The 14-Step Formula for Writing the Perfect Sales Letter
There are endless marketing tools and techniques available to you today. But despite all the innovations, the simple sales letter still packs a powerful punch.
It's a direct and highly personal form of communication. It's not cluttered with graphics, which can disrupt reading a well-constructed sales argument. And it's an ideal way to present a strong offer.
Every sales letter is a little different, depending on your particular audience and the product or service you're selling. However, there are a few basic elements you should consider:
1. Consider using a headline or Johnson Box. Not every letter will have these elements, but they are ideal for telegraphing your offer or a clear benefit statement. Just remember that they make your letter look less personal and more like advertising.
2. Use an appropriate salutation. Personalization is best when you can do it. Otherwise, use a salutation that connects with the reader as closely as possible. "Dear Friend" is safe but general. "Dear Cat Lover" is more targeted and specific. If you're mailing to a business audience, use the occupational or professional title.
3. Make your first sentence short and attention-grabbing. You must instantly involve the reader. Make a startling statement. Hit an emotional hot button. Or just state the offer and get to the point. This last approach is often the best tactic and offers the least room for error. Subsequent sentences should expand on this first sentence to pull the reader into the body copy.
4. Present your offer on page one. If you don't give your offer in the headline or first sentence, you should put it somewhere on page one. Be clear and specific about what your reader will get by responding.
5. End the first page in mid-sentence. Whether it's curiosity or an urge for "closure," cutting a sentence in two at the bottom of a page helps encourage the reader to flip the page and finish the sentence—and, you hope, keep reading. You can also use this technique on successive pages where the reader must turn the page or go to a separate sheet.