The Design and Format of a Sales Letter

Last Updated
May 25, 2010

The Design and Format of the Sales Letter

Use Headed Paper

Using headed paper will definitely make the letter look more professional in the eyes of the consumer, immediately giving your business a positive image: first impressions are always important.

Address the Consumer Personally

Avoid using the phrase ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. Instead, make the consumer feel valuable by using their name if you know it. Use the term ‘you’ instead of ‘we’ or ‘us’ throughout the content: target them as an individual – not as part of a group.

Language is Important

Language is perhaps the key element in writing a sales letter, so it is important that you use the right words in the right context. Whatever you do, do not use clever phrases or jargon: it makes people feel stupid. The point to remember at all times is that the letter should be easy to read by using simple and short words. Use appealing words such as free, quality, only, where appropriate.

Use Paragraphs

Split your content into small paragraphs making the letter easier to read. Add headings throughout the letter so that the consumer can get an idea of the content from a simple glance.

Be cautious with Fonts

Try to stick to one font throughout the sales letter, using two at a maximum. Likewise, keep the same font size throughout the content, allowing a slight increase for headings and titles. Do not use a very small font size in an attempt to get more information in a shorter space. Using a size 10 font and face type ‘Courier’ or ‘Arial’ is perhaps the most common used for sales letters.

Emphasize!

Emphasis is important to highlight or stress certain words or phrases. Many people use uppercase to emphasise, but this is a mistake as it can often make the sentence hard to read. Instead, use italics, bold, underlines, or exclamation marks!, but be cautious of using colours as they too can make the sentence more difficult to read.

Tips to Put You Ahead of the Rest

Don’t Get Thrown Away

Imagine this – you get a pile of mail, most of which you consider as junk mail and you immediately drop them in the bin without a thought. What gives the consumer a reason not to do the same with your mail shot? The answer is distinction. Get your mail shot noticed – once they have opened the envelope, you are half way to gaining their full interest. It all comes down to the design of your envelope. Give it a bright colour, a different shape (without going too far!), a picture, or something that will catch the eye of the consumer making them believe it is worth opening.

What do Other People Think ?

It may sound good to you, but how will other people react to it? Give people in, say, your office or a random sample of consumers a chance to read the letter before you issue it out as a mail shot. Get their opinions and act on any negative comments.

Give them a Closing Thought or Statement

Arguably, the end of the letter is an area that can attract a lot of attention and because it is the last thing you read, the words are often remembered. Therefore, use this space wisely, using PS if necessary to remind them of a piece of information that you regard important or useful to the consumer. For example: ‘PS Remember, all offers end on June 31st so order now to avoid disappointment.’

Give it That Extra Professional Touch

A personal signature from a key member of staff, if not you, gives the letter that finishing touch instead of the usual printed name and position. You can sign each one individually, if you have the time, or alternatively, scan your signature onto the letter – just as effective.

Avoid Giving False Hope

Do not promise anything if you cannot give it. As well as false advertising, you are setting yourself up for a bad image when consumers are let down one by one from your inability to live up to your promise. It is ok to suggest that you may be able to make a difference if it is possible, but do not suggest a certainty if it cannot be given. For example, ‘we can triple your sales in two weeks’ or ‘our product can be used for 10 years, etc.

Example Sales Letters

Below are example sales letters (links) to give you some ideas before you begin to write your own.

Summary

Using a sales letter as part of a mail shot is a cost effective approach for creating sales. The sales letter can therefore be seen as a marketing tool to promote your product and service, and by targeting your audience accurately, they can return a significant response. Sales letters can be written to either sell, inform or encourage a response from consumers. The success of a sales letter is largely determined by how well it is written and presented, and so it is important to integrate quality content and design to encourage a successful response. As said above, the delivery is also important to determine a high success rate. Gathering past, present and future customer contact details is a must, as these details will offer you the best return from a sales letter as the recipients are, at least, interested in your produce.

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Article Index~

1. Writing a Mail Shot and Sales Letter Writing a Mail Shot and Sales Letter2. How to Write a Sales Letter How to Write a Sales Letter3. The Design and Format of a Sales Letter

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