Summary of How to Write Copy that Sells by Ray Edwards

“There is virtually no other skill that can make you as much money as copywriting. Nearly all internet millionaires know this secret: more than their product, more than their traffic-generation techniques, more than their email campaigns, more than who their joint-venture partners might be, it’s their copywriting that has made them rich.”

Copywriting is salesmanship in print.

The first step of copywriting is to define your copy thesis, using the following formula:


The Pastor Copywriting Framework:

The acronym PASTOR defines a general framework to follow when writing copy:

P – Person, Problem, Pain

A – Amplify and Aspirations

S – Story, Solution, System

T – Transformation and Testimony

O – Offer

R – Response

P – Person, problem, pain

You must begin by identifying the person you are trying to reach for your message, understanding the problem that you are solving for them, and the pain that problem causes.

“For instance, if you are writing about fitness and weight loss, you might begin by describing their current situation this way:


You’ve tried every fad diet that’s come along. You’ve started and stopped a dozen different exercise programs, perhaps joined several different gyms, but the truth is you just can’t seem to take the weight off (or keep it off). Perhaps you’re even feeling a little disgusted with yourself and your inability to control your eating and your weight. You feel like no matter what you try, it’s not going to work.


Remember, you’re not judging their behavior; rather you are describing their experience as it currently is. This means you have to understand their experience as it currently is. You have to know your audience and what they are thinking.”

A – Amplify and aspirations

You have to amplify people’s problems before you can convince them to buy something.

“What will motivate people to buy your product, invest in your service, or accept your idea is usually not the beautiful outcome framed in a positive light on its own. It is required rather, that before painting the picture of the “paradise” they seek, you must get them to fully experience the consequence of not solving the problem.”

Help your prospect see the real long-term consequences of ignoring their problem. You must make them aware of the price of indecision.

For example:

“Write down your average monthly income over the last 12 months. Then write down what you want your average monthly income to be. Let’s say that your average income is $5,000 per month, and your goal is actually to make $15,000 per month in your business. That means the gap between where you are and where you want to be is $10,000 per month. You’re paying a cost of $10,000 every month you don’t solve this problem.”

S – Story, solution, and system

Tell the story of how you solved a specific persistent problem yourself.

“Once you have described the problem, amplified the consequences of not solving it, and painted the picture of paradise, it’s time to share the story of how the problem can be solved.”

T – Transformation and Testimony

People don’t buy stuff, they buy transformations. Testimonials are powerful. They prove that you’ve done what you say you’ve done using the product you’re selling.

O – Offer

80% of copy should talk about transformation. Only 20% should talk about your actual product.

Just remember that as you describe the deliverables in the offer section, you must keep tying them back to the transformation and benefits your buyers will receive.


So instead of simply writing that the buyer will receive “8 DVDs, each containing a 45-minutes workout session,” you might instead write that they will receive “8 DVDs that each contain a body-sculpting, fat-burning transformational workout that will help you craft the lean, muscular body you really want.”

R – Response

This is the part of the copy where you ask a prospect to buy your product. Use specific, directive copy telling them exactly what to do to obtain your product:

“Click the button below, fill out the order form, and we will immediately ship your entire package to you. It will contain everything you need to get started.”


Som people shy away from strong language like this, but the fact is, if you truly believe that you have a solution that will solve a problem for people, why on earth would you not be as direct as possible in telling them how to get that solution?

Remember to promote your product. Don’t be shy!

“He who has a thing to sell and goes and whispers in a well, is not so apt to get the dollars as he who climbs a tree and hollers.”

The 15 Building Blocks of a Sales Letter

1. The pre-head

  • A short sentence to get attention of your specific prospects.
  • “Attention pug owners!”

2. Headline

  • The only job of a headline is to get people to read the next sentence. That’s it.
  • “They all laughed when I sat at the piano. But when I started to play…”

3. Deck copy

  • Goes between the headline and the beginning of the letter, typically in bold type.
  • Revealed on this page…
    • The crucial ADHD Misconception
    • The system meltdown
    • Exclusive access to a teaching series

4. Lead

  • This is the very beginning of the body of the sales letter. It sets the criteria for whom the letter is intended, and what they stand to gain by reading the rest of the copy.
  • “If you’ve struggled to lose weight, if you’ve tried every diet imaginable, if you’ve taken every pill, if you’ve tried exercise routines and you still haven’t taken the weight off; then you’re about to read the letter you’ve been waiting for all of your life. Here’s why…”

5. Body

6. Subheads

  • Nobody reads anything at first. They skim. The job of subheads is to give people an idea of what you’re writing about so they decide to actually read it.

7. Rapport

  • People like three kinds of people: those who are like themselves, those they would like to be, and those who like them back. Build rapport in your letter with your prospects.

8. Bullet points

  • Copy that converts at a high rate typically uses lots of bullet points.
    • 1) “You’ll discover the six foundations of a powerful close.”
    • 2) Seven never-fail closing themes that work for any assignment.
    • 3) “Plus two closing blunders that could cost you everything at that final decisive moment.”

9. Credibility

  • Establish your credibility as an expert.

10. Testimonials

  • Testimonials from existing customers are highly effective at drawing in new customers. Ideally you can use their first and last name along with their picture to build even more trust.

11. Value justification

  • Point out the price of your product (e.g. $500) relative to how much money it will help your prospects earn or save (e.g. $5,000 or $10,000)

12. Risk reversal

  • Always offer a 100% return to prospects.
  • “If you don’t find value in the course, email me and I’ll give you all your money back. You might even go through the whole course and rip me off, but I’m going to trust that you’re not going to do that to me.”
  • Make sure the prospect knows that they’ll be able to get their money back quickly and easily.
  • In general, offer longer periods for prospects to get their money back (e.g. 90 days is better than 30 days)

13. Bonuses

  • Offering bonuses is an easy way to increase conversions.

14. Call to action

  • You must ask for the sale in order to get it. You’ll lose 100% of the sales that you don’t ask for.

15. P.S.

  • This is the place where you sum up the top benefit that your product offers. Be sure to include a link to the order form in your P.S.

Email Marketing

Once you know the general outline of effective copy, you need to apply it to the right medium. Email is the most effective medium for selling. Prospects who give you permission to market to them are most likely to buy. Honor (and widen) this circle of people.

How to succeed with email marketing:

  • Ask for a sale in every e-mail. Treat each e-mail like a mini sales letter; just be clear what the call to action is for that particular e-mail. Get them in the habit of clicking on your links!
  • Use P.S. at the bottom of your e-mails. Data shows it’s crazy effective. Summarize the lead of the email and make sure it includes a link to something you want people to click on.
  • Include at least 3 links to your call to action in the body of the email. Give prospects plenty of opportunities to buy your product.
  • Send emails that look like they were sent by a friend. Make the email look and feel as though it’s coming from a friend. When friends send us an email, it doesn’t usually come with a logo, stock images, and starbursts screaming SALE! or 25% OFF NOW THROUGH MONDAY!
  • People do not read anything at first. People skim. The way to get people to actually start reading is to get their attention with headlines, subheads, and bullet points.
  • Give away your best content for free. If people find value in your free content, they’ll be more intrigued to know what’s behind the paywall.
  • Sprinkle bullet points generously throughout your copy.
  • Use credit card logos on your order form to enhance authority  and trustworthiness.
  • Place your offer in a different colored box so it stands out to the reader.
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