Format and Function – Tips on How to Write a Sales Letter
At one time during your marketing career, you may have been tasked to write a sales letter. You might have thought it unnecessary, even useless. After all, a little email will usually do the trick in convincing potential buyers to get your goods, right? And if you can’t write to them, you can always run over to their houses and offices, bring in the oh-so-presentable you, and blab away about why your service is the best in the West, right?
Sadly, letter writing is never out of fashion, and your instinct are just plain wrong. You will need to write a sales letter to get to ask many people as possible. You will need to write a sales letter to get that housewife to buy your set of plastic cutlery, or that football coach to buy custom-made towels for his team, or that CEO to grab that hotel membership to his favorite five-star resort. Respect and formality are still in.
A good sales letter needs to be terse, brief, succinct, but full of information about the product or service that you are selling. Many good sales letters take no more than a page or a page and a half to tell their story: within the first few words, they grab the reader; in the next few paragraphs, they can convince the most miserly recipients to shell out cash for a product or service. A good sales letter is also eager without being overbearing, and respectful without being stiff.
A good sales letter is admittedly, very difficult to write. It can be hard to tone down a hard selling tune, but likewise hard to keep oneself from being boring. If you are tasked to write a sales letter, you might want to take note of the following tips as you put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.
– Format is important. As with any other letter, a sales letter begins with the name and address of the sender, then the name and address of the recipient. After a formal address, the letter has a body, which contains, in order, an opening salutation, creation of a need, a sales pitch, information on how the product or service can be purchased, and a closing salutation. The letter is then signed by the sender.
Follow this format, as it can give your recipients an easier time understanding the letter and your goals. An organized letter, moreover, speaks well about your own sense of organization, and even the integrity of your company.
– Always start on a personal note, and avoid using the generic address “To whom it may concern,” or “To Mr. or Ms.” but without a name. Your potential buyers need to know that you care about them, and this knowledge begins by recognizing that you addressed them by name. In sales letter-writing, small details are key.
– Make your pitch in two hundred words or less. If you make a short pitch, you may appear as though you do not believe in your product. If you make a very long one, you might not be believable at all. Strike the balance with a medium-sized pitch that resonates with readers. Remember, you have to create a need for your product or service first before you can begin selling it.
– Do not compare your product or service with those of other companies’. This can be tempting, especially when a free market encourages stiff competition amongst competitors with like products and services. However, this can also speak ill of your company, especially if you do not have a name yet. Make your product’s or service’s qualities speak for themselves.
– Watch your grammar and spelling! Nothing can turn off readers more than a poorly constructed, badly written letter. If you cannot take care of your own writing style, you might not appear qualified to take care of potential buyers either. Always have a book of style next to you when you compose the letter. If you have time, show the sales letter to your writer or editor friends. They can give you tips on how to improve your writing, and you can practice your sales pitches on them as well!
– Sign the letter personally. A personal touch always makes you look good, and can soften your potential buyers’ hearts toward you.
If you want to write a sales letter, then you need to practice often, and believe in your product or service. As in any letter, or any product of the written word, passion shows clearly.