Sales Letters for SuccessBy: Meredith Pond
Sales letters are one of the most popular forms of advertising today, and have been for some time. The reason for this is simple: they work. However, with no pure form and no specific requirements for format, length, etc., writing a truly effective sales letter can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned marketing professional.
To come up with a sales letter that sizzles without turning your prospects off, there are a few general rules you'd be wise to follow.
First, let's talk about length. In my line of work, I see a lot of sales letters. Most of these are one to three pages long, which is generally appropriate for a sales letter. Just the other day, however, I got a call from a man who wanted to know how much I would charge him to edit his sales letter, complaining that he just wasn't getting the results he wanted. When I asked him how long the letter was, he replied, "it's about twelve pages." Twelve pages!! Would you want to be pitched to for twelve whole pages? Yuck!
When you sit down to write your sales letter, ask yourself how much patience you have when reading something of this nature. Would you get bored, even angry, if someone expected you to keep reading their sales letter for five pages? Three pages? When writing your letter, be mindful of your target audience and their schedules. If your prospects are unlikely to have more than five or ten minutes to devote to your sales pitch, try stick to one page.
Now let's talk hype. Most of the sales letters I've come across are full of hype, because that's what the customer wants. Hype can be effective or ineffective, depending on your business and the kind of people you're trying to sell to. If you're selling an MLM business opportunity, hype can work well. On the other hand, if your intended audience consists of savvy, experienced business people, you'll probably do better with a brief introduction followed by an explanation of what your product or service can do for their business.
In either case, be careful about using too much bold type or screaming your message at customers. Putting important points in bold type or caps can be an effective marketing tool, but only when used in moderation. Exclamation points can also be helpful, but use them sparingly. When reading back through your letter, pay attention to the tone. If you feel you're being yelled at, tone it down a bit.
© Copyright 2002, Meredith Pond
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.