Ivan Levison — Copywriter
Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting


Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriter

November, 2006
Volume: 21 Number: 11

Doing lead generation?
Sell the offer, not the product!

When you're selling a product or service via direct mail, or at your Web site,
you've got to give prospects a LOT of detailed product information.

Why? Because if they're going to part with their money, they're going to want to
know all the benefits, all the specs, all the nitty-gritties. When you're asking for the
sale, you simply have to answer readers' questions and overwhelm them with
compelling reasons to buy.

Lead generation is a completely different animal. The object of your direct mail,
e-mail, ad, whatever, is NOT to make the sale immediately, but merely to get
prospects to raise their hands and identify themselves. Once they make themselves
known, they enter the sales cycle and you can convert them into paying customers
down the road.

What are the implications of this distinction between selling "off the page"
and developing leads?

There are many. For example, when you're doing lead generation, the selection
of your free offer becomes crucial. You have to pay a great deal of attention to
developing a killer offer that maximizes response. This means you must
decide whether to go with a flash demo, an Information Kit, a White Paper, an
Executive Summary, a Special Report from a respected research firm, a
Webinar, you name it. (Just promise me that you won't offer a T-shirt!)

What I want to focus on here is another important point
-- the need to spotlight your free offer and lighten up on product details.

You see, many marketers are so in love with their products'
bells and whistles, that they forget they're doing lead generation. Sure, they
mention the offer, but most of the space in their self-mailer, letter, or ad is
spent extolling the virtues of their product.

This is a serious mistake, and I urge YOU not to make it!
Your lead generation piece should concentrate on selling the free offer, NOT on
providing reasons for buying your software. Remember, all you want people
to do is raise their hands!

Let me give you an example. I while ago I wrote a lead generation letter for
Chancery Software whose information systems help educators manage schools
more effectively. The letter was mailed to School Board Presidents and encouraged
them to request a free Information Kit. Here's how I rolled into it:

"Allow me to ask you a simple, but extremely important

Are the decisions you make every day based on completely
accurate data you can count on?

Let's face it. Parents, the press, teachers' unions, your
school district, and your fellow school board members all
expect you to have the facts "at your fingertips" and get
them RIGHT.

If YOU are concerned about the serious consequences of
basing your decisions on unreliable, faulty, inaccurate
data, I urge you to accept this free offer . . .

If you contact Chancery Software immediately, I'll send
you a fact-filled Information Kit that can help you avoid
the kind of problems that are confronting School Board
Presidents around the country."

The point is, I didn't start by talking about Chancery Software or their products.
I began by identifying a problem and providing a free Information Kit that could
help SOLVE the problem.

Later on in the letter I certainly DO discuss Chancery's products, but briefly.
I don't want to scare prospects off by getting into heavy-duty product features
until later in the sales cycle.

At the end of the letter, I continue pumping up the offer by adding a sweetener . . .

"Another important point. In your Information Kit, you'll
also find a copy of Chancery Software's free 'Using
Federal Funds To Buy A Student Information System - A
Practical Guide For School Districts.' Our easy-to-
understand guide strips away all the confusion and
clearly explains how YOU can get the most out of federal
funds. (The kit is worth requesting for this guide alone!)"

The take-away message this month? When you're doing lead generation, sell
the heck out of your offer but go light on product details. I think you'll
be pleased with the results!

By the way, if you¹d like me to help you write some lead generation materials
(like letters and emails) that get results, give me a call. Want to see the kind of
results I get for my clients? Take a look at:


About Ivan Levison

Need some help with copywriting? Pick up the phone and give me a call! I'm a
freelance direct response copywriter who works for high-technology companies
like Adobe, Hewlett- Packard, Intuit, Intel, Microsoft, and many others.
(Terrific small technology companies too!) I write lead-generation letters, emails,
Web pages, and ads. Why should I be writing for YOU?
You'll find the answer at: http://www.levison.com/pg8.html

How To Get In Touch

Ivan Levison
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
E-mail: ivan@levison.com
Web Site: http://www.levison.com

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