How to Apply the 80/20 Principle to Your Business & Earn More Profit In Less Time


80/20 for business

You may have heard the business mantra “work smarter, not harder”. It refers to the concept of finding systems and processes to make you more efficient. It also recognises that the effort you put into a small number of crucial tasks yields the highest returns for your business.

Have you heard of the 80/20 principle? If you haven’t then you are in for a treat. This principle can transform your business and your life. If you have heard of it, hopefully you’ll get some new ideas for how powerful it is to apply.

It’s curious that such a widely accepted principle of doing business should have originated in the 19th century. Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who discovered that income distribution was skewed between the population, so that 80% of the wealth was owned and controlled by just 20% of the people.

Today this observation has become known as the 80/20 rule and also called the Pareto Principle after it’s inventor.

What is the Pareto Principle (the 80/20 Rule)?

The Pareto Principle can be stated and re-stated in many different ways but with a common theme. Here are a few variations:

  • 80% of revenue is generated by 20% of customers
  • 80% of results are due to 20% of the actions
  • 80% of income is earned by 20% of the products
  • 80% of time is spent is spent with 20% of people
  • 80% of money is spent on 20% of household items
  • 80% of features account for 20% of use
  • 80% of emails are opened by 20% of the list
  • 80% of website traffic is driven by 20% of keywords
  • 80% of your stress is caused by 20% of your customers
  • 80% of the results of a sales team will be created by 20% of the team
  • 80% of new customers comes from 20% of advertising sources

and on and on…

Now, it’s important to note a few details about the 80/20 rule:

  • The ratio doesn’t have to be exactly 80-20. In fact the statistics could be skewed even more in some cases – 90/10, or even 99/1
  • The Pareto Principle is not a law, just a rule of observation. That is to say, this is how things generally are in the world
  • It works ‘recursively’, meaning that if 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers then if you take that 20% and split THEM into 80/20 as well you will find that 20% of that 20% are responsible for 80% of your 80% or more simply stated, 64% of your revenue comes from an important 4% of your customers. Special note: Even if this is NOT currently the case in your business, you’ve got an awesome opportunity here.

The 80/20 has been proven to be remarkably accurate in describing the cause and effect relationships between elements in business and life.

Why is the 80/20 Rule So Useful in Business?

One of the greatest eye-openers of the 80/20 rule is that it makes you realise and see the imbalances in life. And once you see these imbalances, you can start to find the specific actions that result in the highest business success.

When you become aware of the 80/20 rule in your business, you can:

  • Identify the 20% of your customers who are making you 80% of your revenue and focus on them.
  • Conversely: consider getting rid of the 20% of your customers who are responsible for 80% of your stress if they are not also part of those that bring you the most revenue.
  • Find out who your best employees are (the 20% that are responsible for 80% of your results) and focus on rewarding them
  • Conversely: Consider what you can do about the employees that are not part of that. How can they be turned into ‘20%’ employees?
  • Work out which forms of advertising are truly effective and focus your efforts on them.
  • Conversely: Find the 80% of advertising that doesn’t work and drop it.
  • Figure out the tasks that YOU can do that are the 20% of tasks that are responsible for 80% of your success.

In short, by applying the 80/20 rule in your business (and your life), you will be able to do more with less. You’ll be able to put the resources you have to their most efficient use. And you will consequently work smarter, not harder to achieve your goals in a less stressful manner.

According to the 80/20 principle you SHOULD be able to work 20% of the hours (1 hour and 36 minutes each day instead of 8 hours) and still get 80% of the results. If this is the case then my question to you is WHAT are you wasting your time on for the other 6 hours and 24 minutes each day?

Here’s the kicker: What if, instead of doing an hour and a half each day of your MOST productive tasks, what if you were to extend that to 4 hours or 6 hours. Imagine the results you would achieve! Making the most of this does involve you focusing on the RESULTS of everything you do all day long. Is it extra work? It starts off that way but the massive increase to results you get is worth the initial pain until it becomes a daily habit.

Let’s look at some specific ways in which the Pareto Principle helps business owners accomplish tasks faster.

How to Use the 80/20 Principle to Boost your Business Conversions

To boost conversions, you need to find out the 20% of your website or other marketing tactics that are causing 80% of the conversions.

Here’s how:

  • If you run an ad campaign to boost conversions, check in your ad manager application to see which keywords are driving the most traffic. Find and isolate the 20% of keywords that are driving the most traffic to your website. Now start to focus on increasing the efficacy of those keywords even more and start using them in other appropriate places of your website. Perhaps (in Google Adwords for example), you can peel them off and put those keywords in their own ad group.
  • Eliminate all “extras’ from your landing page that don’t encourage a reader to convert. What’s your Call To Action – what is it that you want someone to do when they reach a particular page of your website. When you know the answer to this, then concentrate on removing everything from the website that is not directly related to the CTA. Often such items include sidebars widgets, social media buttons, external links, etc.

How to Use the 80/20 Principle to Bring in More Customers At Less Cost

Your advertising funds are limited, why spend them on advertising solutions that aren’t working?

  • Identify the 20% of advertising solutions (like getting a featured listing on!) that will work to bring in 80% of your customers.
  • Find out if there are ways to put more money into those 20% advertising sources.

