The Meatball Copywriting System is designed from the bottom up so that the fundamental principles of effective copywriting are ‘baked-in.’
You don’t need to understand every aspect of copywriting to get results any more than you need to understand the workings of a computer ignition control system to drive your car to the grocery store. When you follow a well-designed system like Meatball Copywriting the heavy lifting has already been done for you.
Here Is What To Do…
Start by following the steps outlined in part one and use the Meatball Copywriting System to crank out the sales letters you need for your products. Then, use those sales letters to start generating sales for your products.
When your business is generating a comfortable level of income, go back and study more about the concepts working behind the scenes of this well-oiled persuasion system.
As your experience and understanding of copywriting and online persuasion grows, you can begin to modify the formula and tailor it to unique aspects of your marketplace.
Are you ready to discover how easy it is to create persuasive sales letters that can start pumping cash into your business…
…Then let’s get started!
The Meatball Copywriting System
Imagine yourself as a military medic deep behind enemy lines. One of your soldiers is wounded and needs surgery immediately in order to survive – bullets fill the air around you buzzing like a cloud of lethal mosquitoes and you hear more cries for help coming from every direction. A glance into your ‘medical bag’ confirms your fear. You don’t have much more than bandages and some gauze pads at your disposal. What do you do?
In the army they do what’s called “meatball surgery.” It ain’t pretty, it’s not the final solution, but it keeps the patient alive until they can be transported to a better medical facility where they can get a higher level of care from people who aren’t ducking enemy fire while they work.
From the moment you decide to start a business until you start selling products – your business is a wounded soldier on the battle field in desperate need of help. Your business will consume time, energy, and money (most likely yours) and it’s survival depends on quickly getting your product to market and making sales. Sales are the life-force of business and you need them fast to make sure your soldier doesn’t die.
Doing business online means sales pages are your front-line tools for generating income and getting the business life-force flowing. If you are like me, you probably aren’t starting with a lot of money and you are working on your business in your spare time – so resources are precious. You’ve got the startup business equivalent of a few bandages and gauze pads. You need to get the most benefit from them that you can and you are on your own.
Your sales page carries a huge responsibility. It has to:
- Stop a click-happy web surfer from clicking away
- Convince that surfer that the content is relevant to them
- Define the problem your visitor is trying to solve
- Convince the visitor that you truly understand their problem
- Establish you as an authority on the subject
- Tell them about your solution
- Convince them your solution will work for them
- Make them a compelling offer
- Motivate them to take action now and buy
That’s a tall order from a humble little page of text. The prospect of writing something that will achieve all of these goals is intimidating, and you don’t have the luxury of hiring a top-gun copywriter to write your sales page for you.
The bullets are flying, your patient is dying, and you need…
Meatball Copywriting is a quick and dirty process that consistently gives you ‘good enough to get orders’ sales copy for your sales pages. We break the sales letter down to its component parts and lead you step-by-step through each section. Follow the system and you will come out the other side with a persuasive sales letter that gets results – and you will get the life force flowing through your business.
Anyone with average writing skills can learn to write persuasive and profitable sales letters – if you follow the Meatball Copywriting Formula you are about to discover.
To be fair, this formula is not going to instantly turn you into a million dollar copy writer and it’s not likely to make you rich overnight. But, it will get the money coming in the door instead of constantly flowing out and bleeding your company to death.
Once you’re making money, you can tweak and tune your sales letter all you want.
Once you’re making money, you can play with your offer and add upsells, downsells, and one-time offers to your sales sequence and recruit affiliates to promote your products.
Once you’re making money, you can take your profits and hire an expensive copywriter to create a new sales letter for you!(But, who knows, you might discover you have a gift for copy writing.)
There will be plenty of time for finessing your business after you crank out a solid first draft sales letter and start making some money.
So let’s dig into the Meatball Copywriting Formula.
Before We Get Started
Having the right mindset is important to your copywriting success. Sales letters are not like other kinds of writing, and the people reading them are in a very specific state of mind as they read. Understanding a few of the unique things about sales letters will help you make better choices as you write.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you write your sales letter (click here for a printable version):
- Showing is always better than telling.
- Your prospect has no idea whether you are the most loyal, honest, knowledgeable, and generous person on the planet or an Internet con-artist – they have to risk losing money to find out.
- Your prospect couldn’t care less about you, your feelings, or your problems – except when they are related to helping them solve their own problems.
