Do headlines like these grab your attention? I have to admit, I am a bit of a sucker for these things, and to a degree I think that is human nature. Yet over time, you start to get desensitized to the endless “The Widget To End ALL Widgets” type of claims.
I realize that an effective sales letter is absolutely crucial to the success of a product; however at what point do ethics come into play? Personally, I am trying to learn how to write a better (well, better is irrelevant because I haven’t written one of my own yet) sales letter, in fact I’m attending a webinar this afternoon on the very topic.
You see topics discussed like “Writing Hypnotic Sales Letters.” Now, persuasive is one thing, but do you want people to buy against their will? Do you really want them to turn in their will at the door and mindlessly get your next product? Well, the pocketbook screams a unequivocal and resounding YES!
What if your product sucks. You know it and I know it, however we write a sales letter saying that this thing is going to be the silver bullet that takes away the client’s widget-related misery. Sure, it might get them to buy, and sure, they’ll probably be too lazy to return the thing when it doesn’t live up to their expectations, but they won’t likely buy another from you. Then again like good cattle, once they’re on your mailing list they just might. Is that the kind of business we want to be in?
I guess the place to start is with a great product; then you really can make some serious claims about it in good conscience. However, even for some of the truly impressive products that I’ve purchased, I’ve still been let down after the incredible hype of the sales letter.
Is it possible to “over-wow” your customer? I know that when I see a sales page now, credibility is one of the first things I look for. If I don’t see that in seconds, I’m out of there. Credibility though, is a funny thing. It’s like a gut instinct that I can’t peg down to any one or two items. I can’t say “If the headline is blue, I’m outta there” or “If they don’t have testimonials, I’m outta there” because credibility is more complicated than that.
I guess the whole point of this post is in regards to the ethics of sales letters. I do not seek to dispute what works and what doesn’t in terms of getting the sale. There’s time for that later and plenty of others have done that as well. However, if you can write a sales letter that will make you a cool million, guaranteed, at the expense of violating your morals (perhaps by making unsubstantiated claims about your product) then should you? I know many people do. It is the same argument that led to the creation of the nuclear bomb and pursuing human cloning. Just because you can, does it mean you have to?
I’m not going to answer this question because I can think of all kinds of “what if’s” that make it hard to just say yes or no in such a short space; however I’m interested in having the conversation.
What do you think?