10 tips: How to write successful sales letters

10 tips: How to write successful sales letters

There is an art to writing sales letters. But the recent dominance of digital marketing and its limit to 300 word blogs or 140 character tweets means few can remember the ingredients of good direct mail.

Some of these 10 tips also apply to digital, but I originally wrote them for direct mail… back in the day.

1. Organise your letter

Like any document, your sales letter needs to be well organised. It should contain an Introduction, followed by Benefits and finally a Conclusion. This will give structure to your proposition and make it easier to digest and understand.

2. Be the customer as you write

Your potential customer’s main concern is fulfilling their needs and wants. They will ask the question “What’s in it for me?” Imagine yourself as the customer and write what they will want to know.

3. Spend time on your headline

Look at the headline of this blog – it contains a ‘magic’ word and promises a benefit. The benefit is ‘successful sales letters’ and the magic word is How. Other magic words include You, New, Now, Free, Get, Who, Why, What, When and Where.

4. Make your letter easy to read

Write in a conversational style. Don’t get too hung up with correct use of grammar. Use short sentences (no more than 12-15 words) and short paragraphs (no more than four lines). Avoid jargon. The reader may not understand.

5. People buy benefits, not features

Customers are not interested in what type of new metal was used in the manufacture of a new kettle; but they are interested in how the new metal boils the water faster, and how that will help them in the morning to make a quick cup of tea.

6. Ask the right questions

Ask questions as long as you control the answer. For example, asking “Are you happy with your existing suppliers?” could produce a Yes or No answer. However, asking “Would you like to save £1,000?” will almost certainly get a positive response.

7. Include testimonials

Testimonials give the reader confidence. It’s confirmation you are as good as you claim.

8. Your letter should be attractive

Use sub-headings, indented paragraphs and bullet points to break up the ‘wall of text’ and make it both attractive and easy to read.

9. Ask the reader to take action

Do you want them to call you, visit your website or complete a form? You must tell the reader what to do.

10. P.S.

Studies have shown that customers always read the headline and P.S. Use the P.S. to underline your main benefit.


These 10 Tips are linked to an article titled ‘Why did Google send me a letter?‘. Direct Mail is back in fashion; if you’re not using it now, you will be soon.