Thursday, April 2, 2009

Sales Letters: How long is too long?

Guest post

Hey! Why the Long Sales Pages?
Copyright (c) 2007-2009 Mark Silver
Heart Of Business

So, you get one of those emails from someone whose business you
kinda like. And it's got some enticing little message in it- so
you click to take a look at the offer.

And suddenly you find yourself in highlighter land. Broad streaks
of yellow, lots of exclamation points, and pages and pages of
words making all kinds of claims and promises. And when you
scroll allllllll the way down to the bottom, there isn't even a
price. You need to click on an 'order now' button before they
even tell you the price.

Steaming, you swear by all that is holy that you will never, ever
subject your customers to that kind of nonsense.

So when you go to sell your own offer, say for instance a
seminar, you write up a simple, clear paragraph or two about it,
add few bullet points, and an understated offer. And hardly
anyone responds. Oy!

Do you have to be hyper-hypey to get customers?

Let's get clear: these sales pages are there to do one thing...
and it's not selling. Nope, they aren't selling. So, what are
those pages doing?

Those pages are holding a conversation with the reader. What
conversation? The same conversation you would hold if you were
trying to fill a seminar, and someone who was interested called
you to ask about it.

I've had plenty of those conversations, and I bet you have, too.
How long are you on the phone? Twenty minutes? Thirty minutes? An

Time flies when you're connecting heart-to-heart.

Have you ever read Shakespeare?

Remember studying plays in grade school? Your middle school Arts
and Literature teacher Mr. Snyder tells you, "Read through page
61 of Romeo and Juliet for Monday." And the class groans- 61
pages by Monday!

Yup, 61 pages. The first half of the book.

How long is 61 pages?

I believe it takes about two or three hours to play out Romeo and
Juliet on the stage. The Folger Shakespeare Library edition is
245 pages, but every other page has historical notes. So we'll
just count half. 122 pages.

Let's be generous, and say 122 pages in three hours. 40 pages an
hour. 20 pages in thirty minutes.

How long was your sales page again? Three paragraphs and five
bullet points? Well, you've just had the equivalent of a
45-second conversation with your reader.

"Uh, yeah, I've got 45-seconds to tell you about the seminar,
and then I gotta go."

Not very generous or helpful to your caller, eh?

You can still put away the yellow highlighters.

No, you don't have to write pages and pages of fluff, full of
hype and yellow highlighters. But, you have to give me, your
potential customer, more than 45 seconds.

How much more? Here are a few pointers:

Keys to Writing Your Offer

* Find the questions.

In the Opening the Moneyflow class, one of my clients took thirty
seconds to describe an upcoming seminar- and then the other class
members let loose. Question after question after concern after
concern. Many of which my client hadn't considered before.

Describe your offer, in less than a minute, to people in your
target market, and then ask for any and all questions that come
up, no matter how oddball. The answers to all of those questions
need to be woven into your offer description.

* Make the concrete very clear.

There are logistical facts about your offer- price, what's
included, location, time, quantity, materials, etc, etc. Put all
of those in a box that is very easy to find and read. And put
them at the bottom.

Because the written format is static, it's hard to present the
information in one way that everyone is going to like. If you put
the information at the top, it's like putting a big price
sticker over something, so they can't even see what it is. You
have to peel back the price before you even know what you're
looking at- that's not really fair to either party.

If the information is in the middle- it can be hard to find. So
put it at the end- easily accessible, right out in the open, but
not in the way.

* Start with empathy.

Before you get into describing your offer, and the benefits, use
a paragraph or so at the beginning to create empathy for the
problem that your offer solves. For instance, if you help people
who have chronic pain, spend a few sentences describing what
it's like to live with chronic pain, so your readers feel seen
and understood.

Then they'll have more space to hear what you want to tell them
about it.

These are just a few pieces that can help your offers connect
more strongly to your readers. Find successful sales pages from
people you respect, and print them out. Study them carefully. See
if you can find 10 or 20 things that you notice about those

And give it a shot yourself. Don't be afraid to wander into
having a longer page, knowing that the people who really need
what you are offering WANT the information, and may read it
word-for-word several times.

The best to you and your business,

Mark Silver

Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your
Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your
Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line.
He has helped hundreds of small business owners around
the globe succeed in business without losing their
hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online:

Greg Cryns
Website Design and SEO - The Mighty Mo

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