Sales and marketing letters are among the most commonly used and effective means of
communicating with current and potential customers about your company's or organization's
products and services.
A sales letter can also be combined with a brochure, order form, and other sales materials to
create a complete direct mail advertising package.
Direct mail advertising is a proven method of reaching key decision makers in homes and
businesses with information on the benefits your product or service provides. A direct mail
package often contains the following elements:
A direct mail sales letter can take many forms and sizes. It may be as short as one page, or as long
as twelve or more pages. Regardless of its length, a successful advertising letter will:
A mailing envelope with an intriguing tag line
A sales letter or brochure
A premium buck slip making a special offer
A separate note highlighting a specific product benefit
An order form and return envelope
Direct Mail Advertising
Connect With Your Customers
Using Direct Mail Advertising
Capture the readers attention
Create a desire for your product or service
Get the reader to take an action (e.g. place an order, contact your for more information).
Increase Sales Through Direct Mail Advertising
As Mark Twain might say, "The report of the death of direct mail advertising has been greatly
exaggerated." In spite of the significant growth in internet-based marketing, direct mail still provides a
great opportunity for a solid return on investment of your advertising dollars. According to the Direct
Marketing Association, direct mail advertising generates nearly $2 trillion in U.S. sales every year.
A recent study commissioned by Pitney Bowes found that consumers prefer mail to e-mail when receiving
information about new products or services. The study found: " 73% of consumers prefer to receive new
product announcements and offers by mail from companies they are already doing business with, as
compared to just 18% who prefer e-mail.
" 70% of respondents also prefer getting unsolicited product information by mail from companies with
which they are not already doing business.
In addition, consumers are less likely to discard unopened mail about products (31%) than they are to
discard unsolicited e-mail (53%). Survey respondents reported mail to be less intrusive, more convenient,
less high pressure, and more descriptive.
This doesn't mean businesses should abandon internet-based marketing efforts. However, failure to
include direct mail advertising in your overall marketing plans could significantly shortchange your success.
A winning sales letter could be as short as one page, or as long as twelve or more. However, if any of the essential parts of the
sales letter are missing or weak, it may not overcome a customer's reluctance to buy. The major goal of any sales letter is to
persuade the reader to take an action. And only a well-built letter can do this effectively.
Some people mistakenly think direct mail advertising is junk mail that no one reads. But direct mail advertising is a proven
sales strategy. It puts information about your products or services directly in the hands of key decision makers in homes and
businesses. The science of direct mail marketing provides a focused way to reach large numbers of potential customers in a
cost-effective way. If you're not including direct mail advertising in your overall marketing plans, you're missing a powerful
sales tool that can deliver outstanding results for your small business.
Three Steps to Successful Direct Mail Advertising
In order to ensure your direct mail advertising has what it takes to get prospective customers to act, you must
have three essential components:
1. A Strong Offer
Keys to Building a Powerful Sales Message
Why use Direct Mail?
Regardless of what you're selling, you need to make an offer that will compel individuals to take steps to buy
your product or service, come into your office or store, visit your web site, or request more information.
To do this, you need to consider the unique benefits of your product or service. What advantage does a
customer gain buying from you (e.g. lower price, better quality or service, money-back guarantee, additional
free gift, easy payment method)? What sets your product or service apart?
The stronger you can make an offer, the more successful your advertising will be.
You need to select or develop a mailing list that contains individuals or businesses most likely to have an interest
in your product or service. A mailing list can come from a number of different sources, including list brokers and
managers, mailing houses, or your current customer base.
2. A Quality Mailing List
Once you have a great offer and a quality mailing list, you still need one more thing. To ensure successful direct
mail advertising, you must present your offer to the potential customers in a way that attracts their attention
and, most importantly, compels them to take action.
If you don't present the right message, you will be wasting your time and money. Nothing defeats the value of
a direct mail advertising more than a poorly written sales letter or brochure. And in order to have a successful
sales letter, you need to understand and use the most effective approach in preparing your message.
3. The Right Message
The Headline - serves as the foundation. It
should draw the reader's interest and compel
him or her to want to read more. It may identify
a benefit of the product or service, make an
offer, or ask a question.
The Lead - includes the first few lines of the
sales letter and tells the reader "what is in it" for
him or her. What is this product or service
offering that he or she needs? How could he or
she benefit from buying or using it?
The Body - contains the majority of the sales
presentation. It will describe your product or
service, give information on its benefits and
provide credibility for claims made about it.
The Close - restates the offer being made and
provides ordering information.
Writing a profit-boosting sales letter is like building a house. You have to build it from the ground up.
You need to start with a solid foundation that the rest of the letter can stand on. The key elements of a
successful sales letter include:
The Guarantee - states the actual terms of any
refund to alleviate any possible buying reservations.
The P.S. - concludes the letter and provides a few
more enticements, restates the benefits, or provides
more credibility to further encourage action.
The Ordering Device - is a separate element from
the letter. It is often the first thing people look at to
determine if your offer is of interest to them. It
should restate the major offer or promise given in the
letter in an affirmative way, restate the guarantee,
provide a place for collecting all ordering information,
and prompt the customer to act now.