- Your prospect is worried about making a stupid mistake that will embarrass them in front of friends, family, and business associates. You need to calm their fears.
- Trying to “sell” someone something they don’t want or need is a waste of YOUR time. Only talk to people who will want what you are selling (once they realize it’s exactly what they’ve been looking for.)
- Helping people who are looking for a solution like yours to recognized that you have the answers they need, and then helping them gain the confidence needed to decide to place an order, will result in much greater success.
- Clever kills conversion rates. Be clear and not clever in your writing. Your goal is not to entertain your prospect – it’s to pump cash into your business by selling product.
- People buy based on emotion and justify the purchase with logic, so sell with emotion.
Print these out and tape them to your monitor. Read over them every time you sit down to write until they become a permanent part of your thought process.
Our goal with the Meatball Copywriting Formula is to lead the prospects through the process of identifying themselves as potential customers, realizing that we understand their problems, and deciding to purchase and use our solution. In the end, they should make their own decision to place an order (after being carefully lead to it.)
The Meatball Copywriting Formula
(AIDA + 3F = PSLF) x T = $$$
I’ll give you a quick explanation of the formula and then we’ll break it down in detail and explain how to put it all together to create your own profitable ‘meatball sales copy.’
In plain English, here’s what the formula means: Attention, Interest, and Desire combined with Feel, Felt and Found creates the foundation for a Persuasive Sales Letter Framework. Multiply those results with Traffic to your sales page and you’ll start the flow of $$$ into your business.
The Questions On Every Prospects Mind
Every person coming to your sales page wants to know 3 things:
- What are you selling
- What’s in it for them
- Why should the trust you?
Every copy writing method ever created is ultimately just a system to help you create a sales letter that provides a compelling answer to those 3 questions in a reader’s mind.
The Meatball Copywriting Formula is based on the classic AIDA copy writing formula. The acronym stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. With Meatball Copywriting we break this basic framework into smaller parts to make them even easier to complete.
The goal of our efforts is a sales page that grabs people’s attention with a great headline, builds their interest through the story we tell, presents an enticing solution that the reader will want to have, makes them a compelling offer, and then drives them to take action and order our product.
The 3 F’s
The storytelling portion this copy writing formula also builds on the 3 F’s of copy writing to create an interest building story that leads people to desire your product. The 3 F’s are, Feel, Felt, and Found. They are the framework for telling the story of your sales letter.
To use the 3 F’s, you tell a story that shows the reader that you know how they feel right now. The reason you know them is because you have been where they are and felt their pain. But, you found a solution to the problem and that’s what you want to share with them – once they buy your product, of course.
The Persuasive Sales Letter Framework
The sales letter itself has a very specific structure. These are the individual pieces that we will create. Each has a specific objective and appears in a specific sequence to create a persuasive sales presentation.
The following illustration shows the elements of a persuasive sales letter and the way that they flow in an effective sales page. The HTML sales page template included with this article duplicates this illustration and can be edited in any HTML editor when you make your own sales letter (click here to download the basic template.)
At first, that might seem like a lot of work, but that’s only because I’ve broken the process down into small and manageable chunks. If you go through the process as I explain in the next chapter, list your results in this exact sequence, and wrap it all up inside a nice sales page template, you’ll have a solid and persuasive sales letter to start driving traffic to.
The Persuasive Sales Letter Framework EXPOSED!
Now that you’ve seen the big picture, let’s go through each piece and explain what it is, how and why it works, and how to create the content.
Pre-Head – This is the perfect place to find out whether your reader is a potential customer for your product. If they’re not, there is no point in persuading them to keep reading. In my opinion, the best way to find out whether someone is a potential customer is to come right out and ask them. Focus your question on the core problem your product deals with.
An example for this book might be, “Do you struggle to write effective sales letters for your products…”
Notice that I keep the question short and end it with three dots and not a question mark because it leads directly into the headline.
In the example I just gave, anyone who finds copy writing easy will either move on or read the page with the understanding that it is not speaking directly to them.
A special psychological bonus is that everyone who answers ‘yes’ in their head will have already begun to actively engage with your sales pitch and started the process of agreeing with you. This is a powerful persuasion tactic used by professional sales people.
Headline – A warning, a tease, or an astonishing claim. The headline is where you make your biggest and boldest claim for your product. It needs to stop people in their tracks and demand their attention. It needs to WOW people. The headline must be benefit focused and should target the primary benefit your product will provide for a customer.
