Direct mail is big business. An estimated 50 billion pieces of direct mail are sent each year, generating an estimated $120 billion in direct sales annually.
Nearly every type of business or organization can benefit from direct mail to raise funds, boost sales, generate leads or get its message across. If you don't think direct mail is effective, just check your mailbox. If direct mail wasn't effective, smart companies wouldn't use it.
A direct-mail truism says "The letter sells and the brochure tells." Once a reader is sold on your product or service, the brochure reinforces his or her decision with features and benefits. But the sales letter has the task of selling the product or service in the first place. It's the most important element of your direct-mail package.
A good sales letter is essentially one-to-one communication, like talking to a friend. It's imperative that this personal quality comes through in the sales letter. The personal nature of the letter also
allows you to "proposition" the reader. That is, persuading the reader that he or she is being offered a special deal that's unavailable to the public.
Before you ever start to write, you need to thoroughly research the product or service you're selling. Read everything you can find on the product or service. This includes: press releases, testimonials, manuals, brochures, old sales letters, newspaper and magazine ads, and any other sales literature available. Gather information about competitive products and services, too.
Think of every objection, fear, doubt or excuse the reader could come up with for not buying from you, and write these down. Use *benefits* to address the objections. The sales letter's power is in transferring your excitement and convictions directly to the reader in a way that motivates action *now*.