a brief overview of the elements, sections or parts that are included in almost every sales letter.

  • Headline
  • Opening - (Show them you understand their particular problem... or tell a story...)
  • Introduce Product
  • Product's Benefits
  • List The Bonuses
  • Guarantee
  • List The Price (And value justification...)
  • Call To Action (With a sense of urgency...)
  • Postscripts (P.S.)

That’s like the skeleton of a sales letter. There’s a lot of different ways to “build” each of those parts.

For example some copywriters write a story in the opening, others grab prospect’s attention by reminding them of their problems…

I’ve wrote an ebook with a more detailed and complete sales letter template. This particular template is very similar to the one above, but it’s made up of 10 parts. 

But more importantly the ebook shows you exactly how to write each of those parts. 

This specific template is what I’ve used to write almost every sales letter I have, because it’s proven to work time and time again. 

You can learn more about that on the Perfect Salesletter Template website.

Sales letter Example

A great way to learn how to write each of those different parts of a sales letter is to see a lot of good examples!

This basically means you want to have a swipe file. 

I’ve wrote a guide with complete instructions on how to build your own swipe file and it contains several resources to download done-for-you swipe files.

But a quick and easy to to see some of the best sales letter examples is to go to http://swiped.co From the ‘All Types’ drop down choose ‘Sales Letters’.

Video Sales Letter (VSL)

video sales letterYou’ve probably already seen a sales letter that has a video at the top of the page. 

You can convert the text of your sales letter into a video and put the video version at the top of the sales letter. 

And you’ll essentially have what’s known as  a video sales letter. 

The video script is basically the same thing that’s written in the sales letter.

In order to keep things easy it’s recommended you learn to write a sales letter before you consider using a video.

Master one thing before you move to another… You can add a video later on and always test to see if your conversion rates goes up or down when you do so. 

Because not all sales letters work better with a video! You’ll have to do an A/B test, also known as a split test.

I created a more detailed guide about website conversion rates that you can check out.

Here’s a 12 step template you can use to write the script for the video… 

Feel free to skip this part if you’re not going to create any video sales letters.

12 Step Video Sales Letter (VSL) Template

You’ve probably already seen a sales letter that has a video at the top of the page. 

You can convert the text of your sales letter into a video and put the video version at the top of the sales letter. 

And you’ll essentially have what’s known as  a video sales letter. The video script is basically the same thing that’s written in the sales letter.

In order to keep things easy it’s recommended you learn to write a sales letter before you consider using a video. 

Master one thing before you move to another… 

You can add a video later on and always test to see if your conversion rates goes up or down when you do so. Because not all sales letters work better with a video! 

You’ll have to do an A/B test, also known as a split test.

Here’s the 12 step template.

Step 1) At the top of the page, use a headline. A hook to capture their attention and interest so they keep watching the video.

Step 2) Here you need to show your reader that you understand their particular problem (that your product or service will solve). Give as much detail as possible to show them you understand them.

And then make the problem sound even worse. Get them deeply in touch with their pain so they start to desire a solution that you’re about to sell!

Step 3) Announce the solution. Here’s where you boldly show that you and your product/service will solve their problem.

Step 4) Present credentials. Why they should believe you? Why you’re qualified to sell this? What is in your background that proves you are the person to help them?

Step 5) Talk about the benefits, the results they can accomplish if they use your product…

Step 6) Talk about any proof you have that your product works, for example testimonials and case studies…

Step 7) Explain in detail your offer. Tell them the price and the bonuses you’ll give them. And mention any basic but important features about your product e.g. what’s the product format? 

If it’s a video course how many videos are included and how long is each one? If the product is a software will it work on Windows and Mac?

Step 8) Inject scarcity – e.g. limited time or quantity but do that if it’s actually true! There are many ways to do this. 

For example you can can offer a coupon code or extra bonus that only lasts a limited time. You can look at your sales letter swipe file for a lot of good examples.

Step 9) Mention the money back guarantee.

Step 10) Tell them to action now! This is the ‘Call To Action’.

Step 11) Remind that of the disadvantage of not acting, talk about the benefits and results once again, that they’ll miss out. 

Also remind them of any scarcity you’ve used e.g. a time limited for the coupon or the additional free bonus.

