Letter Perfect

August 1998

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Letter Perfect

What might be missing from your sales missives?

Effective solicitation letters combine the art of salesmanship with the science of marketing research. The following letter-writing tips are culled from an article in Dynamic Graphicsmagazine.

  • Place a headline at the top of the letter, before your salutation. Headlines are the most-read portion of solicitation letters. The most effective headlines make a claim or promise – implicit or explicit – that's further explained in the body of the letter. The headline needn't be clever but must be easy to grasp. Don't leave the reader scratching his head over an obscure pun or too-clever allusion.
  • Avoid outdated salutations, such as "Dear Sir or Madam." Use names whenever possible.
  • Get to the point quickly – no later than the end of the second paragraph.
  • Spell out exactly what you want to the reader to do (presumably, to come into your store – the sooner the better). Include store hours.
  • Never write a paragraph more than seven lines. Short paragraphs let readers follow your ideas more easily.
  • Keep the last sentence of your letter – before the "Sincerely" or "Best wishes" – short so you don't distract the reader from your main point.
  • Always include a P.S. It's the second-most-read part of most letters. This postscript should add an incentive for doing what you want or reiterate the benefit of acting quickly. Because it's often read before the rest of the letter, the postscript should contain enough information to make sense on its own.



Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


 

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