How to Use the 80/20 Principle for Better Time Management

  • Your time is limited. Find the tasks that are eating most of your time and either delete them or automate them or delegate them. This will free up time to work on the crucial 20% without leaving you overwhelmed.
  • Take frequent breaks. Although seemingly counter-productive, the 20% time off will yield a higher output and ability to focus when you do get back to work. Short breaks during the work day are essential!
  • Don’t waste your time (remember the 80/20 break up of your hours each day!) learning complicated ad platforms if you can have someone set your advertising up for you and be getting you the results (like on :-) ).
  • Personally, I know that I have a peak period of the day when I am most productive – if you are the same then make SURE that in this period of the day you are doing the 20% of 20% of tasks that are most useful.

How to Use the 80/20 Principle to Find your Ideal Customers

To find the customers that bring in the most revenue:

  • Create a list of characteristics exhibited by your most ideal customers. Ruthlessly market to just this segment. Ignore all others. Even though you’ll be missing out on mass marketing to everyone, this technique will make your ideal customer feel you are talking directly to them.
  • Eliminate problems customers. It can be hard to let go of paying customers but eventually you’ll see that 20% of your customers are responsible for all your headaches. Eliminate them and you can now focus on the 80% of majority buying from you without complaining!
  • Make your 20% Ideal Customer feel special. Give them access to special deals, front row seats, special attention, etc
  • SELL MORE TO YOUR 20% CUSTOMER – this is a big one. If your top priced product is

How to Use the 80/20 Principle to Make MORE Money from your EXISTING Customers

A hidden part of the the 80/20 principle says that if you identify the 20% of your customers that are currently responsible for 80% of your income then many of those customers will pay a lot more for your services BUT only if you can provide them with something that is more valuable. The point is that you are NOT tapping out your current customers at all. If you can work out ways to provide more value to them then there will be current customers who will be happy to spend more money with you. You do have to provide something of an increased value, not just hike your prices.

How to Use the 80/20 Principle in Social Media Marketing

When marketing using social media’s 80/20 rules, here’s what to do:

  • Make sure that 80% of items you share have educational, entertainment or information value. The rest of the 20% of shared items can be promotional.
  • When creating content for social media, focus on producing the 20% of content type (e.g. videos, memes, podcasts, etc) that brings in the most eyeballs.
  • Pay attention to your most vocal 20% fans who are your most die-hard customers and will support you through good times and bad

How to Use the 80/20 Principle in Blogging

When blogging, there are typically a few techniques that result in a post becoming the most viewed, the most commented, the most shared, etc. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Spend more time crafting the perfect headline since, according to David Ogilvy, the headline is likely to be read 5 times more than the body of the post. Testing and using the most clicked headline will help a posts’ visibility.
  • Don’t blog more times a week if that doesn’t increase the bottom line. Too many businesses figure that if they increase their blog posts from once a week to four times a week, it will quadruple views. But that’s not the case – your blog has an optimal frequency, test it and find out what it is.

How to SUPERCHARGE Your Use of the 80/20 Principle

Ok, so you don’t HAVE to understand this section to put the 80/20 principle to work for you but it will blast your results into the stratosphere.

If you want to SUPERCHARGE your understanding of the 80/20 principle (and I highly recommend you do!) then use the free tool from master marketer Perry Marshall at Read the instructions there carefully and it can reveal some amazing facts. if it still doesn’t make any sense then buy and read his book on Amazon (or on your Kindle) which goes into much more depth on how to use it (by the way, I don’t make any money by recommending this, it’s just one of the books I’ve read that is amazing and a game changer).

Here is an example of the type of information this tool can provide:

Let’s say you have a mailing list with your customers on it and you send out a post to your list to encourage them to buy a new product you are selling.

Number of emails that go out: 1,000

Number of people that buy: 50 customers

What was the value of the product they bought? $50

So, from this mailout, you made a total of $2,500.

Here’s a picture of what the 8020 curve looks like for this data:

80 20 Power Curve Example

The importance of this data is that the theoretical amount you COULD be earning from that list of 1000 people per mailout is actually $17,657 not $2,500. Now this is not completely accurate as there will be some people on the bottom of the list that won’t even buy a $5 product however it gives you an idea of the difference. It says that some of the 50 people who bought would have been more than happy to pay a lot more per product (as long as there is VALUE there for them) up to about $1,400:


It also shows that if you had a cheaper alternative as well, you might well be able to sell the next 100 people on your list (for 150 total) on a cheaper product:


So, you’ll see if you found ways to better cater to the top 150 people on your email list, instead of $2,500 from the mailout, you would have made closer to $8,000.

Amazing eh?


The 80/20 rule itself is not a solution. It’s what you do with the findings of the rule that show you the benefits and how to implement them. Applying the 80/20 to every aspect of your business will help you hone into activities that are crucial and ones that are just a waste of space. From there, you can clearly decide where you’d rather spend your time and money to boost your business.

Other Resources

The 80/20 Principle by Richard Koch on Amazon – The book that introduced the Pareto Principle to most people who have heard of it in the last 10 years and made it applicable.

80/20 Sales and Marketing: The Definitive Guide to Working Less and Making More by Perry Marshall on Amazon

As always, if you have questions or comments (or examples of how you’ve used the 80/20 principle in your own life) I’d love to hear them in the comments below.




Dramatically Increasing Your Profits By Writing your Own Sales Copy – A Follow Along Example

The simplest way to write a great sales letter (and you should be using the same ideas for your website emails, handouts, cards or any other marketing your business does) your first time around is to follow David Frey’s, “12 Step Foolproof Sales Letter Template”. David Frey is a marketing genius who gifted this to the marketing world in the early 2000’s and it’s been a huge boon ever since.

