Google’s doing it. Healthcare and Insurance companies love it. Consultants are starting to recommend direct mail as a channel not to overlook. So why should you?
In our last post, “How to Write Copy That Sells,” I discussed a few secrets of the trade to grab your readers attention. Today, I’ll present a closer look at the advantages of sending a sales letter using postal mail.
Even with all the modern technology and new channels of communication available today, a good sales letter is still one of the most effective means of selling products and generating high quality leads. At the least, with the right name and address, the post office still delivers.
A letter is personal, delivering a one-to-one message from you to your potential customer. It’s also a format that’s easy to read and which generates high readership from recipients.
How do you write a sales letter?
Let’s say you’re selling house painting services and you want people to request a free estimate.
Begin your letter with a headline or “Johnson Box” (Wiki) as known by many in the direct mail industry that presents your offer or promises a benefit. Your headline could read, “Finally! An affordable house painter who really cares about the smallest details! Ask for our FREE estimate, which contains testimonials from nearby residents, and a get $20.00 gift card from a local pizza parlor when we present our proposal.”
Your salutation should be simple and warm. All you need is “Dear Mike” or, if you’re using Every Door Direct Mail (USPS.COM), “Hello Neighbor!”
Then, in your first sentence, you must really get the readers attention. Write something short and punchy, such as “Hate a sloppy paint job? So do we!”
Going on with our example, you should then present the problem, which are painters who rush and don’t do a neat job. After the problem, present the solution, which is your professional painting service.
Always have an offer in your sales letter.
Then you should present your offer, which in this case is a free estimate and proposal. But it could also be a discount on the first job, or even a free consultation on a specific project.
Next, provide a few features and benefits of your service. Make sure that these relate to what your prospects care about, which in this case would be attention to detail, superior skill, experience, and so on.
Now it’s time for the “Call-to-Action.“
Then comes the most important part of the sales letter; the “call to action.” If you want people to contact you, give your phone number and/or email address. Provide a Web address so the reader can see first-hand recent photos of completed jobs and a few testimonials from recent customers.
Social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram are two great channels to support your direct mail letter. Pictures do help telling a story.
Now state your guarantee to ease doubts and present a deadline or expiration date for your proposed estimate and gift card offer. A deadline is important because many people won’t take action unless there’s a little pressure.
Then, it’s time for your wrap-up. The wrap-up is a quick restatement of the promise you made and a reminder of the offer and call to action. This may appear repetitive, and it is. But a little repetition is a good thing in a sales letter.
Finally comes your signature, and you’re done, right? Not quite. It’s always good to add a P.S. This acts like a headline at the end of the letter. It can be used to restate the offer, emphasize the deadline, or even give people an alternate means of response.
Every business is different, so every sales letter will be different. But if you follow the step-by-step formula outlined here, you’ll improve your odds of success.
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