Ways of starting a sales letter

I've received probably thousands of sales letters. Hundreds of them wasted valuable selling time promoting the company first; the offer was almost an afterthought. Often the reason this happens is that the writer (not usually a professional copywriter) doesn't have a clue where to start. So if you're a small company, intent on continuing to write your own letters, here are a few start-points you might find helpful.

1. State the offer

2. Highlight anything being given away free

3. Make an announcement, e.g. 'now, for the first time ever'

4. Tell a story (Could this happen to me, the reader, someday?)

5. Flatter the reader

6. Write one-to-one, i.e. the reader sees you as 'someone like me'

7. Write a personal message from someone high up in the company

8. Use a 'killer' quote (like the lead of a sensational news story)

9. Ask a question

10. Make it personal (e.g. an offer designed especially for reader)

11. Identify a problem (e.g. 'Short of cash before payday?')

12. Stress a benefit (e.g. 'Enjoy instant access to cash.')

13. Offer insider information (e.g. We're writing to give you advance news of a special low-interest loan.)

14. Prize draw? Hype up what they could win.

If you'd rather pass the job on to a professional sales letter copywriter, call Val on 01684 772 021 or 07802 959 009. Alternatively, email copy@valvalentine.co.uk

Val Valentine, advertising and direct mail copywriter

Copyright 2005 Val Valentine

Val Valentine is a B2C and B2B advertising and direct mail copywriter based in the Midlands, UK. With over 25 yearsí experience, she also writes commercials for TV and Radio, brochures, sales letters, articles, web content and has broad experience of strategic brand planning and development. You can reach her at +44 (0) 1684 772 021 or +44 (0 )7802 959 009. For further information, please visit www.valvalentine.co.uk

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