Sensational Sales Letters Still Sell
by Marcia Yudkin
With the rise in popularity of email, last year's anthrax
problem and ever-increasing postal rates, many people assume
that direct mail is dead.
Not so! Postal sales letters delivered by mail carrier
rather than digital networks still have an important place
in many marketing programs. For one thing, many more
very precisely targeted "snail mail" lists are
available than for email. For another thing, some
populations don't trust any offers coming to them on their
computer. So here are my top tips for crafting an
effective sent-by-mail sales letter.
The four most important ingredients of a sales letter are
an attention-getting headline, a specific offer, a call to
action and a P.S.
The headline, placed before the salutation, should make a
claim or a promise that ties in with recipients' needs and
interests. For instance:
Whatever the Language, We'll Get Your Message Across Right
-- And With 25 Percent Savings the First Time You Hire Us!
We'll Prepare Those Pesky 1099s and W-2s for Your Business
Right Away -- Absolutely Free!
Finally, an Organization That Fights Like Crazy to Protect
and Heal Abused Children!
Your letter needs a clear and compelling offer, an explicit
transaction that you are inviting the reader to make. Don't
write what I call a "Hello,
I exist" sales letter. Here's an example of an offer:
For only $29.95 you can have unlimited use of our health
club for one month, along with a one-hour private session
with one of our certified fitness trainers.
Your P.S., which is the second most read element in the
letter after the headline, should mobilize the reader to act
now. Provide an incentive for acting fast, or toss in an
additional bonus. For instance:
P.S. Charge your membership to your credit card in four
equal payments for no additional cost -- and receive a full-color
desk calendar if you respond
by November 10.
In conjunction with the offer, include an explicit call to
action. Tell your reader exactly what action or actions you
want him or her to take after reading the letter. For
Please look over the enclosed materials and return our
self-addressed, postage-paid postcard to set up an
appointment to discuss your next important building project.
How long should your sales letter be? As long as it
takes to arouse interest, lay out the whole offer, address
possible objections and ask the reader to take action.
Sometimes this takes one page, sometimes four.
Professional copywriters say that two-page letters generally
outpull one-pagers, and that even eight pages may not be too
long. Those who are not interested won't read even one page,
and those who are will read eight.
So don't feel you have to cram your whole sales message into
one page to get action.
By the way, these principles work for crafting email
letters, too, although there you must move very, very
carefully to avoid being taken for a dreaded
"spammer." An attention-getting headline, a
specific offer, a call to action and a P.S. get you results,
whatever your delivery mechanism
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
The above is adapted from Marcia Yudkin's manual, "Turn
Any Sales Letter Into an Irresistible Concoction,"
available through http://www.yudkin.com/scourse.htm.
Marcia Yudkin <email@example.com>
is the author of 11 books, including Six Steps to Free
Publicity and Internet Marketing for Less than $500/Year.
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