How to Write a Million Dollar Sales Letter

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Sales letters are the most powerful way of getting sales that has ever been used. It is a

dollar bills

dollar bills (Photo credit: 401(K) 2012)

method used by many millionaire business owners. For example, Gary Halbert wrote a one page sales letter that brought in 7,300,000 orders. It generated $37 million in cash sales and is still bringing in profits today.

An encyclopaedia of natural healing sold $30 million worth of sales from a sales letter. There are many more examples and my own sales letters generate huge profits year on year – it’s is a powerful method of getting sales. One of my own single page sales letters, brought in over $6 million in sales for one of my companies after I shortened it and reworked it. Before that it had only brought in around $70,000.

So how do you create a million dollar sales letter?

Choose your words carefully

The English language is available to us all yet some people are able to express themselves and use words more powerfully than others. A select few are able to use words magically to create a masterpiece of copy that is inspiring, motivating, interesting and believable. This talent is worth thousands of dollars.

Your choice of words and the way you put them together is what will make you a master copywriter, capable of attracting buyers in their thousands or even millions.

Remember that sales copy is simply salesmanship in print. In the absence of a real salesperson, your sales letter must do the work of selling your products or services. There are certain words that have been proven to work over and over again. For example, the word ‘free’ is the most responsive word you could use – it has proven to be so by many studies over the years. People respond to the word FREE. It’s all part of human nature. If you use the word free, people will take a look – whether they subsequently buy or not depends on what you are offering and whether it has value but you can get people to look by using the word free.

There are plenty of other responsive words you can use as well. Don’t forget that nobody is interested in you or your business – they want to know ‘what’s in it for me’. That is also our human nature – we are most concerned about ourselves first and foremost for the majority of the time.

When you really know this and ‘get it’, you will start to approach your selling and marketing techniques in a much more effective way. You will start to influence your prospects; how they act, and how much they spend. You have a lot more influence than you realise! You must, of course use this power responsibly and use it to add value or it will certainly backfire.

So, think carefully about the words you use and how you use language to create masterful sales copy.

Play around with the following words and phrases and try to include some of them in your headlines and marketing materials:

  • Free
  • Freedom
  • Escape
  • Slash costs
  • How to
  • At last
  • New
  • Protect
  • Yes
  • Now
  • Life
  • Secrets
  • You

Whip up emotions

To be effective, your sales copy has to press your prospect’s hot buttons in the right way. It has to promise to fulfill their desires or satisfy their individual needs. You have to appeal to their emotional buying triggers. You have to appeal to your reader on an emotional level.

When you think about a real sales person and how they approach making a sale, they appeal to each of their prospects on an individual level – they get to the nitty-gritty details of what that person specifically wants and needs and they work away at persuading that person they have the exact solution that they are looking for. Your sales copy has to do this in print.

The most successful sales letters manage to whip up the reader’s emotions to a state where they are desperate to find a solution to a problem they have been experiencing.

The letter goes on to provide the solution to this problem…

Some prospects will not even realize they have much of a problem until you point it out!  Most sales letters start by illustrating out how dull, boring or depressing life can be. It could be a dead-end job, a bad relationship, debts, no money, poor health, and so on.  Then they tell you how they found a money making solution that turned their life around. This is then supported by testimonials from people who have benefited from their product.  They describe the solution and promote the benefits, give the price then ask for an order for their product.  At the end, they will summarize and remind the reader of the main benefits of the product and the solution to their problems...

In order to get your sales letter read, you need to draw the reader in with a compelling headline.  It can be provocative, shocking, informative, intriguing or emotional; but it must relay the top benefit of your product and compel the reader to want to know more...

Use powerful headlines

Your headline forms around 80-90 percent of the motivation to read your sales letter. It is the main reason why readers will respond to your letter. Strong, compelling headlines get the biggest response. Weak headlines get a puny response.

