LESSON #51: How to Create a Sales Letter

By | October 11, 2009

In the previous lesson we talked about the basics of copywriting. Today we’re going to take a closer look at the art of crafting a sales page, including the elements of a successful sales letter…

(Watch this video…)

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Main points:

Note: In the video I go into a lot more depth for each point.

  • Long copy vs. Short copy

    – The reason marketers use long copy is because it works.
    – Traditionally, long copy has almost always outperformed short copy, but things are changing.
    – Online sales letters are moving toward personalization and interactivity.
    – Read The Death of the Salesletter, by Michel Fortin
    – A new free tool to see how visitors interact with your sales letter is Visitor Spy

  • AIDA = Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

  • Here are 17 elements of a successful sales letter (please see video for many details):

    1) Pre-headline

    2) Headline

    As mentioned in video: Clayton Makepeace headlines webinar | PDF of webinar

    3) Deck Copy

    4) Greeting

    5) Opening paragraph (hook)

    6) Who are you and why should they listen? (credibility)

    7) State the problem

    Key: You want them to FEEL the pain.

    8] Give the solution to the problem (your product)

    Key: Benefits listed in bullet points.
    Key: Proof.
    Key: Overcome objections.

    9) Testimonials

    -Be aware of FTC rules.

    10) Make the offer

    -It should be an irresistible offer.
    -You need to have a “reason why” it’s so irresistible.

    Keys: Urgency and Scarcity

    11) Reiterate the value and state the price.

    12) Throw in some bonuses.

    13) The money-back guarantee.

    14) Ask for the order. (Call to action)

    15) Order box.

    16) Closing/Signature

    17) P.S.

  • Tips for formatting and structuring your sales letter:

    – Use subheadlines. (Important! Must stop scrollers in their tracks)
    – Use Johnson boxes.
    – Leave a lot of white space.
    – Black text on a white background.
    – Use a simple clear font.
    – Do some text stylizing but don’t overdo it.
    – Keep the background basic.
    – Use Some Graphics. (Recommended: Ecover Engine)

  • Advanced Tip: It is possible to do the sales letter first then outsource the product based on the sales letter.

    Recommended Resource: The Copywriting Pack

    Action step:

    1) Write your sales letter (unless you’re outsourcing it).

    Optional: Do a video sales letter. See lesson #41 for video info.

    Salesmanship is key! See also resources listed in lesson #12.

    In the next lesson we’ll talk about outsourcing sales letters and other writing tasks.

    As always, you are welcome to post your questions and comments below.

    Have a great day!

  • 101 thoughts on “LESSON #51: How to Create a Sales Letter

    1. nes

      Pls I need to know out of the best practice where to put the landing page if before the sail page even if the landing page convert very well I still loose people coming to the sail page

    2. zyn

      Proof and Testimonials —

      Hey, Eric, great stuff. I will be launching my product soon, but it is a new concept and there are no previous customers or true proof to show.

      So …

      What is your advice for the proof and testimonials sections on launch?

    3. Eric Post author

      Due to the FTC rules of Dec 2009, I would be very careful about using testimonials. So if you don’t have any testimonials, that’s fine… I’d skip it. As far as proof… you can talk about your own results. And if you don’t have any results, then you’re going to have to be conceptual, which means you have to be a good copywriter 😉 And of course be sure to include any necessary disclaimers.

    4. Kingsley

      Eric thanks for the info, Pls I mean sign up form or submit form not legal forms, how to insert it on my website. do I save it with form.php or form.html, thanks, Kingsley

    5. zyn


      As I get closer to product launch, I am examining this lesson more. Long copy vs. Short copy & video integration … hmm … did a little research and would like your opinion.

      I read “Death of the Salesletter,” which was very interesting. I decided to check some top websites in the weight loss niche (not my niche, but obviously some big money — and research — being done there).

      The Weight Watchers website is what I would consider a “corporate” website where there is no long copy anywhere. Every page is short, has a call to action, and they build a deep website with sections, categories, content pages, etc. Every page has a call to action, but no one particular page looks anything like a long copy salesletter.

      Then, I took a look at Fat Loss 4 Idiots. That website has always intrigued me because it is a long copy sales letter broken down into 4-5 short copy pages. The visitor must click through to the next section of the sales letter.

      So, considering “Death of the Salesletter” and these two websites, where no doubt a lot of testing and research have been done, it seems like these shorter versions must be converting better, at least for what they are offering.

      What is your take on breaking up the long copy sales letter and doing the Fat Loss 4 Idiots concept (maybe along with some video) instead?

      Have you tested it or know someone who has? What have been the results?


    6. Pingback: Split Testing for Internet Marketers - How to Test Your Marketing | Eric's Tips

    7. Eric Post author

      Good question. Yes I do know people who are using that method (short pages), and it is working very well for them.

      I do think it depends somewhat on the niche. It’s obviously working well in the weight loss niche, and I also like your idea of incorporating video.

