5 Gateways Into Your Promotion

Most copywriters look at promos with straight-line logic. They assume all prospects come into the promotion through the main headline. And they’re wrong.

In fact, a well-planned, well-written promotion has 5 distinct ways to get prospects involved. (Sometimes more). These are like gateways spread around the promotion — gateways specifically designed to catch the interest of different types of prospects and lead them into your letter.

Your prospect opens your promo and scans. The main headline might catch her interest. But maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it’s the bio piece. Or the order device. Or one of the other gateways.

In my case, I almost always look at the order device first. This gives me a quick look at the offer — what the product costs and what I’ll get for my money.

Maybe you’re the type who looks first at the centerfold of a magalog. Typically this is where the copywriter has summarized key data or important benefits.

But, regardless of how you or I are pulled into the promotion, it’s crucial to understand these gateways are not afterthoughts to be slapped together at the last minute. They must be planned and written with the same care and consideration as the rest of your promotion.

So, here are the 5 gateways together with a just few of their main goals:

  1. Main headline (and your envelope copy as a form of the main headline)
    Captures the prospect’s interest, begins establishing a trusting relationship between copywriter and prospect, gives a hint of the Big Idea …
  2. Bio piece
    Establishes credibility of the letter’s signer, allows copywriter to put human “face” to the name signing the letter …
  3. Sidebars
    Provides places to emphasize important information and data; adds credibility; gives places for crucial information that might disrupt flow or tone of letter …
  4. Centerfold (in magalogs)
    Allows you to accentuate any part of the promo you feel is compelling. This can include results data for investment promos, company history, explanation of core benefits, graphical exposition of premiums, and so on (sticking to the “Power of One”) …
  5. Order device
    Provides a quick and effective summary of the offer, key benefits, and other crucial information …

Let’s look at how master copywriter Kent Komae used a gateway to bring prospects into his million-dollar magalog promotion for a joint relief supplement. The promo is written in Dr. David Williams’ voice. Dr. Williams’ “bio” sidebar is in someone else’s voice.

Before you read the bio, imagine you’re a joint pain sufferer. You’ve searched for relief in numerous drugs and supplements with little success.

The main headline on the cover page reads “The Next Breakthrough for Joint Discomfort!” If you’ve been to one of the headline sessions at Bootcamp or taken the AWAI Headline Intensive, you can see how these six words could attract you as a joint sufferer.

But attracting your attention might not be enough to get you reading. So you scan the magalog. On page 4 you come across this prominent sidebar:

The sole purpose of this “bio” sidebar is to build his credibility.

Dr. Williams is decked out in white coat and holding a stethoscope. But unlike most standard doctor images in supplement letters, Dr. Williams sits authoritatively in front of a lab table with test tubes and electronic instruments. The picture begins to tell the story of a physician who’s done a lot of research.

The picture goes a good way toward establishing credibility and pulling you into the letter. Yet … you’re still skeptical.

So, the words of the headline and in the sidebar convince you — the skeptical sufferer who’s tried almost everything else — that this doctor may be offering real, believable joint relief.

You’re not convinced … yet. But, you’ve seen enough to want to find out more. Kent’s ushered you through one of the gateways into his letter where he convinces you Dr. Williams has the solution to your joint problems.

Kent knows successful promos don’t depend only on the prospect coming in through the main headline and reading from the beginning. Successful promos use these 5 gateways (and sometimes a few more) to open up different paths into the promotion for different types of prospects.

Each one of these gateways requires a slightly different approach than you’d use with the main text of your promo … including the headline that introduces the gateway. Learn them and you’ll be writing winners!

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Published: August 19, 2009

2 Responses to “5 Gateways Into Your Promos”

  1. Good article. Too often we tend to concentrate on only one or two of the Gateways. Thanks.

    ps: the PDF file is corrupt (overwritten)

    Milt Trosper-B2B WebCopy

  2. The PDF error has been fixed. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.


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