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Connect to Your Customers with Superb Sales Letters
By Melinda Copp
In the age of e-newsletters and e-mail, you may not consider a sales letter, sent through the regular old postal service, as a viable means of contacting your target market. But the traditional sales letter has not gone completely by the wayside. Need proof? Just look at your own mail. Chances are you get some form of sales correspondence (read: “junk mail”) in your box every day.
But don’t let the “junk” connotation steer you away from using this approach in your marketing efforts. Why do you think you get so many? Because direct mail marketing and promotions work. Sales letters allow you to communicate with your target at their convenience, and yours. Plus, if you have a message that may benefit your target, maybe a new product, service, or guarantee, then your letter is anything but garbage. The key is to make sure this critical message comes across to your reader before he or she has a chance to toss your letter in the recycling bin.
If you want to make your sales letters stand out, use the following three strategies.
1. Grab Their Attention
When your prospect opens your letter, the first thing they will see is the headline. If your headline doesn’t get their attention, it will be the last part of your carefully crafted message that they will bother to look at. Therefore, your headline is really the most important line on the page, and at least the line that has to do the most work.
So what makes a good headline? You can make your readers an offer they can’t refuse, such as, “Get Free Delivery on Your First Order.” The word “free” alone inspires a reader to keep going because they immediately know that you have something they can get at no cost. After all, everyone likes free stuff. Plus, this particular example reduces some of their risk with the free delivery, which makes them feel like they have less to lose in buying from you.
You can grab them with a benefit, such as, “With Our Continuous Supply Updates, You Can Stop Worrying about Your Inventory Running Out.” This style gets noticed because people really don’t like to read about you and your company, they like to read about themselves and what they can get from you.
Or, you can ask them an intriguing question, such as “Have You Ever Lost Sleep Worrying about a Late Delivery on a Crucial Shipment?” This headline style catches their eye because, if you know your target, you should be able to ask a question that speaks directly to them and their needs.
2. Stop Thinking about Yourself
Knowing what your audience wants and needs means you need to know who they are. For example, a letter to your grandmother will differ a great deal from a letter to your spouse. Your grandma obviously has different interests than your spouse, so you’ll make decisions about what to include in the letter. Besides the message you convey, the tone and style will be different. When you start to write your sales letter, consider what needs your audience wants to hear about. Give this serious thought because your whole letter should reflect your understanding of your market.
Once you’ve established what the audience wants to hear, next describe all the benefits of what you can offer them. Many companies make the mistake of touting their experience, reputation, and expertise in attempts to win new clients. But this approach rarely yields the greatest results. If you want to get people interested in your company, then you need to shift your message to how you can benefit them.
Rather than describing all the wonderful things about your company, describe all the wonderful results they will see from doing business with you. For example, if you offer your prospects more reliable technology, then explain how they can save time backing up their information. Or if you have fifty years of experience, then they can rest easier knowing they are working with experienced professionals. To really get people interested in your company, tell them exactly how you can make their lives easier.
3. Make it Easy to Read
Many people try to use big words to make their writing better, or they try to overload their sentences with information. Some even use industry jargon to let their readers know that they know what they’re talking about. However, these practices do not strengthen your writing; they only turn readers off.
Writing in a conversational style, like you’re talking to a friend, will keep readers interested in your message. So put away the thesaurus and write the way you talk. Also, don’t try to pack your sentences with information and details. Use short sentences and bulleted lists to convey your information. And leave out the jargon. You want to make sure your writing speaks to everyone, even those who don’t know your industry inside and out.
Besides conversational writing and style, a number of visual elements also contribute to the readability of your letters. Have you ever put a book back on the shelf because it had too many pages or the font was too small? If yes, you’re definitely not the only one. Even if it was the best book in the world, you may not have felt comfortable reading it. You don’t want your prospect to unfold your letter and feel intimidated by a solid block of text, so you need to make it visually appealing as well. Start by breaking your text into small paragraphs. Incorporate subheadings to guide readers through the letter. Finally, bold and underline key points and phrases so readers know what’s most important.
Your Sales Letter Success
Direct mailings are a time-tested method of reaching your market. They allow you to contact your prospects and clients with a one-on-one message that they can read at their convenience. But if you want to get the best results from your efforts, you need to ensure your letter or mailing doesn’t end up in the junk mail pile.
The first thing your reader will see on your letter is the headline, so make sure it inspires them to keep reading. Then shift your focus away from yourself and your company and on to your reader’s wants and needs so they can see exactly how you make their lives easier. Finally, make your letter easy on their eyes by using short words, sentences, and paragraphs, and by leading them through the message with subheadings.
When you use these three strategies to improve your sales letters, your promotional mailings will have a greater response and bring more clients and prospects to your business.
About the Author:
Melinda is a copywriter, editor, and ghostwriter. With her writing expertise, she helps clients communicate their knowledge to the marketplace with clarity and confidence. Visit her online at www.MelindaWrites.com.
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