You can either describe what the product will do for people or describe one person’s results (usually the author’s) using the product. If you choose the second approach, make sure the potential customer will identify with the subject and that the result is something they will want to emulate.
Sub-Head – The sub-head is the ‘hook’ that will take that web surfer who stopped briefly to read your headline and make them want to read the rest of the letter. It should summarized the sales letter and elaborate on the benefits of your product to entice your prospect to continue reading.
For example, a sub-head for this article might read: “Would you like to learn a simple step-by-step writing process that shows anyone with basic writing skills how to produce profitable sales copy for their own products and save thousands of dollars in expensive copywriter fees?”
Greeting – Your greeting is another opportunity to make your prospect feel understood – like you know them and share something in common. “Dear Frustrated Copywriter” or “Dear Fellow Marketer” would work well for a sales letter for this article.
Resist the temptation to get clever, cute, or simply over-think the greeting.
Introduction – This is the place to put the 3 F’s of copy writing into action and tell a story that hooks your prospect. Paint a detailed picture with words that describes exactly what you know your reader is going through. As they read every frustrating detail you want them nodding their heads and saying, “Yeah, I know just how you feel.”
When you’ve set the scene and clearly expressed your readers frustration, then you need to let them know that the reason you know them so well is because the same thing used to happen to you – until you discovered the solution to the problem and transformed your life.
If you don’t have a first hand story of your own to share, tell another person’s story or generalize about how many others have the same experience. Whatever you do, don’t lie – that kills credibility and might even be illegal.
Revelation – The end of the introduction is a cliff-hanger. Your reader knows that you understand them and the problem that they are dealing with. They know that you (or someone you know of) went through the same thing and found a solution to the problem – and they are dying to know how you figured it all out.
In this section, reveal how you discovered the solution and describe the efforts and expense you went through to discover it. Talk about how this discovery transformed your life. You can even offer some reasons why you’ve decided to share this solution (besides the money, that is!)
Let the prospect know that you went and created the product that you wished had been available when you started your search. You’ve taken all the useful information that you discovered, weeded out the junk, and the result is a fluff-free product that gets right to the business of solving their problem.
Benefits – Nothing fancy here, just pull together a list of the top benefits your product will provide to your customers. This list needs to be focused on your prospect’s needs and what they’ll get from your product – avoid listing features of your product.
For example: instead of “this product will walk you step-by-step through the process of writing your own persuasive sales letter” a more customer benefit focused statement might be, “increase sales while saving thousands of dollars by never having to hire a copywriter again!”
3 to 5 bulleted items is sufficient for the benefits list. But, if you have more, put them in. Just make sure that they are all very compelling benefits to your prospect.
Proof – (Social Proof, Visual Proof, Credential Proof) Any prospect who reads up to this point knows what problem your product addresses, what your product is likely to do for them, and why you think you are qualified to speak to them on the subject in the first place – but there may still be lingering doubts in their mind about whether this will really work for them. The best way to prove that it will is to present testimonials and endorsements from customers and other figures of authority.
Testimonials should always be benefits focused and specific. When you solicit them from people, ask them for details. A quote about how your product generated $7,342.78 in new business is better than one that only says ‘we made more money.’
Giving away free ‘review copies’ of your product or running a special ‘pre-launch sale’ are good ways to get testimonials to use in your marketing. But, if you don’t have anything to start with, you can quote research statistics or results from similar products to make the case for your product.
If the most successful billionaires on the planet use the same tactics as you recommend, you have a strong bit of evidence to prove your product to your prospect.
Offer – Lay out the deal you are offering to them and explain why you are making it. This is the place to mention the price of the product and any special sales terms.
Package Summary – Create a detailed list of all of the items that your prospect will get when they order your product. If you have a low-priced product like special report, list a table of contents to keep the summary from feeling ‘thin.’
If you plan to offer bonus products, this is a good spot to list all of the bonuses with a short description of each.
You want the reader to come away from this section of the letter with the feeling that your product is substantial and worthy of the price you are charging.
Guarantee – The guarantee is pretty obvious. By the time the reader gets to it they are 90% sold on your product. They are convinced that the product will very likely solve their problem and is worth the price you are charging – but, there is still a tiny voice in the back of their head that is whispering, “this sounds to good to be true. What if I am wrong?”
