I have been helping producers for one of my clients create letter, and e-mail campaigns to announce new products, and services. This process uncovered some significant issues with writing skills I want to cover. In my opinion, letter writing is a defined process with a well-defined set of inputs designed to produce the same results every time. This is a critical premise considering the significant dollars wasted each year on ineffective letter campaigns that produce poor results.
There are basic rules that apply to prospecting letters with respect to structure, content, and style that must be followed. I have written hundreds of marketing and sales pieces, and kept track of results. I believe all good prospecting letters share some basic characteristics. These apply to the following pieces of correspondence.
Letters which Introduce:
A product or service
Yourself using a referral
Yourself using an affiliation
A program or niche
One Page. The best message requires the fewest words.
Tip: Write it, read it, cut in half. Twice.
Use your best vocabulary to convey a clear, succinct message.
Avoid repeating descriptive words. Use thesaurus to find synonyms.
Remove unnecessary prepositions, and run on sentences.
Structure – Style:
Several small paragraphs with 2-3 sentences per paragraph.
Font: Times New Roman, Verdana, Tahoma, or other clear font.
Font Size: 12. Easy to read, and larger font forces brevity.
Font Color: Black, dark blue, dark grey. Contrast with paper or background color. Use italics, bolds, or underlines sparingly to highlight an important topic, heading, or title.
Structure – Content format
Gain attention passage
Description of benefit or product passage
Short Company or personal bio passage
Next step passage
Your default style is always pragmatic. Adapt your style when:
•Writing to a position- Owner, Controller, Accountant, Engineer.
•You know the personality of the person you are writing. If you know the personaliy style of the recipient you can make the following changes.
Writing to the Pragmatic: Described as direct, blunt, clear, unemotional, formal
Black and white, grey, or dark blue
Brief, direct, waste no words
Key Words: New Concept, Innovative, Cutting Edge, Unique, Customized
Writing to the Leader: Described as outgoing, spontaneous, people oriented
Less formal than Pragmatic
Can add humor or personal touches
Short and easy to read
Can add color and style
Innovative, creative approach
Key Words: Quick, Easy, Competitive, Feasible, Results, Relationship, innovative, Creative
Writing to the Supporter: Described as warm, caring, supportive, people oriented
Warm consultative tone
More color and design characteristics
Formal and professional, but without the direct edge of a pragmatic
More thoughtful and descriptive benefits paragraph
Key in on benefits to people
Use a reference if possible
Key words: Stability, Feeling, Team, Security, Commitment, Relationship
Writing to the intellectual: Described as analytical, factual, deliberate, task oriented
Formal, professional tone
Black and white
Font no bigger than 12. Times New Roman is a good choice
Give more data and provide attachments, or instructions for more information
Don’t waste time on testimonials
Key selling words: Analysis, Logical, Projections, Research, Results, Bet Option, Facts
If you follow this structure, you will have a consistent approach that delivers consistent results. If you write clearly, concisely, and invest time in crafting a short, impactful letter, it is less likely to get it tossed in file 13 without being read. When working with a prospect, make sure you adapt all of your correspondence, including your proposal to the dominant personality style of your prospect. Your message will be better received.
Your thoughts and comments?