September 12, 2020 5 min read
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Cornerstone concepts act as the invisible structure for a sales letter. Like bricks, they build on each other and become a conversion machine for sales.
You’ve probably heard that a persuasive sales letter has certain elements including headlines, emotional storytelling, fascination bullets, the lead, the hook, the “Big Idea,” the client’s belief matrix, and other factors that come together.
But between the layers of these elements, you’ll find 3 principles woven into every piece of hyper-effective sales copy.
They are picture, proof and promise.
These 3 cornerstones act as the critical backdrop to the canvas that you paint your message on. This message turns cold shoppers into your ever-expanding brand audience.
Your sales letter should not be about what your product/service does or what it is. Your customer doesn’t care.
Let me repeat: No. One. Cares.
What do they care about? Themselves.
How do you get them to care? Paint them a picture they can step into and feel for themselves.
Consumer self-centeredness is nothing new and nothing personal. So, if you want to sell record numbers of your product/service then you have got to get on your ideal customer’s level and craft imagery in your copy.
Every customer is the hero of their own story and it’s your job to use pictures that make them the hero of that story.
“In 2 weeks after taking this vitamin you’re going to have so much energy you’re going to be able to hike that mountain/run the Boston Marathon/play a full game of basketball with your teenage son (and beat him)…imagine waking up in the morning with a back free of pain and moving like you were 21 again…”
Craft positive, powerful images of what the product can do for your customer and how it will transform their life. Use them throughout your sales copy to make the consumer the center of their story, not yours. Do that and you’ll make legions of loyal fans who you made the hero of their own story.
To improve sales, have an ample amount of proof sprinkled among your messaging. Some clients are logic-based in their decisions, so you have to build credibility in your copy.
Credibility is how believable you are to a potential client. This is created through a combination of two factors: authority and social proof.
Authority is drawing from facts from resources that hold a degree of status in society. Status is the degree of esteem you hold for the advice and/or statement of fact from a source. For example, on seeking information for the chronic migraines, your family doctor might be a good resource. You can confirm that he has studied medicine for 22 years, specializing in treating migraines and cured 1,000 migraine sufferers.
Your brother-in-law, Jerry, who changes oil at Jiffy Lube but swears if you put tree moss between your toes it will cure your migraines, probably not so much.
Documented research from universities or medical institutes or consumer protection groups are examples of credible resources. Also, quotes, authors, researchers, and experts are additional credible resources for your sales copy.
The core of every sales letter is your offer, which is a value proposition. A value proposition states, “You give me _____ and I’ll give you _______ back in return.”
Simple as it is, that is the essence of every transaction between buyer and seller since the dawn of time.
But your product/service has to deliver a certain result and that is your promise to the consumer.
A promise can be direct or indirect. If it’s direct, then you state in your copy: “If you give me ______ then I will guarantee you’ll get _________ .“ Then use that promise to act as the foundation for your offer and guarantee in your sales copy.
If a promise is indirect, it’s usually layered inside your sales message using subtext.
“At my seminar, you’re going to learn secrets of investing that have made over 100 millionaires in this last year alone…follow the instructions in this exercise program for 30 days and you’ll have the physical power of a 25-year old weight-lifter…implement these 3 easy marketing steps and you’ll see an immediate 10% boost to your business’ bottom line…”
Use a combination of direct and indirect promise elements in your copy. This creates a winning sales message that moves your customer to take action and buy.
Crafting Your Conversion Machine
Copywriters are trained to use sales letter structure to deliver your brand’s message. This is the science of effective copy which is robust and proven. It’s like a Timex versus a Rolex — one is a digital representation of time displayed while the other is an analog masterpiece fine-tuned with ultimate precision and perfection of purpose.
But the fabric of your sales letter will fall flat without the 3-P’s: picture, proof, and promise.
As you craft your marketing message for client-attraction, attention-getting, taking your customer on their hero’s journey, and making the case of why they should choose you over a sea of “me too’s,” use the 3-P’s as fuel for your conversion machine’s success.