Sales Letters - How to Increase Sales by 400%

In this article, I will run through

  • The basics of a successful sales promotional letter
  • The new consumer behavior
  • What works; and finally
  • The two unusual type of letters I personally use that increases conversions by 200% to 400%.

Basics of a successful sales letter

sales letter A winning sales letter succeeds by following the AIDA formula. AIDA Stands for "Attention, Interest, Desire and Action."

Before we go into the AIDA formula, there is an important step you must take before you write a single word. Do this step and you will find getting the AIDA formula right becomes a lot easier.

What is this first step?

Understand your customer.

The more you can understand what makes your customers tick, the better you are at selling to them. To help you do that, you can answer the following questions:

  1. Are they afraid of anything?
  2. What are their top frustrations?
  3. Do they have anything to be angry about? Who are they angry at?
  4. What do they desire most?
  5. Are there any trends that are occurring or will occur in their life or business?

Now the AIDA formula:

First, the letter must get the reader's attention with a hard-hitting lead paragraph that goes straight to the point or offers an element of intrigue. A sales letter must capture the reader's attention immediately or it won't get read. There are two common approaches that work well.

  1. Open with an intriguing question or statement that grabs the readers' attention and compels him or her to read on. Here are some examples:
    The power to complete multiple projects on time and on budget. (For Project Management Software.)
    I'm writing to you about your husband. (For insurance if the husband dies.)

  2. 2. Opening with a list of 5 or 6 benefits. Place the biggest benefit first followed by other benefits in declining order of importance. Here's the template:
    How would you like to...
    • Biggest benefit
    • 2nd biggest benefit
    • 3rd biggest benefit
    • and so on . . .

Next, you want to hook the reader's interest. This is usually a clear statement of the reader's problems, needs or wants. What's new? What's in it for the reader?

Remember, the reader isn't interested in you or your products. They are interested in what you can do for them. Here is an example:
For enterprises with sales of more than $1 billion, a best-in-class IT Asset Management program could yield $7 million savings annually, based on an IT budget of $50 to $60 million.

The letter should create a desire. The desire to eliminate or minimize the potential for future loss or the desire to gain something (prestige, more time, more profits, etc.). Provide a compelling reason to buy from you instead of your competition. This is called your "USP" or "Unique Selling Proposition". It's a unique advantage customers get only if they buy from you. One important USP is trust. Make your customer trust you. Provide, field tests or studies of your product, the time your company's been in business, the strength of your brand, your guarantee, testimonials from current customers and from those on your client list.

Last but most important, your sales piece must have a call to action. You must ask your customer to do the action that you want, weather it is to buy or to click on a web site. Explain how and make it so easy for them to do so (as many payment methods as possible) that they will feel left out or disappointed if they don't. For Example:

Don't delay. Take advantage of this Special Price Offer. Call NOW to place your order or complete the coupon below and send your order by email, Fax or postal mail TODAY!

Here are two examples:
Sales Cover Letter Example
Donation Letter Example

If you are looking for advice on how to write a traditional direct sales letter, this article teaches you How to Write a Sales letter in 60 Minutes or Less. Before you go there, please read what I have to say below.

Also, check out this software that writes a powerful sales letter for you. You simply fill-in-the-blanks...and in 2 1/2 minutes, you're done.

Download Now.

The new consumer behavior.

Everywhere there is someone asking you to buy something. On the radio, in the newspaper, spam when you check your email, ads while surfing the net, billboards, neon signs, bulk mail, telemarketing calls, commercials on TV and the list goes on and on.

No wonder the job of selling something is so difficult.

With all these messages, the consumer has heard it all. If your sales letter is ever going to have a chance to get any attention at all, you need to be different than all the noise your prospect receives.

Think back to the time when the first weight loss product came out, all the seller has to do is say “buy this product; it will make you loss weight”. Now, if you see an advert on a slimming product, it got some secret herb or new scientific breakthrough or something different. Even with all this, the ad would be very lucky to get half the attention the very first weight loss add did.

The conventional direct marketer will tell you, you need to create an attention getting headline. I say, this is somewhat true; if you are sending a sales letter that is extremely targeted and you fully understand your target market. Even the best copywriters that get paid $50,000 per letter have a hard time getting the attention.

The simple fact is, today’s consumer have very short attention span. They will not read a 5,000 word sales letter. Not even a 500 word one. With the bombardment of communication messages from email, text messages, tweeter and Facebook; you need something that will get and keep their attention.

So what works?

Ads on the newspaper, TV or radio are basically a waste of money. Not really. How many times do you actually read, watch or listen to it?

The direct mail copywriters and the techniques and tactics they use such as intimidation (limited quantity, only some qualify…), demonstrate ROI, ego appeals, guarantees, and other similar tactics still works to some degree.

However, as I explained above, the consumer has seen it all before and the ones that are interested will just glance through the sales letter. A good conversion rate for direct mail is only 1%. I wouldn't even try it if you are not an expert writer. You must hire one.

Word of mouth and social media marketing works. They will listen to their friends.

What I find works the best?

I have found the following two types of letters converts best.

The first is a sales letter that does not even look like one. You are actually reading it now. This website is one big sales letter. This type of sales letter is called information marketing. It is especially effective on the web since you most likely came here by searching for sales letter.

The concept is simple, provide relevant, useful information. This will get your readers attention and interest. You build up the desire by making the reader trust you. Then you provide recommendations which will create even more desire and then the action.

If you think this only works on the internet, you are mistaken. This has been done long before the internet was ever invented. Its’ called a book. Authors have been using this technique to sell their seminars and consulting services.

In fact, the most successful direct marketing sales letter ever was written by Gary Bencivenga. It is estimated that the letter made the company $100 million in sales. The letter is actually in a form of a magazine and is 24 pages long.

This technique not only works for business to consumer products but also business to business products. When I was with Deloitte Consulting, the firm used to give out white papers, basically a small report on a subject they have services around.

The next is sales videos. Watch the video below to see why it works so well.

Personally, when I added a video to one of my promotions, my conversions increased 320%.

If you are selling online, then you should include videos in you sales letter.

If you need to send a physical letter, I would include a link to your video or a CD with the video on it.

Now I do recommend using a professional like Samurai Sales Videos if you want better conversions.

Another related function is marketing or advertising. Your sales letter must go hand in hand with your advertising and marketing. The idea is to have a consistent message across all touch points with the prospects. Here is my advice on how to approach Advertising Letters.

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Hi I'm Dax...

I’m an entrepreneur, mentor, consultant and I was a global IT service manager for one of the largest multinational in the world.

I'm here to help you write better business letters.

Read more about me...

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