OK, let’s start at the beginning. The title of this piece is a wee bit misleading because no single formula will ensure every sales letter you write will be a success.
So why did I start with a big fat lie?
Because I think it’s crucial for you to understand that. Yes, you started reading this in the hope you were going to get a free template for the world’s best sales letter, but you must understand that the success of your mailing is going to depend on:
- Your audience
- How they are feeling on the day, they get your letter
- Your offer
- The time of year
- Their journey into work that day
You see it’s not all about your sales letter, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. Although there’s no winning formula, there are some tried and tested tactics you can use that will improve your chances of success.
Hit the ground running
This is part and parcel of marketing writing. You have to grab your reader’s attention from the outset, and that means a compelling headline before the greeting, or with a killer first sentence.
If you use a headline the temptation is to get creative, but it’s more effective to hit them with the main benefit – that you’ll save the money, make them more successful, have a better life etc.
If you prefer to be a bit more formal, the first sentence of your letter must do the job of the headline.
Always go for clarity over creativity.
The best format for any sales letter (in my humble opinion) is the problem/solution format.
You should already know the problem your reader has, so empathise with him and offer him a solution that will make it go away (your product or service).
It is that simple. No need for elaborate prose – get straight to the point and show him how you can improve his life.
When you’re showing him how you can solve his problem, focus on the benefits of your solution. At this point, your reader isn’t bothered about how many sizes or colours your thingummy comes in, he wants to know it will make him hugely successful and the envy of all his mates.
Everything you talk about must be related to your reader and how it satisfies his needs and how it will make his life better.
People will accept offers over purchases any day.
Think about it – you won’t buy a pair of glasses, but you will go for a buy one get one free offer.
Once his sold on your thingummy because of the benefits it will bring, he will need to be tempted by a strong offer – and that means the exceptional deal he’s are getting rather than the price it’s being offered at.
Of course, your reader won’t only want a stonkingly great offer; he’ll also want it guaranteed so if he changes his mind he’s got an easy way out. He’s unlikely to want out, but a guarantee gives the reassurance he needs to reach for his wallet and buy.
Now what do I do?
OK, you’ve done all the hard work, and your reader is on the verge of buying, so make sure you tell him what he needs to do next and make it as simple as possible.
Offer him several ways to buy – reply card with stamped addressed envelope, email address, order phone number etc.
Just as if you were face to face with a customer, you have to ask for the order, or you won’t get it.
Give clear, easy to read instructions and make it simple for him to respond.
So there you have it.
This may not be a sales letter template, but it’s as close as anyone can get to one. By making sure you follow all of these tactics you will be giving your sales letter the best possible chance of success.