To answer this quiet (but influential) voice of doubt, you simply need to reverse the risk of taking action with a guarantee. A 30 or 60 day 100% money-back guarantee can quiet that doubtful voice.
The thought of potentially giving back money after someone has seen your product can be a bit scary. But the rewards far outweigh the risk. If you provide a quality product at a fair price, your refund requests will be few and far between.
NOTE: If you use a service like Clickbank to sell your digital product, they may have a mandated guarantee period you must honor.
You should also be wary of offering extremely long guarantee periods as well. Merchant accounts often have limits on guarantee periods. The simple fact is, an open guarantee period is a business liability – even if nobody actually uses them. The fact that every customer you’ve ever had could demand a refund at any time means there is a risk to the business. If you ever decide to sell your business, you can bet this might be a deal breaker.
Pressure Stack 1 – It’s time to scare your prospect a little bit.
Now that you have fully explained your product to the prospect, offered them compelling reasons why they should order it, and removed the risk of financial loss with a guarantee, you need to give them an extra push to order right now. If you let the prospect get away now, they’ll almost never come back. People just get busy and forget – even if the product you are selling will radically improve their lives.
Psychological pressure to ‘order now’ comes from the fear of loss – either your offer is scarce and they might lose out on the chance to buy your product at all, or the prospect will risk negative consequences by not implementing the information contained in your product.
Honesty is crucial in a pressure tactic. If you offer a weak reason for urgency (like only having 100 copies of a digital product!!!) or don’t follow through on your scarcity claims, your prospects will know you are lying and it will undermine all the work you have done to convince them to trust you and buy your product.
Remember, the third question on every prospects mind is, “Why should I trust you?”
If you are launching a new product and don’t plan to limit the total number of copies sold, try offering limited bonus products as a pressure tactic – the first 100 orders get something free. This keeps you from dropping your prices (or limiting your sales) but still adds urgency to order now.
Ordering Instructions – Never assume that your prospect knows what they are supposed to do next. Tell them step-by-step what to do and what to expect. The only major challenge writing this section of the sales letter is not to condescend to the reader while still providing sufficient details.
Make sure you explain how the product will be delivered and any special details like the need to create an account for access to a membership site. Some people are offended to discover they have to take additional action after paying and it’s easy to avoid these kinds of problems with a few words on the sales page.
Pressure Stack 2 – Add a new detail to your first pressure stack that turns up the intensity. If there are only 100 copies available, mention how one of your affiliates is about to send a promotion to his 5000 person mailing list and the last time this happened you sold out in 15 minutes. (Again, only make truthful statements in your pressure stacks. This example is just to illustrate the point.)
You can update this section as your product begins to sell. If you have limited quantities, use this spot to update the number of copies remaining before you sell out of your limited offer.
Salutation – I like to use a signature graphic at the end of the letter for a personal feel. But, I’m as concerned as the next person about online identity theft. So, I use a handwriting style font to create a personal looking version of my name without broadcasting my actual legal signature all over the web.
Recap – P.S., P.P.S., P.P.P.S.!!! Do you think that strings of post scripts look silly at the end of a sales page? Well, get over it. They are a vital tool for summarizing your sales letter and restating your offer.
The post scripts are some of the most read portions of any sales letter. Many people read the headline, skim to the bottom to check the price and then read the post scripts.
In the first post script, restate primary benefit of your product. In the second post script, restate your offer. In the third post script, restate the scarcity factor in your promotion.
The Meatball Copywriting Process
Now that you know what you’ll be writing and why, it’s time to get down to the how-to part. Some copywriting courses explain the big picture of what makes a good sales letter, but they don’t provide you with an actual process for getting the words written. I’m not going to leave you hanging like that.
I’ve been writing long enough to know that one process doesn’t work for everyone, but I want to urge you to go through the process below at least once before you start adapting it. I think you will discover some really useful techniques that will be beneficial to your long-term writing success.
The process of writing your sales letter is broken into 2 stages: Pre-Writing , and Copywriting. Pre-writing consists of several writing exercises that will prepare you for the copy writing process, and copy writing is where you work through each section of the sales page and fill in the blanks.
How well do you really know your prospective customer? If you don’t know who you are talking to, you will find yourself struggling to find the right words to sell your product and they will know you don’t really understand them. Writer’s block comes from a weak and unfocused understanding of who your audience is and which benefits your product provides that speak to their deepest desires.