Step 12) Close the video by restating the call to action to remind them to act now!

With that 12 step template you can write the script for a video sales letter, but you can also use that same template to write the copy for a normal, text-based sales letter.

Now let’s discover 15 techniques that you can use while writing your salesletter or the script for the video sales letter. 

Remember a video sales letter is the same like a normal sales letter, the only difference is that it’s in audio format instead of text-based.

15 Copywriting Techniques To
Write A Great Sales Letter

A sales letter has to do a lot of things.

The headline needs to capture the prospects attention with something interesting so they actually start reading the sales letter.

The opening part (or the first few paragraphs) should also capture their attention with something interesting or intriguing. 

And again the goal of the opening part is to keep them interesting so they keep reading your sales letter.

Eventually you’ll need to introduce your product as the solution to their problem. 

You’ll have to show the prospect all the benefits they’ll receive by using your product. Let them know how the product is going to help them solve their problem.

Then you’ll have to give them some free bonuses to get them more interested to buy. 

You’ll have to add a money back guarantee and finally tell them in a very straightforward manner to click on the buy button and buy the product right away.

That’s just a rough summary of what a sales letter does.

It’s split into different parts and each part has an objective. Here are the usual parts you’ll find in a typical sales letter:

  • Headline
  • Opening - (Show them you understand their particular problem... or tell a story...)
  • Introduce Product
  • Product's Benefits
  • List The Bonuses
  • Guarantee
  • List The Price
    And value justification...
  • Call To Action
    With a sense of urgency...
  • Postscripts (P.S.)

For a complete step-by-step sales letter template and exactly how to write a “killer” sales letter from start to finish check out The Perfect Salesletter Template.

The first 3 techniques you see above can only be accomplished if you do proper research about your prospects. 

You need to know who they are, what they want, need and desire, and what are the problems they’re facing that your product can solve.

Knowing your prospects is critical in order to be able to write a great sales letter that will persuade and convince them to buy a product or service. 

A great way to learn about your prospects is to Google your keyword plus forums, e.g. fishing forums. Then read their posts to learn all you can about your prospects…

Answer All Their Question

A prospect’s mind is filled with questions. They will have all sorts of questions, you have to figure out what they are and then answer them. 

Typically you’ll do this in the ‘Introducing Product’ or ‘Product’s Benefits’ parts of the sales letter.

The questions they have depend on what product you’re selling. Let’s assume you’re selling an anti acne cream. 

Here are some of their questions:

Other creams I tried didn’t work, why should I trust you? Is this cream safe to use? does it work on my skin type? is there a risk of allergy? does it work on all females? do I have to use it daily?….

Imagine you’re one of your prospects, what would you need to know before you come to a decision to buy your product.

Make a list of all questions and make sure when writing your sales letter you answer all of them! That’s how you’ll persuade them that your product will actually solve their problem.

Answer Their Requests

And depending on what you’re selling sometimes they need certain things before they decide to buy…

For example:

I wish to see a demo before I buy. I want to contact support first to know how fast they’ll respond. I want a money back guarantee. I want a free trial.

You need to make sure you include what they want in your sales letter, so they come to a decision to buy your product or service.

Eliminate Their Fear

Everyone is afraid to lose their money or buy a product that may not turn out to be what they expect.

That’s a basic fear your prospects have that you can easily overcome with a money back guarantee.

However they might have other fears and you should think about what they are and try to overcome them. Because a single doubt or fear can prevent a prospect from buying a product.

For example:

I’m afraid this software won’t work on my Mac. I don’t know if the techniques in this guide are easy to understand and apply. 

I’m not sure if the strategies in this guide are too basic, I need something more advanced. I’m afraid I’m going to pay too much for this product.

For example if your software doesn’t work on a MAC computer tell them. If your guide contains advanced strategies (not for beginners) make sure you clearly tell them. Leave nothing out that may create doubt or concern.

The first 3 techniques are very similar to each other. Their goal is to make sure your prospect feels happy and convinced they’re going to take the right decision if they buy the product or service.

Believe In Your Product

You need to create a good product that you believe in. If you don’t believe your product is really good you’ll convey that message in your writing. 

