Sales Letter

Hey Internet Marketer – Your Sales Letter is Not Converting Me!

How many times have you read a hype-filled sales letter that promised too much too fast? Everything was easy, automated and push button. You were really excited to learn more about this secret sauce that absolute no-one had discovered before.

Images of million-dollar mansions and big boats that the sales letter promised started to fill your mind. You knew that you were going to succeed.

Once the dust settled a bit, you read the sales letter again and you started to spot patterns that the marketer was using – just to get you to pull your credit card out of your wallet.

All of a sudden the hype-filled sales letter started to lose its appeal and you were unable to take any action on it. You discovered all the tricks that were pulled on you.

You felt angered because of the empty promises and wasted time. Also, you felt like the marketer was insulting your intelligence with these tactics.

Have you seen these questionable tactics in action?

Too many times it’s the empty promises that leave you out in the cold. Everything looks shiny and great when you first look at the sales letter, but then you start to see the hidden irritations behind the well-mastered copy text.

Even if the easy, one-button click solution wasn’t enough, there are bunch of other questionable tactics that these sales letters are using.

Let’s look at them in detail:

1. Long sales video

Hey marketer – Don’t make me waste my time watching long sales video which is turned on by auto-play.

If I don’t know how long I have to watch your hype-filled sales pitch and you keep postponing telling me what your product is all about, I’m not going to take the bait. Sorry!

2. False scarcity

I understand that for an online training course you need to have a limit of people that can participate in the training.

But what I don’t like is the fake scarcity tricks that are used (offer where the validity expires always on the date when you read the sales letter) and fancy counters showing how many copies are already (allegedly) sold.

Marketer: If you want to use scarcity, use honest ones instead. If you say that the offer expires on a certain date, then truly mean that.

Otherwise, you are just plain lying and I’m losing my interest towards your product. Don’t make us take unnecessary action!

3. Too many bonuses – I smell overwhelm

When I read your sales letter, I’m expecting to get a product that solves my problem. However, if you offer bonuses worth $15,000, it makes me wonder whether your product is so good after all. Why do I need all this extra stuff if it is?

Are you deliberately overwhelming me with a bunch of e-books and other material which don’t necessarily add any value to me? Are you trying to distract me and waste my time?

Sorry, I guess your product is not meant for me after all!

4. It’s a secret sauce or other top secret material that only a select group of people have been exposed to

I don’t believe in secret sauces or other top guarded secrets that only you and bunch of your marketer friends are aware of.

In fact, I believe that there aren’t any secret sauces (at least in internet marketing) – just hard work.

Based on my experience, none of the “secret sauce recipes” I have bought are nothing more than tactics that have been seen countless times before.

So when you say to me: “Hand over your credit card please!” I’ll reply: “Sorry, I won’t!”

5. Radical price drops

Next we have the radical price drop strategy.

Although the product originally costs $997, in the next second the price is lowered to $795, then to $195. Finally, you are telling me that the price is going to be just $47.

Now, having to pay $47 dollars instead of $997 is of course fine, but why not spit out the final price at the beginning? Why play silly price dropping games with us?

Just give me the price right away so that I can start figuring if my budget allows it or not.

6. Testimonials which actually tell us nothing (about the product)

Testimonials are great for improving the credibility of the product. By getting lots of testimonials, a marketer is basically saying: “Look, these people liked my product, so it is definitely worth buying!”

Unfortunately, too many times the testimonials don’t add any value to the package. They are just space fillers which try to make the sales letter look better.

Look marketer, I only care about the results that the buyer got after buying your product, not if the e-book (or other training course for that matter) had a great layout or if it was very interesting to read.

How much did the person actually earn by implementing the lessons you taught? How many hours did customer have to spend before he/she was able to quit his/her day job?

That’s what I’m interested in hearing.

It’s the Money Game

Certain marketers have done their homework well. They know that emotions and images play a big part in a consumer’s mind. Consumers take the bait and take their credit cards out of their wallets without hesitation.

Unfortunately, if the marketer’s only motive is money, that’s what they are focused on – not if the product truly adds real value to the life of a consumer or if it solves any of their problems.

Let’s assume you are still interested…

So what happens if you are still interested in knowing if the product or training course is worth buying – regardless of whether you have seen the warnings signs I just mentioned?

