This is an eyebrow.
More on that in a second.
It was about a year ago that I ran across a guy doing business online who taught me far more than I’d expected to learn from him. His name is Ray Edwards, and what caught my attention was a detail I read about his abilities. He is able to charge his clients $150,000-ish for writing one single page of sales copy.
He’s that good at what he does. He’s a legend.
Part of the legend that is Ray Edwards has to do with the $2 billion sales letter he wrote (meaning, the copy was so persuasive, the sales campaign grossed $2 billion in revenue).
I don’t write sales copy for a living. Or even as a hobby. But I do love to understand why people make the decisions they make. What is it that persuades a person to give money for a product or service? What is it that motivates people to take a risk? To make a commitment? To sacrifice one thing to try to obtain another?
I’m a firm believer that when you discover the answers to these kinds of questions, you wind up with a better understanding about how God created and wired us all.
And that topic – decision-making – intrigues me greatly.
Ray is an unapologetic follower of Jesus. He gets emails all the time from his business community urging him to tone down the faith rhetoric, but Ray just uses those emails as a chance to speak even more boldly about his faith.
I watch his vlog regularly and I keep up with what he writes about business. I even bought one his books on copywriting because I wanted to gain insight into understanding how to motivate people to make better decisions and to take action rather than passively waiting for time and chance to fix it all.
Reading what Ray had to say taught me more about blogging. About writing. And even about preaching! He even uses an acronym for the perfect sales letter template – the word PASTOR! He “pastors” people toward a decision with each paragraph of the letter.
OH, and the eyebrow.
It’s the tiny little line at the top of any kind of sales letter. It’s small, but it sets a tone. It determines the mood. It creates curiosity. It prepares the reader for what’s next – the lede.
The lede is the big point of what you’re trying to say, and journalists have a saying – “Don’t bury the lede!” In other words, get to the point that defines all that the reader is about to read about.
The eyebrow gets them to the lede. The lede gets them into the copy, and most people scroll right to the bottom and skip all the paragraphs. If the “offer” or the “call to action” at the bottom is compelling, they’ll usually scroll back up and read more.
Once they’re reading more, you address their fears. You offer solutions. And you invite them to consider making a decision without manipulating them.
When I was in Bible college, our preaching textbook was James Braga’s How to Prepare Bible Messages. Braga talked about using a very brief introduction to grab the reader’s attention (like an eyebrow). It’s then imperative to state the proposition of the message – the one, big point (the lede). Then you develop the points and content of your message (the copy) to elaborate and support the proposition before driving it all home and appealing to the will of your listeners to make some kind of decision based on what they’d just heard (the call to action, or the “offer”), all while staying true and faithful to the meaning and intent of the original biblical text.
Like I said, no matter what niche you work in, knowing how to write persuasive sales copy is actually very helpful.
In fact, it can be a game changer.