I thought the best way for you to come up with your own copy would be to see it in an example so I decided to create one for you. Instead of a fictitious sales letter, I thought it would be better if I created a real one. Below you will find David Frey’s original ’12 Step Foolproof Sales Letter Template’ interspersed with my commentary and REAL sales letter that we use at StartLocal to help business owners understand the benefits of upgrading to a featured listing. The full sales letter is here in this post if you would prefer to read it all in one go and you can find the full, unbroken version of David Frey’s template here (offsite).

David Frey’s original template article is in quotes like this. My comments are regular text. Let’s begin!

12-Step Foolproof Sales Letter Template
by David Frey

Follow this 12-step process and you’ll be writing sales letters like the pros.

You don’t have to be an award-winning copywriter to create effective sales letters.  In fact, writing great sales letters is more of a science than an art.  Even the pros use proven “templates” to create sales letters that get results.  The following is a 12-step template for writing foolproof sales letters.

Overcoming the Hurdles Leading to Buying Resistance

Every person has some form of buying resistance.  The objective of your sales letter should be to overcome your reader’s buying resistance while persuading them to take action.  I liken writing a sales letter to running a steeplechase foot race.  The first one to the finish line who has jumped over all the hurdles is the winner, or in this case, gets the sale.

Whether you’re giving a sales presentation in person or on paper, the process of overcoming the hurdles leading to buying resistance are much the same.  These hurdles are manifested in many spoken and unspoken customer comments such as:

  • “You don’t understand my problem”
  • “How do I know you’re qualified?”
  • “I don’t believe you”
  • “I don’t need it right now”
  • “It won’t work for me”
  • “What happens if I don’t like it?”
  • “I can’t afford it”

Results-oriented sales letters will need to address some or all of these objections to be effective.  The 12-step sales letter template is designed to overcome each of these objections in a careful, methodical series of copywriting tactics.  The 12 steps are:

  1. Get attention
  2. Identify the problem
  3. Provide the solution
  4. Present your credentials
  5. Show the benefits
  6. Give social proof
  7. Make your offer
  8. Inject scarcity
  9. Give a guarantee
  10. Call to action
  11. Give a warning
  12. Close with a reminder

Each of these 12 steps add to reader’s emotions while calming their fears.

Motivation Is An Emotional Thing

It’s important to remember that people are motivated to buy based on their emotions and justify their purchase based on logic only after the sale.  This means that each step in the sales letter process must build on the reader’s emotions to a point where they are motivated to take action.

That being true – – there are only two things that truly motivate people and they are the promise of gain or the fear of loss.  Of the two, the fear of loss is the stronger motivator.

Think about it.

Would you rather buy a $50 course on “How to Improve Your Marriage” or “How to Stop Your Divorce or Lover’s Rejection?”  I have empirical data that proves that the second title outsells the first 5 to 1.  Why?  Because it addresses the fear of loss.

Underlying the promise of gain and the fear of loss are seven “universal motivations” to which everyone responds.  Whatever product or service you are selling you need to position it so that its benefits provide one or more of these universal motivations.

  • To be good looking
  • To be wealthy
  • To be healthy
  • To be popular
  • To have security
  • To achieve inner peace
  • To have free time
  • To have fun

Ultimate motivations are what people “really” want.  The product or service is just a vehicle to providing these benefits so make sure your sales letter focuses on these motivational factors.

–Robin here–

As I went through this process to write the sales letter, I took a lot of note of ideas that came up and then went back over and actually wrote each part of the sales letter one step at a time.

In this section I identified that my target audience is business owners who currently have a regular free listing with us but who could significantly benefit from having an upgraded featured listing with us. This would mean more customers for them. So, I guessed that the universal motivations I was targeting were (in approximate order):

  • To be wealthy
  • To have security
  • To have free time
  • To be popular (maybe)

--end Robin–

The 12-Step Sales Letter System

Now that we know what impedes a person to buy and what motivates a person to action let’s review the 12 elements of a winning sales letter.

1. Get Attention
Assuming the reader has opened your envelope, the next step is to get their attention.  The opening headline is the first thing that your reader will look at.  If it doesn’t catch their attention you can kiss your letter goodbye.  People have a very short attention span and usually sort their mail over the wastebasket.  If the headline doesn’t call out to them and pique their interest, they will just stop and throw your letter away.

The following are three headline generating templates that are proven to get attention.

“HOW TO _____________________”

People love to know how to do things.  When combined with a powerful benefit the “How to” headline always gets people’s attention.  In fact, they’re probably the two most powerful words you can use in a headline.

“SECRETS OF _________________ REVEALED!”

People always want to know “insider secrets.”  We love to know things that other people aren’t privy to.  Knowledge is power and those who have it feel powerful.  Besides that, most of us enjoy a good mystery, especially in the end when the “secret” is revealed.

WARNING: DON’T EVEN THINK OF ___________ UNTIL YOU ___________.

Remember that people are motivated by fear of loss more than the promise of gain?  Well, the “warning” headline screams fear.  The word “warning” demands attention and combined with something of interest to the reader, is a very powerful headline.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

I always like to have a couple of different headline ideas to split test when I create a good piece of copy. No reason you have to decide on what the best will be, let the market decide for you as you test which converts better. Remember my caution up above in regards to ethics in your writing!

Headline Ideas:

  • I’m about to tell you the secret that only a handful of small business owners know (and your competition is probably already using) to bringing in scores of new customers without lifting a finger.
  • I’m about to tell you the secret that thousands of business owners just like you have successfully used to bring in scores of new customers without lifting a finger.
  • I’m about to tell you the secret that thousands of business owners just like you have successfully used to bring in scores of new customers with a single click of the mouse button.


