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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 address doubts in a sales letter because they don’t want to put negative thoughts into the recipient’s head. This is flawed thinking – people are very skeptical of advertising in general, which includes sales letters, so addressing their doubts shows that you understand their concerns.

Phrases such as “Sounds too good to be true?” and “People are often skeptical at first…’ work well.

6. List The Benefits

People don’t read sales letters in an orderly way so their eyes will often be drawn to bullet point lists. Therefore include a list of the benefits of your product or service.

7. Testimonials

Including testimonials can be a very powerful way of giving credibility to your offering – people like to know that other people have used a product or service before them.

However, your testimonials must be believable. Therefore if possible include full names and photos of those giving the testimonial. Quotes from other companies and the press are also definitely worth including.

If you don’t have any testimonials what about including some statistics, such as “4 out of 5 doctors recommend…” Just ensure that you back up the statistics through mentioning who conducted the research.

8. Final Sales Pitch

This should be a powerful one or two lines telling the prospect why your product or company is right for them. Relate it back to the one benefit that you’ve chosen to highlight above everything else.

9. Tell Them What To Do Next

A call to action is a fundamental part of a sales letter and yet many don’t have one. Don’t let the prospect have to think about what to do next. Instead tell them what to do. Try to make the call to action more compelling through including a time-sensitive offer, such as “Order before (date) and receive a 20% discount.”

10. Choose The Design

After the content has been written choose the design and layout, ideally using a professional template. Use colour if possible – it’ll cost more but is likely to be worth it. Also, use different sized paragraphs as this makes the content more attractive to read.

Related Articles:

How to Master the Art of Selling
How to Close a Sale
The Importance of Sales Targets
The Perfect Sales Pitch
Characteristics to Look for when Recruiting Sales Staff
Where to Find Sales Staff