After a series of fact-finding emails, I provided him with a very competitive quote.
Two days later the client replied, alerting me to the fact that he’d come across a website that sold sales letter templates and wanted to try that instead.
Now, being a sales letter writer of many years, I’ve seen these sites before, and out of professional interest, I’ve actually purchased a couple of template packages myself so that I have a better idea of what’s out there. (Plus, if you’re going to tell a client that your service is better than another, it helps if you have a thorough understanding of exactly what that rival service actually entails!).
So, I explained to my client that due to a number of reasons that I’ll explain in a moment, a template wouldn’t be able to convert his prospects anywhere near as well as a bespoke sales letter produced by yours truly, but if he wanted to try it out, then he should.
As we traded emails, I got the impression that he felt a template sales letter would perform just as well as one written by the Red Hot team, so I decided to make him an offer.
I told him that if his template converted more customers than mine to his list, then I would refund 100% of his investment, with no questions asked.
I also explained that I wouldn’t be checking up on the results, so our agreement would be based entirely on trust, which is the way I like to work with all of my clients, and in 99.9% of cases, I’ve never had a single problem. (I’d like to name the one person who decided not to pay the balance, and ignored my polite but increasingly frustrated messages for 6 weeks until I was forced to take the legal route, but it’s probably best that I don’t air my dirty laundry in a public forum. It’s unbecoming!).
Anyway, I digress.
So what was the result?
Well, as I expected, my copy hugely outperformed the template, converting an impressive 4.7% of his list (which he split in half for the test), compared to a measly 0.1% for the template.
And here’s why…
Firstly, a template is nothing more than a set of generic paragraphs made to loosely fit a specific niche, to which you’re expected to plug in the main benefits of your product.
As a result, even the best templates will be utterly devoid of character, largely untargeted, and crucially, lacking in any kind of emotional pull, which is absolutely vital when selling any kind of product or service.
After all, a human being’s decision to buy a product or service is predominantly influenced by their emotions, rather than any form of logical reasoning.
Our emotions rule our heads, and you must never forget that when trying to sell anything online, or anywhere else for that matter!
And as I say, a template sales letter will be relatively untargeted, because let’s face it, how can it be?
If we take a template for the health niche, for example, a sales letter promoting a product that attempts to cure back pain will require a very different approach to one about weight loss, or acne, or infertility, or fitness, to name just a few.
So how can the copy perform to its maximum potential while simultaneously attempting to appeal to multiple markets, and grip each and every customer to the extent that they absolutely MUST keep on reading, which is after all, the primary intention of any paragraph in a sales letter?
Well, it can’t.
And how can a generic template tap into the major emotional trigger points of each individual sub-market within a larger, more generalized niche?
Again, it can’t.
It’s simply not possible.
By using a template, you’re instantly watering down the effectiveness of the copy by 50%, 70%, 90%, or more, because by definition, a template isn’t targeted.
In contrast, a bespoke and thoroughly researched sales letter will zero in on the EXACT problem faced by the target market in question, and address that problem with laser-like efficiency.
Furthermore, it will use time-tested and proven sales psychology to connect with the prospect on an emotional level by tapping into the needs and wants of THAT particular market.
So in short, anyone who uses a sales letter template to sell their product doesn’t fully appreciate the principles of selling, and what it actually takes to get a prospect from the headline, all the way down to the bottom of the letter and through to the order page!
Or, more interestingly, they’ve been persuaded to purchase the product because of a very powerful sales letter, i.e. one that didn’t use a template!!
And there lies the ultimate irony…
You see, the guys selling these templates would never dream of using a template themselves to sell their own template package!
In fact, every sales letter I’ve seen online promoting these template packages has been written in a very different style to the templates themselves, and for a good reason.
Template sales letters aren’t as good as customized ones. They don’t convert nearly as many prospects, and they never will.
So whatever you do, don’t try to save a few bucks by using a template.
Get the real thing…
Invest in high quality, well researched and emotionally compelling sales copywriting targeted to YOUR niche.
Nick Cobb is a professional direct response copywriter and marketing consultant. If you’d like a fully customized and high-converting piece of sales copy for your niche, contact him at redhotsalesletters.co.uk