6 Essential Elements of a Sales Letter
A sales letter (or email) is just one of many promotional actions you will take and, recalling that no single action will suffice, it is first important to be clear on the strategy behind it and its place among your many marketing actions. Have you clearly identified your target market; how does your sales letter fit into your overall strategy for growth; what other marketing actions are being undertaken to support it?
So let’s assume you have a clear strategy and a series of marketing actions in place or planned to help achieve your goals. Here are 6 essential elements your sales letter * should consist of.
1. Recipient > Should be a real person, rather than “The Manager”. Don’t be lazy, put the work in first. Plus you’ll need it for element 6, later.
2. First paragraph > This should state the issue, challenge or problem that the letter’s recipient may be encountering.
3. Second paragraph > State the general, generic solution to the issue described.
4. Third paragraph > Why us? Now you are selling. Explain why your particular in-house solution might be best for the recipient.
Now, when I say ‘paragraph’, I mean maximum 2 to 3 short, punchy lines. Your letter should be no more than 8 or 9 lines in total, well spaced. Insert a clear image, for example of yourself or your product, to add variety to the text.
5. Signature + contact details > Where practical, always sign your letters by hand. Just like the to-be-avoided “Dear Manager” opening, nobody wants to receive an unsigned letter. It’s just not personal.
6. The bit that’s not in the letter > Always follow up a sales letter with a phone call, perhaps 3 or 4 working days after the letter was posted. During the phone call stage, remember that your aim is to get that meeting!
Try designing more than one style of letter, send both out and compare results. Do this with e-mails and newsletters also. Live and learn.
But most of all, make that call.
* Now, when I use the term “sales letter”, it includes postcards, emails and the like.
Your Sales Letter as part of The Sales Process
Read this post about the over-arching sales process.