Death Of A Sales Letter

Ever since I started marketing online there has been a set “formula” for selling info products. However that formula has kinda “morphed” over the last few years.

Now don’t get me wrong, selling is selling, We all know that. The message has to deliver value, it has to be compelling and it needs to call on the prospect to take action. That’s all fine and dandy. But, The thing is.. the message can be delivered in several ways right…

  1. – A long form sales letter with a call to action at the bottom of a page that scrolls all the way down.
  2. – A sales video with a timed order button that pops up at a specific part of the video.
  3. – A hybrid with a video on top and then a moderate sales message and product description beneath it.
  4. – And naturally… a webinar. (can’t forget those)

So let me ask you this… in your opinion, with the advent of #2, 3 & 4 do you feel that #1 is dead?

I mean really? Have long form sales letters seen their day?

Personally, I think that “WE are not our customers.” Everyone is unique and has their own preferences for the way they absorb information.

While the great majority of people are going to respond well to videos over reading a bunch of text, there are still some people that would like to read the words or maybe even print the page to read it later.

Due to iPads, tablets and smart phones.. I know that not many people print things on paper anymore cause they can just read them on the go now a days. I think that video engages the prospect more because it can trigger several parts of the brain simultaneously. A video can follow a story line with pictures thereby connecting words with images and sound. This combination draws the viewer closer than just a written letter.

One of the biggest shortcomings of the long form sales letter has always been the ability for the prospect to scroll. Many studies have been done on this, and in most cases the user begins scrolling down almost immediately after landing on a website. It’s almost like they want to just go see how big the page is before they actually dive in. The challenge here is that this action typically ruins the “big reveal”. It shows the viewer the price long before having a chance to explain the value. Now the visitor has pre-judged the product on price alone and IF they still read the page the sales process has become about justification instead of impulse.

You see there is a big difference between retail selling and conventional selling. In retail, the products are each laid out with price tags on them and the viewer is “shopping”. They are here to make a choice on a product, they have already decided to make a purchase long before they went shopping. But in conventional selling…  the prospect sometimes doesn’t even know they need the product, they must be educated first. That’s where real “selling” comes in. And in REAL selling you simply can’t lead with the price if you want to be successful. The prospect can not control the pace of the presentation in real selling. Just like you can’t go to college and skip to the end of the lecture, if you want to pass the test you have to take the class at the professor’s pace. One bit of information is introduced after the other to comprise the complete lesson.

Sales videos allow us to control the pace. We can establish the need and then educate the prospect feature by feature, benefit by benefit thereby building VALUE before the big reveal. This brings up another important point…  “The Transport Bar” You know, the little controls at the bottom of the video that allow you to pause, rewind and FAST FORWARD. So, knowing what you know now…  do you think that a SALES video would be as effective if it allowed the viewer to Fast Forward to the end and see the price?  Of course not. That’s why the EFFECTIVE sales videos of today do not have a transport bar on them.  Does this upset you? Well.. if it does then the chances are that you were not going to buy the product anyway. You are probably watching the video through the impatient eyes of a marketer or competitor not the needy eyes of a prospect. WE are not our customers.

That being said…  a video should always be “pauseable”, that’s just common sense. In case we have to step away from the computer we should be able to click the screen, pause the video and return later. But, from a marketing perspective, allowing the prospect to control the pace of a sales message is a big NO NO. The salesman sets the tone, the salesman presents the pitch, the salesman closes the deal when the prospect has been primed and ready to commit.

The question I pose before you is this…

“Can a long form sales letter still deliver business value in today’s day and age?”

I would love to get your opinion on this sales letter that I recently created myself :

My Sales Letter

When you click the link take note of your actions, come with a clean slate. What are you compelled to do? Do you scroll? Are you looking for the price? Did you click the links to see the payment processor I’m using? Did you read it? Did you look at it through the eves of a prospect or a salesman?

After you have a good look at the page, I would love to get your thoughts below.

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