Don’t even think of spending money advertising online until you’ve read this.


As well as discovering the secrets to bringing in customers from StartLocal, you’re also going to find out how to get a search engine optimisation report valued at $29.95 completely free. It’s called, “Search Engine Optimisation: How to Rank at the Top of Google For the Long Term” and is written by myself and Brad Slade-Smith, the founders of StartLocal. Together, we have driven more than 50 million visitors from Google to websites over the last few years. If you implement even a couple of the easy strategies in this report it could be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars to your business in free visitors from Google.

–end Robin–

2. Identify the Problem
Now that you have your reader’s attention you need to gain their interest by spelling out their problem and how it feels to have that problem.  The reader should say to himself, “Yeah, that’s exactly how I feel” when they read your copy.  In fact, you shouldn’t stop there.  Pretend that it’s an open wound that you’re rubbing salt into.

This technique is called, “problem – agitate.”  You present the problem then agitate it so that they really feel the pain and agony of their situation.  People are such strong creatures of habit that we rarely change our ways unless we feel great amounts of pain.  In fact, companies are no different.  Most businesses trudge along doing the same old thing until things get so bad that they have to make a change.

For example, if you were selling garage door openers you might agitate the problem by telling a short story about what happens when it doesn’t work.

“There’s nothing worse than getting home in the evening and not having your garage door open.  It’s dark outside and after tripping on the porch step you search for your front door key.

Finally, you find it only to scratch your new front door up trying to find the keyhole.  Exhausted, you get inside and plop down on the couch just when you remember your car is still running in your driveway….”

In this scenario the problem was a faulty garage door opener and the agitation is all the terrible things that happen because of the faulty garage door opener.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

Going forwards, any comments I have will be in italics, otherwise it will all be my sales letter.

But before I get to the secret of bringing in more customers, let me ask you – don’t you hate that helpless feeling you get when you see another business that seems to be doing the exact same advertising you are but is somehow overflowing with customers? Do they have an unfair advantage they’re not telling you about?

I’ve heard the same thing so many times in the past. It’s so annoying when you KNOW you do great work and all you want to do is get paid for it but you can’t find new customers who know that before they’ve hired you.

It’s like a chicken and egg problem. You do a great job but how does the customer know that before they’ve chosen you? How do you bring in more, new customers instead of having them go to your competition?

What makes it even worse is how many options there are for advertising now. Things use to be simple, put an ad in the yellow pages and do some leaflets in the local area then rely on word of mouth.

Now there are 7 million different business directories to advertise with, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, PPC, PPV, PPA and so many more variations on how to find customers. It’s overwhelming!

–end Robin–

3. Provide the Solution
Now that you’ve built your readers interest by making them feel the pain it’s time to provide the solution.  This is the part of the sales letter where you boldly stake your claim that you can solve the reader’s problem.

In this section you will introduce yourself, your product and/or your service.  Relieve the reader’s mind by telling them that they there’s no need to struggle through all their problems because your product or service will solve it for them.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

Hi, my name is Robin Sallay and I’m one of the two founders here at Start Local. Since we started StartLocal over six years ago, I’ve been working day in and day out to figure out new, really effective ways to get loads more customers for small and medium sized local businesses, just like yours.

I’ve put all those methods into evolving StartLocal to be a LEAD MACHINE for businesses. If you’re not getting enough customers at the moment then I’m happy to tell you that you can stop worrying as you’ve just found a key piece of the puzzle.

StartLocal is designed to make it as easy as possible for visitors to find the exact type of business they are looking for as quickly as possible. 90% of the visitors on StartLocal are looking for a business to call NOW to get their job done.

I want these visitors to find the best businesses for them, to have a great experience and to come back and visit StartLocal again.

I created the featured listing program on StartLocal to provide awesome businesses with a secret advantage over their competitors to massively increase their exposure to customers who are specifically looking for a business of their type.

The featured listing program is designed to make sure that when visitors arrive looking for a business of your type, if they are in your local area, then YOU are the business they find.

–end Robin–

4. Present your Credentials
In most cases, after you have introduced yourself and your product or service your reader is thinking, “Yeah, sure he can fix my problem.  That’s what they all say.”  So now it’s important to hit them right away with the reason why you can be trusted.

List your credentials including any one of the following:

  •     Successful case studies.
  •     Prestigious companies (or people) you have done business with.
  •     The length of time you’ve been in your field of expertise
  •     Conferences where you have spoken
  •     Important awards or recognitions

Your reader should get the impression after reading this section that “you’ve been there and done that” with great success and that the reader can expect the same results.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

I can imagine you thinking, “Sure, sure plenty of others claim this same thing, why are you different?”

Together with my co-founder, Brad Slade-Smith, we have more than 24 years of experience in generating visitors, leads and customers for websites and businesses. Since StartLocal began, we have been responsible for more than 88 million visits to the site.

From our office here in Sydney, we have been responsible for sending millions of leads to businesses. Even before StartLocal the majority of our time was taken up with training and focusing on the most effective methods to drive visitors online.

To give you an example, in one month, an advertising campaign we setup had over a billion impressions (1.12 billion actually) – and that was just restricting the advertising to within Australia!

As another example, in a few short years Brad and I took an ASX listed company in the finance sector from making 1 million profit per year to just under 14 million each year – We didn’t run the company but we were 100% responsible for the massive increase in leads they had from online sources (from 400 per month up to 12,000 per month) all on the back of the online advertising we ran for them.

