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It began as another meeting with a potential client. She started writing eight years ago for the company and today holds three administrative positions as well as being the chief copywriter and editor.
I displayed some writing samples and she loved them.
Then I got a chance to look at a direct mail campaign they were sending to their database. It consisted of sample post cards, invitation cards, four-color flyers, door hangers, and a bulletin leaflet all stuffed inside an attractive 9" x 12" graphic-intense envelope. And there was a single page cover letter: which was the weak link.
Why is that?
Because it was lacking so many important elements of a killer direct response letter.
Your sales letter must be the strong link in your marketing campaigns. In direct mail it has the power to double, triple, or quadruple sales for the same postage.
Your sales letter has the ability to paint compelling pictures and persuade your reader to take action. Nothing else in your campaign can match your letter's power to convert prospects into customers.
Let's make your sales letters produce more money. Let's take a critical look at that company's cover letter:
1) No headline - just a company logo and a mission statement in reverse text on company letterhead. And nothing else.
You must write a "grab 'em by the throat" headline in all of your marketing campaigns. It's the ad for your letter. It works similar to a first impression. Its job is to compel people to read the next line. It has to scream, "Hey, buddy! This is important. It's for you. Read on."
2) A plural salutation. Never write, "Dear Friends... Dear Partners... or Dear Members." It screams of a mass mailing and not a personal letter. And you know where those type of letters end up?
3) No benefits. The copy was laced with features which spoke about the company and their products. How important they were. But not even a hint about what the prospect was going to get.
4) and 5) No offer or any sense of urgency. The letter stated the products they were selling. Take it or leave it. Not very exciting or would motivate people to buy.
Even if she had written:
"Sale! Take 15% off your grand total if you order within the next 10 days" ...she would have created an offer with some urgency.
6) No call to action. Most people aren't thinkers. They have a herd mentality. And they need to be led. Really.
If you believe people will automatically call you and give you their credit card number just because they read your letter - you are sadly mistaken. You must lead them by the hand into each step of the ordering process. This erases any doubts of what to do next.
7) No guarantee. This is a major reason many companies are losing sales.
This direct mail company has a 30-day return policy for their standard products, but none for their custom print jobs. (Except in cases of a printing or production error.)
Nevertheless, anything that reduces risk should be mentioned anyway to ease prospects' fears and anxieties.
8) No premium. Since a good portion of their database for this campaign is usually strapped for cash - a gift can mean the difference between making a sale or hearing silence.
9) No post script. The P.S. is an excellent place to restate the benefits, tease them with a surprise premium, or paint the picture of deeper benefits not previously mentioned.
In short, it was a boring cover letter lacking any punch. There wasn't anything that would excite a prospect to act.
Can you imagine how much money they're losing?
But you don't have to follow their example. You don't have to make the same mistakes. Because you now know some of the killer secrets of a succesful sales letter.
Use these tips today to strengthen your copy and watch your response rates soar!
Tommy Yan helps business owners and entrepreneurs make more money through direct response marketing. He publishes Tommy's Tease weekly e-zine to inspire people to succeed in business and personal growth. Get you free subscription today at www.TommyYan.com.
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