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 Word Lab - To Help You Write Sales letters for the Web

By John Alexander

Words are your building blocks to communicate effectively to your ideal audiences on the Web. If you have not read the part 1 Article of Writing your Words for the Web - it's here

For Part 2 of this article, we'll introduce a few more concepts in the mechanics of writing for the Web. 

The idea here is just to give you a few more building blocks for understanding how to write your content more effectively. You do not need to use all of these concepts, but this article may help trigger some different ideas for you to consider.
Welcome to the Word Lab : 

What types of writing styles can you put into your general communications, Web pages or articles?

Today we'll identify a few elements that are useful for sales letters.

Working with Metaphors: 
We touch on this in part one, but let's include it here too.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that suggests a likeness or similarity but offering a description that is not literally applicable. One of the most common metaphors are those that invoke a meaningful comparison that may highlight or reinforce an important point. 

Example of metaphors that define a characteristic:

Fine-tuning your sales letters through Multivariate 
Testing produces significant sales impact. 

Blind as a mole Dead tired Solid as a rock
Bold as brass Ironing out all the wrinkles Stubborn as a mule
Busy as a bee Large as life Thin as a rake
Brave as a lion Light as air Tip of the iceberg
Cool as a cucumber As old as the hills White as a sheet
Dead as the dodo bird About Serious as a heart attack Wise as an owl

Some of these may even be over used clichés, but the point is, people relate to them well when you are writing or telling a story and there are many more than these. Another common purpose for metaphors is to create "smiles."

  • The use of Acronyms:
    An Acronym is a word that is formed by combining the first letters (or syllables) of other words used in common phrases. 


    VIN = Vehicle Identification Number
    SEO = Search Engine Optimization
    BTS = Bug tracking System
    JV = joint venture
    Try Acronym finder


  • The use of Antonyms:
    An antonym is simply a word that is opposite of another word.

    "Old" is an antonym of "new."
    "Faith" is an antonym of "doubt.'

  • The Use of Paraphrasing:
    To paraphrase something simply means to state something in a different way. For example on the Web, you may paraphrase something using your own words to help bring understanding to the reader but in paraphrasing, you are not quoting something word for word.

Using Synonyms in Writing for the Web is becoming much more important.

A synonym is a word different than another word that means the same or has similar meaning. With the importance of Artificial Intelligence and latent semantic indexing or LSI on search engine like Google, it is important to work with synonyms and supporting terms in your content that allow your content to read well and be in good context.

How can you find words that are semantically related or synonymous supporting terms based on what a search engine understands through the use of artificial intelligence and latent semantic indexing? Normally we tend to use a thesaurus but the challenge of being limited to a thesaurus is that you are choosing terms based on what a human being understands to be related. Think about how much more powerful it can be to find supporting terms that are based on which words that a search engine can **understand** is related (based on it's artificial intelligence rather than human intelligence.)

Now it sounds silly to use a phrase like "based on what a search engine thinks." After all, a search engine cannot really "think" now, can it? A search engine is not enabled with the abilities of reasoning or any true human  "intelligence." 

However, some search engines appear to "think" based on the influence of "artificial intelligence" or AI. Based on their storehouse of information it can be quite interesting to examine which words that a search engine "thinks" is related to your chosen keyword phrases.

Other elements of writing for your readers that are important to keep in mind:

Affiliate marketing master and e-book author Michael Campbell recently made a good point when he talked about the power of story telling. 

Michael says, "Tell stories rather than relate facts. Facts and figures are forgotten. But stories are remembered and retold. Come up with a story that's uniquely yours. Tell it often, stick to it, and never change it. If you need to tell a different story, do it under a different brand." 

Michael explains that, "We are hard-wired for stories. We are story-telling creatures. Long before the electronic age, we used to sit around the campfire, watch clouds or ocean waves and tell stories to each other. If you invent something, or innovate an existing product, you must tell a better story than the competition. Package it better and tell your story to everyone who will listen. Tell it often. Stick to it. And never ever change it." -------(Excerpt from Michael Campbell's Internet Marketing Secrets)

Another type of story telling is that of the "parable" from the Latin parabola (meaning things set side by side or beside each other.) 
The parable is a short story that illustrates some kind of truth, through drawing comparisons in the telling of the story. Dating back to Biblical times and teachings of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, who often spoke in parables that focused on teaching some moral truth.   

Also remember that good writing helps connect to the emotions of the reader. 

Depending on the objective of your page, it may be very important to use some emotional content. This will be true for instance if you are working on a sales letter that you want to effectively communicate and highlight the genuine benefits of your product or your service. Using emotional content is what connects the reader to the point you are trying to make.

The use of Verbs are important.

A Verb is a word showing action, movement, or being.

Examples: "Ruled," "wears," "carries," "to wander" and "fought" are all verbs.

