8 Ways to Format a Lead for Maximum Effectiveness

Arrow Up Tracking Growth Success Sticky Notes“The real trouble with the writing game is that no general rule can be worked out for uniform guidance, and this applies to sales as well as to writing.” — Erle Stanley Gardner

The lead in a promotion — which in almost all cases is less than 20% of the entire package — is comprised of the headline and the introductory portion of the sales presentation. Its main function is to pique a reader’s interest and make her think, “This looks interesting… I want to know more!

It is in the lead where your fundamental selling proposition — often referred to as the “Big Idea” — is made. And by fundamental, I mean a profound claim or statement that hooks deep into your prospect’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and desires. A profound claim or statement that promises answers to a prospect’s questions like, “Why should I buy this product?”… “Why now?”… “Why is this a good price?”… “Why should I buy this instead of something else?”

To be effective, a lead should reflect the Unique Selling Proposition (USP) that you derived from all your research on the prospect and product. It should appeal to her wants, needs, and desires while trumpeting the product’s features, benefits, and results. And all this has to happen in the few precious seconds in which your prospect decides whether your promotion is worth reading or not.

It’s a tall order. If you get it right, your sales page has a high probability of success. If you don’t, it will probably fail.

The research necessary to develop a great lead involves a detailed study of the product, a careful analysis of the prospect, a thorough review of past promotions and their results, research on similar products, and conversations with developers, sales reps, and end users. With that said, let’s take a look at eight of the most widely used types of leads:

1) Tell a good story — Everyone likes a story and sometimes you can lead your promotion with one. Stories are an indirect lead and work well when you don’t think it’s a good idea to bombard the prospect with the core sales message. This type of lead is also effective when you’re dealing with sensitive psychological issues like fears and anxieties. It allows you to make indirect promises when you want your prospect to be thinking or feeling a certain way before he realizes what it is he’s being sold. Just like a good story, this type of lead allows you to show and not tell your prospect the points you want to make. Showing means you’ll stimulate your prospect’s imagination and emotions before you engage his analytical side. This creates a much deeper emotional commitment, and that’s exactly what you want.

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John Torre

I reside in North Brunswick, NJ, with my wife, Lynn, and daughters Kasey, Jaclyn, and Shelly. We also have a 110 pound, lovable Rottie named Leo that keeps us on our toes! When we're not hard at work we enjoy spending weekends at our bungalow down the Jersey shore, or take extended trips to Walt Disney World as members of the Disney Vacation Club. For kicks, I draw on my dominant "right-brain" and play guitar in classic rock and blues bands, act for local plays and independent productions, and enjoy writing creative fiction. I'm a published author in short fiction and stage plays and a graduate of a local community college's Commercial Writer's Certificate Program. After graduating from the program I was selected as an instructor and taught "Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror" writing for 8 years. I enjoy many fine relationships I made with my students to this day.

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