Writing For Pleasing Profits: Writing A Sales Letter Well
When you first read a professionally written sales letter, you can find yourself gripped by the words, held in awe by the language, and, finally, reaching for your wallet so that you can pay for your future purchase. You might also find yourself surprised: how can such a letter exert so much power in only a single page, with brilliant illustrations, and only a few paragraphs of text?
The answer is not so much in skillfully writing words. To write a sales letter, you need people skills: you need to know what touches people, what makes them happy, what clicks with them, what makes them excited, and what pushes them to finally spend their hard-earned money to buy something. Your job as a sales letter writer is to sell not by writing well, but by striking a balance: you have to be exciting without being sensational, and you need to be as truthful about your product as possible, playing on its strengths and using these strengths to fuel your letter.
Many sales letter writers make the mistake of thinking that they must sell something, and using this mentality to fuel the task of writing a sales letter. The job, however, can be more complicated than that. Your starting mentality should be geared toward speaking to a person directly, and touching that person’s life; if you are able to get in touch with a person’s needs and wants, then you can make that person buy something without even trying to sell the product.
Before you start writing that sales letter, you need to remember what it feels like to be a customer. If you were being sold something, would you like a product or service that catered exactly to your needs, or would you buy something only because someone said it looked or felt nice? Would you like a product or service that was marketed as cheap but useless, or a little bit expensive but infinitely useful? Put yourself in your customer’s shoes before writing your sales letter.
The meat of a sales letter is not only in its message, but in its language. Many sales letter writers think that they have to speak formally, as this connotes respect; other sales letter writers think that they can use casual language, as this seems to put a sales letter writer in the midst of the masses. Overly formal language can alienate your customer, when what you really want to do is attract them to your company. Overly casual language can annoy your customer, when what you really want to do is make them feel that they need you.
Strike the balance between formality and casual conversation. You do not need to go overboard with the greetings, and neither should you gush with excitement so that you seem more a hyperactive marketer high on uppers than a marketing expert showing the value of the product or service that he or she is trying to sell. You may need to do a lot of writing to practice this style, and you might need to try out your skills on your friends to see how well you are reaching out to them.
A sales letter should be formatted correctly. Although this might seem like a confining rule, it can actually work to your advantage: if your sales letter is well organized, it can make your customers feel that your company is well organized as well. A neat sales letter reflects a neat, confident company; clutter your sales letter with useless logos and words, and your company can appear like a trivial, amateur attempt at doing business.
Basically, your sales letter starts with a greeting to the customer. Avoid using the generic “To whom it may concern,” or any other address that can make the letter look like a shoot-anywhere document. Address your customer by name: this not only makes the customer feel respected, but it gives a personal touch to the sales letter.
The letter’s body should be as succinct as possible, and should include, if possible, images of your products or services in action. In a few paragraphs, elaborate on a customer’s need for something, and on the lack of products or services on the market that have been made to meet this need. Proceed by describing your company briefly, and why your company is best suited to meeting the need through a product or service that the company provides.
You can then proceed to describe your product and service. If you have customer testimonials, include only a few; choose testimonials that do not sound gushy, sentimental, or overblown. Customers can sense if they are being led on, so be brief and true to your product or service. When you have fully but briefly described what you can offer, provide price information, and how customers can get in touch with you in order to buy the product or service.
Sign your name at the end of the letter. This gives an additional personal touch to the letter, and makes the customer feel that he or she is really the target of the letter. If you can master all these techniques and strike the balance perfectly, you can write a sales letter well and get the profits that you want.