We know that the measure of a sales letter’s success is a high response rate – whether it’s getting prospects to buy something you’re selling or join your email list. That’s the bottom line. But did you know that this success is based on five elements, which together create a blueprint of persuasion?
Let’s look at each element in turn:
1. Evaluate your service or product
You need to know about your service or product in depth. This might sound obvious, but it is only through knowing your goods thoroughly that you can work out the features and benefits. This research will also give you a better idea of the leading benefit, which should be the focus of your promotion – the golden nugget to entice your prospects to say yes…
2. Know thy prospect
It goes without saying that you should have a pretty good idea about the people you plan to write to. Without knowing their demographics, you could be targeting the wrong group of people. After all, there is little point in sending a letter about prostate enlargement to young men, or mailing information
about a product that eases menstrual cramps to women over fifty.
If you fail to target the right group, even a perfectly written letter will fail to produce the right results.
You have to draw the product/service and your prospects together and that means you need to know both as much as possible. Who is your prospect? What does your prospect want? What problems and
desires do they have? How can your product or service help them? How will it benefit them?
3. Create an offer or incentive
Most sales letter need an offer or incentive – something that will prompt your prospect to take the action you want. This could be a gift, a discount or a time-sensitive incentive. A great offer can save a poorly written letter from utter failure and it also helps you overcome your prospect’s reluctance to buy. It can make all the difference when people are unsure about buying or signing on the dotted line.
Plus, everyone likes something for free (that’s just human nature), so if you offer something of reasonable quality for free, you are more likely to get the results you want. Just make sure the offer is relevant. Don’t, for example, offer a pair of gardening gloves in a letter selling financial services. A calculator or pen or a discounted fee for a consultation would be more suitable.
4. The techniques of persuasion
A sales letter is all about persuasion. You need to know the various techniques that rouse and capture the reader’s interest, and then carries them, transfixed, right through to the order form section of your letter, where they will hopefully seal their purchase.
One key technique is to remain focused on your reader. It’s all about them and their needs, and how you can help them. In that letter, they are the centre of your world. There is nothing more that people like reading or hearing about than themselves. Nail this point home by using “you” as much as possible and “I” rarely.
5. Writing talent
Writing is a craft, but talent certainly comes in handy. In sales letters, there is less emphasis on grammar and style and more on content –it’s what you write, not how you write it that counts. But if you’re a natural sales person with a flair for words of persuasion, then you’ll find it easier to create successful letters. You want a conversational tone in your writing – as if you are describing a product to a friend or someone you know well. Having that sort of intimacy in your letter is important as you want to create a bond, a relationship, rather than make your prospect feel like a walking wallet.
As with anything worth the effort, practice is vital, and those lacking natural talent can, with time and dedication, write sales letter that heed all five elements and produce the desired results.
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