There’s more to successful direct marketing than buying a mailing list. Millions of companies worldwide are potentially losing thousands of pounds through ill-thought out copy.
The content of your mailing requires as much time and devotion as your data selection. You’ll have broken through two barriers already – choosing a mailing list that effectively targets your core market and persuading that core market to open the envelope – so it’s crucial that you don’t fall at the final hurdle.
The material you include in your mail shot offers the chance for your company to shine. It’s about you, your product/service and what it can do for them, your potential client. This isn’t the time for cutting corners – you have to show your prospects what you can offer them quickly, powerfully and most crucially, persuasively. Remember, this is the moment when you clinch (or don’t clinch) the deal.
Research has shown, over and over again, that including a sales letter within your mail out increases performance rate. So with that in mind, let’s take a look at how to maximise the potential of that sales letter.
Don’t underestimate the headline. I’ll say it again… DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE HEADLINE. It’s an obvious point and yet somewhere, in the process of writing, re-writing and editing our copy, most of us forget its significance.
With time being a rather precious commodity these days, most people only read the headline and the P.S before deciding whether your expensive print work is worthy of premium desk space or if it has a more sombre fate, i.e. at the bottom of the rubbish bin.
So, how do you write a good headline?
- Forget brand awareness. The prospect doesn’t care what your company is called – they care about what your company can do for them. There’s plenty of time to mention your company name later on, after you’ve grabbed their interest.
- Keep it as short as possible. The point of the headline is to be snappy.
- Be original. The more memorable and gripping your headline, the more likely your prospects will be intrigued to read on.
- But don’t lie or mislead. People don’t take kindly to being tricked. Make sure your headline is of direct relation to the following copy. Misleading people not only reflects badly on your company, but it can also prompt questions about your company ethics.
- An open declaration or question, are effective ways to arouse curiosity.
So you’ve stirred enough interest to keep your prospect reading. Now to sustain that interest…
The First Paragraph
Sell benefits, not features – a simple yet crucial point. People who buy a product or service are really buying the benefits of that product/service rather than the product/service itself. For example:
When someone buys a lawnmower, it’s not the lawnmower they want – it’s something to cut the grass.
So, an advertisement for lawnmowers should promote the lawnmowers effectiveness at grass cutting – its easy manoeuvrability to reach even the smallest patches of grass, or perhaps it’s super sharp blade that can cut even the densest of lawns – rather than its colour, or its cutting edge design.
Make it clear what your product is and its benefit to your prospect. Nobody wants to read half a page of copy only to discover they still don’t know what is being sold.
Value your Clients
Most prospects are well aware that they are just one of many who you have chosen to contact. But this should not be used as an excuse for laziness. Everyone likes to feel special. Wherever you can, refer to each prospect by name, and if possible, mention previous transactions – ‘we have noticed that it has been over six months since your last purchase’ – it shows that you value their custom.
Grammar and Vocabulary Don’t Make Money
That’s not to say, be careless. Spelling mistakes and misused punctuation suggest sloppy work and a lack of professionalism. But your sales copy is just that, copy with the aim to sell, it’s not an essay and shouldn’t be treated as such.
Don’t worry about starting sentences with ‘And’ or using colloquial language. A more relaxed sales letter will make your prospect feel more like a friend, and this can be beneficial when it comes to selling. People buy from those they like or those they have the best relationship with.
Finally, Tell Them What to Do Next…
The last paragraph is the section responsible for turning your prospects’ curiosity into desire. Here is your chance to leave a lasting impression and, more importantly, initiate the next step of the sales process. Amazingly, many companies forget their fundamental aim – to get the sale. They produce well written sales copy describing the benefits of their product, wowing their potential customers with sales figures and testimonials, arousing their prospects interest, and then they fail to ask for the sale.
The most successful sales copy calls the prospect to action. Instructing people on how to take the next step encourages them to take it. Ask them to ‘call now’ or ‘visit our website’. Give them an incentive – a 2 for 1 offer, or a discount. Ideally place a time limit on the offer to persuade them to act sooner rather than later. After a certain amount of time has elapsed, even those with the best of intentions will forget they meant to make that call.
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