Working the Twelve Steps

No, I’m not talking about as twelve-step program. What I’m talking about is a 12-step structure to writing copy. If you are new to copywriting and have read a sales copy or two, you may be overwhelmed by the amount of words used, and the format the words are in. If you read a very successful sales letter, you may not notice it, but there is a structure behind it.

When looking at the sales letter, you will notice a lot of words. The meaning of the words, the actual words used, and what the words say is referred to as content. How we say what we want, the order we say it, and when we say it is referred to as structure. 

Behind every successful sales copy, this structure and content are used together in a workable twelve step process. This process allows the sales letter to go from interest to the actual sale. Understanding how a sales letter is written and why is a big step toward writing a successful one. By following a good structure, it will provide you with what you need in order to put the pieces of the puzzle together in the right way.  In other words, you’ll be able to write the right words that make sense and that will lead customers to buy your product.

Before I get into the actual twelve step structure, you should be aware of a process that is the foundation of the twelve steps. Without this process, the twelve steps won’t be practical. What is this process?  It is called A.I.D.A. It means Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. I will explain what each word means.

1. Attention: The biggest step in copywriting is getting the attention of the customer. The headline and first paragraph does this (at least they are supposed to).

2. Interest: Without holding their interest, you have lost a sale. It is for this reason your copy has to be written so it captivates those that read it.

3. Desire: Creating interest is one part of the sales process, but if you don’t hold their interest and give them a reason to go on, you lost the battle. This is why you must create a desire within them to continue reading your copy.

4. Action: To get the sale, your customer must take action. You must provide the right words that will tell them or convince them they must buy your product right now, or they will suffer for not doing so.

So you now know the formula that the structure is built from. Memorize this principle, because without it, the twelve step process is not feasible.

Now that I got your attention and covered the foundation of the twelve steps. Here are the actual twelve steps:

Step 1 – Get Their Attention
This goes with the AIDA formula. Grab their attention with a great headline.

Step 2 – Shake Their World
Once you’ve got their attention, tell them something that will shake their world. Tell them something that they didn’t know before, or that will alter the way they think.

Step 3 – Tell Your Story
Let them know what you’ve been through. Tell them how you handled what they are going through now and succeeded at it. Let them know what you did in the beginning for you to face a similar problem. Remember, your story has to relate to them, or they won’t care to read your story.

Step 4 – Give Them Hope
No matter how you achieved your goals, your reader wants to know one thing: “How does this help ME? I want the same results you got, too!” Let the reader know if you can do it, he can to. This will give him hope that when he buys your product, he’ll get the same results as you.

Step 5 – No Rejections
As your potential customer reads your copy, he may have reasons to reject your offer, claiming there are better products out there. You have to put in your copy ways to eliminate his rejections. You can do this by stating how your product has outperformed other products like yours. You can also mention a unique function that your product has, that no other product contains.

Step 6 – Introduce Your Product
If you know your product well, you can introduce it. You can do this by telling a story about your product and yourself, or you can describe how your product will provide the right solution to their problems. What you are basically telling the reader, is that your product has what it takes to get the job done with minimal hassles.

Step 7 – Use Bullet Points to Grow Their Desire For Your Product
After you have introduced your product, ramp up your copy, and their desire for your product, by offering the product’s features and benefits. Let them know exactly what they will get when they buy your product.

Step 8 – Give Them Proof
Depending on what you claim about your product, your potential customer wants proof of your claims. Make sure you have such proof.

Step 9 – Handle Skepticism
You will often find people will be skeptical of your offer, despite what you may say. They may claim they don’t have the money, or they don’t have the time to go through an order process. They may even go to the point of suggesting it is a scam.  You must reveal in your copy the words that will counter all skepticism. You must provide undeniable proof that your product will do what you claim it will. You also must provide proof that the order process will be so easy that a child can do it.

Step 10 – Make Them Want Your Product
When writing your product, you want to put in place the right dialogue that will encourage them to think of your product as belonging to them. They need to visualize the product and see it working for them. This will encourage them to want it and then order your product.

Step 11 – Give Them Your Best Price
Now comes the time you provide the price. Before doing so, give them a demonstration of how your product’s price compares to the products. For example, one time I stated in my copy that the cost of my product was the same as a night out to the movies with the wife and two kids. This includes the popcorn, soda, and other edibles. The difference is that my product will solve your problem, instead of just entertaining you, as the movie did. It worked.

Step 12 – Close The Sale
It is time to close the sale. Provide an order button. Then ask for the order. Thank them for ordering and include your signature. Then add a couple of P.S. statements.

If you follow this 12-step process in writing sales letters, you’ll find how quickly your sales will jump through the roof.