The "Killer" Order Form

The Success Margin

Sunday, April 30, 2006


The primary goal of any offer online or offline
is, of course, to get an order.

Therefore, the order form should be the very
strongest element of any customer offer.

That's why it's always seemed so amazing to
me that the worst examples of direct marketing
are, in my opinion, order forms.

Order forms generally are dull, boring, ugly and

Today I'm actually going to show you, dear
reader, an alternative--how to make yours
exciting, beautiful and compelling. And even
better still--far more responsive!

** First Step **

Prepare order form first!

Sequence of when you prepare the different
elements of your offer, especially the order form,
is very important. Reasons?

1. Keeps offer fresh and exciting. You have not
yet run out of emotional gas. If you prepare the
sales letter first, as do most, you may have little
passion and enthusiasm for the all-important
order form afterwards. You can't hide your
feelings. They will show.

2. Clarity. You will be almost forced into a rare
but oh so desirable result for marketers. Instead
of confusing the customer, present a clear offer.

Tip: As you create, what I recommend and use
myself is this frame of mind. Assume your
prospect will read your order form first and not
read the sales letter at all. Therefore, your
order form must be capable of doing the
complete sales job by itself.

3. Never use the words "order" or "form" as does
nearly everyone else. These words are negative
and reduce orders. "Order" suggests spending
money, which absolutely no one wants to do.
"Form" is something no one wants to fill out.
Do you?

Tip: Always use a positive headline for the
order form. A few successful ones I use are:

-- Free Trial Request
-- Free Examination Certificate
-- Savings Certificate
-- Membership Application
-- Privilege Invitation
-- Send No Money--Offer Expires in 7 Days
-- Free Audition Certificate
-- Free Preview Issue
-- Official Entry and Enrollment Certificate
-- Request for Free Information

Tip: Start off the copy with the word "Yes"!
It's the most underused but powerful word in all

4. Restate the main benefit of the product. Often
it's effective to include two to three benefits of
the product. Always restate the benefits, not in
your voice, but in the voice of the person

Tip: Include a statement of acceptance of the
offer, including the guarantee, in the voice of
the buyer.

5. Restate the features of the product. A full
description including the colors, dimensions,
weight and material used in making the product
are important in helping build credibility.

6. Include a professional photo of the product,
ideally in full color.

7. Include a photo of a person--perhaps yourself,
the inventor or celebrity--that, of course, fits the
offer. This individual should have a warm smile,
wear appropriate business attire and be making
eye contact with the reader.

8. Dramatize any gifts or free bonuses you may
include within the offer. Photos, strong titles
and descriptions really improve response.

9. Restate a powerful money-back guarantee.
The longer and more prominent, the better. For
example, 30 days will pull better than 10 days; 60
days pull better than 30; 90 better than 60; 180
days better than 90. One year pulls better than
180 days. A lifetime guarantee is the most
powerful of any time period. Always include the
signature and title of the most senior person at the
company at the end of the guarantee.

10. Make it stand out, not blend in! Use a
different paper and ink colors for the order form
than the rest of the mailing or e-mail offer.

11. Use a fancy border resembling a stock
certificate, which adds the feeling of perceived
value of the offer.

12. Print on one side only for an offline offer.
Leave the back blank. All my tests show the
response is higher.

13. For offline offers, add the words "Please

14. Add a second order form offline. I've never
seen an instance wherein sales didn’t increase by
at least 10% to 20% due to pass-along readership.

Tip: No matter how high a response you get
online, your offline response percentage is
usually about 400% more. Clearly, many people
respond at a higher rate because they retain offers
received in the mail for a longer period.

15. Multiple order options. Since buyers of
course vary in their favorite order methods,
include toll free phone, fax, e-mail and mail.

Tip: Don't forget to include all your company's
contact information. You'd be surprised how
often even the largest marketers make this basic

16. Test a variety of font color options for
headlines and subheadlines (red, blue, purple,
etc.), but keep the main body of the copy in
black. Black on white is easier to read than
any other combination except black on yellow.

17. Include a deadline. Build a sense of
urgency to build response. Print a specific date
when the offer and price expire. Or print the
words "Please respond within 10 days."

Be diligent in preparing your order form using
these little-known secrets.

Instead of "ugly duckling" order forms, the
result will be a beautiful response mechanism
with a far higher response level.

As always, here is to your increased success

Your correspondent,

Ted Nicholas

P.S. The last Success Margin, "7 Magic Words
to Happiness" struck a nerve. It drew more
reader comments than any previous issue. In
this amazing response level, all were positive
except for two. Here is a sample:

"Thank you so much for this--you have started
my day, week, month, year, life on the most
positive note possible."
--Peter Thomson

"Congratulations on your excellent article.
Your reply to the question, 'How are you?' is
'Better and better.' Your answer is the truth. I
have known you a long time (Wow! More than
30 years!) and you are always upbeat.
The 7 Magic Words to Happiness, the way you
live your life and the joy and happiness
emanating from you truly are…in a
--Bob Steiner
Past President
Society of American Magicians
Hercules, CA

"Just wanted to report I've been saying those 7
words lately and things are actually turning out
much better. Can never be too sure if it's the
words or just karma, but just thought I'd let
you know."
--Shireen S.

"Thank you for the refreshing Success Margin.
I agree with every word you wrote. I am living
proof you can be happy in the middle of chaos
from every angle."

"Dude, that ROCKED."
--Dwayne O.P.

"Isn't it great how special things turn up at the
right time in one's life. Indeed this is one of
those special things. I appreciate your sharing
this gift."
--Andrew L.

"I let 'stinkin thinkin' cloud my outlook on trivial
non-essential stuff. I've spent too much there in
recent years. As a result not surprisingly is that
my health, emotional state and wealth all

"Thanks. Your e-zine came at the right time.
I'm feeling my lousiest ever. Sometimes it is
inevitable to experience your worst and to have
such low self-esteem. Your words did help me a
bit and I will try to recover using this phrase."
--Eidel W.

"I just broke out of a relationship yesterday and I
know it's a lot of emotional trauma. But reading
The Success Margin today really brightened my
countenance instantly. Today I'm going to love
my life! Thanks. You’ve done more than you
could imagine."
--Adediji O.

"I needed that. And it came at the right time to
make me realize that it is my negativity that is
the cause of so much stuff going on in my life at
this time. So I choose to love my life even with
outstanding bills, insecurity, car acting up, bank
accounts running dry and no income coming in.
Come to think of it, I am blessed. I live in the
tropics and even as I write I see the stars out my
window and hear the buzzing of crickets.
Today I'm going to love my life as I will when I
wake up fresh tomorrow. Thank you so much."
--Miriam H.

"I thought you might like the following quote
from the Bible:

'Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does
the stomach; good talk is as gratifying as a good
'Words kill, words give life; they're either
poison or fruit—you choose.'
Proverbs Chapter 18—from the message (The
Bible in Contemporary Language) by Eugene H.
--Lew W.

"You are way off base. I completely disagree
with your viewpoint about happiness."
--Herb H.

"Your e-zine came along at absolutely the wrong
time for me.
I've never felt so miserable about my life--
especially my unemployment problems. Yet you
have the audacity to suggest that I think
positively. Your 'better and better' response is
patently absurd.
This viewpoint comes across to me as both
arrogant and patronizing. I do believe you should
be more sensitive to your readers."
--Phillip P.