How to Write Effective Sales Letters
Would you like to be able to write a sales letter that people actually read? Every year businesses send tens of thousands of sales letters that are poorly thought out, lack benefits, don’t tell the recipient what to do, and as a result fail to get results.
What do many businesses conclude? That direct mail, in particular sales letters, don’t work. However, this simply isn’t the case. The real truth is often found a lot closer to home, with poor execution usually the reason for disappointing response rates.
Follow the step-by-step guide below to create a sales letter that sells:
1. An Eye-Catching Headline
This is possibly the most important part of a sales letter. The heading needs to be compelling, thereby making people want to read the rest of the letter. Headlines less then 8 words tend to work best in sales letters.
Place the heading at the top of the page in the centre, and use a large font. Use of colour is fine as well – anything that makes it stand out. Don’t be afraid to use a different font to the rest of the sales letter, although never use more than 2 different fonts throughout the letter. Also, it’s best to avoid using two sans serif fonts or two serif fonts.
2. Choose One Benefit To Highlight Above Everything Else
Why should the prospect use your product or service? How can it help them? What’s your unique selling proposition? Choose the most compelling reason and highlight it throughout the sales letter.
3. Ask Questions, But Only In A Certain Way
Rhetorical questions are an excellent way of getting the reader’s attention and encouraging them to think about your offer. However, far too many rhetorical questions can be answered with a simple yes or no, which is something to be avoided.
Take the following question – “Would you like to learn the secrets to starting a home business?” Many people would but people are also skeptical when presented with a sales letter – the result is that many will think ‘no’ and stop reading.
You want to be in control of the answer. Therefore phrase the question in such a way that it can’t be answered with a yes or no. One easy way of doing this is simply to insert ‘how’ before a question:
“How would you like to learn the secrets to starting a home business?”
4. Answer Your Questions
Never ask a question without putting in an answer. Sales letters aren’t stories so don’t let doubts foster by leaving your prospects guessing the answer until the end.
5. Address Potential Doubts
Many businesses don’t addr...
Website Copywriting Guide
There are two types of website copywriting. The first refers to copywriting for existing customers or website visitors with the purpose of encouraging action, usually to buy a product. It can be used for all marketing material, ranging from direct mail to websites.
The second type of copywriting is often termed search engine copywriting. This is the process of writing website content with the primary purpose of achieving high rankings in search engines. This involves accommodating keywords and keyword phrases into the content.
Naturally these two types of copywriting are not mutually exclusive. There’s no point having content written purely for the search engines if it’s not going to make any sales when people actually visit your site. Similarly, you can have the most persuasive content on your website but if no one is visiting it you’ll make no sales. Therefore the art of copywriting is often being able to combine the two – persuasive copywriting which also accommodates relevant keyword phrases.
Many people say that if you’re in business then you’re likely to have competent writing skills. So why spend money on recruiting the services of someone to write or reword your website? Quite simply, because they know how to sell. Professional copywriters know what works and what doesn’t, thereby making your marketing more efficient through converting more potential customers into actual customers.
However, small businesses aren’t renowned for having plenty of cash and are likely to have more pressing concerns initially. Therefore if you are in charge of writing the content on your website follow the basic ground rules below:
Writing Press Releases
Press releases 'sell’ the story to the press. A poorly written press release covering an excellent story will simply be ignored.
Step into a Journalist’s Shoes
Journalists have no interest in promoting your product or hearing that you do in fact sell the most comfortable shoes in the local area. Too many people fall into this trap and end up writing press releases that sound like advertisements. Don’t do this. Write a good story, making sure to avoid overly-hyped language and clichés. See our Public Relations Ideas section.
The Headline is Vital
An attention-grabbing headline is vitally important to ensure that journalists even read your press release. This isn’t something to quickly complete after writing your press release. Ask others for ideas – a good headline will make all the difference. Ideally keep it to 8 words or less.
Get to the Point
A press release isn’t an essay. It doesn’t require a beginning, middle and an end. After drawing in the journalist will a well-constructed heading you only have a few seconds to keep their attention so get to the point straight away.
Quotes add depth and interest to your story. Try to include an intriguing, even slightly controversial, quote from one of the people behind the company.
The Technical Details
There are certain essential components that all press releases should include. Include date of release instructions, such as 'For Immediate Release’, a summary, contact information, and signify the end of your press release. For more information about this see Th...