      And as I often say… the only way to find out if its the best method is to test it. See lesson #57

    8. satish

      Hi. Eric,

      As the beginner, I am looking to email marketing, and got regd. on CJ. I am approved by many advertisers as affiliate. I am getting their html code but can not produce them on my Gmail composers, The template I am provided is on NOTE PAD. Am I suppose to use any other program to decode the html ?
      Iam enjoying yor all Mails,(sofar 54 ) THANKS


    9. Eric Post author

      I am not familiar with the Gmail composer you are referring to. Do you mean you’re trying to put the link into an email that you’re sending on Gmail?

      When getting links from CJ, I just take the text link… not all the HTML that they provide. Then I make my own link. Generally I cloak them with PHP redirects.

    10. Evelyn

      What a fabulous video. It was simple, clear and I learned a ton. I’m not so nervous now about doing my first sales letter. Thanks a lot for all of the information that you share. I just discovered your site today, but I’ll be back.

    11. IT

      Thanx for the post, Eric. The information you provided is very valuable.
      Working as email marketing manager I have nothing to add.

    12. Steve

      Hi Eric,

      Great sales copy video!

      A powerful technique I’ve used is tell them the main “deal” in the headline. “turn $100 into $5,000 by August 1st using my gizmo or Double your money back!” An outrageous deal headline followed immediately with a strong testimonial. then a confirmation (longer) 2nd headline explaining the “deal”.

      I’m “old school” & I’ve really got to get some video on my sales pages so I’ll get stuck into your lesson #41. Thanks for the great content!

    13. Sean Breslin

      Good Lesson enjoyed it while having dinner and my partner Liz, added comments on all the various sales tecniques and copy styles through out!

    14. Taylor

      Great lesson, Eric.
      I personally don’t like long sales letters. I have not time and not patience to read them. But it seems to work for many people

    15. Scogzy

      Hi Eric,
      Great video series. I have revisited this section several times. I am trying to take the concepts here and apply them to a local service company’s website, with the call to action or successful conversion being the submission of a request for estimate. Our conversation rate with locally generated sales leads from the site are triple that of purchased leads.

      Any thought on how to do this?

      Dan, (Scogzy)

    16. Eric Post author

      I would go to google and check out the top paid advertisers for all your keywords. Chances are they have a good lead capture system, especially if they are bidding top dollar for keywords in your niche.

      Obviously you want to make it abundantly easy for them to submit the request. Keep it simple. ASK for it… every place applicable on your site.

      I might test changing your check boxes into dropdowns so you can save room and make the form look smaller (keep it above the fold).

      Make a BIG submit button, colorful, test it.

      Try tweaking the working… instead of “Request a free estimate” maybe something like “Get your free quote” or “Get a free no-obligation quote within 24 hours” (I have no idea what’s best.. the point is to split test a bunch of variables) Try putting a trust-mark on the submission form, or a picture of an attractive female contractor…

    17. mary

      Eric: I am trying to promote affiliate silver bullet – there are 28 of them and each one is different for a product. The cost they are asking is $197 – I have advertised everywhere with no response. Do you think its the price? Do you have any suggestions where I should advertise? I am using there ad copy. Thanks

    18. Eric Post author

      I’m not familiar with that one, so I’m not sure but I suspect it might be the price. This is one advantage of having your own product vs. promoting others as an affiliate. You have a lot more control over your own product pricing, etc.

    19. Gerhard

      Hi Eric

      This is a very nice post explaining the complete structure and format of a sales letter. However, I agree with Dan that bonuses are sometimes more overpowering than the real product. The same thing applies to testimonials. How authentic and true are they or is it just “friends” helping “friends” to catch the unaware buyer? Just wondering.

    20. Eric Post author

      Some of them are authentic, and some of them are not (All mine are authentic). You’re right, it’s hard to tell the difference.

      This is one reason why the FTC released new guidelines in 2009 regarding testimonials. If the giver of the testimonial received any compensation, free product, or has a relationship with the vendor, this should be disclosed along with the testimonial.

    21. Nicolas Tan

      Hi Eric,

      I am still trying to put some contents of my info product together.

      Since this is my first ebook, how can I have testimonials to be included in my sales letter?
      Maybe, I just missed your point in the lesson?

    22. Eric Post author

      If you haven’t yet sold any copies of it, then the way to get testimonials is by giving away some review copies of your ebook. Find some people who would like a free copy of your product, in exchange for some feedback about it. And hopefully you will get some testimonials out of it. According to FTC guidelines, you are supposed to disclose if they received any compensation (including a free copy). You could even get your friends or family to give testimonials, again with the proper disclosure that you have a prior relationship with those people.

      Another approach is to start marketing your product with no testimonials on the page, but offer a very low price. You can say, I’m offering this low introductory price to my first customers, because I would like to get some testimonials.

    23. Joe

      Hey Eric, I must say you are one of the good guys. As a beginning Internet marketer, I aspire to be like you one day lol. I am in the middle of writing my first eBook. I don’t know how to get a legal disclaimer or how to get testimonials. My eBook is about how you can take your passions and hobbies and turn them into profitable eBooks. I really like your information and I was wondering if it was ok to use some of the info in my ebook? I am thinking about just putting a link to this site in my eBook but wouldn’t that take away value from the book since it’s not directly from me?

      Thanks again!