The use of prepositions:
A preposition links nouns, pronouns and phrases to other words in a sentence.

Example, “Pride comes before a fall.” (before is the preposition)
               “I am moving toward the solution.” (toward is the preposition)

Here is a list of common Prepositions:




Instead of



















 The use of descriptive and compelling "muscle words."

These are words that when used in your content can be very compelling and persuasive terms.
Also see Robin Nobles complete article "The Use of Muscle Words on Your Web Site. . . 148 power words

The use of conversational dialog for connecting your thoughts together, are good to use in sales letters or content involving dialog:

Examples of phrases that sound like they were written to be spoken out loud as dialog: 
(or written for voice as broadcasters would say)

  • Let me explain what I mean.

  • Let me give you a bit of an idea of everything this system will do for you.

  • Let me show you exactly how this will work.

  • So hang in there, while I explain...

These are all examples of spoken dialog that can be used just illustrate the fact that most of us do not tend to write the way we speak. But writing for voice is very effective for sales letters or any content requiring some call to action. One of the best ways to learn to write effective sales letters is to study some examples.

Word Lab Case Study:  "Challenged No More" Sales Letter

Rather than showing you examples of poorly written sales letters (there are plenty of them out there.)  

Here is an example of naturally flowing dialog that you can study from the sales letter that is promoting Robin Nobles recent e-book, Content Challenged No More!  

First have a look at this page: 

Then watch for the use of several of the principles we've talked about.

  • Notice how (even the opening statement) has a tendency to relate emotionally to the widest possible audience.
  • Notice the flow of the dialog (to you) the reader - like someone was speaking dialog to you.
  • Notice the placement of testimonies and the use of different font styles (they are subtle) 

Notice the use of numbered bullets to highlight benefits:
(The human brain loves bullet points and loves numbered headlines)


  • Dozens of new ideas for those who enjoy writing their own content
  • Dozens of killer content strategies for those who don't consider themselves writers at all
  • 100 original ideas you can immediately put to use on your Web site

Notice some of these elements:

  • Credit card logos are confidence builders. 
  • Subtle options to purchase in several places.
  • Remember the importance of helping your reader understand 
    the connection between features and the true benefit.
  • Consider offering a guarantee or a bonus 
    (the value added approach is important)
  • You can try testing your sales letter with multivariate testing to see 
    which headlines work best - but only test one thing at a time.

Learn more about Multivariate Testing?

Then read distinguished IBM engineer, Mike Moran's book called:
Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules (IBM Press)

In summary: 

These points are not so much about SEO but are more about communicating better with your audience and helping them make that connection to the value and benefit your product or service offers. 

The use of phrasing and the context of your message needs to flow smoothly and help the reader connect emotionally. Writing sales letters is significantly different than creating general content. And article marketing is considerably different than writing general content and writing for news is yet different again.

As you fine-tune your own writing style for the Web, always watch for opportunities where you may excel more in one area than another. When you notice that you tend to enjoy one certain style of writing more than another, pay attention to it as it could be a natural leaning towards your particular niche.

Do you need help refining your SEO skills or writing skills for the Web?

For fine tuning your skills, you can attend in-depth local community workshops teaching in-depth on these areas as well as high performance SEO skills in Search Engine Academies located across North America and Asia. 

If you need help, then come out and attend one of these personalized hands-on workshop classes where you'll enjoy personal coaching with ongoing mentoring and support. Read a few recent students success stories.

Looking for an authorized SEO educator located near you? 
Check our partners page for one of our associate classes in North America or in Asia.

Read another Article by Robin Nobles and Stephan Mahaney? 
Tips for Writing Effective Sales Copy


About John Alexander:
John Alexander is Director of Search Engine Academy, Co-director of Training at Search Engine Workshops offering live, SEO Workshops. John is author of e-books called Wordtracker Magic and Keyword Forensics 2.0 and has taught SEO skills to people from 87 different countries world wide. 

About Robin Nobles:
Robin Nobles is the Co-Director of Training of Search Engine Workshops with John Alexander. They teach 2-day beginner, 3-day advanced, and 5-day all-inclusive "hands on" workshops in locations across the North America. She also teaches online search engine marketing courses through and they opened a networking community for search engine marketers called The Workshop Resource Center for Search Engine Marketers.

About Michael Campbell:
Michael Campbell is author of the several e-books on affiliate marketing as well as author of the Internet Marketing Secrets Newsletter. Michael's latest Google Blog Alert System (Goobert for short is available here.)

About Mike Moran:
Mike is the co-author of the best-selling 2005 book Search Engine Marketing, Inc. (along with fellow search marketing expert Bill Hunt), which is now in its Second Edition (2008). Mike is also the author of the acclaimed Internet marketing book,
Do It Wrong Quickly: How the Web Changes the Old Marketing Rules (IBM Press), named one of best business books of 2007 by the Miami Herald.

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