Remember that good copy is not what you want to say about your products or services … it’s what your customer gets out of them.
No matter if what you are about to communicate concerns a product or service, information or a request for details, you have to know the strongest appeal it holds for this particular group you are about to write to.
Because a letter is Me-to-You, it’s easiest to imagine you are writing it to one person instead of some grey mass out there. Fix your mind on a customer you know well and write the letter as if for him or her.
- Build each letter around a specific offer or action you require of the prospect. Bear this single appeal in mind while you write.
- If you are going to use the space around the salutation for a headline, format this now, reinforcing your most powerful offer.
- The opening lines of your letter serve the same function as the headline of an advertisement. If they are good, they will lead more people to read the rest of your sales story.
- Open your letter with one short sentence, making it your most important statement. If you need to say more, try not to exceed two lines.
- A humorous or clever start is fine, can even help to grab your reader’s attention. Don’t carry on in the same vein throughout the letter, however, else it might irritate.
- Call for the desired response early in your letter.
- Keep words short.
- Keep sentences short, but vary them so that the rhythm does not become boring.
- Write in a personal way, using the word “you” often. Stay away from “We would like …”.
- The writing must reflect the status, sex and background of the person who receives it. Don’t write in a masculine style if it’s a woman you’re talking to.
- If you’re addressing a specific group such as golfers, make sure you understand them. Use their terminology and jargon.
- Keep an easy flow between paragraphs. Link them by what you say: “That’s because you can now …” or “Now you can see why …”
- Imply urgency. Make the offer valid for a limited period. Create an incentive for the reader to respond.
- Some sales letters are meant only to evaluate how the reader feels about a follow-up sales call. If this is the case, then say what you’re after.
- Although you should always make your offer early in the letter, repeat it several times. Rephrase it in different ways.
- Don’t end a page at a period — it can give the reader an excuse to stop. Break it into the rest of the sentence; it helps make him continue.
- Question and answers work well. Ask the kind of questions your customer would. Put them in capitals or italics, and the answers in lower case. They can help lead the reader into the buying decision.
- Use lists of benefits: “8 reasons why you should …” or “Enjoy yourself in 5 ways …”
- Use words and sentences that convey benefits and emotional impressions.
- Unlike an advert, correct use of grammar is essential.
- If it’s a sales call you’re after, don’t give away too much information.
- Your copy should say everything you’d like your salesman to say. Set out your arguments in a logical, convincing manner.
- We mentioned this under appearance, but don’t forget that a lengthy letter can convey an impression of ‘seriousness’ or ‘importance’. It usually works well when your product or service is complicated. It as essential when expecting someone to order by mail, when reassurance of your integrity is vital.
- Make your closing paragraph strong enough to create action. TELL THE READER WHAT YOU WANT HIM TO DO NEXT. Avoid a lame ending such as: “May we expect …”
- Don’t forget the strength of a P.S. Use it to stress some part of your sales message.
- Edit and rewrite. Leave the letter overnight or for a few days before looking at it afresh. Then, be very critical:
- Edit your work to keep the text fast-moving.
- Cut out that which isn’t interesting. Can you cut extra words and sentences, or appeals that have little to do with this specific offer?
- Check whether your offer and explanation are simple, direct and forceful. Don’t clutter your letter with irrelevant details that can be learned during or after the purchase.
- Cut out slang, metaphors.