Monday, September 27, 2010

Be Happy – Do Effective Presentation For Early Success (Part 4)

In the last posts, I had made some submissions about effective presentation of what we need to sell out – our services, our products, our ideas etc. For an effective opening, we need to bring about good headlines – they must be effective, attractive, precise and message-communicators. Now where do you find great headlines?

You may look at other successful presentations (especially direct response) that have stood the test of time. You may look for presentations that run regularly in magazines and other publications. How do you know they’re good? Because if they didn’t do their job, the advertiser wouldn’t keep running them again and again.

You may get on the mailing lists of the big direct response companies and save their direct mail packages. You read the National Enquirer. The National Enquirer has some of the best headlines in the business. If you pick up a recent issue, you’ll see what I mean. You will find some headlines compelling you to go through the contents fully.

Now, how could you adapt some of those headlines to your own product or service? Your headline should create a sense of urgency. It should be as specific as possible. Mentioning $1,007,274.23 is better than saying a million dollars.

The headline appearance is also very important. Generally, longer headlines tend to out pull shorter ones, even when targeting more “conservative” prospects.

It should go without saying that when you use other successful headlines, you adapt them to your own product or service. Never copy a headline (or any other written copyrighted piece of work for that matter) word for word. Copywriters and presentation agencies are notoriously famous for suing for plagiarism. They can do rightfully so.

More Disclosures Make More Sales.

Usually it is a newcomer to presentation-writing thinking that long presentation is boring and, well…long. “I would never read that much copy,” they say. The fact of the matter is that all things being equal, long presentation will outperform short presentation every time. And when I say long presentation, I don’t mean long and boring, or long and un-targeted.

The person who says he would never read all that presentation is making a big mistaking in presentation-writing: he is going with his gut reaction instead of relying on test results. He is thinking that he himself is the prospect. He’s not. We’re never our own prospects.

There have been many studies conducted on the long presentation versus short presentation debate. And the clear winner is always long presentation. But that’s targeted relevant long presentation as opposed to untargeted boring long presentation.
Some significant research has found that readership tends to fall off dramatically at around 300 words, but does not drop off again until around 3,000 words.

If I’m selling an expensive set of golf clubs and send my long presentation to a person who plays golf occasionally, or always wanted to try golf, I am sending my sales pitch to the wrong prospect. It is not targeted effectively. And so if a person who receives my long presentation doesn’t read past the 300th word, they weren’t qualified for my offer in the first place.

It wouldn’t have mattered whether they read up to the 100th word or 10,000th word. They still wouldn’t have made a purchase.

However, if I sent my long presentation to an avid die-hard golfer, who just recently purchased other expensive golf products through the mail, painting an irresistible offer, telling him how my clubs will knock 10 strokes off his game, he’ll likely read every word. And if I’ve targeted my message correctly, he will buy.

Remember, if your prospect is 3000 miles away, it’s not easy for him to ask you a question. You must anticipate and answer all of his questions and overcome all objections in your presentation if you are to be successful. And make sure you don’t throw everything you can think of under the sun in there. You only need to include as much information as you need to make the sale…and not one word more.

If it takes a 10-page sales letter, so be it. If it takes a 16-page magalog, fine. But if the 10-page sales letter tests better than the 16-page magalog, then by all means go with the winner.

Does that mean every prospect must read every word of your presentation before he will order your product? Of course not. Some will read every word and then go back and reread it again. Some will read the headline and lead, then skim much of the body and land on the close. Some will scan the entire body, then go back and read it. All of those prospects may end up purchasing the offer, but they also all may have different styles of reading and skimming.

Write To Be Scanned.

Your layout is very important in a sales letter, because you want your letter to look inviting, refreshing to the eyes. In short, you want your prospect to stop what he’s doing and read your letter. If he sees a letter with tiny margins, no indentations, no breaks in the text, no white space, and no subheads…if he sees a page of nothing but densely-packed words, do you think he’ll be tempted to read it? Not likely.

If you do have ample white space and generous margins, short sentences, short paragraphs, subheads, and an italicized or underlined word here and there for emphasis, it will certainly look more inviting to read.

When reading your letter, some prospects will start at the beginning and read word for word. Some will read the headline and maybe the lead, then read the “P.S.” at the end of the letter and see who the letter is from, then start from the beginning.

And some folks will scan through your letter, noticing the various subheads strategically positioned by you throughout your letter, then decide if it’s worth their time to read the entire thing. Some may never read the entire letter, but order anyways.
You must write for all of them. Interesting and compelling long presentation for the studious reader, and short paragraphs and sentences, white space, and subheads for the skimmer.

Subheads are the smaller headlines sprinkled throughout your presentation. When coming up with your headline, some of the headlines that didn’t make the cut can make great subheads. A good subhead forces your prospect to keep reading, threading him along from start to finish throughout your presentation, while also providing the glue necessary to keep skimmers skimming.

The Structure of presentation

You may develop the structure of your presentation to ensure that the target may have:

1) Attention
2) Interest

3) Desire

4) Action

5) Satisfaction

First, you need to capture your prospect’s attention. This is done with your headline and lead. If your presentation fails to capture your prospect’s attention, it fails completely. Your prospect doesn’t read your stellar presentation, and doesn’t order your product or service.

Secondly, you want to build a strong interest in your prospect. You want him to keep reading, because if he reads, he just might buy.

Thirdly, you channel a desire. Having a targeted market for this is the key, because you’re not trying to create a desire where one did not already exist. You want to capitalize on an existing desire, which your prospect may or may not know he already has. And you want your prospect to experience that desire for your product or service.

Fourthly, you present a call to action. You want him to pick up the telephone, return the reply card, attend the sales presentation, order your product, whatever. You need to ask for the sale (or response, if that’s the goal). You don’t want to beat around the bush at this point. If your letter structure is sound and persuasive, here’s where you present the terms of your offer and urge the prospect to act now.

In the end, after the sale is made, you want to satisfy your prospect, who is now a customer. You want to deliver exactly what you promised (or even more), by the date you promised, in the manner you promised. In short, you want to give him every reason in the world to trust you the next time you sell him a back-end offer. And of course you’d rather he doesn’t return the product (although if he does, you also execute your return policy as promised).

Either way, you want your customers to be satisfied. It will make you a lot more money in the long run. You need to put up an effective presentation always.

Be Happy – Do Effective Presentation For Early Success.

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