Do some research and stop acting on emotion!

Google, visit some internet marketing forums and look for product reviews.

Head over to well-known marketer’s blogs or well-known review sites which are respected and credible. Gather information from many trusted sources so that you can make a good decision before the purchase.

Even if this research takes some additional time, you may save a considerable amount of money if the product is not for you.

Now take the test

This is the way I further check out the sales letter when everything looks too good to be true (and the six tactics mentioned earlier exist on them):

  1. 1. Google around. Although using a phrase “product name” review will return many scammy product review sites, I tend to look for well-known blogs and real faces (real people) behind those reviews.
  2. Check out imreportcard.com for marketer and product reviews. This site consists of reviews made by real people
  3. Check out if a product is reviewed in a big internet marketing blog. The folks behind these sites are using their own names and faces and are a good source for honest reviews.
  4. Go to Warrior Forums (Internet Marketing Product Reviews & Ratings) and find out what other marketers are saying about the product.

If you can’t find any encouraging information on any of those places, then that should set off your alarm bells. Maybe it’s better to leave the product alone and save your money for something else.

It’s your turn now: How do you deal with sales letters that promise the moon out of the sky? What makes you hand your credit card information to an internet marketer?

Image © queidea – Fotolia.com

Timo Kiander, a.k.a. Productive Superdad, helps entrepreneurs improve their online business productivity. With 18 co-authors (like Pat Flynn and Corbett Barr), he wrote a book about how to build an online business and get stuff done – even when working from 9-5 (available as a free download or through Amazon).


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{ 30 comments… add one }
  • Dave June 6, 2012, 4:32 pm

    You’re bang on with what you call marketing overdose. How anyone can’t see past those tactics is beyond me! You are right though, there may be some good products that use those sales landing page tactics to make sales, but you really do need to do your homework! Sometimes straight up honesty and truth by way of screenshots is the best sales method 🙂

    • Timo Kiander June 7, 2012, 2:00 am


      I agree. Honesty is gold.

      I most likely buy again from that kind of marketer, since there is a trust between us.


      • Dave June 14, 2012, 12:46 pm

        Timo – it’s amazing just how many people don’t get that! So many are itching to “close the sale”. Be a person, help first, be friendly, build trust…then you don’t even have to “sell”…you sell yourself to others…and if people like who you are, or what they see, then sales will just naturally come 🙂

  • TJ McDowell May 9, 2012, 2:23 pm

    I do promotional videos, and I’ll definitely have to agree with you on the long sales video point. Keep it short and sweet. You’re lucky if people watch for 30 seconds. You can’t have your video tell a consumer everything, just one or 2 important things.

    • Timo Kiander May 10, 2012, 2:00 am


      I agree. Short and sweet is a way to go!

      If I don’t know how long I have to watch a video until I know what I’m being offered, then it’s just a waste of time.


  • James May 9, 2012, 10:58 am

    I don’t read letters that promise me the moon in only two days. 🙂 I delete them immediately. I think is important to tell the truth when you sell something, that’s how you get loyal customers.

    • Timo Kiander May 10, 2012, 1:58 am


      Yeah, being honest and truthful is very important. That is one of the great assets marketer can have.


      • James May 14, 2012, 5:49 am

        Hey, Timo! Thanks for agreeing with me; it helps my self-esteem. 😛 Have a nice week!

  • Bruno Buergi May 9, 2012, 6:02 am

    Hi Timo
    Thank you for your post. You list all the tricks many marketers use to attract people to buy. I think, over the long run you will make better business without all this hype but it needs more time.

    • Timo Kiander May 10, 2012, 1:52 am


      You are welcome!

      Yes, I agree. I like the no-hype approach too.


  • Jack Sander May 9, 2012, 4:39 am

    Nowadays is really hard to sell a regular product, irrespective of your qualities as a marketer. The product features have to be unique, the price tempting and the presentation breath-taking, in order to make enough sales to make a living out of it. I usually don’t fall in the trap of these scams, but I also have my weaknesses.

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 5:08 am


      Yeah, you have to find new ways to make people interested.

      Luckily, people are more aware of things and demand more transparency and honesty.


