So what’s the most important part of a sales letter?
This is debatable, of course. But today I will argue that the opening is the most important.
The opening of a sales letter is so important that Herschell Gordon Lewis devotes more than 100 pages to the subject in his book Sales Letters That Sizzle.
For the most part, people don’t read every word of a sales letter.
They skip around, look at the headlines and subheads, look at the P.S.
The brilliant anecdote on page three might not get noticed at all.
You have a better chance of people reading page three if you wow them with your introduction.
According to Lewis, “Changing the opening — the first few paragraphs — has the capacity of generating a huge increase (or decrease) in response, often far more profound than letter length.”
So rather than simply wonder if long or short copy will work best for your product, focus on the opening too.
Here are 10 examples of openings that Lewis provides in his book:
1. If You’re Like Me…
2. Ask a Provocative Question.
3. What If…
4. Suggest a Cataclysmic Decision. For example,
“The decision you make today can…”
5. I [We} Need Help.
7. I Invite You…
8. I Have a Free Gift For You.
9. As You Know…
10. I Have Something Good For You.
Choosing the right opening is critical because the reader might not even see your USP or main benefits without the proper opening.
And, oh yeah. This applies to email copy too.