Using a few creative writing exercises, we will create a detailed profile of the person you are writing to and discover what will motivate him/her to take action and purchase your product.
Creating a Customer Profile
Your sales letter will be read by one person at a time, and you need to speak to one person in your writing. In order to do that, you need to spend some time creating a detailed profile of your prospective customer. This person should represent the largest group of prospective customers, but it still has to be one person.
Take out a fresh sheet of paper or open a new word processing document and write down these details about your target customer (click here to download a customer profile worksheet):
- Full Name
- Education Level
- Marital Status
- Number of Children and Their Ages
- Renter or Home Owner
- Greatest Desire
- Strongest Fear
- What Will Change When They Buy and Use Your Product
As you fill in these details, you may find yourself coming up with other details – add them in. The goal is to create a well rounded character that you can vividly imagine as you write your sales letter.
This tactic is used by fiction writers to create realistic characters for their stories. They will often write daily diaries of a character’s activities to provide the source material for the kinds of details that make a character ‘ring true’ in the story. Many go so far as to scan through magazines and online photo collections looking for a photograph that looks like the character they’ve imagined and pin that image to the wall where they write so they can ‘see’ who they are talking to.
As your business grows you can refine your profile based on the actual customers who show up and buy your products.
Now you get to take advantage of the work you did on your customer profile. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about the most important benefits that this product will create in his/her life.
An excellent method of building your benefits list is to go through your product and summarize the key feature of each part of the product. If you are selling an e-book you can break it down by chapter.
Once you have a list of all the product features, rewrite each one focusing on the most dramatic benefit it provides to your customer.
Generate a list of 5 to 10 benefits. If you come up with more, go through the first draft of the list and pare it down to the most powerful benefits. Keep cutting until you get to 5 or 10.
The Best Case Scenario
Review your benefits list and identify the single most important benefit on the list that will produce the most powerful results for your customer.
Starting with that top benefit, describe your customer’s future life after they have purchased your product and put it into action. Describe the positive changes they have experienced and how those changes have improved his or her life.
Imagine that your happy customer got such amazing results from your product that he felt compelled to send a thank you letter for creating such an amazing product. Write the letter you imagine this customer would send.
Once you have these 3 pre-writing exercises completed, you now know exactly who you are talking to and it’s time to start writing some sales copy. Keep these pre-writing documents handy and (whenever you feel stuck) look over them until they spark an idea to get you going again.
Writing The Copy
To write the copy for the sales letter, you will start with the headline and then work through each section from top to bottom. There’s nothing fancy or magical about it. Just take each chunk, write something down, and move on to the next.
As you work through the sections of the sales letter one-by-one, start by reading the description in the previous chapter, and then write. Move quickly and don’t let yourself get stuck. If you don’t know what to say next, re-read your bullet list of benefits or your customer thank-you letter until something comes to you.
Creating A Good Writing Environment
You can’t multi-task while writing sales copy. While you are writing you need to give 100 percent of your attention to the task at hand. But that’s not always easy when you are working part-time trying to build your business.
Maybe your experience is similar to mine. You’re working a full time job while trying to start your business. You squeeze in a little work on your breaks and spend early mornings, late nights, and weekends getting everything done. At work, you fight the noise of your co-workers and constant interruptions every time you try to sit down and write. At home, maybe you’ve got kids, room mates, or other distractions to deal with. The bottom line is: It’s hard to concentrate.
The best work environment is quiet with minimal distractions – no email notices popping up on screen, no instant messages or Twitter tweets. No music playing (at least none with words) and the phone should be off or forwarded to voice mail.
If you can’t control the noise levels, the next best thing is to slap on some headphones and listen to some white noise (gentle static sounds) which will mask the background noises without distracting you from your writing. This works so well you might be tempted to use it all the time (just don’t tune out the boss until you are ready to support yourself completely with your business!)
Make Sure To Take Breaks
The white noise audio file is intentionally 10 minutes long. It is hard to remain productively focused on a creative task for more than about 10 minutes. To stay fresh, stop every 10 minutes or so and take a little break.
During your break, get up and walk around. Have a drink of water. Use the rest room if you need to, just avoid distracting activities like checking email, web surfing, or chatting and talking. You don’t want to get involved with any other ‘stories’ until you’ve finished writing your sales copy. You want to keep your conscious and sub-conscious mind focused on the story you are writing.