It’s worth spending a lot of time and effort on your headlines. Effective headlines will bring you a flood of customers that are highly targeted and ready to buy.

Think about it like this. If you get a newspaper – you don’t read every article in it, you scan the headlines to see what interests you the most. You pick out interesting headlines and read those articles and abandon the rest. This is what your readers do with your letter. They will scan for headlines that interest them and forget the rest. And this literally takes seconds. If you can’t grab someone’s attention in a couple of seconds, you’ve lost them. Studies show it is about 1.8 seconds to be exact. It’s that simple. So work on your headlines as a priority.

Don’t let your reader tune out from your letter before they have a chance to read it because of weak headlines. A change of headline can increase your sales by over 2,000 percent. Yes, you read that right. Changing your headline can increase your sales by over 2,000 percent.

Practice writing headlines and see what it could do for your business.


Your headline must communicate the main benefit of your offer, in other words, the most important reason why the reader should buy your product.

Your prospects will want to know “what's in it for me” so start to create your headline by writing a list of all the benefits of your offer, your product, and your customer service.  Consider the following:

  • What will your product do for your customer?
  • What emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, or financial benefits does your product have?
  • How will your prospect feel if they owned your product?
  • How would their life change if they owned your product?
  • Would it change the way they relate to other people?
  • Will your product bring short or long-term benefits?
  • Will your product make people healthy, wealthy or wise in anyway?
  • Is your price competitive?
  • Is your service outstanding?
  • Do you have a record of satisfied customers willing to recommend your product?
  • Are you offering valuable bonuses?
  • Are you offering something for free?
  • Do you have a solid guarantee?

Once you have brainstormed and listed all the possible benefits of your offer and your product, decide which one gives the top benefit and use this as a basis for your main headline.

Rate the other benefits you have listed and use them throughout your copy.  You can even bullet point them and use them as a summary to convince your readers.

Make sure your headline has credibility.  It must be believable, and convince your readers that what you are offering is genuine.  Therefore, avoid outlandish claims just to draw attention as ultimately this will work against you.

Your headline should be easy to read, fairly short (17 words maximum), and punchy.

Use both upper and lower case letters. It is quite difficult to read headlines that are all upper case.

Use a font that is easily readable, avoid some of the fancy Gothic, intricate, or frilly fonts that make you squint. Oftentimes they are just too hard to read.  If you stick to standard fonts, you will not go wrong.

Choose a color, size, and style of headline that stands out and is easy to read.  Try black on white, black on red, black on yellow, navy on yellow, navy on white, or red on yellow as colors that are striking and easy to read.

Try using quotes to draw attention to your headline and use action words (aka words that have been proven to work in sales copy).

Write at least 100 headlines and choose which one you feel is the best. You can try the next best headlines when you tweak your sales copy later on.


When you write the body of your sales copy, you should make it personal.  Write it as if you are talking to a friend and adopt a warm, friendly, conversational approach.  Concentrate on your customer and the benefits they might get from your product. Make sure to list your benefits again.

Avoid boasting and rambling on for too long about how you made your first million or how you own a top of the line sports car... The reality is that your prospects are not going to care one scrap about you and your lifestyle.  They are only really interested in what you have to offer them personally.  In fact, we are all becoming desensitized to this sort of information and frankly, quite skeptical, so do not labor the point and do not exaggerate.

Try to adopt an easy to read writing style without talking down to your prospects.  Regard them as intelligent people who will make up their own minds about your offer and support what you are saying by finding as much hard evidence and proof as you can to demonstrate that your product works and that it delivers all the benefits you are claiming.

Keep your copy concise and to the point, and use short paragraphs with spaces between them. It makes your copy more comfortable to read and is more likely to encourage your reader to continue.

Use pictures and graphics where you can, as this breaks up the text and adds interest to your letter.  Make sure, however, that the pictures are relevant and do not overdo it with gaudy, jangling graphics that detract from what you're trying to say.

