Order! Order! A Guide to Writing an Effective Order Form
* the envelope promises a benefit or piques the reader's curiosity;
* the letter packs an emotional wallop and calls for action;
* the flyer provides detailed product information;
* the lift piece builds credibility; and
* the order form is where the rubber really hits the road.
You see, the order form is the place where the reader actually signs on the dotted line and makes a commitment. Whether you're asking the prospect to order the product and pay with a credit card number, request a free white paper, register for a Webinar, or act in any way, it's important to handle all the details of the order form properly.
Here are 10 ways to make sure that your order form (whether printed on paper or posted on a Web site) is a winner.
1. You don't have to call it an "Order Form." When a life insurance salesperson passes you a contract, she doesn't say "Please sign this contract." Instead, she hands you a pen and says, "Let me just get your OK on this." Why? Because any (good) salesperson wants to keep you from focusing on the fact that you're making a commitment. So don't (necessarily) call your order form by that name. Go with something less threatening, like:
* FREE Guide Request Card
* Information Request Form
* Software Request Action Card
* Free Software Evaluation Form.
2. Ask for personal details tactfully. Don't just roll in with your data fields: Name, Title, Company, etc. Warm things with a simple line such as: "We'd like to get to know you better."
3. Make a "limited-time" offer. If you want to spur action, let prospects know that they can't dawdle. Push them along with lines such as:
* Offer must expire on May 15, 2003 and will not be repeated!
* This limited-time offer good until May 15, 2003 only!
* Don't miss this FREE offer which must end on May 15, 2003!
4. Minimize the number of qualifying, marketing-type questions you ask. Response rates plummet as the number of probing questions you ask increases. Typical questions you'd love to ask but should consider avoiding include:
* How many people are in your department?
* What's your budget?
* When do you plan on making a purchase of a new system?
* What solution are you currently using?
5. Include your guarantee on the order form. Since you want to reassure your prospect at the moment he is deciding to act, reprint your fabulous guarantee right on the order card. It's comforting to the prospect.
6. Precheck the "Yes" box. If you're going to include a little box for checking next to the "Yes" line, precheck it.
7. In the first line (after the "Yes") restate the benefits. That way, if the order form is the first thing prospects read, they'll understand the offer fully. For example:
/X/ Yes. Please send me your FREE Information Kit.
/X/ Yes. I want to find out more about how American Management Solutions can solve some of the toughest budget and management problems I face. So send me your FREE Information Kit titled "How to Make Your Budget Go Farther in Difficult Times" without risk or obligation.
8. Make sure you include your fax and phone number, Web site URL, and e-mail address. While you can say, "For faster action, call 1-800-123-1234," you never know how people want to respond; so include ALL response options on the order form.
9. Include motivating subheadlines under the order form headline. For example:
Report Request Card
"How to Slash the High Cost of Product Returns"
Your Report Is FREE for the Asking!
Don't miss this "must read" document from Levison Software!
No risk. No obligation. Nothing to buy.
10. Make the details completely clear. Obvious, but often overlooked! You don't want the prospect to have to work in order to fill out your order form. So make price, quantity, tax, etc. very clear and lay it all out attractively and cleanly.
The take-away message this month? Your order form is extremely important since that's where the prospect has to take action. As always, handle all the little details properly and watch sales grow!
Ivan Levison is a freelance direct response copywriter who works for companies like Bank of America, Fireman's Fund, Intel, Microsoft and many others. Levison writes direct mail sales letters, e-mail letters and ads. For a free subscription to his monthly e-mail newsletter for software marketers, visit his Web site at http://www.levison.com. He can be reached at (415) 461-0672 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.