I love copywriting. I think it's the one skill set that can pretty much teach you everything you need to know about marketing and consumer behavioural psychology in a very short period of time.
When I work with private clients, I often start with a very simple exercise to get their foundations organised, which is to help them write a sales letter for their business. In fact my private clients pay me thousands of dollars for facilitating this exercise, and in turn it creates thousands and thousands of dollars for them.
That said, I recently tried to give this exercise to a small group that was part of a 3 day business training program I was leading some sessions at. It didn't take me long to realise I had confused the crap out of some of the people there, mostly because I took for granted how difficult this exercise can be when you give a little information and leave people to their own devices to complete it.
It was totally my fault, and so in the interest of demystifying this a little further, and sharing it with even more people, I'm going to lay out my simple structure for writing a sales letter. If you follow this in the simplest form possible and don't complicate things, you should be able to churn out a very decent sales letter in 60 minutes tops!
Follow this simple formula: [Ultimate benefit for your customer] + [specific time frame] + [address the biggest objection].
I've borrowed this from an excellent little book on copywriting by Neville Medhora.
2. Create an Awareness of Need
Explain what the need (problem) is that your customer is experiencing. It helps if they're already somewhat aware of it.
3. Explain the Opportunity Value and Cost
Tell your customer what the value of taking action towards satisfying this need is, and what would be the negative consequences of NOT satisfying the need.
4. Demonstrate Credibility
Explain to your customer why you have the authority to be speaking about their need and why you are well positioned to solve it.
5. Explain Your "Unique Selling Proposition"
Here you introduce your actual solution, and be sure to address how it's unique to other proposed solutions out there in the market.
6. Specify a Clear Call to Action
Give a very specific and easy instruction to your customer to move the sale forward. This could be an invitation to reply to the letter with an answer to a simple question. It could be setting up a phone conversation. It could be going to a particular website to make a purchase (if that's simple and easy enough in the case of your business).
And that's it, you're pretty much ready to go!