If you are writing a sales copy on a website, utilize video and audio clips as these can be extremely effective. However, I would advise that you let the customer decide whether they want to watch or listen to your clips by providing a play button. It can be irritating or embarrassing to open a web page and have unsolicited noise blasting out at you automatically at an inappropriate time (such as when your boss thinks you are actually working on his project!).  You could end up with visitors simply clicking away from your site just to stop the noise.  Let your visitors decide if they want your interactive marketing.

One of the best ways to test your sales copy is to read it aloud.  How does it read?  Does it flow nicely?  Does it stir your emotions as you intended?  Is your call to action strong enough?  Are you convinced by your own arguments?

If you can, get several people to read your copy and comment on the above questions. Ask them to give you an honest appraisal and to say whether they feel convinced about the merits of your offer.

The way to create a great sales copy is to keep practicing at it.  Notice what other successful marketers are writing in their sales material and try to emulate their style.  We all get so-called junk mail, but instead of throwing it away, why not keep examples of good and bad copy and learn from them?

Evaluate other people's sales letters and try to understand what it is that makes you continue reading. Decipher your feelings as you read and ask yourself if the letter provokes a desire to own the product?  Is the offer worthwhile, or would it add value to your life in some way?  Has the author used it and does it work?  Does the letter have credibility, or in other words, are you convinced?

Also look at other aspects such as:

  • How the letter addresses you, and how it makes you feel
  • The length of the letter
  • Its tone and writing style
  • The size, style and color of the font -- does it work?
  • The number of pictures or graphics
  • The number and type of headlines
  • Is it too “in-your-face”?
  • Is it clear and easy to read?
  • What makes you excited about the letter?
  • Which bits are tedious?
  • What bonuses are offered?
  • What sort of guarantee is offered?
  • What sort of summary or PS do you find at the end of the letter?
  • How strong is their call to action and does it work for you?

Just ask yourself exactly what it is that would make you buy this product?

Direct response

One of the most obvious ways to get what you want is to ask for it, yet business owners seem to shy away from actually asking their prospects to take an action such as sign up for special offers or buy the product.

Most brand advertising simply tells you about a particular company, shows you glitzy images of their products, how many shapes and sizes it comes in and how popular it is – but they do absolutely nothing to persuade you to actually get your wallet out and buy it. They don’t tell you exactly what you should do next and this is a vital component in a sales letter – effectively a direct response form of marketing.

Million dollar sales letters and marketing materials compel people to buy or take an action such as sign up, send for a brochure, pick up the phone or whatever. There is a vast difference in showing you what I’ve got on offer and asking you or compelling you (ethically, of course) to buy or take another action.

It’s not about shouting at your readers with bright colors, large letters or attention grabbing pictures and graphics – it’s about being interesting, persuasive and informative so that your readers will be compelled to buy.

It comes back to showing people the benefits and ‘what’s in it for them’ – creating a burning desire to have what you are offering and motivating people to act.

You have to ask for a direct response. This is the purpose of marketing – to get someone to do something. In order to make money online you need to determine the call to action you need. You have to close the sale in print and ask your prospect to order now, sign up, call you or whatever you want them to do. You also have to ask them to do it immediately. If you delay and hope they will do it in an hour or a day or a month from now you have lost them. Ask them to do whatever you want them to do NOW.

Direct response marketing is way more effective than brand image and your sales copy has to invoke an immediate response and compel your reader to take action.

Studying successful sales letters is a valuable exercise to do – count it as part of you market research efforts and really knowing your business. It can help you to understand direct response marketing and show you with real examples what a million dollar sales letter actually looks like.

Effective sales letters should contain the following:

  • They should be easy to read
  • They should be conversational
  • They should grab your attention
  • They should convey passion and excitement
  • They should hold your attention throughout
  • They explain simply and precisely what you have on offer
  • They are believable
  • They ask for an immediate response
  • They give you a compelling reason to act now