5 Ways to Ruin a Perfectly Good Sales Letter

Got the bug to write about sales letters today.

Specifically, 5 “classic blunders” that, if you are doing them, could be causing you to leave some serious money on ye olde table.

Here goes:

1. Removing The Proof

Once upon a time I wrote an ad for a product created by a young marketing whiz chock-full of credibility, proof and reasons to buy. Yet, when the ad ran, the client gutted all the proof.

Why? I have no idea.

And while we’ll never know for sure, I’d bet they got a small fraction of the response they would have had they kept the proof in there.

Way I see it, if you must cut, cut the hype, not the credibility.

2. Shorten For Sake Of Shortening

Another classic blunder. Case in point: While back I wrote a sales letter over 16 pages long. A few of those pages were story copy I thought maybe didn’t really need to be there.

So we tested. The result? Let’s just say it was a very “short” test…

3. Assuming Other Tests Apply To You

Here’s a big no-no.

Just because (for example) a certain order button kicks buttocks for Marketer A, that doesn’t mean it’ll do diddly-squat for Marketer B’s unique product, prospects and other market-timing peculiarities.

4. Thinking Writing Is Most Important

It’s not. That’s kind of a bummer for some people (it always was for me), but that’s just the way it is.

5. Listening To “Advertising Critics”

I don’t show my ads to a lot of copywriters or marketers.


Because to me, advertising critics are like movie critics.

And most movies that make a lot of money tend to get ripped apart by the critics… while many movies that are slobbered over by critics are lucky to break even.

In fact, want to know something funny? My longest running headline is FAR from “sexy.” It sure as heck doesn’t look “cool”. And yet, it’s been cleaning up for over a year — including as a stand-alone banner ad headline on super competitive sites like Drudge, NewsMax, WorldNetDaily, etc.

So be careful of advertising critics. Including yours truly.