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How To Write An Effective Sales Letter

How To Write An Effective Sales Letter

Well-written sales letter is often underestimated or even forgotten entirely. Sales letters are a simple but powerful marketing tool. When written effectively sales letter can generate serious results for your business.

The power of sales letters truly lies in the personal nature of the communication as opposed to brochures and advertising. Your sales letter will arrive personally addressed and hand stamped.

An effective sales letter will engage the recipient with your first sentence and persuade them to act by speaking to their personal needs and purchase motivations.

In order to write an effective sales letter, you don't need to be an award-winning copywriter to craft a successful sales letter. In fact, some of the best sales letters ever written are not renowned for their grammar or clever word choice, they're known for their customer engagement strategy, the way they told a story that related to their audience and got them to get their wallets.

So, the true key for writing a successful sales letter is to know who you're targeting, what their needs are and how to reach them directly.

How to write an effective sales letter?

Step 1. Decide who your audience is

To truly leverage the impact of a personal sales letter, you must carefully define and understand your target audiences. Are you targeting, a stay-at-home mothers, do-it-yourself fathers, a particularly income bracket, age or neighborhood?

Demographic-specific direct mailings lists are commonly available and it is a great tool to access a highly targeted group of your potential customers.

If you are targeting your existing client base, you may wish to segment your list by your customer’s recent purchase behavior.

For example: Categorize your customers by the last time they purchased and send a “Miss you” letter to those who haven't been into your store in over six months or of or other reasonable time frame.

Keep your target market research close at hand

If you have a highly segmented target market you may wish to craft a sales letter for each of your segments and mailing lists. 

How To Write An Effective Sales Letter

Revisit each segments purchase motivations, demographic characteristics, and behavioral characteristics and find out:

What do they need?

What do they want?

What are their common frustrations or hot buttons?

What kind of story would they resonate with?

From this information you will understand how to communicate your offer so that it elicits an emotional response from your readers. An emotional response will motivate them to order, purchase or support your offering.

Step 2 Choose your message (including your offer)

What are you going to tell your readers?

Do you have a time-sensitive offer?

Do you have a solution to their problems or needs?

How about a guarantee or promise?

Do you have proof?

You've already established a clear marketing message and USP and might have created several advertisements and brochures to communicate messages to your broad audiences.

When writing your sales, you need to customize or reframe your message to your specific audience in a way that speaks to their emotions and clearly describes what's in it for you.

Step 3 Your Headlines

Headlines are optional for sales letters but can be an effective way to summarize or communicate your message to your readers.

Rhetorical questions that speak to a problem or frustration are especially effective. Center your headline in bold, above your greeting line.

The sub headline and lead paragraph

The sub headline and your lead paragraph are going to get your reader to care enough to read the rest of your letter.

Provide a solution to the problem you raised in your headline, or answer the question you posed, then in the lead paragraph, briefly described your offer and the corresponding benefits you offer.

Illustration and proof

Just like any compelling statement or opinion, you need to back up your claim, guarantee, or offer with an illustration on how it works.

Particular outrageous customers are naturally going to respond with a prove-it attitude and this is your golden opportunity to tell a story or include a testimonial.

You can also briefly describe the experience of your customers who purchased the offer and follow your story with their real testimonial emphasized by italics or bold fonts.

The benefits

Including a summary of product or service benefits in your letter, tells your potential customer that you're thinking about their needs and writing your letter keeping in mind with them.

Use words like ‘you’ and ‘your’ heavily in the text and describe your product or service’s features sparingly.

An effective way to summarize benefits is with a bulleted list near the end of your sales letter, with key phrases in bold type.

Close and call to action

Give your customers a reason to pick up your phone call, fill out the order form, or return the stamped envelope immediately. Without an incentive to act, your readers will put your letter in their to-do list and may never get around to closing the deal.

Incentives can include time based or supply based urgency. “Offer valid up to this month only” or “only 50 available” or “the inclusion of a bonus item when the sale is completed” by a stated date proves a good response.

Also read 5 Tips to write great product descriptions

Tips for putting it all together

Keep it professional

Put your sales letter on your business letterhead and send it in a hand stamped, high-quality envelope. Letters sent on nondescript envelopes with metered postage are impersonal, and look like mass junk mail.

Make it easy to take action

Include prepaid envelopes, easy to fill out order forms, toll-free phone numbers, email links, and website addresses. The easier it is for your customer to act, the more likely they will response to your sales letter.

Provide several options for action if possible, so that your customer can choose an option that is most convenient for them.

Professional but not formal

Write as though you're speaking with your family members or friends. Casual colloquial language will help to build trust with your reader, as it establishes that you are on the same level and can relate to their same needs and problems.

Tell a story

Engage your reader with a story that relates to your offer or ask, if you have a compelling customer testimonial, consider beginning your letter with that.

