How to Write an Effective Sales Letter: 11 Tips

May 18, 2011 at 11:33 am Leave a comment

I often peruse the web for articles on how I can become a better marketer. A few days ago, I came across a great article on how to create an effective sales letter. Most marketers today heavily utilize email marketing, due to its ability to reach a wide audience at a very minimal cost. Letters sent via postal mail are a bit pricier, but can be very effective if you have a clean targeted list. The article I read stated, “Sales letters are the most customized form of direct-mail marketing. Brochures or fliers, however glossy, tend to be impersonal and may be dismissed as junk mail.” Sales letters, on the other hand, are addressed directly to a customer and can speak specifically to their business challenges.

The following tips are written by Joanna L. Krotz on http://www.microsoft.com/business

1. Build trust. Besides the benefit billed at the letter’s opening, you can bolster interest and inject pizzazz by adding high-profile endorsements from associates or former clients. “I put a testimonial quote from a marquee name at the top of my letter,” says Anne Miller, a New York City sales trainer who leverages compliments from such clients as and The New York Times.

2. Get to bona fides, quick. “You need to establish credibility and be believable by the second paragraph,” says sales coach Daryl Logullo at Strategic Impact in Vero Beach, Fla. This is where you explain who you are, why you’re so cool (or smart or cheap or special or useful) and what you have to offer. How you package that information, of course, varies with your targets and your products. Some options: Avoid being long-winded or boring in this “credentials” section, cautions Bette Price, a management consultant based in Addison, Texas. “Be unique. Don’t just offer some generalized statement.”

3. Make it memorable. One ofthe advantages of a sales letter is that prospects can tuck it away for later action. “Great mailers have staying power—sometimes they will end up on a refrigerator door or a bulletin board for years,” says Wilson Zehr, chief executive of LaunchPoint, a Portland, Ore., direct-mail provider. He suggests you include reasons for your customers to spend more time with the letter and therefore more time considering your offer. For example, a computer repair service might include the top 10 tips for PC maintenance.

4. Emphasize good looks. “Design your document for visual impact,” says Deborah Dumaine, author of Write to the Top: Writing for Corporate Success . “Make it easy to navigate so your reader reaches for it first-ahead of the competition’s.” You can easily create professional-looking templates for your sales letter that use your company logo, branding and colors with Microsoft Publisher, part of the Microsoft Office 2010 .

5. Include a call to action. “Inform the reader about what he or she should do next,” says Joe Hage at MRA, a branding agency in Syracuse, N.Y. “An example is: ‘Please call me on my cell phone (917-555-0000) before Friday, the 28th.'” Or, say you’ll follow up with a phone call or more material. Then, of course, make sure you do.

6. And include an incentive. Always explain when, why and how customers should act, says Patti Abbate of Sunrise Public Relations in Needham, Mass. “Then, include an incentive for acting sooner, such as a discount, special offer or something free.”

7. Resist “Mail Merge.” Despite the ease and speed with which technology can “find and replace” in electronic documents, don’t succumb to the temptation of form letters. “The best sales letters, especially when dealing with your own current list, are quite individualized,” says Shel Horowitz, author of Principled
Profit: Marketing That Puts People First. Tap your database for information about a customer’s sales history and preferences. Then send specialized letters whenever it’s appropriate. “If you notice it’s been six months since a customer has been in, it might be time for a friendly ‘We miss you’ letter with an offer specific to that customer,” suggests Horowitz.

8. Forge connections. Similarly, don’t get caught up in pushing services or products. You want to develop a long-term relationship with the customer, not pressure him into one discounted sale. Use your letter to investigate whether you can solve customer problems or meet needs. Try to build a relationship that will last into the future.

9. Test. Test. Test. When you’re planning a bulk mailing, in contrast to a selected best-customer target, send out a few versions of the sales letter to small groups of targets. Then see what pulls.

10. Hit the right notes. “Your letter should sound like you,” says Annette Richmond, a career coach in Rowayton, Conn. If your style is casual and informal, you don’t want to create a stiff pitch letter, filled with bizspeak and corporate jargon. Match your letter to the way you do business.

11. One last tip: Before sending out the letters, calculate the highest possible response you can handle. Make sure the volume of your mail drop correlates to that expected response. You wouldn’t want to create the perfect pitch and then be unable to fulfill all the orders that come flooding in, would you?

For more tips on marketing visit Microsoft Business for Small & Midsize Companies


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Entry filed under: Office 2010, Sales Tools. Tags: , , , , .

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