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The Surprising Sentence That Keeps Prospects Reading (and Buying)

You spend time and resources writing a marketing piece. So why not make sure as many prospects as possible read it?

Let me explain. You already know the importance of headlines in marketing materials. They act as attention tools for grabbing your readers’ eyes and guiding them to your copy. And although essential to every marketing piece, the headline takes a back seat to one element that determines whether your remaining text even gets read ... The first sentence.

In fact, billion-dollar copywriter Ted Nicholas says 73% of the buying decision is made before the first 17 words in your marketing piece.

Makes sense. After all, if your opening doesn’t cause prospects to read more, you have no chance of closing a sale. An appealing start is absolutely critical to a successful marketing piece. The best sentences pique curiosity, promise benefits, create images or evoke emotion. Here are several favorite opening lines from my swipe file collection and client work:

“This letter is about information that’s ‘none of your business.’”— for a newsletter subscription

“Every Monday morning, a rather unusual publication arrives at the desks of a select circle of individuals in positions of power and influence.”—for a magazine subscription

“If you’ll give me the next 3-1/2 minutes, in return I’ll give you a treat that’ll open up an unbelievable new world of eating pleasure for you. Fair enough?”—for a grapefruit offer

“Don’t you hate it? The prospect of walking into a room that’s packed with strangers, approaching someone you’ve never met and striking up a conversation.”—for a confident conversations program

“This is an ordinary pair of shoes. They could belong to anybody, but ... suppose they were yours? Empty shoesyou no longer here.”—for a life insurance policy

“Don’t be surprised if what you’ve heard about the U.S. government’s best-kept secret for covering the costs of nursing home care is wrong. The decision-makers running many nursing home communities aren’t anxious to tell you the truth ... neither are many of the ‘experts’ dishing out advice about paying for long-term care.”—for a how-to guide about paying nursing home costs

“You might want to start on page 45. Because on page 45 of a new groundbreaking book being printed as a special edition, you’ll learn one of the closest-held secrets for getting large lump sums of cash.” —for a book about ways to make money

“If you or your spouse is a veteran who served at least 90 days in the military—and at least one of those days was during a war—you have the right to VA benefits, including opportunities for tax-free income that few people ever discover.”—for a VA benefits guide

Need Another Example to Boost Response to Your Marketing?

Drive down Jefferson Street in downtown Phoenix on a summer evening and you’ll likely see snack vendors outside Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Most set up shop with just a table, umbrella and a couple of coolers. They strategically position themselves to catch fans entering the ballpark. You see, the vendors sell many of the same snacks you find at the concession stands inside. The only difference? Outside, the prices are much cheaper—and the vendors repeatedly remind you. So you might hear a pitch like ...

THIRSTY?! Grab your bottle of water here for only $1. Wait until you get inside and you’ll pay $3.

Please note that final sentence. Now, let’s say you need to write a marketing piece to announce your product. How do you go about the process? If you think strategically, you begin by brainstorming your product’s benefits. You then figure out what pain your product solves and come up with a motivating offer that addresses this problem and gets prospects to act.

Seem similar to your approach? If so, congratulations. Your actions go beyond what the typical entrepreneur or executive does when writing marketing copy. However, you may be overlooking a critical motivator ... The fear of loss.

The fact is, to achieve the best response, you must explain what prospects lose by not taking action on your offer. Remind them that their pain and problems continue if they don’t get your solution right now. (Review the above vendor pitch again.) Let’s look at a couple examples ...

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Keep in mind, if you don’t upgrade before April 30, you’ll need to shell out hefty support fees just to maintain access to your database. Furthermore, the longer you wait, the higher probability that you face a complicated upgrade or re-implementation process—which can increase your costs even more. Call us now at 555.555.5555.

GOOD: Click here to try the next three issues of The Business Owner’s Tax Savings Report for free. You’ll get simple tax-saving tips and discover how to save on real estate, insurance, car repairs and more.

BETTER: Click here to try the next three issues of The Business Owner’s Tax Savings Report for free. You’ll get simple tax-saving tips and discover how to save on real estate, insurance, car repairs and more.

Without these strategies, you’re almost certain to overspend on taxes this year. What’s more, you put yourself at greater risk for paying penalties—even if you hire a conservative accountant and don’t take a single “questionable” deduction. Download your first issue now.

So remember, remind prospects what they’ll lose and you’ll gain more responses.

Tom Trush

Tom Trush is a Phoenix-based direct-response copywriter who helps business owners craft lead-capturing marketing materials. He is the author of “The ‘You’ Effect: How to Transform Ego-Based Marketing Into Captivating Messages That Create Customers” and “The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Creating Powerful Marketing Materials: 61 Easy Ideas to Attract Attention and Get More Customers.” More of his educational articles, videos and expert interviews are available on his website at writewaysolutions.com.

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Filed Under: Business ManagementFeatured Stories

About the Author: Tom Trush is a Phoenix-based direct-response copywriter who helps business owners craft lead-capturing marketing materials. He is the author of “The ‘You’ Effect: How to Transform Ego-Based Marketing Into Captivating Messages That Create Customers” and “The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Creating Powerful Marketing Materials: 61 Easy Ideas to Attract Attention and Get More Customers.” More of his educational articles, videos and expert interviews are available on his website at writewaysolutions.com.

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