People are interested in the stories and experiences of others, so this is a highly persuasive writing strategy.

Make an announcement or tell a secret

Start your letter off with a shocking announcement that includes or relate to your offer.

How To Write An Effective Sales Letter

This can be new research statistics, new development or innovation, or a celebrity testimonial. News that is just barely believable will engage your reader to read more.

Identify a problem, then solve it

Use headlines that ask a question and that identifies their common problem, then show how your offer can solve it.

For example, “Hate dye drying the dishes after they've been through the dishwasher?” or “How many times would you have to ask your kids to make their beds this year?”

This puts you on common ground with your reader, and makes them assume the body of your letter has the solution.

Establish credibility

This needs to be done as soon as possible in your letter.

If your readers do not believe in your credibility by your second or third paragraph, the chances of closing the sale have greatly diminished.

Explain who your company is, and why you're worth your reader’s attention. Use accolades, awards, and testimonials to prove your point, the words of others will be trusted over your own.

Make it useful or memorable

Just like a business card, you can encourage your reader to take the letter if it provides something of use.

For example, if you're a dentist, include the top 10 best snack foods for kids. Include a fridge magnet with your contact information.

Build relationships and establish trust

Use your sales letter to establish a long-term relationship with each recipient on your target market list.

Seek to establish their needs and wants, and begin to show them how you can meet them. Avoid pushy language and pressure tactics that may get you the sale, but not a customer.

Also read Here's how these 3 things are ruining your relationship

Make mistake

When you are sending out your first few mailings and learning about your target audience, consider sending a few different letters to your list to see what works best.

Testing your audience will help you learn their hot buttons and purchase motivations, and ultimately refine your ability to communicate with them in a way that generates sales.

Use the postscript

After your closing and signature, consider re-stating your offer in the postscript (PS).

It is one more opportunity to remind your customers of a limited-time or limited-quantity offer that will entice your customers to act quickly.

Include a brochure

A short brochure or flat sheet can add graphic proof to back up your claims. This can include your product imagery, research charts, and graphs, or images of customers with accompanying testimonials.

Pay attention to formatting

Accept the fact that most of your readers will skim your letter until they find a reason to pay more thorough attention.

This can work for you, if you format your letter to accommodate it. When you are finished, test the formatting by reading only your headlines, sub-headlines and the bold text.

Give more importance to your paragraph and sub headline.

Make sure paragraphs they are all different in lengths.

Use colors and boldface type to highlight your keywords or messages.

Types of sales letters

How To Write An Effective Sales Letter

Potential client

A letter to a new client is intended to introduce your business, and that interests your readers in what you have to say and offer them.

The incentive to act is less aggressive than other letters, and the focus of your letter is on how it benefits from your product or service and will solve your reader’s problem and meet their needs.

Unique selling proposition

This type of sales letter puts a heavy focus on how your product or service soars about your competition, and gives your reader a strong incentive to act quickly.

These tends to be more aggressive letters that work well with existing to build a relationship with.

Also read 10 Best sales and marketing tips for your business


A referral letter is used when an associate has referred a potential client to you.

It is important to include in the first paragraph, the name of the contact who referred you, and why they felt the potential client could use your products or services.

Relationship building

Use a relationship building letter to follow up with your customers who have already purchased from you.

This will let them know that you care about their experience with your product, and that you are available if they need any assistance.

This type of letter will also allow you to keep your customers informed of any changes and developments within your business and its employees.

Job transition

A job transition letter is an important tool when you are changing organizations, or taking over territory from another representative.

The intent is either to encourage your customers to follow you to your new organization, or to reassure your customers that you will continue to provide your high quality service in place of your colleague.

Meeting request

If you phone call your customer, requesting a meeting have been buried under a list of voicemails, a short letter requesting a meeting or presentation time may have more impact.

Keep this type of letter short and friendly, and remind your reader of what your product or service can do for them.


Use a closing letter to “seal the deal” and encourage your customer to commit.

This type of letter is typically used as follow up to a meeting or representation, and request another meeting to finalize your reader what your product or service can do for them, and offer to provide more information if it is required.


Sales letters are a simple, yet a very powerful marketing tools that, when written effectively can generate serious results for your business.

The power of sales letters truly lies in the personal nature of your communication. As opposed to brochures and advertising, the sales letter will arrive personally addressed and hand stamped.

An effective sales letter will engage the recipient with the first sentence, and persuade them to act by speaking to their personal needs and purchase motivations.

To truly leverage the impact of a personal sales letter, your target audience must be carefully defined. Demographic-specific direct-mail mailing lists are commonly available, and a great tool to access a much targeted group of your potential customers.

When writing your sales letter, you need to customize or reframe that messages to your specific audience in a way that speaks to their emotions, and clearly describes “what’s in it for me”.