The Levison Letter

Dealing with doubt -

An important job of the copywriter

July, 2011

A winning sales letter, email, or Web page needs to do several things.


It must explain benefits, motivate the reader, and cause the prospect to act. But there's something else that successful copy should do . . . It must deal with the prospect's sales-killing doubts and skepticism.


That's right. If you're promoting a product or service that seems too good to be true, you just can't list benefits and walk away. You have to meet the prospect's skepticism head on, deal with it, and overcome it.


Let me give you an example of an ad that does this right.


Stauer is a Minnesota-based company that sells jewelry, watches, art, coins, and more via a catalog, Web site, and magazine advertising.


They recently ran a full page ad offering to send the prospect a free pendant worth $179.00. A pretty amazing offer, right?


The headline reads:


If You Love Someone, Send Them FREE

Exclusive FREE Jewelry Offer -

This DiamondAura® True Heart Pendant is our gift to you.


Well, naturally readers are going be suspicious from the get-go. Who, they will ask themselves, is going to give away a $179 piece of jewelry for nothing?


The copywriter of the ad understood this skepticism very well. So instead of rolling into the body-copy with an enthusiastic description of the pendant, he or she starts this way:


"Your first question is 'Why?' Why would any company give away sterling silver jewelry for FREE? It doesn't make sense. It sounds like a trick. There has to be a catch. Nobody else does this, right? Exactly. Nobody else does this. That's the point. Stauer isn't like anybody else and we can prove it."


After describing the DiamondAura® True Heart Pendant in detail, the writer returns to the task of overcoming skepticism with the following copy:


"Now back to your first question. This offer sounds too good to be true, but we made it "too good" for a reason. Once you get a look at the selection, stories, and stunning offers available from Stauer, we bet you'll be back." . . . And more copy in the same vein continues.


The point is, the copywriter doesn't back off from the challenge of making a hard-to-believe offer. Instead the writer takes on the reader's skepticism as the first order of business.


The take-away message this month? If are saying anything in your letter, email, Web copy, etc. that may raise a reader's eyebrows, don't ignore their skepticism. Take it on, deal with it, and make it go away!


If you need help with the copywriting of a sales letter, email, Web copy, you name it, give me a call at (415) 461-0672 or shoot me an email at I'd be happy to quote you a price on the spot. A reasonable price. Give me a call and let's talk.

How to get in touch . . .
Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
Visit my Web site


Ivan Levison. Direct Mail, Email & Advertising Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive, Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone (415) 461-0672      Fax: (415) 461-7738

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