Brad and I spend our time making sure that we are on the cutting edge of what is WORKING right now in online marketing, working out how we can implement that on StartLocal and then focusing on how we can make it work for YOU. We do it so that you don’t have to.

What do you think? Does that sound like two guys you’d want in your corner?

–end Robin–

5. Show the Benefits
Now it’s time to tell the reader how they will personally benefit from your product or service.  Don’t make the common mistake of telling all about the features of your product without talking about the benefits.  As I already stated, people are interested, not so much in you, or even your product or service, but what it will do for them.

Get a piece of paper and draw a line down the center of the paper.  Now write all the features of your product or service on the left.  Think about the obvious benefits and not-so-obvious benefits of the each feature and write them down on the right side of the paper.  Most of the time your product will have hidden benefits that people won’t naturally think of.

For example, a hot tub not only soothes and relaxes your muscles but it also gives you an opportunity to talk to your spouse without interruptions.  The hidden benefit is greater communication with your spouse and ultimately a better marriage!

Bullet point each benefit to make it easier to read.  Think about every possible benefit your reader may derive from your product or service.  In many cases, people will buy a product or service based on only one of the benefits you list.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

I like this way of doing things. I made some long lists of features and worked out the benefits for business owners associated with them.

Your Business Comes Up First

With a StartLocal featured listing, customers will find you before they see your competitors. You will be the business at the front of your customers minds right when they are looking for a business like yours. If customers see you before they see your competitors then they have the opportunity to enquire with you before they even find out about your competition.

Save Money by Getting Great Value

Why would you spend your hard earned money on bad advertising options that are overpriced? We are a smart, small, fast moving company which means we don’t have the giant overheads that some of our competitors have. This means we can pass those savings on to you. That means mega value for you since our advertising rates are some of the lowest in the industry while you receive lots of customer enquiries.

Don’t Waste Your Precious Time

Running a business takes 29 hours a day. I know, I never have enough time either. That’s why I wanted to make sure upgrading to a featured listing is as painless and easy as possible. You don’t need to worry about spending time learning new challenging advertising platforms. Pay Per Click, PPA, PPT there can be so much to learn – why not do it the easy way? We’ll call you, you can tell us what makes your business special and we will look after everything else. Let us do what we do best and bring you more customers. This will save you time, money and frustration. That means you can put your time into the important stuff – running your business.

Always wanted to be up top for certain keywords?

Part of getting an upgraded featured listing means you can specify any keywords that you KNOW you want to be up the top for and we’ll make sure they get added to your profile. If you aren’t sure about what keywords you want to be up the top for then let our experienced team do the research for you and get you the most profitable keywords.

Laser Precision Targeting

If you get your customers from more than one suburb, getting an upgraded featured listing will help you get more customers since you can get setup your featured listing to show in as wide of an area as you’d like. We even have the option of specifically targeting certain suburbs, or are there suburbs where you do NOT want customers? We can do that too. Make more money by bringing in the best possible customers while ruling out the ones you don’t want.

Don’t worry about getting locked in

Had issues with other advertising companies in the past where you’ve signed up for something that sounded really good and then it didn’t turn out to be what they promised but you couldn’t quit because of a lock in contract? That won’t be a problem with us. Not only will you get amazing value from your upgraded featured listing but we also have NO lock in contracts. You can cancel any time you like. We know you’re going to want to stay so we have no need to lock you in with an overbearing contract.

–end Robin–

6. Give Social Proof
After you’ve presented all your benefits the reader will again begin to doubt you, even though they secretly want all your claimed benefits to be true.  To build your credibility and believability present your reader with testimonials from satisfied customers.

Testimonials are powerful selling tools that prove your claims to be true.  To make your testimonial even more powerful include pictures of your customers with their names and addresses (at least the city and state).

You might even ask if you can use their phone number.  Most readers won’t call but it is a powerful statement to include their complete contact information.  It demonstrates that you are real and so are the testimonials.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

Sound great but still not sure? Here’s what Dianne Steed-Chentrens from Success Resumes had to say about her decision to upgrade to a featured listing on StartLocal.

 Frankly I can’t recommend “Start Local” and the Start Local Team enough.

I first took advantage of their complimentary listing service some 4 years ago, since I was just starting up my business and funds were tight. All I had was my complimentary ” Start Local” listing, a web site, an ad in yellow pages and my laptop. Open for business!!!

Jess Petagna, Business Development Manager, and her team were very helpful when I was first setting up and were always quick to respond to any of my questions or concerns if I needed help in the first stages of becoming a Start Local customer.

In a very short time it was apparent that actually most of my business was coming from new customers who were accessing “Resumes – Sunshine Coast” on Start Local.
Not the Yellow Pages…… Not my web site!
My business expanded dramatically and it was such a pleasure being able to work with local customers who had read all about me on my Start Local listing.
Eighteen months ago Jess rang to tell me of a brand new marketing initiative, whereby for a very reasonable monthly payment I could be listed under a Premium bracket, giving even more visual appeal and more exposure to my business. I took that gamble, signed up immediately and have never looked back.  Best decision I have ever made.
I like the way that “Start Local” never stand still and continually look for new opportunities for their customers, new marketing ideas to promote our sites, and more cutting edge technology to help their customers gain business (a new recent innovation is a computer generated message to my email advising when anybody has contacted Start Local and is about to contact me!)
“Start Local” is certainly my choice for promoting my business!!!!

 — Diane, Success Resumes

Awesome hey?? Diane runs just one of the hundreds of businesses that have made the decision to upgrade to a featured listing. I’d love for you to be sending us the next amazing email telling us how we helped to transform your business. That’s why we do what we do!

