Email marketing was all the rage a few years ago.

It heralded the start of a revolution in marketing. It was cheap, fast, and its results were easy to measure. 

Fast forward a few years, and it’s now become a modern-day annoyance for consumers. From an initial trickle, their inboxes now overflow with communications they didn’t want or ask for.

Even the advent of GDPR seems to have made little difference. On a personal note, I am still getting marketing emails that I never signed up for.

When once it was a novelty, it’s now morphed into something stale that people are fed up with. 

Campaigns are less effective – so what’s the answer?

Sales letters offer a personal touch

The biggest problem with emails is the lack of a personal touch. Yes, you can personalise them, but you can’t add a handwritten note.

If you turn the clock back to the good old days of sales letters and direct marketing, you had a marketing tool that could reach out and touch people. 

I’m not condoning a return to those awful lengthy letters that used a rainbow of colours and multiple text fonts. But a simple, well-written, and well-considered letter in a handwritten envelope goes a long way with consumers. 

No one sends letters anymore, so getting an envelope through the door, personally addressed in handwriting will grab attention and will ensure it gets opened. 

Be polite, be short, be friendly

When it comes to the letter itself, you’re unlikely to have time to handwrite it, but that doesn’t mean it has to lose its personality. 

Start by greeting the addressee by name, make it clear from the outset why you’re sending the letter (i.e. open with a benefit) and how you’re going to make their life easier. 

Give them a time-limited discount to add a sense of urgency and a clear and easy ordering process. All too often letters go out promising the earth but fail to show the reader how to buy. Don’t make them hunt for instructions, because they won’t bother. If you want them to buy, tell them and show them how. 

There’s no need to go on for pages; just a brief message with clear instructions about how to order your wonder gadget.

Add a personal touch

I’ve already said it’s unlikely you’ll have the time (or the energy) to handwrite your letters, but that doesn’t mean you have to lose the personal touch. 

  • Sign them rather than using an electronically printed signature
  • Give your direct number so they can call you if they need more information
  • Handwrite the address on the envelope
  • Add a handwritten personal message on the back of the envelope
  • Stick a stamp on the front

You see, it doesn’t take much to create a personalised mailing campaign. It just takes a bit of thought.

A physical letter goes a long way in this over-digitised world. Give it a try.

Sally Ormond is an international copywriter. If you are looking for inspiration advice on sales letters and someone with a talent for writing them, give her a call on +44(0)1449 779605.