Writing Better Letters For Direct Mail Results

It’s a hard truth that most direct mail letters don’t get read. And in many cases, deservedly so. They’re poorly constructed, lack an engaging hook, and bury the benefit or reward deep in the maze of their meandering narrative.

The good news is, for those who follow some results-driven steps, a direct mail letter can be an effective tool for connecting with current or prospective customers and generating sales.

Grab attention up front. Like the headline of an ad, the opening of your letter should be relevant and interesting enough to pull in your reader. Begin with a situation or problem to which he or she will likely relate and present it as simply and provocatively as possible. Opening lines with stopping power come in many styles, from the intriguing teaser to the no-nonsense problem-solver. A few examples:

  • What If The General Contractor You Trust Could Also Help You With Your A/C?
  • Cut Your Energy Bills Up To 80%.
  • Discover the Ounce Of Prevention With the Year-Round Reward.
  • Land A Better Job. At Sea.

Get to the point. The trend is undeniable: People are reading less these days. If you draft a sales pitch that wastes valuable time cutting to the chase, you’ve got as much chance of getting read as the 48-page owner’s manual of a barbeque grill.

Your top priority in drafting a sales letter is to say what you need to say and say it quickly. Your audience may not read all the way down to paragraph five to find out they can save hundreds of dollars by ordering within 30 days. Put the primary benefit — the main reason they should do business with you right now — in the first paragraph. You may not get a second chance to hook them.

Back up your pitch with facts. Why should prospective customers buy from you? They need reasons and they need them spelled out simply and clearly. As a general rule, the more facts you tell, the more you sell, and using a bulleted list is one of the most efficient ways to spotlight key points. For example:

Our new barbeque grill . . .

  • Provides 370 square inches of primary cooking space
  • Features easy-to-clean porcelain wire cooking grates
  • Assembles quickly – you’ll go from box to grilling in minutes
  • Doesn’t come with a 48-page owner’s manual

Include a strong call to action. Getting the reader of your letter to act promptly is crucial. Provide a cut-off date or some imposed limitation to create some urgency. If your prospects think they might miss out on a rare opportunity, they’ll be more likely to respond. “Order now before the July 1 price increase . . . ” can work well if it’s a product of value with a believable deadline and rationale for ordering sooner rather than later.

Follow these steps to crafting a concise, benefits-oriented message, and you’ll have something many of your prospects can appreciate: A letter that respects their time and offers a product or service to make some aspect of their lives better.

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