You can tell when someone is trying to sell you something they absolutely believe it’s the best thing for you. You can feel their passion, enthusiasm and excitement.

Doubt and skepticism will increase in the prospect’s mind if your sales letter is dull and boring without any enthusiasm. 

You should try to convey your joy in sharing a great product with them, because you know it’s going to help them!

Prospects Are Selfish (For A Good Reason)

Your prospects care about themselves, after all, they’re going to give you their hard-earned money. 

They have problems and they’re looking for a solution, that’s why they’re reading your sales letter. They’re not interested to learn your life story, or too much about you, at least not yet!

This is why your sales letter should feel like it’s been sent to them by a friend that’s recommended a great product.

It should be all about the prospects… 

You don’t have to tell them anything about yourself other than listing some credentials if you have (such as qualifications, certificates or awards you might have, achievement, experience).

Because those show them you’re qualified to give them advice or solve their problems.

As your copywriting skill increase you can consider using stories (e.g. your personal story) in your sales letter. 

It’s a slightly advanced technique, that’s why I don’t recommend you experiment with it until you’re really comfortable writing a sales letter. 

But stories have been proven time and time again to increase engagement. Stories sell.

Make An Irresistible Offer

Even if you have a great product you can encourage your prospects to buy it by giving them a couple free bonuses and a money back guarantee. 

Bonus products are products they don’t really need in order to solve their problem, but they would be awesome to have.

For example if you’re buying a how to guide you don’t need the same information presented in a mind map, infographic or mp3 files. 

But it would be awesome to have them because you’ll understand the information easier or you can play the mp3 files while travelling.

Make a list of all the things that your prospects need in order to solve their problem. And then create products or services to solve those needs. 

And decide what will you sell and what you can give away as a free bonuses. When you perform this exercise you can also discover what products you can upsell them…

Tell Them Exactly How To Order

This may sound stupid but even if you use a big ‘buy now’ button that’s visible from a mile away you need to tell your prospect how to order and tell them to do it right now. 

If you don’t it’s very likely that they’ll delay their decision to buy, and after a few days, they might totally forget they’ve even been to your website.

This is the ‘call to action’ part of the sales letter.

So at the end of your sales letter, after you’ve finished writing everything tell them loud and clear what they should do next.

People want guidance.

You need to provide clear instructions on how they can order especially if you offer multiple payment plans, installments, free trials and other options. 

Make it as easy to understand as A B C.

A confused prospect may quickly get irritated and won’t buy.

This is one of the easiest parts to write in a sales letter, and you can simple model some ‘call to actions’ if you have a swipe file.

Ideally you also want to create a sense of urgency in the ‘call to action’, so they take action and buy right away, because people like to procrastinate. This can be accomplished in several ways for example:

Limited Quantity

Example: You can add an extra bonus to your offer that will only be available to the next 50 customers.

Limited Time

Example: Tell them the price will go up by a specific date (assuming you’ll really raise the price). Or tell them you’ll only give the 4th bonus until a specific date.

Superiority

Everyone has an ego, so you can write something like ‘This offer is ONLY for action takers.’ or ‘This offer is ONLY for successful people.’ 

They’ll feel the urge to buy just to feel proud that they’re an action taker or a successful person.

Look at a sales letter swipe file to see several examples of urgency being used in the ‘call to action’.

Use PostScripts (P.S)

This is also easy to do if you have a good swipe file

Some prospects won’t read your entire sales letter from top to bottom. 

They search for interesting bits. They usually scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, and that’s where you place the postscripts.

They’ll basically summarize the most important parts of your sales letter. So these skimmers read the best parts without going through your entire sales letter.

Typically you’ll add 3 postscripts. 

One can include your product’s best benefits, another can be your money back guarantee (because that’s very important) and another postscript can repeat your call to action.

Sell Benefits Not Features

This is a fundamental and general copywriting idea that you apply when writing a sales letter.

Your prospects want to know the benefits or the results they’ll get after using your product – more than its features.

Here’s an example to show you the difference between a feature and a benefit…

Feature: Product shows you 12 different juicing techniques…

Benefit: Juicing will eliminate your bad cholesterol, making you healthier and decreasing risks for certain diseases…

Feature: Guide shows you 17 formulas to write email subject lines…

Benefit: You’ll be able to write “killer” email subject lines quick and easy, that get high open rates. Your emails will get opened and read…

So when writing try to mention benefits more than features. Sometimes you can combine the two together.

