Are Internet Sales Letters Dead?

We’ve all come across the long sales letters online that take a good ten minutes to read before we get to the price of the item being promoted. But do they still work?

Perhaps it’s not so much the length of the sales letter that matters; it’s what you put in it. We can’t talk to a salesperson and ask them questions online, so the sales letter has to answer all the questions we may have about the product or service and remove all the barriers to buying it. Short sales letters simply don’t have the room to convey all the necessary information that would persuade someone to buy the product being promoted. This is especially true with information products, which need to prove they are different from the wealth of competition they are up against.

So is there any limit on how long a sales letter should be? In essence, it needs to be long enough to get its message across and convince the customer they need to buy the product. If it needs seventeen pages to do that effectively, then not a word has been wasted. The key is in drawing in the reader and presenting a series of arguments that explain why the product will improve their lives.

Recent times have seen another advance in the world of internet sales letters – and that’s the introduction of internet video. Marketers have latched onto the potential of video as a way to promote their products; not to mention make themselves more accessible to the buying public.

A short video can be promoted by itself, but it’s possible to include a link to the video at the top of the sales letter as well. This gives the buyer a choice of whether to find out about the product via the video, or by reading the more traditional sales letter. Some people will use both options, which can further enforce your sales message and lead to more sales.

Depending on the skill of the writer and the strength of the product, you will very likely find that sales will vary according to the length of your sales letter and whether or not you include the option of watching an informational video as well.

You can make sure you get the best results from your sales letters by testing the response you get to different lengths. This also applies equally to the video – does a four minute video get a better response than a ten minute one? Given that people’s attention spans are notoriously short, a short video that piques the interest may do better than a longer one which answers all the questions. Try different versions and find out.

If some people are getting bored with long sales letters, it’s up to you to try and coax them back round. Remember that first screen full of text has to do the job of keeping their eyes on the page – so make sure it works well.

Alex Cleanthous

Alex Cleanthous

Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits

Alex Cleanthous is Chief Innovation Officer at Web Profits. With more than 10 years experience in online marketing, Alex is always on the lookout for smarter, faster and more scalable ways to achieve maximum growth with minimum spend.