–end Robin–

 7. Make Your Offer
Your offer is the most important part of your sales letter.  A great offer can overcome mediocre copy but great copy cannot overcome a mediocre offer.  Your offer should be irresistible.  You want your reader to say to themselves, “I’d be stupid not to take advantage of this deal.”

Your offer can come in many different formats.  The best offers are usually an attractive combination of price, terms, and free gifts. For example, if you were selling a car your offer might be a discounted retail price, low interest rate, and a free year of gas.

Hint: When developing your offer you should always try to raise the value of your offer by adding on products or services rather than lowering your price.  Include vivid explanations of the benefits of the additional products or services you are offering in order to raise the perceived value of your offer.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

So, how much is it to get an Upgraded Featured Listing and get a whole lot of new customers?

Since we don’t have the massive overheads of many of our competitors we’ve been able to design the upgraded featured listing to be incredibly affordable so that you will have no worries at all about giving it a try so that you can see the great value. I know you’re going to want to stick around once you’ve seen how good it is!

In fact, if you decide to upgrade right now, I’ll send you the up to date report that I wrote called:

Search Engine Optimisation: How to Rank at the Top of Google For the Long Term

This Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) report is valued at $29.95 but I’m going to send it to you totally free. Together with my business partner we have driven more than 50 million visitors to websites from Google. We know how SEO works and we want to make it simple and easy for you to make sure YOUR website is not getting it wrong. Google is here to stay and so many websites we look at have major issues that will prevent them from ranking well over the long term. There are plenty of simple fixes that you probably just aren’t aware of. Sure, you could spend days, months or years researching online and reading every article you can find on the subject but you should be spending your time doing what you do best – running your business. This report will give you everything you need to know (as well as a list of really great resources if you decide you DO want to read more or see some backing as to why we recommend these ideas) and make it easy to implement.

Even though the RRP on the report is only $29.95 if you implement some of the easy steps in there and get a few more customers directly from Google, you’ll find that it could well be worth hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of your business.

This report is ONLY available if you decide to upgrade now and click the button to the right. There’s no other way you can get it.

So if you upgrade now you can get your free SEO report and your new upgraded featured listing which means more customers for you!

The price of a featured listing depends on how large the area is that you’d like to cover. If you only want to cover 10 postcodes then it is less than $0.90 per day. If you want to cover 20 postcodes then it is less than $1.18 per day or if you want to cover an entire region (for example, the whole of Sydney or Melbourne) then it is less than $1.33 per day.

How many new customers would you need to get to make that profitable? One? Two? Three?

THIS is how we’re all about value. We want to make StartLocal one of the most amazing value advertising sources you’ve ever had. Making your business succeed is our business and makes us happy.

I really want you to see how great advertising with StartLocal can be so I’m going to do something I’m not completely sure about but I’m going to do anyway.

If you choose to upgrade right now (and you will never see this offer again as it is not available anywhere else – if you do decide to upgrade later you will pay full price), I will take 10% off the regular price of a featured listing for you AND double the area you can reach with each option.

That means that if you want to reach:

  • 10 Postcodes, you will get a 10% further discount and get a bonus 10 postcodes making it 20 postcodes you can target for less than the regular price of 10.
  •  20 Postcodes, you will get a 10% further discount and get a bonus 20 postcodes making it 40 postcodes you can target for less than the regular price of 20.
  • BEST VALUE: An entire region, you will get a 10% further discount and get a bonus smaller region making it over 250+ postcodes you can target (depending on which regions you want to target) for less than the regular price of a region.

Remember, there are no lock in contracts with StartLocal so you can try it out for a month and cancel anytime. 99% of our customers do stay on with us after the first month but even if you do decide it’s not right for you for some reason, you’re still more than welcome to keep the bonus SEO report ‘How to Rank at the Top of Google For the Long Term’.

I’ve done my best to make sure that you are getting amazing value from us here at StartLocal.

–end Robin–

8. Give a Guarantee

To make your offer even more irresistible you need to take all the risk out of the purchase. Remember, that people have a built-in fear that they are going to get ripped off. How many times have you purchased a product and got stuck with it because the merchant wouldn’t give your money back?

Give the absolute strongest guarantee you are able to give. If you aren’t confident enough in your product or service to give a strong guarantee you should think twice about offering it to the public.

In reality, almost all small businesses already have a very strong guarantee, but don’t realize it! If you had an irate customer that wanted their money back would you just say, “No, I’m sorry. I will not give your money back?” Probably not. If they insist on getting their money back, in most cases you’ll give it back to them.

You see, most businesses already have a strong guarantee and don’t hold it up and trumpet it for fear that a lot of people would take them up on it. That’s simply doesn’t happen. When was the last time you asked for a full refund on something? If you’re like me, it’s been a while.

Here is an example of a guarantee that I give for one of my products:

* * “100%, No Questions Asked, Take-It-To-The-Bank Guarantee” * *

I personally guarantee if you make a diligent effort to use just a few of the techniques in this course, you’ll produce at least $4,490 profit in the next 12 months. That’s right, $4,490 extra profit you never would have seen without this course. If you don’t, I’ll refund the entire cost of the course to you.

Actually, you get double protection. Here’s how. At any time during the 12 months, if you sincerely feel I fell short in any way on delivering everything I promised, I’ll be happy to give you a complete refund. Even if it’s on the last day of the twelfth month!

This guarantee extends for an entire year and that they will receive specific benefits (in this case it’s money). It they don’t get what they expect, they get their money back with no questions asked. This virtually eliminates all the risk for the buyer.