For example:

This guide reveals 17 formulas to write “killer” email subject lines quick and easy… so your emails will get opened and read..

If you find that it’s really hard to write the benefits and results your prospects can accomplish with your product than you many need to tweak a bit your product. Improve it. 

Find out what your prospects really want and just give it to them…

The better your product the easier it will be the write the copy.

Write "Killer" Bullet Points

If you read any sales letter you’ll notice almost all of them have a list of bullet points revealing either the product’s benefits or some interesting or curious information. 

These are very short sentences that can be read quickly and easily, that’s why they work so well. The reader can understand some of the best benefits or important information without reading long and boring paragraphs of text.

Pluck out some really interesting things from your product and feature them in a bullet point.

For example:

For a dog obedience course…

  • Why using food bribes and clickers to train your dog won't work long term!
  • When you apply my method, you don't have to spend hours 'training' your dog - your dog will simply CHOOSE to obey you and follow your commands

For a back pain product…

  • 5 “Hidden” causes of back pain that you won't hear about from your doctor... Page 51
  • 3 Breakthrough New Treatments that deliver fast and lasting pain relief in as little as 60 seconds...
  • The 7 mistakes nearly all back pain sufferers make (and what you can do to avoid them.)
  • How to easily and quickly eliminate your pain caused from sitting all day! This quick-n-easy fix takes just seconds per day and for many people can relieve back pain nearly instantly!

Add as much benefits and useful information in bullet points to your sales letter as you can, in the ‘Product’s Benefits’ part of the sales letter. 

Here’s once again an overview of a typical structure of a sales letter with its different parts in order:

  • Headline
  • Opening - (Show them you understand their particular problem... or tell a story...)
  • Introduce Product
  • Product's Benefits
  • List The Bonuses
  • Guarantee
  • List The Price (And value justification...)
  • Call To Action (With a sense of urgency...)
  • Postscripts (P.S.)

Once again your swipe file is your best friend if you want to become a master at writing bullet points. Model bullet points of great sales letters.

Here are a couple techniques you can use to write great bullet points. Use any or all of these techniques as often as you want to write eye-catching bullet points.

Mention Page Number

A great tip you can use when writing bullet points is to mention the page number of the “secret” or technique, whatever it is you’re going to reveal in some of your bullet points. 

This will create a lot of curiosity which is a powerful force that motivates people to take action.

For example:

  • 5 “Hidden” causes of back pain that you won't hear about from your doctor... Page 51
  • 3 Breakthrough New Treatments that deliver fast and lasting pain relief in as little as 60 seconds... Pages 213-216

Name The Thing

Another great tip is to name the technique, “secret”, or strategy you’re about to reveal. 

In this way it’s way more interesting, intriguing and it increases it’s perceived value even if it’s a normal technique…

For example:

For a tennis product…

  • You'll discover "The Forehand Crusher" technique to hit like a pro, every time!

For an Internet Marketing product…

  • "The Splinter Funnel" - our most successful sales funnel. The easiest way to convert unknown, cold prospects into paying customers!

“So you can…” or “so that…” 

This technique can be implementing like this example: 

  • Discover how to supercharge and restore your immune system, so you can FIGHT any illness like a SUPERHERO!

It’s a very powerful way to tell your prospect exactly how they’ll benefit from a particular feature, technique or strategy…

Fill In The Blanks

This is used to arouse curiosity, because that’s a very powerful motivator to take action. For example:

  • The "Use _____?" question formula that drives down click costs and sharply increases conversions. (Just fill in the blank and watch your clicks soar and costs plummet.)

Specificity

A bullet point that shares very specific information is easy to understand and more believable. Your prospect will known instantly how they’re going to benefit… Example:

  • We'll reveal our top 3 Facebook ads that generated a combined 110,442 leads for just $1.76 a piece. (And how we made our money back quickly).

Agitate Problem Before Solution

 

When you’re selling a product talk about the prospect’s problems (usually in the ‘Opening’ part of the template) before you introduce your product as a solution to those problems.

You will connect with them and they realize you understand them.