The Power Of Questions
Can you imagine what it would be like to write a powerful and persuasive sales letter? How would your life change if you suddenly found yourself with hundreds and thousands of people who wanted your product? How would your life be different when you suddenly had thousands of dollars pouring into your bank account on a regular basis?
If you are like most people, the previous paragraph caused you to take action. Without any effort, your mind began to imagine a very specific picture of success – with you in it. You got involved with my story and projected yourself into the desired results I plan to help you achieve.
Questions have an inherent power to draw people into your story, so make sure to use them in your writing whenever possible.
Rewrite and Revise
Congratulations, you’ve written the first draft of your sales letter and you’re nearly ready to put it online and see whether anyone takes you up on your offer. But first, we need to spend a little time reviewing and revising what you’ve written to tighten everything up and catch any embarrassing mistakes.
Listen to Your Words
Print out a copy of your sales letter and read it out loud. Read it to another person if you can. Mark up awkward phrases that cause you to stumble. Cross out anything that seems redundant or out of place. Mark sections that need seem weak.
Hearing your sales letter spoken out loud will give you a new perspective on what you’ve written and knowing that someone else is listening turns up your ‘lameness detector’ to maximum. After working through the process of creating the first draft, perspective is exactly what you will need.
Take your notes, go back, and rewrite your sales letter.
Smooth Out the Bumps
Print out a clean copy of your newly revised 2nd draft and re-read it – focusing on the transitions between sections.
Create a mini headline for each section that connects to the previous section and hints at what’s coming up in the next section. Questions work great as mini headlines between sections, but don’t end the sentence with a question mark. Instead, use…
…because it almost forces the reader into reading the next paragraph so they can complete the thought. An ellipsis (the English teacher name for those 3 dots) signals that a thought is not complete and psychologically people hate incompleteness (have you ever sat through a commercial break on TV just to get the answer to some dumb trivia question you really don’t care about – me too!)
Add your transitional mini-headlines, and make any tweaks to the copy that those headlines inspire. And then (you guessed it) print out another copy of the sales letter.
Little Things That Can Break You
This last copy is for proof reading. Look for stupid spelling and grammar mistakes and really long sentences you can break up into several smaller ones. The goal isn’t to impress your high school English teacher and get an A+, it’s to weed out mistakes that will make your reader question your competence. Like using ‘there’ instead of ‘their’ or ‘it’s’ instead of ‘its’.
Hire a Professional
The whole point of this article is to enable you to write your own copy and not have to hire the services of an expensive copywriter. So, you might ask, “Why are you telling me to hire one now?”
That’s a good question and I have a good answer. Many copywriters offer review and/or rewriting services at a much lower rate than their normal writing fees. By getting a seasoned professional to review what you’ve written, you can put their years of experience to work identifying any ‘rookie mistakes’ or tightening up your writing to be more focused and effective.
Instead of paying thousands for an original sales letter, you can often get a good writer to review or rewrite your work for a few hundred dollars. If you have the money and you are not confident in the quality of what you have written, it’s a good insurance policy.
When you have finished with your proofreading and made your final round of corrections, it’s time to:
- Post your sales letter to the web
- Hook up the order button to your shopping cart
- Start driving people to your sales page
- Sell some products$$$
What About Bonuses?
We’re just about to discuss the process of putting your sales letter online and you might be wondering, “What about bonuses – don’t we have to have to include piles of bonuses to get people to take action?”
First let me say, there is no reason you cannot add bonus products to sales letters you create with the Meatball Copywriting Formula. Just list them between the Package Summary and the Guarantee. Create a short benefit focused description of each bonus and state its market value.
The best bonuses are those that are closely related to the main product and compliment or enhance it. For something like this ebook, a complimentary service might be a free professional editorial review of your sales letter or a phone consultation. I’ve chosen to include several templates and worksheets that help you take action on the process you’ve just learned.
Most new marketers don’t have a range of complimentary products available and turn to stuffing their offers full of resale rights products that aren’t well targeted to their audience (and often of dubious quality and stuffed with links to other websites and products.)
The result of a bunch of bonuses with weak connections to the product and dubious value is to weaken your credibility – a very bad thing!
If you have good bonuses to offer, include them. You can put a time limit on their availability and use them as a Pressure Stacking tool.
TIP: An excellent way to add a valuable bonus is to approach another marketer with a complimentary product line and offer to cross-promote their main product to your customers in exchange for rights to one of their entry level products.
