It is notoriously difficult to write a good sales letter.
Before it even gets to the basic challenge of all selling – arousing enough interest to get the customer to
act – the letter has to get itself read.
These two objectives are contradictory. The shorter a
letter, the more likely it is to be read, but the less opportunity it has to
persuade – whereas a letter that presents a thoroughly persuasive case in full
is unlikely ever to be read.
So, in listing a few features of a good sales letter, it has
to be said is that the real challenge is to balance and prioritise them. This
is one of many areas in business where giving general advice is easy, but
getting it right in practice is a matter of experience, trial, and error.
1 A good sales letter should not look like a
sales letter. Send it in an ordinary envelope – anything with advertising
on the outside is likely to go straight into the trash, unopened. Format it as
a letter, with address and personal signature. Avoid splashy graphics – again,
it will go straight in the trash as soon as it is seen as a sales letter. The
ideal is for the reader to be half way through before he realises you are
2 KISS: Keep It Short And Simple. It
should not exceed a single page – and that as open and uncluttered as possible.
The real art of writing a business letter is not to make a good case but to
make it in three short paragraphs.
your hook in at once. The first line of the letter is the most important.
It must grab his attention. If it does not, your prospect is unlikely to bother
with the second line.
4 Make it relevant to the reader personally. If
writing individual letters, research the recipients, and refer to things that
you know will interest them. If using a mailing list, consider how to use the
basis of that list as a hook – “as a fellow home-owner/dog lover/libertarian,
5 Make it easy for the reader to act. End
with full contact details – it is astonishing how many letters forget this! An
e-mail address is now compulsory. If you include a telephone number, consider
making it freephone. If you want written replies, consider including a reply
slip and pre-paid self-addressed envelope.