The right piece of direct mail can produce excellent response rates and have an extraordinary effect on business. But why do some sale letters achieve spectacular results whilst others are instantly consigned to the bin? This book reveals the secrets of creating successful sales letters. Containing examples of real sales letters, it includes plenty of advice on what to avoid as well as what to include. Key topics are covered such as: the secrets of persuasion; planning a letter which will get replies; creating offers that get responses and timing mailings for maximum effect.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Introduction Letters that make millions One of your best investments Speak directly to the right people Money squandered by the lazy The personal touch makes the difference How to plan; questions unanswered Study what works and what doesn't Use your imagination 1. Why it's hard to write a good sales letter The wrong point of view How do you make it interesting? Two roads to disaster The good news: people do read and reply No need to be clever: just relevant Allocate your time correctly Five elements in success The most important letter you may ever write 2. Why some letters fail, while other succeed Why are you writing? Describe what you are selling What it is versus what it does Compare strengths and weaknesses Few customers care about technicalities 3. Who is your competitor? Direct and indirect competition At what stage is the market? Compare what you offer carefully Ask what the customer likes The first essential of a good letter 4. A salesman in an envelope Detective work Learn about everything Do what a salesman does Poor brief, poor letter The first part of the creative process Find out what really happened Watch what competitors are doing Four questions to be answered Have you forgotten anything? Don't be put off by negative people Pick up easy money most businesses ignore Extra revenue - for petty cash Why enquiries are usually genuine A reminder gets good results A working aid for you 32 things to ask when you are planning your letter 5. The customer's point of view What is junk mail? Questions you must answer Ten ways to learn about prospects Letters that should sell - but don't Making the best (or worst) of a bad situation Get the easy bit out of the way 6. The right stuff A recipe that works Formulae that produce art Use your imagination Three things that make most difference A more complete argument usually needed 7. Fine writing - or persuasive offer What is most important? Why offers and incentives work Why some marketers don't like offers Give more profit than they cost The two kinds of offer that work best An offer helps you begin the letter When don't you need offers? It pays to say 'Thank you' The 'negative' incentive How a good offer may save a stinker of a letter Some offers that have worked 8. Desperate beginnings Which pile will your letters be in? Message or not? Ten pointers on envelopes Why gimmicks often work Can you demonstrate the product? A flying letter 9. The right approach Questions in the reader's mind Give the reader something quickly Two very successful openings Make it 'newsy' What are they thinking? Who and why? What is the relationship Permission to speak When is a good time? 10. Write to somebody, not everybody Picture your readers Emotion means opportunity A unique group A few ideas to get you started You must get the nod 11. The guts of your letter Keep them reading Ensuring every possible reply Be exact: quantify your benefits Prove what you say is true What is most convincing? Have you missed anything? One letter with guts - two without 12. Close that sale! A boring chore 21 Ways to get more orders A perfect effort Above all, make it urgent Use a PS 13. How to write a better A mysterious change Beware of cliches Be careful with jargon Write the way you talk Tricks that make reading easy How best sellers are written A few minor problems - like how to begin 14. Writing that charms What is tone? The secret of charm A relaxed approach How should you vary tone? Be a chameleon Vary wording More than charm: the relevant surprise 15. How should your letters look? Make it look personal Tricks to make letters work better Judgement is essential Make it look inviting When to use headings What about style, colour, texture? What use is your letterhead? 16. Common questions Long letter or short? Personalized or not? How do you address people? Signing off Do I need a brochure as well? A good example to analyse What should I ask people to do? How many replies can I expect? How to get them spending After they've bought, how do I strengthen the relationship? The easiest source of new business What if they haven't paid? Letters planned to work with other media Index
In November 2003 the Chartered Institute of Marketing named Drayton Bird one of 50 living individuals who have shaped today's marketing, other names included Kotler, Peters and Levitt. Advertising legend the late David Ogilvy said he "knows more about direct marketing than anyone in the world. His book about it is pure gold. His speeches are not only informative, but hilariously funny." Campaign named him one of the 50 most important individuals in UK advertising during the previous 25 years - "the only universally acknowledged point of creativity in the direct marketing world". UK magazine Direct Response said his impact on UK direct marketing was "unlikely to be matched by any other individual" In 1994 he was named one of the first six Fellows of the Institute of Direct Marketing; in 1997 he was voted Educator of the Year. In May 2001 the British Direct Marketing Association placed him on their Roll of Honour. In December 2003, most of the readers of Precision Marketing voted him leading direct marketing personality in the last 15 years. His book, Commonsense Direct and Digital Marketing (1982) is in its fifth edition. Published in 17 languages, it is the best-selling British work on the subject. A reviewer of his book, How to Write Sales Letters That Sell! said, "The only book the subject should ever need. I just hope no one tries to do better." He has written over 1,000 columns for magazines in Europe, Australia, India, the UK and Malaysia and a compilation of his articles, Marketing Insights and Outrages. He has worked with many of the world's leading brands, including American Express, British Airways, Deutsche Post, Ford, Microsoft, Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Philips, The Royal Mail, Unilever and Visa. He has also worked with major advertising agency groups, including Y & R, JWT, FCB and Leo Burnett. Business schools, universities and management consultants he has worked with include Columbia University Business School, New York, INSEAD, The London Business School, ESIC (Madrid), IPADE (Mexico City), IPADE (Lima), Cap Gemini, McKinsey and A. T. Kearney. In 1977, with two partners, he set up Trenear-Harvey, Bird & Watson, which became the UK's largest DM agency and which he sold in l984 to Ogilvy and Mather. As international Vice-Chairman and Creative Director, he helped O & M Direct become the world's largest direct marketing agency network, and was elected to the worldwide Ogilvy Group board. He now runs Drayton Bird Associates, who work with many firms on direct marketing and other marketing matters. He has interests in five other firms in the UK and Asia.