Getting Your Sales Letter Online
It’s beyond the scope of this report to teach you about HTML, how to design a sales page template or how to connect everything up your shopping cart to sell your product. But, I have included a basic HTML sales page template to get you started.
For those of you who are really trying to bootstrap your business starting from nothing, use the free HTML sales page template as the foundation for your own sales page. Just open up the HTML file in any editor (I recommend Kompozer, which is a free HTML editing tool you can download) and then simply paste in your sales letter text into the template.
Once you’ve edited your sales page to include the copy you’ve written, upload it to your website using your FTP software (I recommend another free software tool called FileZilla for this task.)
I’ve written another report called “Selling Digital Goods Online with E-Junkie” that shows you how I sell digital products using the very flexible and inexpensive E-Junkie shopping cart service. It’s a step-by-step guide that takes you through the complete process of setting up your online sales machine for accepting orders and delivering digital products. There is even a bonus section with tips for how to ‘package’ your digital product.
I highly recommend using WordPress blogging software to run your website (I use it for most of my own sites) and I have created a simple sales page template called “WP-SalesPage” which makes it easy to add a professional quality sales page template to any WordPress theme. Drag and drop a few files onto your server and you are ready to go.
Using WordPress allows you to use simple and intuitive tools to write and edit your content and the software takes care of all of the formatting details to make things look right to your site visitors. Checkout the “WP-SalesPage” sales page to see the template in action (I originally designed it for myself!)
The sales page for this ebook was create in WordPress using the “WP-SalesPage” template and sold using the E-junkie shopping cart service. I practice what I preach.
Spicing Things Up
The heart of your sales letter is the words you choose to tell your story and persuade your reader. But, there is a powerful secondary set of tools you can use to capture and direct your reader’s attention as they navigate through the text.
What are these tools… Images!
Well chosen and well placed images can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of your sales page. Eye-tracking studies have shown consistently that people are drawn to pictures of faces, and placing a photo next to an important section of your text can ensure that people see it.
Product shots are also very important – even if they are virtual. One challenge of selling digital products is that it is hard for people to create a mental image of what they are getting. We are all accustomed to using visual cues to determine the value of objects.
Pamphlets are more valuable than booklets. Hardcover books are more valuable than paperbacks. And videos are more valuable than books.
We’ve been conditioned by merchants and marketers for years to make these kinds value judgments. But, the absence of a similar reference point makes it tough for people to evaluate the value of a digital product.
Virtual product shots are the digital world’s answer to this problem, and you should have them for every product you sell. If you are selling a short report, make a graphic that looks like a report. If your product compares to a high-end book, create a virtual hardcover. And if it is a collection of videos, showing multiple DVD covers and discs gives a sense of the scope of your product.
A final form of graphic that comes from the world of direct mail marketing are scribbles. These are hand written arrows, underlines, text, etc. that give the impression that someone has gone through the sales letter and highlighted the important parts.
Scribbles can effectively lead the reader to the key portions of your sales message to make sure that your main selling points are not missed.
As with all suggestions you get for improving the conversion rates of your product sales pages, don’t assume that any one of these graphics suggestions is ‘guaranteed’ to improve your results. Test them against other versions of your sales letter and use what works with your audience.
What Comes Next
You’ve written a persuasive sales letter. You’ve got it online and you’re making sales. So, what do you do now? What’s the best course of action to grow your business?
Here’s what I suggest you should do…
Install Tracking Tools
If you don’t already have tracking tools installed on your website that let you see traffic data about the visitors to your website, install it immediately. If you don’t know how your site is performing, any improvements you attempt to make are just guesses.
Good tracking tools will let you know where visitors are coming from, what keywords they use when discovering your web pages, how much time they spend on your website, and which pages they view.
There are some excellent free tools available. Google Analytics will allow you to do some very sophisticated tracking and reporting. Another good tool is StatCounter – not as sophisticated as Google’s tools, but easy to setup and gather useful data.
Build Out Your Product Line
Your lower cost ‘front-end’ product is selling. Don’t go back to square one and create another low-cost product. Instead, create or license related products that build on the content of your first product which you can sell to your customers and create upsells and backend sales sequences for your first product.
