Creating Winning Sales Letters

sales letter

Sales letters are still widely used despite the growing popularity of email marketing.

In some cases a letter can make more of an impact because people are becoming immune to emails and are more likely to delete it if it doesn’t immediately pique their interest.

Snail mail may be old hat, but there’s still something comforting about receiving a letter, something that makes us want to open it (especially if it comes in a hand addressed envelope).

I would love to tell you that this blog contains a free template for the most successful sales letter on the planet, but in truth there are too many variables for their to be a “one size fits all” template, such as:

  • The audience you are addressing
  • What they’re doing and how they are feeling when they get your letter
  • The offer you are making
  • What the weather is like
  • How their journey into work went

I could list more, but you’re getting the picture.

Having said there is no winning formula, there are a few things you can do.

1. Grab their attention

This shouldn’t need to be said as it’s true for all your marketing.

You have to grab their attention the minute they open your letter. That means a compelling headline and an awesome first line.

Make sure you draw attention to the benefits they’ll get if they do business with you and always go for clarity over creativity.

2. Problem and solution

This format always works well.

Your product/service is going to solve their problem, you just have to make sure you convince them of that.

There’s no need to lead them in gently, get straight to the point and empathise with them.

3. Benefits

The benefits must always be the focus of your letter.

Your reader wants to know how you’re going to help them so make sure you tell them. Everything you say about what you’re selling must be related back to your reader – how it will save them time, money, make them more successful etc.

4. Offer

People always opt for offers over purchases.

If you need glasses you’ll always go for a 2 for 1 offer, so make sure you offer a great deal and emphasis it.

5. Guarantee

One of the easiest ways to over come cold feet when you’re trying to sell to someone is to offer them a cast iron guarantee. If they know they can come back to you if they change their mind, they’re far more likely to take the plunge and buy.

6. Tell them what to do

If you do all the hard work listed above. but forget to tell them how to buy, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.

Make the buying process as simple as possible and offer several different ways to buy – by email, phone or by using a reply card and stamp addressed envelope.

This may not have been the template you were hoping for, but it’s as close as you’ll get to one.

All you have to do is make sure each one of the elements above are included in your letter if you want to give it the best possible chance for success. Another tip is to follow it up with a phone call (depending on the size of your mailing).

 

Beware of Testimonial Thieves

You already know testimonials are like gold dust.

They give potential clients a glimpse at what you’re like to work with and an idea of how you’ve helped other companies.

You also know they have to be attributed to a specific person because there are so many bogus ones out there.

Well, did you also know there are some very dubious companies out there who think it’s OK to cut and paste testimonials from one company and claim them as their own?

I would never have believed someone could stoop so low had I not had first hand experience of such people.

To cut a very long story short, my company website is about to have a makeover. As a result, a number of social media sites that I am on will have to be updated, so in a rare moment of spare time I set about doing a search to make sure I found all the sites. Can you imagine my horror when the search turned up a copywriting website that had stolen three of my testimonials and claimed them as their own!

How could I tell?

They weren’t bright enough to remove the reference to my name or company in one of them.

I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing.

The problem is the company in question is in America.

An email has been sent asking them to remove the testimonials and, at the time of writing this, I am waiting for a response. If nothing happens further action will be taken.

I am staggered that there are people out there who:

  1. Think this is OK
  2. Are too bone idle to work hard for their own testimonials
  3. Has such little regard for copyright laws

The moral of this short tale?

Do a Google search on your company and check out any of the URLs that come up that look a bit odd.

 

Author: Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

Facebook at Work is Coming

It had to happen sooner or later.

The social media giant, Facebook, no longer satisfied with invading our personal life, is now gearing up to make an impact in our work life too.

The idea behind “Facebook at Work” is to provide a work-related social media experience that will rival the likes of Google, Microsoft and IBM’s enterprise tools.

Currently, it is being used within Facebook helping teams to communicate and plan through Messages and Groups. They can also collaborate on projects.

Once bit of good news is that this new platform will be hosted separately from private Facebook to ensure security between personal and private versions, with no sharing of information or data across the two sites.

There is no news yet as to when it will be available, but as soon as I hear anything I’ll let you know.

Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

 

Finding A Copywriter – Cost vs Value

When you scout round for a copywriter, how do you make a buying decision?

I’m betting you look at cost over and above everything else.

Yes, I understand you have budget constraints, but just looking at the cost of a service can be very short-sighted.

How much?

As a copywriter I hate getting those emails that say, sorry you’re too expensive.

Really?

What are you comparing that to?

Nine times out of ten, a potential client will gather a load of emails from Google search, perhaps throw in a few that have been recommended and then blast out an email along the lines of “I need 10 pages of copy, what do you charge?”

The problem with that is that you’re immediately telling the recipient of the email “I need some writing done, I don’t care how good it is, I just want it.”

What’s that? You do care how good it is? Oh, right, well that’s not what you’re saying.

The deciding factor shouldn’t be about cost (although I appreciate you don’t have a bottomless budget), it should be their experience (not just in your industry), reputation and quality of their work.

Why?

Because the reputation of your business is at stake.

Think about it, if you have ‘OK’ copy on your website (and other promotional materials), but your competitor has high quality, persuasive content who will people chose? Yup, not you.

If you were building a house you wouldn’t just instruct the cheapest builder, you’d want to find one that’s got a good reputation. If you wanted a lawyer, you wouldn’t just hire the cheapest, you’d ask for recommendations to find the best on in their field. So, when you’re looking for a copywriter to create compelling marketing copy don’t make your decision on price alone.

How to find a great writer

The first thing to do is look at their website.

Read their testimonials and case studies. Look at their portfolio and at the clients they have worked with.

Then, rather than sending out an email, pick up the phone and call them. Have a chat about what you’re looking for, ask for their advice. A good writer will be enthusiastic and knowledgeable – this is also a good way to see if you gel, after all, you’ll be working closely together so it’s important you find someone you can work with.

The budget for your copy should be in line with that of your website, brochure etc.

Experienced writers aren’t going to be cheap, but do you want cheap as chips or someone that actually knows what they’re doing?

Author – Sally Ormond, Briar Copywriting Ltd

 

Twitter Shares Drop But Twitter Chief Still Confident

twitter engagement

Twitter is a social media platform that we’ve taken to our hearts.

Millions of users generate an army of tweets promoting, connecting and chatting creating an online community that’s far reaching.

Despite that, Twitter is finding it tough to turn a profit.

A recent article in The Drum announced that Twitter’s latest published results have shown the company losing £175m between July and September despite a surge in sales and users.

Promising figures showing sales up 114% to $361m and a 23% rise in monthly active users to 284m failed to mollify investors with shares dropping 8% in after-hours trading due to the figures falling substantially behind analyst forecasts of around $450m in sales.

Despite that gloomy reading, Twitter chief, Dick Costolo was reported to have described it as a:

…very strong financial quarter. I’m confident in our ability to build the largest daily audience in the world.”

Mind you, it is still lagging behind Facebook – so is this the beginning of the end, or can Twitter turn things around?

 

Sally Ormond – Briar Copywriting Ltd