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The difference between sales success and expensive failure

There are loads of factors that affect the success of sales material: your headline, your opening paragraph, your call to action, your PS, the quality of the paper. All these things will have an impact on your success.

But there’s one factor that stands head and shoulders above the rest:

Who you send it to.

Get this right, and your sales letter could be the key to unlocking instant wealth. Get it wrong, and the exact same sales letter is guaranteed to leave your phones silent, your event seats empty and your cash register bare.

Writing a letter about re-mortgaging to people without a mortgage? Good luck.

Writing a letter about debt consolidation to people with no debt? Waste of money.

Writing a letter about saving money on car insurance to a non-driver? Car crash.

Writing a letter offering a delicious meat hamper to a strict vegetarian? Fail.

This is Marketing 101. The money’s in the list. If you’ve got the wrong list, you’d be better off with no list, because then at least you wouldn’t have wasted all that money on stamps (which is why most ‘bought’ lists in the UK are only marginally better than useless).

So how do you choose who to mail to?

Think of it like this: most people don’t get their carpets cleaned because they’re dirty, they get them cleaned because they’ve got guests coming to stay.

Most people don’t decide to lose weight because they’re fat, they do it because they’re getting married or going on holiday.

In other words, the main motivation behind the purchase is the event; in the exact same way that people buy trees, wrapping paper and crackers at Christmas.

Call a few of your recent buyers and ask them why they bought. You might have to dig a little, but you’ll find out that in many cases, there was some hidden driver; something that happened that motivated them to become a buyer.

If you can uncover those hidden motivations, congratulations – you might just have found the key to identifying a fruitful list, and also to knowing which levers to use when you’re marketing to them.

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