There are lots of ways to create valuable additions to your product line. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Record a Video Tutorial using Jing or its big brother Camtasia
- Record an Audio Version using a simple headset microphone and Audacity
- Offer Resale Rights to the Product to other marketers
- Record Interviews with Experts
- Offer One-On-One Coaching
- Host (and record) a Webinar or Teleconference
Test and Tweak to Boost Conversions
Testing separates the amateurs from the professionals.
The businesses that generate huge revenues and dominate markets don’t just publish a sales page for a new product and move on. They continue to improve their marketing by creating new variations on their sales pages and testing them against the current version (called the ‘control’.)
When a combination is found that improves results, they switch to the new version and then look for ways to improve on that one – and test again.
Testing new headlines, new images, or offers can have an exponential impact on your profits. If you have a product that sells for $47 and a sales page that converts visitors to customers at a rate of 3%, you make 3 sales for every 100 visitors (or $141.) If you just increase the conversion rate by 1%, you make an additional $47 for every 100 visitors without making any changes to your product or business. That is a 33% increase in profits.
Basic split testing is not hard to implement, but it’s beyond the scope of this course to teach you the process. One of the best guides that I have personally come across on the the subject is “Small Changes, Big Profits,” by Paul Hancox. He covers the subject in great detail, but doesn’t lose the more ‘math challenged’ readers along the way (at least he didn’t lose me.)
Paul Hancox has 2 other guides that are highly valued resources in my collection: “Pricing for Big Profits” and “The Secrets of a 10% Conversion Rate.” These three guides together will have a radical impact on the way you market your products and I recommend you get them all.
At the very least, download Easy Split Test (a free split testing script) and do some basic testing of your headlines and product offers. This really is the secret weapon that will make your Meatball Copywriting sales letters perform as well as any professional copywriter’s work – over time.
Don’t waste time trying to write perfect sales copy… write good copy fast and then perfect it through testing.
Build Your Mailing List
Your chances of long-term business success will jump if you focus on building a customer mailing list. It’s much easier and cheaper to persuade an existing customer to purchase from you again than it is to convince a stranger to buy from you in the first place. By building a mailing list, you can contact customers directly to share updates and promote new products.
I use the Aweber autoresponder service to manage all of my email mailing lists. They have great tools and very reasonable prices. It might be tempting to try and start cheap by running your own mailing list software, but I can tell you from experience that it’s better to let someone else handle that job and just pay for the service.
Email mailing lists can also be included in your sales letter as well. You can create a free giveaway product to entice visitors to sign-up for your mailing list, and then send them follow-up emails designed to give them useful information and build desire for your product. Your goal here is to capture the email address for people who don’t buy your product so you have some opportunities to build a bit more trust and desire.
Recruit Your Army
One of the fastest ways to explode your business is to leverage the efforts of other people to sell your products and find new customers for you. The key tool for this in the Internet marketing world is an affiliate program.
Affiliate programs allow other people (your Affiliate Army) to refer prospects to your product and collect a commission on every sale. Commissions generally range from 50%-75% of the sales price for the product. That sounds like a lot of money, but if you build a line of higher priced products to sell on the backend and also build a mailing list along the way, you can build your business fast. Plus, you need to give an affiliate a good incentive to promote your product and big commissions are persuasive.
The mechanics of running an affiliate program are best left to others (just like email marketing tools.) The biggest and best established company for people selling digital products is Clickbank. They handle all order processing, and affiliate payments for businesses using their service. They also have a large and active affiliate base as well.
The company I use for most of my products is JVZoo. They are a shopping cart service that integrates with PayPal. They provide hosting and delivery for digital products. They also have excellent affiliate tools built into the system as well. I find their tech team to be very responsive through their support forum and they are updating features regularly.
Other shopping cart services with affiliate tools include Warrior Plus, Payloadz.com, PayDotCom, and 1ShoppingCart. There are others, of course, be these are some of the most prominent options.
Once you have your affiliate program setup, search for people who are promoting similar products through websites, pay-per-click advertising, forum promotion, article marketing, etc. and recruit them to promote your product as an affiliate. The better your commissions and conversion rates, the easier it will be to recruit new affiliates.
Now that you have learned how to get your products in front of potential customers and persuade them with a good sales letter, you are ready to pull back the curtain and learn the secrets of the gurus. I have studied the biggest guru marketing systems out there and discovered the underlying secrets to their success. I held an exclusive webinar where I shared everything I knew with a select group of people. Fortunately, I also recorded this session. Click here to learn more…