  • Ayaz May 9, 2012, 4:06 am

    Great tips and I have a question about false scarcity.

    How will you offer true scarcity when you are facing difficulties or getting no sales untill the offered date you are using, than What will you offer?

    Thanks for sharing informatic post!

    • Timo Kiander May 10, 2012, 1:56 am


      Thank you.

      That is a good question. Maybe someone on this thread can also comment your question?

      I don’t think there is nothing wrong with scarcity – just when it’s not the right kind of scarcity – that’s something I don’t understand (like the one I mentioned on my post).

      I guess it’s all about honesty (once again). If you are saying your closing doors in couple of days, you actually mean it.


  • Anton Koekemoer May 9, 2012, 3:26 am

    Oh yes – not knowing how long the video is and how long a person will have to have sit and watch is painstakingly soar for Business.

    Excellent post! Made for a fantastic read. Viable – Short and informative. Well done – Keep the great posts coming.

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 5:06 am


      Awesome! Great to hear that you liked this!

      Sure, those long videos are really annoying …


  • Alagappan Muthu May 9, 2012, 2:40 am

    Using false stats are the most irritating things in a sales letter…the moment I see that the product has a zillion subscribers and will give you gazillions of $ in savings I close it.

    • Timo Kiander May 14, 2012, 7:58 am


      Yes, giving false stats is a wrong strategy. I doesn’t win my trust either.


  • David May 9, 2012, 1:11 am

    I don’t even know if mine help sell me or my products and I’m going to check, I agree they should say something about the services or products in consideration to purchase and I do pay a visit to a popular internet marketing blog to see if they recommend it.

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 1:24 am


      Sure, visiting blogs or forums is a great way to see if a product is worth buying or not.


  • Suresh Khanal May 9, 2012, 12:06 am

    Hmm, customers’ perspective. This must be a good lesson to the beginning internet marketers as well as helpful to the internet customers.

    I found Warrior Forum a best place to find information about the product and it truly presents the real picture. Thanks for wonderful suggestions.

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 1:25 am


      You are welcome!

      Yes, Warrior Forum is great for checking out what others think about the product.


  • Dev May 8, 2012, 10:49 pm

    Hi Tim,

    Great stuff. Most of the times I look at the Warrior forum to see if the product is a real deal or just another spam. Other times I pay a visit to a popular internet marketing blog to see if they recommend it.

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 1:27 am

      Thank you!

      Sure, another vote for Warrior Forums 🙂


  • bbrian017 May 8, 2012, 8:48 pm

    Here’s the deal, if the services you’re purchasing continue to add new features it’s fine but when they start adding third party non related products or as you said bonuses yes it’s time to reevaluate the services.

    I loved reading the sections about testimonials, I don’t even know if mine help sell me or my products and I’m going to check, I agree they should say something about the services or products in consideration to purchase.

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 1:30 am



      I’m interested to know how one particular service/product helped the person who gave the testimonial. If I can clearly see that, then making a purchase decision is easy (at least for me).


  • Rashmi Sinha May 8, 2012, 8:21 pm

    Haha this is indeed very annoying. They are trying to make you buy the product because you are fed up with it! But people are now informed, not like a few years ago that whatever they saw as “offer” they clicked on it..

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 1:32 am


      Sure, times have changed.

      People are now more aware of different tactics and want to know more about the service/product before making a purchase.


  • Morgan May 8, 2012, 6:27 pm

    Hi Timo,

    Hit the nail on the head with this one! Everything I have ever thought about a sales/landing page, was put into this article. I can’t STAND not knowing how long the video is and how long I’m going to have to sit there and watch it before it lets me move forward or tells me ANYTHING about what it’s all about. UGH! Get to the meat of it, quickly, please!

    You’re also absolutely right that there’s no ‘secrets’ anymore, there’s hard work and education. I’ll buy a product in a heart beat if it’s going to show me how to easily do something or has a bunch of information in one place (instead of having to find it in a bunch of random places all over the internet) in order to fully educate me on a specific topic.

    So yeah, excellent advice to heed. 🙂

    • Timo Kiander May 9, 2012, 1:38 am


      Thank you 🙂

      Yup, long videos are annoying.

      Also, it’s just hard work that pays off.


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