Sales Letters

How these simple tricks get your marketing read

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It really is all about you, you, you.
It really is all about you, you, you.

If part of your job is writing to motivate people to buy – or to make people feel a certain way about your brand – you know it’s tough.

Obviously you can use a brilliant image that, in a heartbeat, shows your product and its benefits, whipping your prospects into a ‘wallet out’ buying frenzy. Or maybe your image creates the right positioning for your brand: from luxury to budget or something in between.

But even though your images can be incredibly powerful, it is the words you use that really create impact.

And one of the most useful tricks you can use to achieve this is using the words: you, your, and you’re more times than any other.

In fact on average, three times more.

You might be thinking that the rules of writing copy for social media are somehow different? Maybe because of the speed at which your audience read (or miss!) your messages in their news streams.

So here’s the content of a tweet you might find interesting. It is from Cindy Greenway, Editor in Chief of

It strengthens my opinion that, regardless of the marketing channels you use, your messages should always be about your reader.

And this gives some good insight into headline writing too.


You know that strong headlines that attract attention to your blog post, articles, ezines, emails (and more) are very important. How would you like to know which words you can use that will do exactly this – attract the attention of your readers? Imagine a stronger interest in your law firm blog posts, simply with a few tweaks to your headlines?

The team at Ripenn undertook extensive research and study to determine how to write a great headline and what works to use in headlines. This information was posted on the Blog earlier this month.

3,016 headlines from 24 top content sites were examined – the most popular words found in their headlines are below.

What does this all mean? Here are some of my key takeaways:

  1. YOU and YOUR are two of the most common words. This means sense considering that the content you created is (or should!) created to help others. Make sure your content is not about you, the writer, but you, the person who needs legal information.
  2. When you use the word ‘this’ in a headline, the reader’s mind switches to a concrete view of whatever you are talking about. The power of ‘this’ is in its specificity.
  3. What, Which and When – These 3 words are all question based. Phrasing headlines in the form of a question does increase click-through rates. In fact, it more than doubles them, on average.
  4. Video – You know video is a must these days. Including the word ‘video’ into a headline (naturally), is a great tactic – it lets people know up front that your post contains video.
  5. ‘How To’ in headlines isn’t only popular, it’s effective! How to in a headline signifies a certain level of education on the subject matter.
  6. The average length of a viral headline is 62 characters. This will be of comfort to you if you struggle with keeping your headlines super short.

Take a look at the headlines you have written in the last couple of weeks. Can you revise some? What will you do differently moving forward to create more attention from your headlines?


So there you have it. Proof that the old tricks of copy writing work across all channels.

And remember, it really is all about you, you, you.


This should help you get more sales. Apparently it’s the greatest sales letter of all time.

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I’m ok at marketing. But what I’m really trying to do is get better at developing direct marketing. And to clarify, what I mean by direct marketing is communications that make the recipient actually do something that I want them to – rather than chuck my messages straight into their trash!

That ‘something’ might be to call me for a discussion, attend an event or instantly buy what I am selling.

To get better I’m using the age-old method of study. I’m reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. Preferred texts so far have been written by Drayton Bird, Chris Fill and David Ogilvy. However during a recent internet search I found what was described as “The greatest sales letter of all time”. This grand statement was followed by an even grander one “This letter has generated over $2 billion in revenue for The Wall Street Journal”.

I’ve read it. In fact I’ve read it several times. So what do I think of it? Well if I’ve learned anything during my study so far it’s this.  It doesn’t really matter what I think of it. What really matters is if it works or not. And to quote Chris Fill, direct marketing communications should always be “recipient-centric”. And given that I’m not, and probably never will be, an intended recipient of the letter – my opinion is worthless.

Anyhow, if you’d like to read it to help you develop direct marketing messages and stop your letters and emails being trashed within seconds of being received, you can download here for free: The Wall Street Journal Sales Letter