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The Successful Recipe
Is it really that hard to write a sales letter?
Well, look at it this way. Your sales letter is going out to cold (or at best tepid) contacts. They will receive loads of sales letters from companies offering all sorts of weird and wonderful products and services – so why should they take any notice of yours?
If you think all you have to do is write about your product, tell them how much it is and ask them to get in touch with you, think again. There’s so much more to it than that.
Before you even start to compose your letter you have to consider the list you’re sending it to, the offer you are making (and whether it will be relevant and of interest to your intended audience) and what the format your message will be. But there are also a few other vital ingredients you need to consider, regardless of the format of your communication.
The Fast Offer
Make sure your offer is the first thing they see. Place it in the header or opening paragraph and keep mentioning it. Writing copy is rather like telling a story; first you must create a drama by showing how your product/service will benefit them, either by:
- Creating desire – it will show them as people of good taste, make them look good, help them afford that luxury holiday they’ve always wanted etc.
- Overcome pain and fear – save them money, overcome ill health, help them earn more. Begin by describing the pain/fear, then introduce your offer (the cure) and follow it up with evidence of how they will benefit.
Carrot and Stick
This is where you let your reader know that great things will happen when they buy your product or service. Of course, if they decide not to, there may be undesirable consequences – are they willing to take the risk?
For example, if you were offering them a new brand of washing powder that was scientifically proven to get their whites even whiter…
- Carrot – the washing powder will give you brilliant whites and you’ll be successful in all that you do.
- Stick – continue with your normal powder and you’ll have dull clothes, mediocre success and spend the rest of your life wishing you were like your uber-successful friends who did buy the new detergent.
So as you can see, writing a sales letter isn’t just about chucking a few words together. You have to make sure you are sending out the right message, using the right words to the right people. Only when you get all three right will you get the success you want.
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Editor's Note: Sally Ormond is an independent copywriter and owner of Briar Copywriting Ltd. For tips on copywriting, marketing and social media, you can also read her words of wisdom on the Freelance Copywriter’s Blog.