Is The Sales Letter Dead?

By Alexis Rodrigo | Copywriting

Mar 16

Rose Reflections, A Dozen Pink Cream Yellow Roses Reflected in a Mirror Image Picture, Free Use, Public Domain, Creative Commons

Recently, there's been some discussion on Twitter about the demise of the all-text sales page.

I believe it was Frank Kern's Mass Control launch that set all the debate off. After all the build up, Kern published sales page that only had a video, a few lines of text (or were there? I can't remember anymore) and the buy button.

I have to admit, I am one of those who clicked the buy button without having to read a sales letter. But that's how Kern engineered the entire Mass Control launch. By the time the sales page went live, you didn't need a sales letter. You were just raring to buy. No, you were half-crazed with desire to get to the live order page ahead of the pack!

Here's my two-cents about the sales letter debate:

1. If you've built up such anticipation and “desire to acquire” for your product, a-la Kern's Mass Control, then no, you don't need a text sales page, or even a long one. It takes a lot of careful planning and preparation to achieve this state, as I am learning now from the Mass Control course. You could go back to all of Kern's videos and Emails – as well as those of his joint venture partners – and try to reverse-engineer his approach, to see how he accomplished this. (Incidentally, if you want a Mass Control-style launch for your own product, contact me in about six weeks. I'm going through the course right now.)

2. With certain markets, a video sales letter may be all you need. Internet marketers – the market for Mass Control – are a bunch of jaded folks who are, frankly, sick and tired of the same ol' sales letter. I mean, honestly, aren't you just over those long, hypey sales letters with the red, bold headlines? But not all markets are like US. Some probably have seen very few sales pages, if any. They probably don't realize how the marketer is working them to buy. As with anything to do with marketing, it all depends on your target market. Find out what they do want.

3. I suspect that a combination of video and text on a sales page works best. Video is compelling. You see and hear the person who's selling to you, so you can bond more instantly and decide whether you trust the person or not. You see the product in action, or being handled (like Kern's final “what you get” video), making the product much more real and concrete for you. Video testimonials are more powerful than plain vanilla text testimonials.

That said, most markets will probably will looking for more in-depth description of the product and its benefits. I know DH did, when I was telling him that I wanted the Mass Control course. He said, “But he still hasn't told us what the course is all about!” was DH's reaction. Keep in mind, DH is not an Internet marketer at all. While I “got” what Mass Control was all about, DH was still clueless even after watching all the pre-launch videos.

In the final analysis, the market will decide whether or not the traditional text sales letter is dead. This is exactly what Barry Nicholson of Dynamic Duo Copywriting is trying to find out by split testing his sales pages. Until we get more real-life results, we simply can't make any conclusions.

What's YOUR opinion: is the traditional sales page on its way out?

Creative Commons License photo credit: BL1961


About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.

  • Stacie says:

    I hope it’s dead only because I am sick of writing & seeing them. I was super skeptical of this pages before I ever knew what a sales page was. I hated the big bold word, red text, yellow highlight, and the urge to buy before the price increases “tomorrow.”

    I loved the Mass Control 2.0 page but as you said, it takes planning and doing to get to the point where everyone who arrives at the page just wants the “buy now” button and already knows everything you’d put on the sales page anyway.

  • Hi, Lexi,
    Saw your link in the sswt forum, thought I’d visit. I don’t usually read through the long sales letters, but I must say I was very impressed with one just a few days ago. I don’t think the long sales letter is dead, if the first page above the fold of copy is spot on for the market. This was a sales page for a weight loss info product, Andrea’s Answer, found at, which I came across browsing through my twitter stream.

    This person did a tremendous job in personalizing the story, eliminating any competition, connecting with the pain, process, and solution seeking of those who have had weight issues. It is brilliant. When I come across text copy like this, I print it out. After hearing greats like Gary Halbert, Mark Joyner, Joe Vitale, suggest handwriting great copy, I hope to get to it someday! it’s only with hands on practice that I’ll improve from poor, to mediocre, to better to best…

    Video and audio can use influential words, gestures, backgrounds as well, and the technology can sometimes get in the way of the copy. I do feel that if you are connecting with those who are buyers and giving them what they want, long copy just isn’t necessary.

    Text copywriting speaks to those who want to take the time to decide whether and when to buy without the scarcity paranoia at their back, so I think there is still a place for long copy, interspersed with the special effects.

    Thanks for your take on this, appreciate the platform to share.
    best for now, Mary

  • Alexis says:

    @Stacie: We Internet marketers are sick of it, but we’re not our target market! We need to keep testing our results to find out what’s still effective. I hear that everything we’re sick of – from the red, bold headlines to the yellow highlighted text – still work, LOL!

    @ Mary: Thanks for dropping by. I do the handwriting exercise, too, when I have the time. It makes me feel like a school girl again, but what the heck, they say it works. You’re right, audio and video have their place in a sales page, as do text, of course. Oh and thanks for pointing us to an example of what you consider an effective sales page. We always need new ones for our swipe files!

  • seosuite says:

    Interesting… a video sales letter. We will just have to keep up with the potential customers’ desire.

  • Temi says:

    I think the sales page issue comes down to hating to sell. I’ve always disliked them myself, along with the order now within 48 hours or else! I hope the trend is dying out!

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