Getting yourself heard! We are often asked about sales copy and letter presentation. There is lots of information online but here are our simple no nonsense thoughts.
WHY are you sending your letter? Is the aim of the letter to drive traffic to your website or to implant your product into the recipients mind? Remember this objective when writing your copy and repeat where possible.
The purpose of most letters is to generate leads rather than get concrete sales. You are after a response from the recipient. In most cases the initial letter is not the place to close the sale.
WHO is your target audience? You will know your field and market – who is your letter pitched to? Letters to named recipients are far more powerful and more likely to be read than ones addressed to ‘The Buyer’. Obviously it is not always possible or practical to get a name. The importance of mailing to relevant people who have a reason to be interested can’t be overstated.
WHEN - is an often overlooked question in direct mail. What day of the week do you want the recipient to read your offering?
How receptive are you on a Monday morning? Businesses could also be opening two lots of mail on a Monday morning meaning yours is more likely to be lost in the pile!
If you are sending to a home address would it be best for your letter to arrive on a Saturday when the recipient has potentially more time to spend reading it? We recently mailed out for a chiropractor and targeted the letters to arrive at the end of the week when those hard worked backs would be groaning!
HOW – presentation.
Simple options that can make a big difference.
How would you like your letter presented?
Would a handwritten font on the envelope be more effective?
HOW – content
Grab the recipient’s attention straight away with a snappy relevant heading and if possible convey some urgency. Think of your ‘tone of voice’ – the way you write must be acceptable and interesting to the reader. Some people suggest the heading should take up to 20% of the total space. Try the heading in quotation marks to see how it looks. Consider using the word ‘you’ in the heading.
Sell the benefits not the features – I don’t care that your Hoover has 1200 watt suction, but I do care that it will clean my carpets better than other cleaners. I don’t care that your car will do 59.444 mpg, but I do care that it will take me an extra 55 miles between fillups!
Being blunt – you must convey what’s ‘in it’ for the prospective customer if they do business with you. You are trying to build a rapport with the reader. Bullet points can work well. Short punchy paragraphs make letters easy to read. This paragraph looks intimidating compared to the other ones on the page as it is too long. White spaces make the letter less intimidating and easy to read. It does not all have to be filled – avoid paragraphs as long as this!
Consider adding a photograph into the text – a photograph of a product being used is more powerful than a still picture.
Where practical make a ‘no obligation’ offer and set a realistic deadline for response. Even a free resource page on your website or discount voucher code – give them something to take from the letter.
Testimonials of your (relevant) work never go amiss – you are trying to get over how good/reliable/cheap you are. Reinforce this from someone who already agrees with you! ‘Guarantee’ is also a powerful word.
Where practical mention that you will be in touch to follow up the letter.
Avoid PTO’s or page 2 unless necessary. If it is unavoidable consider running a paragraph over the page to make people turn the letter and read on.
‘Sign’ the letter in a hand written font or a scan of your signature.
P.S Don’t forget the P.S – it is a great place to summarise or reinforce urgency.
Not sure you’ve got it quite right – then …test, test and test again. In these days of digital printing it is as easy to send 3 mailings of 1000 letters as one of 3000 letters! (Will also make your response more manageable). Tinker, fiddle, alter – make changes to your copy. Get input from colleagues and friends. Ask them to read the letter as if they have never heard of you or your product before.
You normally know your audience – they are like your other customers! What makes them respond/happy/motivated?
Keep the direct mail that comes through your door – borrow some ideas!!!! Which ones work for you?
It’s all obvious stuff – you can do it, you know your business better than anyone
else. We hope it works for you as we want you to be successful and come back for more! Click on the letter rate chart below and it will take you to or ‘Print & Mail’ page to get your newly created masterpieces on their way!
Often a campaign of letters brings a better ROI than just a single letter’.
These are our opinions and not everything works for everybody. What has/hasn’t worked for you? We would love to hear about your successes and failures and use them to update this page to everybody’s benefit.