Few copywriters were as effective at selling a product or an idea as Robert Collier. He knew what it took to get people’s attention, to build a sense of desire in them for the product, to induce a sense of urgency, and to get them to take action.
You can check out some of his best work in the $100 Million Swipe File from [your resource page](LINK).
In his classic work, The Robert Collier Letter Book, he presented what he called the six essentials of any good sales letter. But he said that these rules were only the mechanics of the letter and that real letter writing only started there.
First, let’s go over Collier’s list of the six essentials. Then we’ll take a look at an extra special ingredient that is necessary to rise above these mechanical rules to create a great sales letter.
These essentials will hold for any kind of writing you may be doing. These points are really about building a line of argument that will bring individuals from perhaps knowing nothing about you, all the way to taking some desired action. This is a process of developing influence over people, whether it’s getting them to buy something, vote for you, come back to your next blog post, or just share your message with others.
The 6 Essentials
You need to start off with something that will immediately capture and hold your readers’ attention. When your readers first come to your ad or your website, they’re probably lost in thought about something that’s uppermost in their minds. They’re looking for information because they have a problem. Or they’re aimlessly surfing the web. Or they’re wading through hundreds of emails.
No matter here you catch them, you can be sure that they’re in an “internal conversation” that doesn’t include you…yet. Somehow you have to “fit in” with your readers’ existing train of thought so that they are immediately interested in and curious about what you have to tell them.
A good opening will get through and motivate people to read the rest of what you have to say. Without a good opening, readers may cast the letter aside or click to the next website before you get the chance to present your case.
The Description or Explanation:
Now you have to introduce readers to what you’re all about—what product or idea you’re trying to sell them. This is where you lay out your basic proposition, presenting the important features and some of the necessary details. You prepare your readers to see things your way by giving them the groundwork of information upon which the rest of your arguments will rest.
The Motive or Reason Why:
Now you go past the intellectual and into the emotional. You have to get readers to have a longing for your product, or they must feel motivated to give to your cause, or whatever it is you’re trying to influence them to do. You must impel them to take the action you are going to propose.
This requires that you go beyond merely describing your proposition. You have to get your readers to understand what your product will do for them, or how good they’ll feel if they do what you suggest. This is where you are going to lay out all the benefits they will experience if they take the action you want them to.
The Proof or Guarantee:
Even when you present great arguments for your case, people may still be skeptical. They may be concerned that they could take an action they might later regret. You must make your readers feel comfortable about their decision to respond to your offer.
You do that by giving them proof that what you are telling them is true (for example, with scientific data or by testimonials from satisfied buyers). And you guarantee they won’t lose anything if they take you up on your offer and then aren’t happy with the product. They can return it for a full refund.
The Snapper or Penalty:
Even if people are completely convinced that what you’re telling them is right and that they would benefit from following your suggestions, you still have to get over their basic inertia. Getting people to take action requires an extra boost of energy. If they don’t act right away, they could soon forget all about you.
So induce a sense of urgency that will encourage readers to respond immediately. Make it clear that if readers do not respond right away, they will miss out.
By this time, hopefully, you’ve got your readers eager and ready to take action. In the close you tell them exactly what they need to do, with complete instructions for how to do it. First, you want a very clear “call to action,” “Call Now,” “Click This Link,” “Come to Our Store Before the End of the Month.”
Second, you want to make it easy for them to take the final steps to order. Make the phone number or the website address or the link or whatever it is very obvious.
These six essentials are critical. But it takes something else to make your ad really works.
That Extra Special Ingredient Needed for Exceptional Promotional Writing
There is one more ingredient that the letter writer or blogger or applicant must bring to the task if the result is going to be successful at motivating people to take action. It’s really simple.
If you want to convince other people to love something, you have to love it yourself.
If you’re completely dry, you can’t write a good promotional piece. It won’t have any life in it. A good copywriter or promoter gets excited over an idea. It’s that excitement that gets conveyed into the writing and that’s what really grabs people.
Enthusiasm is that extra special ingredient. It’s the key to selling anything.
Find something that really makes your product or service stand out, something you really feel compelled to tell people about and that makes you feel excited. Then make sure that the enthusiasm you feel comes across in whatever you write. That’s what breathes life into it.
To summarize, there are two critical aspects to creating successful promotions of any kind. First, you have to follow the basics, the six essential elements we listed above. Then add that extra special ingredient, your enthusiasm for your product or service.
Whatever it is you’re promoting, there has to be something you love about it. Something that you believe makes you stand out from your competitors. Start with the basics, then capture that enthusiasm in everything you create for that promotion. People will respond.