What’s the lead and why do you even need one?
I’m talking about the lead of a sales promotion, not a prospect or a sales lead.
The lead is the hardest part of a sales letter (or email or landing page)… after the headline. If the headline catches 8 times more attention than the sales letter, then the lead will be the one that will interest them enough to start reading.
Now that’s easier said than done. Because our brains are not conditioned that way. We never think about if what we write will be interesting to read.
When I started out, the lead was the most difficult part. I could write leads that… I thought were good until some genius copywriter (now copy chief at Agora) pointed to me that the lead is like a conversation you have at the bar.
And the most interesting conversation starts with the following words:
“You’re never going to believe this but…”
“Craziest thing happened to me…”
Of course, that’s not the only way to do a lead. You can start in the middle of the story or do any type of pattern interrupt.
But when I write the lead, I always think of what will catch their attention.
Lately, I got into the habit of paying attention to the first sentence in swipes and even magazine articles. And here is what I’ve uncovered.
A good first sentence almost always makes you feel something. Some type of an emotion. And the worst sentences make me feel nothing. I’ve trained myself to notice the interesting first few sentences and try to reverse engineer why they’re effective and how I can do my leads in a similar way.
And the golden rule about the lead is… you have to tell the reader something he hasn’t heard of before. Or in a way that he hasn’t seen before.
Of course, to do that I have to understand the reader. What his motivations are. What is he or she looking for. And then, once I know that, I can usually search and find something that’s on the internet or in the book or somewhere that’s going to be a secret to him.
To write a good lead I use a universal technique called Fascinations. Because fascinations are amazing to read and even more fascinating to write. And of course admire them once you’ve written them.
A good fascination can be turned into a headline and a lead. Here is an example of goods fascinations I wrote for one of my sales letters.
- How to convert your secrets to cold hard cash. Other people are dying to find out what you know. Many times they’re willing to pay cash just to gain experience you’ve accumulated. Now you can prosper from something you know and others don’t… even if you think it’s nothing.
- Exploding profits from intellectual property. There is a secret shortcut to creating your own intellectual property that almost no-one knows. You’d be amazed at how easy it is. Once you know a secret I’ll show you how to get it done very inexpensively and then turn around and sell it for thousands… many times over.
- Huge profits from people NOT eating meat. Crowds of people believe juicy stakes are gross and spend billions of dollars on alternatives. Now you can get paid every time they don’t eat meat.
- Gold coin for a chocolate bar. What if I told you that you can get a gold coin for a chocolate bar? Unbelievable, I know. But hundreds of savvy investors do exactly that!
- Make $35/hour walking on the sidewalk. Love walking? Why not make money while getting exercise. And it doesn’t even have to be on a sidewalk. It could be the beach, the park, the nature trail… even up and down the stairs. 57,000 people are already doing it and so can YOU.
- Get paid $25/hour for… shopping… even if you don’t spend money. Enjoy shopping? Why not get paid for it? Imagine… going into a store and browsing luxurious items and calling it… work!
Now it’s your turn. Pick a subject and try making it fascinating. Create a riddle. Pique their curiosity. It’s one of the strongest human emotions.
Start all your letters with a fascination and people won’t be able to resist to start reading them. And clients will find you.