The marketer's secret weapon

The more marketing messages that a consumer or business gets bombarded with, the better they get at ignoring them.

Companies then typically up the ante and try to shout louder than their competitors to draw attention. But that just leads to more shouting, and everybody gets drowned out.

There is a secret weapon that can help you cut through the clutter. It’s a humble sales letter and it can still be devastatingly effective when you need to get a response.

Here are a few tips to get you started:

1 Write for as long as it takes to tell your story
Firstly, let’s bust one enduring myth: Long letters don’t get read. Oh yes they do! In test after test, long letters outperform short letters. The more you tell the more you sell. Don’t be afraid of writing long, but do make sure your message is interesting.

2 Start with a killer headline that grabs attention
I don’t think I can emphasise the importance of writing winning headlines enough. Without a headline, your sales letter is doomed to failure even before it starts. Over five times as many people will read your headline as will read your sales letter.

3 Your first sentence should also be attention-grabbing
You must instantly involve the reader. Make a starting statement. Tell an interesting story. Hit an emotional ‘hot button’ or just state the offer and get to the point.

4 Present your offer on the first page
If you don’t give your offer in your headline or first sentence, you should put it somewhere on your first page. Be clear and specific about what your reader will gain by responding.

5 End the first page mid-sentence
Whether it’s curiosity or just an urge for closure, cutting a sentence in two at the bottom of a page helps encourage readers to turn the page and finish the sentence.

6 Always include a PS
When a prospect picks up a letter, they look first at the signature and next at the PS. Thus, the PS provides such a vital selling opportunity that almost every sales letter should include one.

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Andrew Chemney
Managing director
Ignition CBS