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Elements of a sales letter

  1. The headline is usually 3 – 10 words long. It grabs the reader's attention, and tells him what the ad (sales letter) is about. It makes a promise regarding what the item you are selling will do for him.

The headline is THE most important part of your letter! Spend nearly all of your time on it. Always shoot your big gun first: use your main selling point in the headline. Remember you only get 7 – 10 seconds to hook the reader. Remember: The headline has a benefit and makes a promise. The promise should be unique to what you are selling, and one that your competitors are currently not talking about. Use "power words" in the headline. Try: "You," "Free," "Proven," "Imagine," "How To…," "Fast," "Cheap," "Enjoy," "Now," "Learn," "Introducing," and so forth. In the body of the sales letter you will begin to offer proof.

  1. The sub–headline or lead paragraph. This part of the sales letter is optional. It can be used to expand the promise made in the headline or used to deliver a 2nd major benefit of the product or service. A sub–headline can also be used as the second part, to answer a question posed in the headline. For example, Part 1 could say: "Want to double your part–time income during the next 90 day period?" Part 2 could say: "Well, here's how to . . . "

  1. The body: it expands the theme, fills in details, offers proof, and shows how you plan to fulfill the promise you made in the headline.

Each paragraph must lead naturally to the next. Do not digress. The end of each paragraph is important because you want to hold your readers attention right through to the end of the letter. Phrase the last sentence of each paragraph in such a way that the reader wants to carry on to the last section. Here again, a well considered question will usually do the trick.

Layout and length are important: Vary the length of your sentences and paragraphs. Short words, which are unambiguous, are best. Keep your letter as short as possible.

  1. The closing, or call to action, urges the reader to take the next step you want him to take.

Useful language

Attracting the reader’s attention

  • Use an eye–catching heading.

Ask questions, for example, “Why throw away paper?”, “Are you having trouble ...”

  • Make a statement which appeals to the target user.

“If you are looking for a way of saving money…”, “This is why it is important to have ...”

  • Give an amazing fact or statistic.

“Did you know that 5% of companies benefit from these great savings?”

Describing benefits

  • You will save time and money by…

  • A key feature of our product / service is…

  • You will benefit from substantial discounts of up to 15%.

  • The product is designed to…

Providing evidence of reputation / service / customer satisfaction

  • We have over 20 years’ in this field.

  • Testimonials from our customers are available upon request.

  • At X, we have the skills and experience to ...

Encouraging action