How to write letters that SELL

We all write letters. Some of them are emails, some of them are to sell our products or services. Most of it is junk mail, and therefore a waste of time and money.

Consider the junk mail you receive. What makes it junk? Is it because the product or service being offered is of no value to you, or some other reason? Do you reject it out of hand within, say, 3 or 4 seconds? Well, perhaps that’s exactly what happens to the letters you send out. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

If your letter is dumped immediately, you have wasted your time and money.

If your letter gets read and then dumped, you have not only wasted your time and money, you have also begun the process of training others to ignore you.

What’s worse is the low level of expectations. I once saw a testimonial from an SME thanking a copywriter for increasing their conversions from 0.58% to 0.7%. Although that was a 21% improvement, it was still a 99.3% failure rate!

There will almost always be a high rate of wastage, but you can improve your results quite easily, and at no extra cost.

Here are 10 elements to include in sales letters to transform results:

1. Strapline: at the top of the page, it sets the scene for the Headline’s ‘come on’.
2. Headline: absolutely essential, it must contain your strongest ‘come on’ and is worth 90% of your budget. (What – you don’t have a headline?!).
3. Sub-heads: these are short headlines in bold type that break up the text and project a series of benefits, while making it easy for readers to skim read.
4. Problem/solution: the best structure.
5. Stories: they illustrate your message in memorable ways and allow you to make your points indirectly.
6. Bullet points: use these to make your letter more visually interesting.
7. Testimonials: third party endorsements are powerful.
8. Transitions: these bridge the gaps between different ideas and maintain the flow.
9. Call to action: Always tell people what to do next, but first make sure you have given them enough reasons to accept your offer.
10. PS: this is the third most read part of a sales letter (after the Headline and salutation) and should never be omitted.

In addition, elegant language and good grammar play important parts, but I assume these are ‘given’. The 10 points listed above are all in the armoury of good copywriters.

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Filed under copywriting, Direct Marketing, Marketing, public speaking, Sales

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