Describe their problem better than they can, and they instantly believe you obviously can solve it for them too!

Simple Works Best

 

With page builders like Elementor, Thrive Themes, Divi Builder and the many others you can add a ton of different elements to your sales letter. 

For example animated headlines, media carousel, flip boxes, tabs, accordion, etc.

Keep in mind that a simple sales letter, with just text, images and videos, nothing fancy, works best.

Of course you can split test to see which works best for you. But in general, according to many great Internet Marketers like Frank Kern simple works better.

The less “special effects” you have on your sales letter the better.

Write The Way You Talk

 

A sales letter is a like a personal letter you send to a friend. 

You need to write using the same words and sentences you would if you were talking face to face in front of your friend (instead of writing him or her a letter).

If you manage to write the way you talk, your sales letter will be much easier to read, and will feel more personal. 

If you don’t do this your sales letter may feel “robotic”, as if a computer generated the text instead of real human.

While reading imagine there’s a friend in front of you, face to face, what would you tell him or her? Use those exact same words while writing.

You can read your copy out load and if you notice that you hesitate, pause, trip over a word or you stutter that’s a sign that there’s something not quite right with that particular sentence.

You need to sound as if you’re actually talking.

If you sound stilted (stiff and self-conscious or unnatural), or too formal (prim or stiff), your copy might need some changes.

Once again remember that practice makes perfect. The more you write (and the more you try to apply this technique) the easier it will be to do this.

Eliminate Distractions

 

The objective of the sales letter is to persuade and convince a prospect to buy a product or service.

Anything else you try to do is a distraction that will prevent the prospect from taking a buying decision. 

This can include social sharing icons, facebook like button, pin it button on images… if you’re going to add your email address put at at the very bottom (the footer) of the page well below the sales letter.

Capture Their Name And Email

 

You can use a “popup” to capture their name and email, in fact that’s encouraged because most prospects won’t buy the first time they see your sales letter. 

You’ll have to follow up with them via email, giving them valuable content and linking back to the sales letter from time to time as well in your emails.

In the “popup” you can offer them a free special report, a video, demo (if you’re selling a software), infographic, mind map, etc. This is known as the freebie.

If you give them a free report make it short, around 12 pages or less, because if it’s a 50 page ebook they’re not going to read it! They’ll only read something like that if they pay for it.

The first email you send them should contain a link so they get the freebie. 

Then email them (most marketers recommend emailing every day), valuable information and link back to your product’s sales letter from time to time.

That was the last sales letter writing technique in this guide. 

I suggest you checkout this FREE sales letter writing checklist. Refer to it whenever you’re writing your copy to make sure you’ve included all the important elements in your sales letter!

A Simple Copywriting Exercise To Quickly
Improve Your Ability To Write Sales Letters

copywriting exerciseA simple exercise you can do to improve your copywriting skill very fast is to copy in your own handwriting with pen and paper (not keyboard) word for word good sales letters.

This simple exercise works like magic. You’ll start to understand at a deep level how to write a good sales letter or an ad. 

You can find good sales letters online and print them out. It’s up to you how much time you spend in this exercise. I spent about 1 hour a day for 1-2 weeks doing this exercise.

If you created a product and need to write a sales letter you can perform this simple exercise as a warm up.

It’s important that you copy well written sales letters, not the bad ones. Therefore sales letters that have sold a lot of products or services.

You can find great sales letters to perform this exercise at swipe.co.

If you know of any successful product, in any niche check out their sales letter, because that’s another one you can use for this exercise.

Conclusion

Remember that you’ll start to understand better how these techniques work when you use them. Writing a sales letter gets easier with practice.

And as I’ve mentioned you can also use the “Perfect Sales Letter Template” or the AIDA copywriting formula to write a sales letter!

This is not rocket science, you just have to apply some basic guides as I’ve outlined in this guide!

Leave your comments or questions below.

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About The Author

More than 7 years ago Jack made his first few sales online as an affiliate marketer. His site ranked on Google for dozens of keywords, so later on, he built courses and software to teach his SEO “secrets”.

He also won a Flip Camera in an affiliate contest.

Now he reveals all the insights he’s discovered throughout the years about Internet marketing, in his free guides and products!

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