    24. Micah

      Hello Joe,

      Eric offers some free legal documents at the following link:

      Free Website Legal Documents

      You are welcome to include a link to Eric’s Tips in your ebook! Eric often puts links to his recommended resources in his ebooks. This doesn’t diminish the value of the ebooks, but provides more value, since they link to even more helpful material!

    25. Prue

      This the most important bit of information I need right now. You have been very helpful. I am convinced you want to see other people prosper. You are a great guy.

      Thanks Eric

    26. Prue

      Hi Eric,

      Is it ok to ask questions at the beginning of the sales letter just after the greeting?

    27. Jefvz

      hi Rajeev,
      I wanna know if you have a new tactic on sales or at least recommend it.

    28. Eric Post author

      Yes it is. Especially a few bullet-point type of questions if you know the questions will really connect with your prospect. The main thing you want to do after the greeting is suck them into the letter. And a few pointed questions can do that. But you must be sure that the questions will really connect with the majority of your audience. (generally you want them to give a YES answer to each question)

    29. Joe

      I got a question Eric, how do I make the thick borders around a sales letter?


    30. Eric Post author

      I usually put my sales letters in an HTML table. You can use something like this…

    31. Joe

      You said bullet points sell the product and are very important. I am selling a small package (an e-book,report,e-book templates). My question is this, how many bullet points do you need to make a great sales letter? I have about 25 bullet points, my goal was to come up with 60, but I find it’s kinda hard to do without repeating in some ways.


    32. Eric Post author

      There’s not a specific number. What it really comes down to is whether you’ve built up enough value in the mind of your prospect to justify the price you are asking. If they aren’t buying, then you likely need to build more value, or lower the price, and one of the best ways to build value is the bullet points.

    33. Dain

      I just created a sales letter based off a lot of the tips from this video. It took me a while to do the design portion as I have NO graphic design experience, but I’m learning 🙂 The Johnson boxes I created on my own. Thought I’d share it here 🙂 Thanks Eric.

      Here’s the link:


    34. Dain

      Oh! And I’m going to be redoing the video. The video on there now was an old one and I just wanted to see what it would look like in the page.

    35. Nedra

      Unbelievably valuable information. Exceptional as usual, Eric, you are true to superior form.

      Just one question. You mentioned, Clayton Makepeace, but I did not see anything in print to get the pdf of his webinar.

    36. Anonymous

      All sales tactics are pushy! With Og Mandino I learn things before and also with Dale Carnegie and others. People want to some selling because want money. It is just a trade. I give you you give me. People love money because we all need money. Now… deceiving your brother is a sin. And being greedy!It is a biger sin!

      I am learning the ropes here of internet marketing but I won’t push things on people face, or they garganta. I won’t feel confortable doing things like this. When they try to do it to me I get offended or insulted.

      Naive people fall unto all kinds of trapps at the begining. And why is the rush? Our necesity. But we resent being tricked or manipulated. We feel beig used and the hard part is having to live with that. Because we always remember! Idiots! Both of us! But life teach us hard lessons.

      Who invented internet marketing anyway? It is so nice to go to one store, read the labels while checking out the product we would love to buy. Then go to the counter and paid for the product. And sometimes the product we find out is inefective or pure trash! But, no one is guilty, because nobody was pushing us to buy it. Once i entered a plush shop in 5th ave. NY. And as soon as I enter the store, someone told me: “Can I help you?” I told that person. Let me see what you have here first. In 5 minutes I was out. Could not afford the prices. Well, yes! In businesses… there is so much competition an greedinnes. It is jungle out there! And pretty soon we find out that we cannot afford it, and we’re not even suppose to start it…! Finding to late latter that we’re just getting into trouble!

      This is just a comment! And I’ll do it anonimously! But. thank you Eric good teaching and good tips and as a human being you’re humble and softy! I think you’re doing the best explaining things clystal clear. Obiously the choice is ours!

    37. Micah

      Hello Elshafie,

      The next lesson will be sent to you soon. You can also visit the following link to see the latest lesson updates and revisit earlier lessons:

      Here is the direct link to lesson 51:

      LESSON #51: How to Create a Sales Letter

      You may also simply change the number at the end of the link, to go to a different lesson number (example: /lesson1, /lesson2, /lesson3, etc…).

      If your email happens to block some of the lessons, we recommend that you view this tip on whitelisting an email address:

      How To Add a Sender to Your Whitelist (Safelist)

    38. Larry

      Eric, great info on sales letters. FYI, not all “old people” have vision problems. People of all ages have vision issues. Thanks again, “an old person.”

    39. Paul Warner

      I have seen hundreds of sales letters and I don’t know if you know of this guy, Aaron Danker, but he always has the greatest graphics, of which I have no idea how he does it, well written copy, moves at very good speed, puts a ton in every offer and it is always very professional in appearance. I bring it up as he rarely does a short sales letter. It is hard to imagine this guy not making money, because even if I don’t intend to buy his product it is still good to go through his sales letters and learn little tidbits of information he offers as he writes these sales letters. If you don’t know of him check him out. If you do then I am sure you have seen some of his work. Paul


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