Direct marketing is the process of working directly with customers to convince them to purchase your products, rather than relying on retail stores to promote your products for you. Television, radio and Internet advertising all play an important role in direct marketing; however, the sales letter is still a valuable tool for selling products. Several strategies can help you craft sales letters that build interest in, and increase the sales of, your products.
Address your reader by name. A sales letter that addresses the recipient by name is more likely to be read than a letter addressing the reader as "business owner," "home owner" or "consumer." Customizing a salutation for each letter is more time consuming than using a generic greeting; however, it can increase response and sales.
Write an opening paragraph introducing yourself and your business, and tell the recipient how he will benefit from reading your letter completely. Keep your first paragraph short -- the first paragraph should be a maximum of three sentences long.
Explain the benefits of your product in two or three paragraphs. Each paragraph should focus on a major benefit of your product, and illustrate how that benefit can apply to your reader. For example, if you are selling lawn fertilizer, your paragraphs could tell the reader how your product will make her lawn greener, reduce weeds and prevent unsightly bare spots.
Close the sales letter with a specific call to action, such as, "Call today to schedule delivery," or "Visit our website today to order." A call to action directs your reader to take the next step toward owning your product, which can help prevent them from setting your letter aside.
Provide an incentive for your reader to act, such as a discount or bonus. Add a line such as "P.S. -- Call today and mention code XYZ, and we'll take 20 percent off your order, " or "Enter promotional code ABC on our website and receive a free garden tool tote valued at $30 with your order." Incentives can compel your readers to act before they forget about your letter and product.
Set the letter aside for at least 24 hours, then review the content for spelling, grammar and brevity. Taking a fresh look at your letter can help you spot mistakes, unnecessary language and confusing sentences.
Give a copy of your letter to a proofreader or editor if you are not comfortable editing your own work. You can find editors and proofreaders through a variety of freelancing sites such as Elance and iFreelance.
Pare down your language to convey your sales message in as few words as possible. Consumers and businesspeople typically do not have the patience for long sales copy, and including unnecessary text can cause your recipient to stop reading, which can cost you sales.
- "The Copywriter's Handbook"; Robert W. Bly; 2005
- "Sales Letters that Sizzle"; Herschell Gordon Lewis; 1999