Sales Letters

15 Jun

As a former client-servicing executive, drafting sales letters to prospective clients was a part of my responsibilities. During this stint, I had picked up a concise treasury of ‘baest rules and guidelines developed in direct marketing by its pioneers and practitioners’.

Authored by Nat G. Bodian, a direct marketing veteran Direct Marketing Rules of Thumb, among other ideas to increase efficiency of direct marketing programs, has a section dedicated on Sales Letters: Approaches, Preparation, Evaluation.

I picked some tried and tested gems which have helped me to improving my marketing communications early in my career:

Composition Formula for Successful Letter

A successful sales letter is easy to read, has short paragraphs, is broken up by underlined words and phrases, and has no complex or hard-to-understand words and phrases.

Giving Letters Personalized Look

As a rule, a sales letter looks more personal if it has a dateline, a salutation, short indented paragraphs, a complimentary close and signature, and a postscript.

Lead-Off Sentence in Sales Letter

As a rule, your sales letter will be more effective if the lead-off sentence is reasonably short and promises a benefit.

Rule for Positioning Offer in a Sales Letter

If you state the offer in the opening paragraph of a sales letter and again in the postscript, you will have gotten your message across even if the reader does not proceed beyond the letter’s opening.

Improving Chances for Getting Letter Read

Your sales letter will have a better chance of getting read if you come to the point quickly. As a rule, never start a letter with an irrelevant story or anecdote no matter how interesting it may be.

Rule for Emphasizing Important Letter Material

“The best way to emphasize important material in a sales letter,” says Harry B. Walsh of Ogilvy & Mather, Inc., “is to paragraph it and indent it on both sides. But don’t overdo indenting or you will lose its effect.” (In Barton Handbook of Advertising Management, 1970)

Letterhead Recognition Value Rule

If your letterhead has little or no recognition value, as a rule, your mailing offer may be more successful if you omit the letterhead from the first page of your sales letter and replace it with a strong benefit-oriented headline. Run the letterhead at the bottom of the letter or at the end of the last page.

Postscript Content Rule

The postscript is one of the most-read parts of a sales letter and, therefore, should always contain an important message – usually the principal benefit of making the purchase.

Postscript Length Rule

A sales letter postscript of three lines or less will be more effective than a longer one.

Best Signature Ink Color for Sales Letters

As a rule, a blue ink signature in a sales letter will produce a better response than one printed in the same black ink as the letter.

Bookmark Sales Letters

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2 Responses to “Sales Letters”

  1. der nikolaus June 21, 2010 at 4:05 am #

    That’s an amazing post. Thanks a lot

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