10 Great Ways To Start A Letter
Have you ever tried to write a motivating letter and sat there, staring at the blinking cursor, wondering how to get started? You're not the only one. Getting off on the right foot, with energy and enthusiasm, is always a challenge.
Fortunately, however, there are countless ways to start a letter. Let me share just 10 proven techniques with you now and show you how easy it really is.
Let's pretend that you have to write a lead-generating sales letter or e-mail to corporate "Security Managers" offering them a free brochure. Here are just ten effective ways to begin the letter . . .
1. METHOD: Tell them they're special
EXAMPLE: As a network security professional, you bear a unique responsibility.
2. METHOD: Tell a story
EXAMPLE: When Susan Smith walked into her office and looked at the ashen face of her assistant, she instantly knew that someone had taken her network down.
3. METHOD: Tell them they're facing a difficult challenge
EXAMPLE: As the person responsible for network security, I know you face some extremely difficult challenges.
4. METHOD: Shock them with frightening news
EXAMPLE: Last month over ten Fortune 500 companies suffered intense, repeated Denial Of Service attacks.
5. METHOD: Soothe them with good news
EXAMPLE: If you've been worried about hackers cracking your system, and inflicting devastating damage, I've got some good news for you.
6. METHOD: Make your offer immediately
EXAMPLE: I'm writing to offer you a free report from Levison Security Services titled "Seven Ways To Improve Network Security Now."
7. METHOD: Cite the authorities
EXAMPLE: In a recent White Paper on network security, written by the highly respected Levison Consulting Group, a fascinating fact was reported.
8. METHOD: Explain that you can help them
EXAMPLE: As the person responsible for network security, you have some mighty tough problems. I can help you solve them.
9. METHOD: Ask a question
EXAMPLE: Is a hacker at work, right at this moment, trying to bring down your network?
10. METHOD: Make an announcement
EXAMPLE: Here it is! Announcing the brand new Levison Network Security Monitoring System, now available for companies just like yours.
The take-away message? Don't settle for the first lead-in sentence that pops into your mind. There are dozens and dozens of ways to start a letter with punch, and it really pays to look for the best one. And, it can't hurt to test one against the other to see which one really pulls with your prospects.
Ivan Levison is a freelance direct response copywriter who works for companies like Bank of America, Fireman's Fund, Intel, Microsoft, and many others. He writes direct mail sales letters, e-mail letters, and ads. For a free subscription to his monthly e-mail newsletter for software marketers, visit his Web site at http://www.levison.com. Levison can be reached at (415) 461-0672 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We welcome your feedback about this column as well as about other information you read on this Web site. Contact: email@example.com.