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Writing Sales Letters


© 2014 Katherine Williams. All rights reserved.

Chicago, Illinois 60615 (773) 405-5916

Seven Tips for Creating Winning Sales Letters


To be effective a sales letter must (a) immediately grab the target market's attention and (b) successfully answer the question: "What is in it for me?" The following tips will help you craft effective sales letters.


  1. Start with an attention grabbing headline.


A headline that hones in on your target market's problem and/or describes a benefit will draw them in and motivate them to read more. Consider these headlines:



These headlines relate to some of our most powerful needs and desires: (a) safety/security; (b) wealth/financial peace of mind; (c) healthy, happy children; and (d) premium services.


  1. Focus on the customer.


A sales letter should be personable and focus firmly on the target market. Some ways to accomplish this include (a) addressing prospects by name, (b) using "you" and "yours," and (c) discussing products and services from the target market's perspective.


Consider the following opening paragraphs for a sales letter:


Paragraph 1: Precise Title Abstractors and Examiners Inc. provides the most accurate document and information retrieval services in the nation.  Our goal is to provide high quality information, fast delivery, and superior customer service at affordable rates.  


Paragraph 2: Imagine the problems it would cause if a document retrieval company sent you inaccurate real estate records or failed to send information when promised. This kind of incompetent, unreliable service could cause your business to lose precious time, a lot of money, and its reputation.


Paragraph 1 focuses on the company while Paragraph 2 speaks directly about the target market's needs, fears, and potential problems. Pinpointing their concerns will grab their attention and prompt them to read more in search of a solution or preventive measure.


  1. Establish credibility.


The purpose of the sales letter is to convince the target market that (a) your products or services are the best fit for their needs and (b) your business is professional and trustworthy.


Discussing your company's experience, credentials, achievements, and philosophy will demonstrate how it is superior to the competition. Including endorsements and testimonials can build credibility and interest in what you have to offer.


  1. Have a clear purpose.


A sales letter should have a clear purpose; otherwise, it could cloud the message and confuse readers. For example, a sales letter to existing customers regarding auto insurance upgrades that also includes information about filing auto claims would have two purposes. The reader might focus on the auto claims information rather than the benefits of the auto insurance upgrade.


  1. Create a visually-appealing letter.


An attractive, easy-to-read sales letter is more likely to hold the reader's attention. So avoid long blocks of text that look and feel boring. Also, font attributes like bold, italic, underline, and special font types can be used (sparingly) to emphasize important information. And graphics like pictures of products, colored "call out" boxes, charts, graphs, and symbols add flare.  


Moreover, white space, headings, and bulleted lists will help guide readers through the letter. Headings also allow them to scan the letter and zoom in on key points. They can also be used to transition smoothly from one topic to the next.


  1. Include a call to action.


A sales letter should not only provide information but motivate the reader to take an action like call to make an appointment, order a product from a web site, or complete a form and mail it back. Adding an incentive – like a coupon or gift – provides even greater motivation to respond to the call to action.


  1. End the letter with a postscript.


Most readers scan sales letters. They skip around to find information that is important to them. They may also look briefly at the end of the letter to view the signature or look for interesting offers.


Since the postscript is located after the signature, it is a great place to highlight an important benefit or prompt readers to act quickly. Examples of post scripts are listed below.



These tips will help you create a revenue-generating sales letter. The first step, however, in creating an effective sales letter is to gain a keen understanding of the target market. This makes it possible to (a) offer potential customers the best products and/or services for their needs and (b) create a message that resonates with them.


References


Krotz, Joanna L., How to write an effective sales letter: 11 tips Microsoft Business, December 11, 2010, http://www.microsoft.com/business/en-us/resources/marketing/customer-service-acquisition/how-to-write-an-effective-sales-letter-11-tips.aspx#Howtowriteaneffectivesaleslettertips

Sparks, Suzanne D. 1999. The manager’s guide to business writing. New York, New York:  McGraw Hill.