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If you want to run a serious marketing campaign, you will need to get a seriously effective sales letter.

There are three reasons why sales letters occupy such a central place in direct forms of marketing.

1. Your sales letter is your most direct form of communication with prospects. With it, you can directly convey the features and benefits of your products, so your customers understand what your products do and why they should buy them.

2. Your sales letter is your most personal form of communication with prospects. With it, you can speak to them as you speak to a friend, and by doing so, establish a relationship of trust and connection.

3. Online sales letters have the power to elicit a “direct response,” where all the reader has to do is push a button at the end in order to buy. Sales videos and other forms of advertising are not as effective in getting direct responses (although they are improving).

Obviously, your sales letter is important enough to your marketing campaign that you should spend as much time as possible crafting a good one. If you’re not a copywriter yourself, you should hire an experienced one to write your sales letter for you, because it is an art that takes a lot of time to master. Otherwise, keep the following sales letter dos and don’ts in mind as you attempt to craft your profit-pulling masterpiece:

Dos

– DO put a lot of thought into your headline. The headline is essentially the most important part of your sales letter, because it determines whether your intended audience actually reads the thing. Don’t hesitate to write and re-write this part of your sales letter many times over.

– DO use bullet points wherever possible. The modern reader has a serious case of ADD, and you’ll benefit from playing to it with easily digestible chunks of key information.

– DO tell a story. Make the sales pitch personal by describing how you got to where you are, and how your story relates to your ideal customers wants (and of course, relate this to your product’s key benefits).

– DO emphasize features as well as benefits. Yes, it’s important to play up the benefits to your reader as much as possible using highly descriptive, even emotional, language. However, tying these benefits in to specific features will lend these descriptions credibility.

– DO close with several P.S. (P.P.S., P.P.P.S., etc) notes. Most people just skip to the end of long form sales letters. Good post scripts get your reader to actually go back over the body content of the letter to soak up the key information.

Don’ts

– DON’T wait to get to the point. From the very beginning of your sales letter, you should be getting the key features and benefits out. Don’t ramble on about things that aren’t related to your product.

– DON’T use negative language (i.e. “don’t write sentences like this one!”) The human brain does not process negative language (“no,” “don’t,” etc) very well, so keep the use of this language to a minimum, and try your best to avoid using it altogether.

– DON’T include a lot of distracting pictures in your sales letter. Only use images that draw attention to key text (e.g. arrows, “warning” signs, boxes, etc). Including your corporate logo or some random “cute” image will only distract your readers from what matters: the message.

– DON’T use all caps text to emphasize a point. If you want to emphasize something (e.g. a headline), just enlarge the font and capitalize the first letter in every word. Capitalizing entire words creates a “screaming” tone that can turn readers off.

 

If you follow this list of sales letter dos and don’ts, you will hit the most important key sales letter elements while avoiding the most damaging sales letter pitfalls. However, keep in mind that this advice is far from comprehensive, and that writing truly effective sales letters is an art that takes years to master.

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