The Magic Formula Behind All Great Sales Letters

Sandy Franks

  • Climbing the ranks to become Best of the Best
  • This is how you make a product stand out
  • Two-part formula for showcasing products and services
  • This niche is in desperate need of copywriters

Let’s face it. There are a lot of elements that go into writing a sales letter that has your client doing the “sold a ton of product” money dance.

You need to write an eye-catching headline. Your lead has to be so inviting, the reader can’t help but want to read the rest of your letter.

You have to make a titillating promise. You have to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the product or service you are selling can deliver on all the claims you make in your letter.

And then there’s the magic formula that almost guarantees success. Yet this formula isn’t so much about writing as it is about the product or service you are selling.

Every “A-list” copywriter I have ever worked with — and being in the direct-response industry for over 28 years, I can tell you without hesitation I’ve worked with the best — knows this formula. It’s one of the reasons they managed to climb the ranks of best in the business.

If you’re just starting out, this is a must-know. If you’ve been writing copy for a while and haven’t had many successful controls under your belt, I bet it’s because you aren’t using this formula.

So what’s the formula? I could tell you it’s simple and it sure looks that way at first glance. But the truth is, it takes time to master.

I’m talking about product positioning. In a marketplace cluttered with lots of products and brands that seem to offer similar benefits, good positioning makes a product stand out from all the rest.

Good positioning makes the prospects WANT what you are selling.

Let me show you what I’m talking about with this example.

My sister-in-law and her husband own a petting zoo. They have a 100-acre farm where they house most of their animals, which range from Texas longhorn cattle and mud-happy pigs to Australian wallabies and an African Zebra.

During the warm summer here on the East Coast, the zoo is open for visitors who are allowed to interact with most of the animals. When the weather gets colder, they take their show on the road to states with warmer temperatures such as Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina.

Their business does quite well, allowing them to take several weeks off at a time. But it wasn’t always this way. When they first opened for business, they got very few visitors.

The reason why is they didn’t position their business as an exotic petting zoo. Instead, they initially marketed it as a fun learning farm for kids. That drew visitors, but not enough to keep their business going.

Then one day while writing new copy for the brochures she passes out to nearby schools, my sister-in-law realized they had more exotic animals than typical farm animals. So she started referring to their farm as an exotic petting zoo.

That one small change in positioning made all the difference in the world. It wasn’t long before she and her husband were doing the money dance.

Now, my sister-in-law created her new product positioning by accident, but I’m going to share with you a formula you can use to help your client craft a position that leads to more sales and profits.

When that happens, you’ll become their go-to copywriter, well on the way to “A-list” ranking. I call it the magic formula because when you get it right, you should see an immediate improvement in sales.

The formula has two parts. The first is a series of four questions about the product. The questions force you to think more deeply about the product or service in ways that make it memorable to the target audience. Those questions are:

  1. What do you want your prospect to think and do? (Is it simple, memorable, and tailored to the target audience?)
  2. What is the key benefit your product offers? (Is it unmistakable and easily understood?)
  3. Is it credible and can your product deliver on the promise? (If it’s different, the product you’re selling can be the sole occupier of this particular position in the market. You can “own” it.)
  4. What are the features or characteristics of the product or service that deliver on the key benefit? (Focus on the ones that make the biggest difference.)

The second part is a fill-in-the-blank style paragraph that helps you write out the positioning in a way that resonates with your prospect:

For (target audience), (name of product) will (what makes it different/the problem it will solve), because (reasons to believe), and does so (in what time frame).

You’ll notice the more you use this formula, the more second nature it becomes. You won’t need to fill in the blanks. You’ll be thinking about this from the minute you get an assignment.

And also, the more you use it, the better you’ll be at crafting winning controls.

Your takeaway for today: Use this formula every time you sit down to write a sales letter. It could be your big breakthrough.

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Published: June 20, 2016

3 Responses to “The Magic Formula Behind All Great Sales Letters”

  1. I will take your straight-forward advice and keep the golden formula as my framework for developing highly-effective direct-marketing copy.

    Maureen Estes Flanagan

  2. Thank you Sandy! I thrive on formulas for a lot of things in life and this makes it really simple to follow yet pack a punch when it comes to writing A-level copy!

    Corina Hartley

  3. Sandy: This formula is exactly the concise structure on which to build my current sales letter. The first part of the formula strengthens the letter by explaining my product's unique benefits...the second part identifies and spotlights its unique position in the market. Which I would not have thought to do without your easy to understand formulas (formulae?)applicable to all sales letters Thank you very much.

    WriteTight - EditTough

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