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The 4-Step Formula for Writing Sales Letters That Get Results

By Allan Katz
Posted Friday, November 19, 2004

There is a simple 4-step formula that will help you create clear, more powerful sales letters that get results. Most sales letters forget to involve the reader and drone on and on about how great the company is, forgetting to talk about the benefits to the reader.


To motivate the reader, you must grab their attention quickly. One way to do this is to ask an intriguing questions that you know is a concern to the prospect. If you asked the prospect in person, “what concerns are you facing in your business right now,” what would he say? For example, some people might procrastinate and leave the marketing of their businesses on the back burner, to get to later. Well, sometimes, later never comes. So, to approach this subject you might ask in your letter, “ Will 2001 be the year you get serious about marketing?”


Now that you’ve got the prospects attention, you have to keep his interest by showing him that you understand the problem and you have the solution to that problem. Restate the problem and then offer a description of how your company solves that problem to their satisfaction.


To persuade the reader you must use words that hook the reader into your message. Many writers make the mistake of simply talking about themselves at this point and completely ignore the facts and benefits that the reader needs to know to make an intelligent decision. Be specific and talk about the details that make your product or service better than your competitors. Insert comments from satisfied customers here or tell about your credentials that establish you as the expert in your field. Remember, however, to always bring the copy back to the benefit to the reader and why he needs to act now.


If you're selling consulting services, ask for a contract. If you're writing a fundraising letter, include a reply envelope and ask for a donation. In short, if you want your letter to get results, you have to ask for them. In lead generation, you can offer a free benefits analysis or consultation, or give away a free booklet on the “10 ways to improve your bottom line profits.” Make it easy to respond. Give them your phone number, fax number, toll free number, e-mail address and a business reply card. Tell them what to do and how to do it to respond to you. Don’t assume the prospect knows what you want from them.

As with any creative exercise, formulas are meant to be broken. The AIDA formula is a great starting point to structuring your message for maximum impact and meaningful results.

About the Author
Allan Katz is President of Katz Innovation Resources, dedicated to coaching and helping retailers and service companies retain their customers and employees. He is a 21 year direct marketing veteran and the author of 4 books on marketing including, "The Complete Guide to Retail Loyalty Marketing."


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