Hint: Your offer may be so good that people won’t believe it. You’ve heard the old axiom, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” To avoid this thinking, give the reason why you can give such as great offer. For example, you might have goofed when ordering inventory and now you’re overstocked and that’s why you can offer such a great price. When people read the reason why, it will help them reconcile your irresistible offer in their mind and make it more believable.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

In fact, I guarantee you will be supremely happy with your results with a featured listing. If not, we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you are!

–End Robin–

9. Inject Scarcity

Most people take their time responding to offers, even when they are irresistible. There are many reasons why people procrastinate on investing in a solution. The following are just a few:

– They don’t feel enough pain to make a change
– They are too busy and just forget
– They don’t feel that the perceived value outweighs your asking price
– They are just plain lazy

To motivate people to take action they usually need an extra incentive. Remember when I said that people are more motivated to act by the fear of loss rather than gain? That’s exactly what you are doing when you inject scarcity into your letter.

When people think there is a scarce supply of something they need they usually rush to
get some of it. You can create a feeling of scarcity by telling your reader that either the quantity is in limited supply or that your offer is valid for only a limited time period.

Your offer could sound something like this:

“If you purchase by (future date) you will get the entire set of free bonuses”


“Our supply is limited to only 50 (product or service) and will be sent to you on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. After they are gone there won’t be any more available.”


“This offer is only good until (future date) after which the (product or service) will return to its original price.”

One word of caution: If you make an offer you need to live up to it. If you go back on your word after the deadline date you will begin to erode the trust and confidence your customers have come to expect from you.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

If you are thinking about getting an upgraded featured listing but are still on the fence about it, I should tell you that since we do have quite a small team here at StartLocal and we insist on making sure that every upgraded featured listing is getting the customers they need to grow their business, we will not continue taking on more featured listings than we can handle. There can only be so many businesses that get promoted to the top of their categories so we can make sure we spend all the time that is needed on each and every one to make it a success. This means that you can call us and actually speak to one of the team here in the office whenever you need to but what it also means is that if you are thinking of upgrading then you should do it now.

If you do decide to upgrade later rather than now (and if the upgrade option is still available in your business’s category at that time) you will miss out on the killer 10% discount that you get from upgrading on this page right now AND you will miss out on the secrets in the Google search engine optimisation report that could be worth thousands of dollars to your business over the coming months and years.

–End Robin–

10. Call to action

Do not assume that your reader knows what to do to receive the benefits from your offer. You must spell out how to make the order in a very clear and concise language. Whether its picking up the phone and making the call, filling out an order form, faxing the order form to your office etc…. you must tell them exactly how to order from you.

Your call to action must be “action-oriented.” You can do this using words like ‘Pick Up the Phone and Call Now!” or “Tear Off the Order Form and Send It In Today!” or “Come to Our Store by Friday and …” Be explicit and succinct in your instructions.

Plant your call to action throughout your letter. If you are asking the reader to call your free information line then perhaps some of the testimonials might say, “When I called their free information line” or in your offer you might say, “When you call our free information line…” Then when you give the call to action at the end of the letter, people won’t be surprised or confused. It will be consistent with what you said all throughout your letter.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

If you want to upgrade to a featured listing then click the button to upgrade your listing now. We will have your upgraded featured listing live before you know it and you’ll be getting more customers coming in the door.

We track visitors carefully on StartLocal and to give you an idea of how much extra exposure to new potential customers your business would have received over the last 12 months if you’d been featured with Startlocal, I’ve put some custom statistics for your business’s category and your region in right below this video. The number might seem high but it’s accurate.

This is how many visitors on StartLocal who were searching for your type of business, in your area, would have found you up the top of the page in the last 12 months had you been featured…and all it would have cost is less than the price of a cup of coffee per day.

Remember that 90% of the visitors that arrive on StartLocal need to get in contact with a business NOW. These are like people who go to Amazon. They are ready to take action. Your business should be the one they take action with.

–End Robin–

11. Give a Warning

A good sales letter will continue to build emotion, right up to the very end. In fact, your letter should continue to build emotion even after your call to action. Using the “risk of loss” strategy, tell the reader what would happen if they didn’t take advantage of your offer. Perhaps they would continue to:

– Struggle day to day to make ends meet
– Work too hard just to get a few customers
– Lose the opportunity to receive all your valuable bonuses
– Keep getting what they’ve always got
– Watch other companies get all the business
– Etc.

Try to paint a graphic picture in the mind of the reader about the consequences of not taking action now. Remind them just how terrible their current state is and that it just doesn’t have to be that way.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

So what are you going to do now? Keep trying to figure out new complicated advertising platforms and trying to work out how to spend advertising dollars profitably or will you decide to try out upgrading to a featured listing on StartLocal? Remember if you don’t upgrade now then you won’t receive your search engine optimisation report, get your bonus postcodes and you’ll have to pay full price for the upgraded featured listing in the future.

Do you want to come to StartLocal in the future and see that your competitor has jumped on and upgraded to a featured listing before you or do you want to get in first?

–End Robin–

12. Close with a Reminder

Always include a postscript (P.S.). Believe it or not, your P.S. is the third most read element of your sales letter. I’ve seen good copywriters use not just one postscript, but many (P.P.S). In your postscript you want to remind them of your irresistible offer. If you’ve used scarcity in your sales letter, include your call to action then remind them of the limited time (or quantity) offer. It sounds like a simple step but postscripts get noticed.

