Do you believe in love at first sight?
In many regards the sales letter in a postal campaign has the same role as the email in a digital campaign. Both are there to grab attention. With a postal campaign they grab attention, slow the reader down, and get the reader to focus on the catalogue or the flyer. In an email campaign, the origin
Thus neither the sales letter or the email itself are primarily there to sell (although of course in some circumstances you can use them in this way). But it is because the sales letter and the email must work to slow the reader down and stop the reader throwing the letter out or pressing delete on the email, that they have to be written in very specific ways.
I remember going to a seminar on direct mail copywriting in which the tutor said, as a lead statement, "all direct mail with a cover letter gets better response rates".
This is not true.
Direct mail covering letters can indeed quadruple your response rates. I have even written a letter that multiplied sales by a factor of 10 for my client. But it is not just the letter that does it - it is what you say - and here again this is the same as an email.
Say the right thing in the right way, and the reader stays with you, but get it wrong, and everything is lost in those opening seconds.
Here are the simple rules.
First you have to think of your audience as the fundamental laws of direct mail dictate. Here’s one hint – telling them about something they already know, won’t help your cause much.
Second you have to attract attention and then hold it. Remember that most direct mail and most emails fail at the start. You have to say something that really does grab attention. It could be offering something Free, or it might be asking a really interesting question, or offering a big benefit or something very funny or clever - there is more on this below.
"Do you believe in love at first sight"
grabs attention far more than
"Our lowest prices ever!"
You might feel that you can't make a link between "first sight" and your product - although this could work in selling study guides to certain literature, some software that some people really do feel is the best thing ever, and so on.
As a way of selling I personally love the really interesting question - they seem to work for me, along with being funny. But being funny is difficult - I am not trying to say I am particularly clever at this, it is just that I have been doing it for years. Here's one of my favourites that combines both approaches. It was used in a mailing to deputy head teachers in schools, for a client of ours, and it got sensational results...
If you told your colleagues you could cut their preparation time in half would they
a) think you had been at the G&T again
b) turn away because they have heard your pep talks before
c) go down on their knees and beg you to do it.
Emotional and lifestyle issues (like the love at first sight headline above) can work very well indeed. Traditionally they have been the preserve of B2C mailings, but there is no reason why they should be. You can use emotion to sell anything.
If you would like to discuss how you can create an email or letter that really does lead your campaign forwards, rather than result in the letter going in the bin, or the email being deleted, you can send me a copy of your latest promotion and I will call you back in confidence with my comments. Alternatively call 01536 399 000 and let's talk about the whole campaign.