“If you only have time for one clue this year, this is the one to get: We are not seats or eyeballs or end-users or consumers. We are human beings — and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it.”
— From “The Cluetrain Manifesto,” Harper Collins, April, 1999.
“One of the best kept secrets in America is that people are aching to make a commitment, if they only had the freedom and environment in which to do so.”
— John Naisbitt, author of “Megatrends” and “High-Tech, High-Touch”
My initial intent wasn’t to write this report. It’s the result of a post I was envisioning for my blog at Supportibles.com. The problem is, the blog post be-came so long that I felt a need to do either one of two things.
I had to either: edit my post and shrink it down to a bare minimum (preferably around 500 words), or break the article down into several installments.
The former was not possible because there’s so much information I wanted to share, along with so much misinformation I wanted to clear up, that writing a single blog post wouldn’t have done this topic justice.
Some of the changes I’ve seen, personally experienced and scientifically tested are so significant, that I was quite eager to share this information with you.
However, my passion and enthusiasm for the topic got the best of me: although posting the article in several installments was a more viable solution, trying to pick what part do I post first was more of a challenge than choosing what to cut out if I were to post it all into a single yet highly edited article.
I believe this information is important and timely, particularly with the New Year and the plethora of online predictions of late, along with recent events such as the whole Web 2.0 buzz that’s creating quite a frenzy online.
Thus, I wanted to deliver my report as expediently as possible. (Posting this article in several installments would have delayed it even more.)
So I decided to go with neither of these.
Instead, I’ve decided to post the entire report as is. But knowing that some people may find this cumbersome, as it is longer than most blog posts, I’ve decided to convert it into a portable document. The result became this special report.
But there’s another reason: since I get so many emails asking me what I think about this whole Web 2.0 thing, why people are starting to see low response levels with their salesletters, what are my predictions for 2007, and what do I think of the many reports of late (such as “the death of this” and “the death of that”), I’ve decided to answer them all in one fell swoop.
Moreover, I’m also giving you the permission to pass this report around. Provided that you leave this document untouched, you can offer it to your list, give it away as a download, add it as a bonus to your current offerings, or post it on your own blog. Feel free to distribute it.
I want as many people, copywriters, marketers and buyers alike, to get this information, because, as a copywriter for many of the web’s top marketers, I’m seeing a significant transformation occurring that simply cannot be ignored.
(And it’s not what you might think.)
I also want to make sure you understand that I didn’t write this report as a way to make sales, build a list or create traffic for myself. While it may happen as a byproduct of this report, it’s the least of my intentions.
I simply want to share some of my views on the latest trends affecting online businesses, specifically as they relate to salesletters, and to give back to a community that has been so generous to me.
If you think that I’ve written this report because there’s something “brewing” in the background, don’t worry. I’m neither going to pitch you something in this report, nor do I want your contact information to promote something in the future. There’s nothing going on, other than my sincere willingness to share.
So let me to be clear: I’m not going to ask you to buy something, or ask you for your email address or contact information, at any point, in this report.
In fact, I’m not even going to ask you to click on any of my links inside this report. Do so if you wish, but you don’t have to. Most of the links are provided as references only, and not as part of a pitch of any kind.
Also, you may be wondering why I, a salesletter copywriter whose livelihood depends on writing salesletter copy, would ever dare write a report entitled “The Death of the Salesletter” that could potentially jeopardize my career and my business, along with those of my colleagues.
(That’s far from being the case, and you’ll soon understand why.)
There are several things to note, here. First off, salesletters are not dead. They never will be. They are here to stay. However, what I am referring to are not salesletters as a sales process, but specifically long-copy, long scrolling web pages, particularly in their current state.
You know the kind, right? I’m talking about the big, bold, red headline; the multitude of multicolored Johnson boxes throughout; the bullets that seem to never end; the tons of hackneyed testimonials, often by the usual suspects; the countless PS’s at the end; and the poorly designed headers, inconsistent fonts, lackluster typography and stock graphics plastered throughout.
That said, those are some of the things that exist because they work and have worked for a long time. I’m just as guilty of this. And the fact is, they will continue to work but mostly in new, untouched niches that have likely never seen a salesletter before, although even that possibility is becoming increasingly remote.
I’m a copywriter. If you know me, then you know that I’ve written top-producing salesletters for a lot of the most successful marketers online, from John Reese, Frank Kern and Kirt Christensen, to Armand Morin, Shawn Casey and Stephen Pierce (and many others).
However, I’m not only a copywriter by trade. I’m also a business person and marketer like many of my clients, owning several websites that sell goods and services on the Internet. I write my own copy, and my wife Sylvie Fortin and I have been blessed to have reached a considerable level of success, too.
But what you may not know is that I’m also a fanatical tester. Not only am I privileged to have written for top marketers and am privy to the many split-tests conducted by them, but also I personally test constantly.
As a result, I’m seeing some interesting test results that are showing trends happening right now — results that I want to share with you in this report.
Some of it might be ho-hum to you. Some of it might not. Either way, it is my hope that this report will offer some tidbits, insights and a different perspective that can help you and your business reach higher levels of success, particularly given the current trends we’re experiencing.
However, there is a caveat: this is not some ominous, pessimistic outlook on both the nature and future of online copy. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. It’s a positive look at some of the changes we’re facing, and how we can take advantage of the many opportunities that such changes are presenting to us.
Don’t stop learning copywriting. Don’t stop using salesletters. And by all means, don’t stop applying good copywriting to all your websites. Stopping anything is not what I’m saying. (In fact, once you read this report you’ll soon realize how copywriting is going to be even more important over time.)
But what I am saying is, you can apply just a few tiny changes, and channel some of those copywriting skills, tools and knowledge you have gained, into these latest trends and opportunities as a way to maximize your online sales potential.
Finally, I hope this report provides you with some ideas on how to increase your sales effectiveness (or inspires you to create some of your own). You may agree with it or not. And you may take what I say with a grain of salt. But for now, all I ask is that you read the following with an open mind.
(I welcome and appreciate your feedback. So please feel free to post your comments on my blog at Supportibles.com. Search for “Death of the Salesletter,” the blog post where I offer this free report, and use the short form at the bottom.)
OK, are you ready? Seatbelts please…
Michel Fortin is a senior marketing specialist, renowned copywriter, and digital marketing expert. For the better part of 30 years, he's produced countless successful marketing communications and profitable campaigns that generated in excess of $300 million in sales. He's broken many industry sales records, including being instrumental behind the first ever “million-dollar day” online marketing campaign in 2004. He's worked with thousands of businesses and entrepreneurs around the world in a wide variety of industries on building their businesses, improving their marketing, and increasing their profits. He's a published author and often speaks at industry events. To connect with him, visit his LinkedIn profile where he is most active.