Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Write Stronger Sales Presentations

Book review of Direct Mail Copy That Sells! by Herschell Gordon Lewis (published 1984 by Prentice-Hall, Inc.).

Learn to write sales messages from a Hall of Fame copywriter, and you'll sell more of your software applications.

Herschell Gordon Lewis has been a respected direct-mail consultant since the early 1970s. In the summer of 2003, he was inducted into the Direct Marketing Association's Hall of Fame. "Direct Mail Copy That Sells!" contains tons of advice that can help software developers write website copy, whitepapers, eBooks, blog postings, PAD files, and news releases.

Lewis says, "When you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing. A laundry list of '147 reasons why you should buy now' is weaker than one powerhouse reason, reinforced by ancillary reasons."

The author also says, "Tell the reader or viewer what to do. Subtlety doesn't work....Don't just describe. Get the order."

The book contains four Laws of advertising copy, and 12 rules to save your copy's life - and that's in the first 14 pages of "Direct Mail Copy That Sells!."

Lewis would probably cry openly if he read the dry lists of features that so many software developers use to entice prospects to buy their application programs. "Replace intellectual words with emotional words," Lewis tells us, "and you'll sell more because you'll trigger an emotional response." That sounds like good software marketing advice to me.

Lewis urges writers to abandon the technical jargon, and to "write within the experiential background of the reader, not yourself."

Today it's fashionable to buy the latest books on writing effective sales copy. This can be a mistake. The web didn't change how people are persuaded to spend their money. Increased software sales won't flow from books with titles like "Wayne and Garth's Most Excellent Internet Sales Words Guide".

We would all benefit by going back to basics and learning from accomplished copywriters. Herschell Gordon Lewis can teach us to write better. "Direct Mail Copy That Sells!" is a quick read, and an excellent reference book. It will strengthen your software marketing.

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