The first sentence of an internet ... is like ahook. It must grab the reader's ... and lead theminto reading the entire ... to ... Joseph ... the purpose of the
The first sentence of an internet salesletter is like a hook. It must grab the reader's attention and lead them into reading the entire letter.
According to copywriter Joseph Sugarman, the purpose of the first sentence of a salesletter is to get the reader to read the next sentence. And the second sentence? To get the reader to read the third sentence. This becomes even more crucial on the internet than in print, since attention spans are very short online.
There are certain types of letter openings that prove very effective in pulling the prospect into the rest of the copy. We'll briefly look at the ten most effective ways.
1. Tell a Story
Stories have been used for ages to relate lessons. From bedtime stories to the greatest philosophers, we all love a good story.
A story creates empathy with the reader and helps to draw him into the sales pitch. This works best if the story identifies with the problem that the prospect is now experiencing for which you've found the solution. Some of the most effective direct mail pieces used this technique.
2. State the offer upfront
If your product or service is well known to your audience and doesn't need any special introduction, then you can just state the offer right away. This serves best if your offer is a very attractive one. In this case the real appeal is in the offer itself.
A common example is if you have a free offer or deep discount on products your target audience is already interested in. Your entire salesletter can then be based on the offer and not on the product features or benefits.
3. Use a startling quote or statistic
This type of opening is really intended to get the reader to sit up and pay attention. It should be 'newsy' and have some 'shock value'. It should raise a question in the prospect's mind and build some curiosity to read the rest of the letter.
4. Make an announcement
This will work best if you have a new product that you are introducing to the market. This should sound like a press release. In other words, there should be little 'hype' and more factual type statements emphasizing what's new about this product.
5. Ask a question
Questions are very effective in pulling the reader into your salesletter. This is especially true when the answers to the questions are very important to the reader. These questions also force the prospect to think and get involved with your copy. The questions remain unresolved until you answer them in the copy. Questions also make the letter sound conversational and more personal.
6. Write to the reader as a colleague
If your target audience consists of a narrow special interest group then you can address the reader as such. You may address the reader as "Business Owner", or "Webmaster". Right away this qualifies the prospect and saves them having to read further to know if the letter is of interest to them. It also serves another purpose: to make the reader feel as part of a special group-a type of flattery.
7. Offer a free report
This will work best with higher ticket items. In this case you want the prospects to send for the "special report" that will further sell them on your product or service. The report must not be pitched as a salesletter but as providing genuine information that the reader can benefit from
8. Pinpoint the reader's problem
Most products or services provide a solution to a problem. You can therefore start the letter by stating the problem that your product solves. This will immediately qualify the reader and provide a logical transition for the letter in explaining how the product solves the problem in the next section.
9. State your strongest benefit
If your strongest benefit has a real striking appeal to your prospect then you may start by stating this benefit upfront. This benefit must reach out to the reader's self-interest and go beyond just addressing a feature of your product. Copywriters commonly refer to this as selling the sizzle and not the steak. Just think about it, if your strongest value you are offering the reader doesn't capture his interest then the others will fail also.
10. Offer some 'secret', privileged information
You can make an offer that is not open to the 'general public' but only to a select few. This will work well with your present customer base who may receive this announcement ahead of other people. The point here is that the reader feels special because they are getting the 'inside deal'. This will also work well with any select group such as new subscribers, repeat buyers or any group you care to 'invent'.
This list is not exhaustive but shows those techniques that I find most effective as I create salescopy for my online clients. If you fail to grab the reader's attention in those precious few opening seconds then the entire battle is lost. The majority of online readers simply scan before they choose to read the entire letter. If the start of the letter doesn't capture their attention then they are lost for good.
Sometimes the conversion rate for a website can be drastically increased by just changing the opening paragraph for the copy. Use anyone of these ten techniques to boost your online sales.
Ray L. Edwards is a published author, copywriter and internet marketing consultant. He has made tens of thousands of dollars for his copywriting clients. Being an online marketer himself,he understands what it takes to sell online and welcomes your inquiry about his master copywriting service. http://www.webcopy-writing.com