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4 Tips for Sales Letters that Sell

By: Linda Formichelli

Linda Formichelli (e-mail) is a copywriter and magazine writer based in Massachusetts.  She's written for more than 45 magazines and for such corporate clients as Bay State Gas, Pizzeria Uno, Performance Printing and AFC Cable Systems.  Linda holds a Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley.

1. Involve the reader.

Your letter opening should draw the reader in and make him think, "They're talking about me." One way to do this is to place your reader directly into a situation that he is likely to face--which of course only you can get him out of.

You ask customers what they thought of your new, expensive brochure and they reply, "What brochure?" You need a press release for your new product--by yesterday. The ad copy your writer just handed you is so tired you can almost hear it yawn.

 Another way to involve your reader is to ask a question to which you know the answer will be YES.

 Do you have trouble finding a computer that doesn't explode?

 Tired of the rat race?

 Once your reader sees himself in your opening, he'll be compelled to read on.

2. Don't be afraid to go long.

When it comes to sales letters, I always believed the shorter, the better. My brief sales letter for my copywriting services was garnering a respectable 5 to 6% response rate, and I thought that was just fine. My contacts are busy people, and they don't have time to read long sales letters--or so I thought. Then I read in a book on marketing that your reader will feel cheated if she doesn't get all the information she wants out of your letter. The fact is, once you pull in the reader with your opening hook, she's willing to read the entire letter. So don't sell her short and cheat her of information just to keep it to one page. If you have something to say, say ALL of it.

I've seen the error of my ways. My new, two-page letter got an astonishing 11% response! What can a longer letter do for you?

3. State your benefit.

Many sales letter writers confuse "benefit" with "feature." A feature is, for example, a new color, low price or fancy attachment that opens letters, removes stains and defuzzes peaches. Having features is all well and good, but your reader is self-centered. He wants to know what's in it for him. He wants to know that the new color will impress his friends and neighbors, that the low price will leave him enough money for a vacation, and that the handy new attachment will help him impress the ladies with fuzz-free peach pie while allowing him to open their love letters with ease.

4. P.S. Remember this.

It's well known in sales letter writing circles that after the headline, the P.S. is the most read part of your letter. Readers tend to look at the headline and then drop immediately to the P.S. Use this space to your advantage by including your biggest benefit or call to action in the P.S.

 P.S. Mail back the reply card today and get a FREE peach defuzzer to impress the ladies!

 P.S. These flapjacks are selling like hotcakes! Get yours while supplies last.

© Copyright 1999, Linda Formichelli

Other Articles by Linda Formichelli

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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