Seal the Deal With a Strong Order Device
Many beginning copywriters spend a lot of time doing what they need to do to produce a powerful letter that sells the product invisibly and successfully. They close the sale convincingly and end by telling the prospect, "Fill out our convenient Offer Acceptance Form (the order device) … and do it now so you don’t forget."
But then, the order device that the prospect finds is uninteresting and hard to use. It looks like an afterthought – like an "Oh, yeah. I have to put that in too" part of the package.
Your order device should not be an afterthought. It’s as important as every other part of a successful sales package, because it helps dispel any remaining doubts your prospect may have about buying the product.
In fact, some master copywriters start a package by writing the order device first.
Why? Because a successful order device restates the core promise(s) and benefits of your product in a concise, easy-to-understand manner. And that’s a great starting place for writing your entire package.
But whether you write the order device at the beginning of the writing process or near the end, here are the crucial considerations (applicable to direct-mail as well as Web sales):
START WITH A HEADLINE
Like your main headline at the start of the letter, the headline on the order device should incorporate the 4U’s (Urgent, Useful, Unique, Ultra-specific). It should be short, catchy, and focused on the main benefit or the core promise.
LEAD WITH PROMISE/BENEFIT-ORIENTED PARAGRAPHS
Typically, the order device lead starts out something like: "YES! I want to start enjoying sex again … and the admiring smiles my wife gives me in the morning."
It doesn’t have to be exactly in this form. But make sure it restates your product’s main promise and major benefits. This helps eliminate lingering sales resistance.
It’s most effective when written in first person ("I"). This puts your prospect in the middle of the picture of what he’ll get from your product.
Your introductory paragraphs should also restate – in a short but effective way – any premiums you’re offering.
USE A CHECK-OFF BOX IN FRONT OF THE OPENING PARAGRAPH
A large check-off box starting off the introductory paragraph has one purpose. The prospect sees it and assumes he needs to check it. So he reads the introductory paragraph … and in doing so, reads several benefit-oriented reasons for buying.
MAKE IT EASY TO BUY … AND UP-SELL
Usually, the place where prospect checks off what he wants to buy is right after the introductory paragraph. (Of course, there are variations of this "rule.")
If your offer has several levels (one-year and two-year subscriptions, 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day supplies), put the best offer first. This usually costs the most but saves the prospect the most money in the long run. Lead with a check-off box and a phrase like [ ] FANTASTIC OFFER!
Follow with the next-best offer. Use a check-off box and phrase like [ ] GREAT OFFER! Give specific savings in dollars and percentages for these up-sell offers.
Finally, give the standard (least costly but most costly per unit) offer. Lead with a check-off box and words like [ ] GOOD OFFER!
Each of these offers should include the amount for one order, the amount for shipping and handling, and the total.
GET PAYMENT INFORMATION
Make this concise and easy to follow. Use formatting to guide the prospect.
[ ] I have included my check for $ ____________
[ ] Please charge my :
[ ] Visa [ ] MasterCard [ ] AmEx
Card No: _______________________
Exp. Date: ______________________
GET COMPLETE DELIVERY INFORMATION
City: ______________ ST _______ ZIP _____
State that the phone number is needed in case there are any questions about the order. You can also ask for the customer’s email address.
OFFER ALTERNATIVE WAYS TO ORDER
Many prospects would rather call, fax, or order online. If you have those options available, state them clearly.
GIVE COMPLETE INFORMATION ON WHERE TO SEND THE ORDER
Give the company’s name and where to send the completed order device, even if you include a reply envelope. That way, if the envelope is lost, your sale isn’t.
- MAKE IT NEAT, SIMPLE, AND UN-CROWDED.
The Professional Writers’ Alliance
At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »