What is a sales letter?
Mistakenly confused with cover letters. The sales letter is personally addressed to prospects with its main mission being to sell something. There’s no need to compete with other ads or content, as the sales letter is a stand alone document for prospects to read. Essentially it delivers your sales pitch straight into the hands of your prospects.
What can I use it for?
A sales letter can be used to communicate with different stakeholders and to help you:
- Generate enquiries
- Generate requests for a free trial or sample
- Sell products and services
- Ask for feedback on a new product or website
How do I structure my sales letter?
Start off with your benefit or perhaps the offer you’re selling. Just make sure your headline sparks interest with your readers so they’d want to continue reading.
Always use your prospects name and never address them with “Dear Customer” or “Dear Friend”. Your prospects are not your friends and a sales letter should be personally addresses. Using “Dear Customer”, is impersonal and shows that you don’t care enough to learn your recipients name and to include it in.
Get straight to the point here and open with your main benefit. Alternatively you can begin with asking a question to engage your prospects.
At this point you’ve already presented your points and mentioned your benefit. Now here is the part where you elaborate and demonstrate the points you made in the first paragraph. Use statistics and studies to back up your claims.
Include testimonials from your customers to present their experiences with the product and how they’ve been using it. This enlivens your letter and shows your prospects that others have taken the leap of faith and tried it out.
Call to action
Your call to action depends on what you want to achieve with your sales letter. Do you want people to place orders or make enquiries? Then you have to tell your prospects what is the next step they need to take. It could be to give you a call or to order by a specific date, it’s entirely up to you.
The Postscript (PS)
There’s a possibility your sales letter will only be glanced at and not read in full by your prospects. Therefore it’s vital you include a PS in your letter to repeat your offer or call to action.
Things you should avoid
“as a valued customer”
Using clichés such as the one above and “we are delighted to inform you”, is how you end up in the junk mail category. They’re called clichés for a reason, so try to come up with something more imaginative.
Long paragraphs will put people off when they glance at your letter. You want to make your sales letter easy to read so instead use short paragraphs.
Not giving a reason to buy
When I started Kanguro in the summer, I would get letters from various service providers. One sales letter I received was from an accountant; two pages long and it began with a history of the company. Now, if you’re trying to sell something, do not start off by explaining your background. You have to give your prospects a reason to buy as soon as possible! Your prospects don’t want a history lesson. They want to know “what’s in it for me?”.
Fancy, over the top graphics
Brochures and fliers are the place for fancy graphics not sales letters. A sales letter should and needs to look like a letter and not an entry to the local art fair.
You may think fancy fonts look nice and will make your sales letter stand out. But if it’s hard to read and out of place, it’ll standout for frustrating your prospects. A serif typeface is a safe bet as studies show they’re the most readable font for print.