Voila! You now have a powerful sales letter. Using this 12-step formula anyone can write an effective sales letter that sells. The following are a few extra tips to help you write an even better sales letter:

Tip #1: Write the Features/Benefits – The biggest hurdle to writing a great sales letter is just getting started. Many people have a fear of writing. One way to get your letter started and develop a helpful guide for your letter is to write a feature/benefit list.

Take a set of 3 x 5 cards and write all the features you know about on one side of the cards. Then turn the cards over and write a benefit for each feature. You’ll have started your letter and produced a list of benefits you can use to write it.

Tip #2 – Once you have completed the letter, let it sit for a day or so. This will allow you to be more objective you when you edit your letter. If you’ve just spent the last few hours working on it you will find it hard to catch the mistakes or edits in the letter because you’re just too close to it.

Tip #3 – Develop a “swipe file” to help get your creative juices flowing. When you see a great ad or receive a particularly effective letter in the mail, keep it in a file that you can refer back to again and again. Companies pay thousands of dollars to develop their marketing materials; you might as well take advantage of that by using it as a model for your own work.

Tip #4 – Before you start writing your sales letter, develop a customer profile sheet by documenting every thing you know about your target customer. Some great copywriters put a picture of a typical customer in front of them as they write to help them remember to whom they are writing the letter.

Tip #5 – I often get the question, “How long should my sales letter be?” and my answer is, “As long as it needs to be.” Each part of your sales letter should be building your case. If it takes ½ page to build your case then that’s how long your letter should be; however, I use a 24-page sales letter to successfully sell one of my products.

Most anyone can write a powerful sales letter by just following this simple 12-step process. Make sure that you include each of the steps because each step builds your case in a unique way and adds to the reader’s emotions.

–Robin’s follow along example here–

Thanks for reading. If you’re still not sure about upgrading then, if it’s within business hours, I suggest you give us a call on 1300 785 706 so that you can talk to us about it and we can answer any questions you might have. But don’t close this page! Even if you call us but you’ve closed this page, you won’t be able to get the 10% discount, the double bonus postcodes and the search engine optimisation report sent to you.

Click the button and upgrade to a featured listing now. For less than the price of a cup of coffee each day you can get access to a smart new source of customers before your competitors.

–end Robin–

So there we have it my dear readers, David Frey’s 12 step foolproof sales letter template interspersed with a real sales letter! I know that it was a lot to take in but if you take the time to understand it, this WILL make a massive difference to your customer acquisition. Well done for making it so far down this LONG but potentially very valuable post. Like all these posts, they won’t be worth anything to you if you don’t IMPLEMENT something from it. Go and do something now!

If it was a bit hard to read the two together like that, here they are on separate pages:

Full StartLocal Real Salesletter Example

David Frey’s 12 Step Foolproof Sales Letter Template (offsite)

As usual, if you have any questions at all or enjoyed (or hated) this post add a comment below and I will get right back to you.



Copywriting for Small Business & Why These 7 Tips Will Put More Profit In Your Pocket – How to Sell without Selling Part 1

Copywriting for Small Business

While it’s true that copywriting is a specialised field, it IS definitely possible for a business owner with no previous knowledge on the subject to learn some great techniques that will favourably impact your website’s (and other marketing channels)  sales and marketing efforts (almost) instantly.

I know this post is long but bookmark it now so you can come back later easily. If you use the advice on this page, there’s no reason you can’t dramatically increase your sales.

Part 2 of this post (coming soon) will have a FULL, real example of a sales letter that we use, broken down into steps showing the easiest method I know to create an effective sales letter (hint: it’s not as hard as you think!) In the meantime, understanding and putting into use some of the tips in PART 1 on this page will increase your conversion.

What is Copywriting?

Copywriting is the ability to create a piece of writing that encourages the reader to take action or behave in a particular manner. In this particular instance, we’re talking about having a potential customer take action to become your customer.

Uses for Your New Sales Letter & Copywriting

Your new, persuasive sales letter can be used to turn potential customers into new customers but it can also be used to encourage your existing customers to spend more and become better customers. Remember that the cardinal rule is you must provide VALUE. Your customer will pay more if you are providing 5x or 10x more value to them somehow. I’ll be doing a post on the 80/20 principle soon that goes into more detail on this idea.

You don’t just have to send this sales letter in the mail as was done in ye olde days. This can be used (sometimes in an abbreviated version) wherever a potential customer is seeing your business for the first time. Think your website, business profile on directories like StartLocal and anywhere else it might be seen. [Read more…]

How telling an amazing story will boost your sales

How to Tell An Amazing Story

Hello fellow business owners!

Today I wanted to talk about storytelling because I personally think it’s one of the most crucial pieces that is missing from most businesses marketing. Before I get into why, I’d like to tell you a really short story…

A few years ago at the end of a long journey I was in this tight, little hallway of a hotel in Venice face-to-face with a red-faced hotel employee. I was standing right outside my room with the door partially open, my girlfriend looking on from inside. The hotel employee in front of me had just taken a breath from his Italian/English screaming. He’d already embarrassed himself and me over the last two minutes and was getting ready for more. I was having trouble trying to decide whether I should laugh, nod solemnly or stomp on his immaculate black shoes. Finally, I decided it would be easier to just give him the loaf of bread I was carrying that he kept pointing at. He huffed, shook his head and went on his way. I laughed and vowed to myself that if I ever opened a hotel in Venice, guests WOULD be allowed to eat their own food in their hotel rooms.

Some hotels have strange rules. This one had a rule that you were not allowed to eat in the hotel room. Funny story but it has a point.

[Read more…]