Sales letter is an important cornerstone in any campaign.
This is also one of the most popular forms of advertising today,
and have been for some time. The reason for this is simple - it
However, with no generalized guideline on format, content, style
and length - writing a truly effective sales letter is a daunting
challenge for even the most seasoned marketing professional.
After discussing tips on how to write an effective sales letter
with examples - let us focus on common mistakes.
Mistake No 1 : Your Direct mail campaign is
as (in)effective as your mailing list
What is the most important part of your direct mail campaign ? -
Its not copy, not the artwork, not even the format. It is the mailing
A great mail campaign with superior content and format may attract
double the response of a poorly conceived mailing for the same mailing
But a carefully designed mailing list can pull a response 10 times
more than the worst list for the identical content and format.
Remember - in direct marketing, a mailing list is not just a way
of reaching your market. It is the market.
In mushrooming mailing list market - how do you select the best
package ? Do you go by price ? referral ? advice from friends ?
The best mailing list for your product or service is the one you
are sitting on, buried in your mail folders and address directory.
Yes, it is your house list - a list of customers and potential customers
who previously bought from you or responded to your advertisement,
mail, public relations campaign etc. Typically, your house list
will pull double the response of an outside list. Yet, only about
50% of business marketers pay attention to house list.
Mistake No 2 : Sales Letter without offer is
as effective as dinner invitation without address of dinner hall
Your direct mail MUST contain an offer - something the reader gets
when he/she responds to your mail.
In fact, a key success factor of a direct mail campaign is to sell
the offer - not the product or service.
Remember - the offer should be something perceived as beneficial
to reader. It can not be features of your products or an invitation
to visit your web-site.
It could be free brochure, free technical information, free analysis,
free consultation, free demonstration, free trial use, free product
sample, free catalog.
Your letter should state the offer in such a way as to increase
the reader's desire to ask for the offering. For example, a catalog
becomes a product guide. A collection of brochures becomes a free
information kit. An article reprinted in pamphlet form becomes "our
new, informative booklet--'How to Prevent Computer Failures.'"
Mistake No. 3 - Emphasizing features - ignoring
Perhaps the oldest and most widely embraced rule for writing direct-mail
copy is, "Stress benefits, not features." This still holds good
except for highly technical products where readers look for features
to differentiate between products (e.g. computer, semiconductor
Translate features into benefits and place them in bullet points
towards beginning of the mail. This requires an understanding of
readers' mind. In short, your challenge is to find out what the
customer wants to know about your product--and then tell him in
Obviously mass mail packages are of no use here - underlining the
importance of your house list.
- Newsletter on Business Opportunties from India and Abroad
Vol: 3, Issue 32
November 28' 2002
Dr. Amit K. Chatterjee
(Amit worked in blue-chip Indian and MNCs for 15 years in various
capacities like Research and Information Analysis, Market Development,
MIS, R&D Information Systems etc. before starting his e-commerce
venture in 1997. The views expressed in this columns are of
his own. He may be reached at email@example.com