5 Things to Consider Before Drafting Sales Letters and Emails

5 Things to Consider Before Drafting Sales Letters and Emails

There are many different types of sales letters and emails. And a quick internet search will show you that there are many different approaches you can take to writing them.

Whether you’re writing business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C), here’s what to consider when preparing your own sales letter or email.

Who Is Your Audience?

You aren’t writing your sales letter or email to everyone. To write the best sales letter you can, it’s important to remember who you’re writing to, and appeal specifically to your target audience.

Are you writing to a current customer or a prospective one? A corporate decision-maker or a consumer? Are you writing to one or to many? What is the age range, common interest, or necessity of your audience?

Knowing your intended audience will help you make several important decisions about the tone, content, presentation, and personalization of your letter.

If you are selling B2B, or business-to-business, remember that your sales letter will be part of a longer decision-making process, involving a greater number of involved stakeholders. You may have to speak to multiple decision-makers, and will likely draw from a smaller pool of leads. When writing B2B sales letters, it is important to draft shorter, more personalized letters that are a part of an ongoing conversation.

If you are selling B2C, or business-to-consumer, the decision-making process will be briefer, as consumers tend to have less money on the line than corporations (and fewer shareholders to consult). Your relationship and correspondence with the consumer will likely be more limited than in B2B sales. If you are selling with the B2C model, you may want your sales letter to be a little longer in order to persuade your customer to take up your product in a single contact. You might also send the same sales letter to hundreds of customers, meaning that it will not be as personalized as B2B sales.

When writing your sales letter or email, remember that people read what is interesting and useful to them. By keeping your audience in mind, you will be able to write a relevant, effective sales letter.

Tips:

  • Put yourself in your readers’ shoes as you plan your sales letter. What would you want to hear to convince you to make a purchase?
  • When deciding on your letter’s tone, remember who you’re writing to. B2B letters often work best if they’re formal, while B2C letters can be more conversational.

What Is the Purpose of Your Letter?

What is your intention with this sales letter or email? Is it to try and convert a lead? To spread awareness of a recent promotion? To follow up on a sales pitch? To get money for an active fundraiser?

Knowing the purpose of your letter will help you establish your offer ahead of time. Being very clear on what you are selling will help you convey that clearly to the customer, and avoid confusion. Reflect on the purpose of your letter to keep your content concise and to the point.

Tips:

  • To keep the purpose of your letter clear, organize your letter effectively. Give your letter an introduction, a body, and a conclusion, and make sure that all elements of the letter serve your ultimate goal: to sell your product to your reader.
  • When writing a sales letter or email, consider using a heading or subject line to convey your purpose.
Free Download: A Complete Guide to Writing for Customers: Templates & Tips for Credible Communication in Every Situation

Free Download: A Complete Guide to Writing for Customers: Templates & Tips for Credible Communication in Every Situation

If you’d like all of these tips in a printable guide, download your copy of Writing For Customers – containing templates and tips for credible customer communications when drafting apologies, thank you letters, sales and marketing letters and more.

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Long Copy or Short Copy: How Much Should You Write?

There are two main types of sales letters and emails: long copy and short copy. But which one is better for what you are trying to sell?

In general, short copy sales letters are around one to two pages. Long copy sales letters can have anywhere from two to 20 pages (or even more if necessary).

One of the best things about long copy is that it allows you to answer more questions and remedy more customer doubts. Long copy often works well for products that require a greater explanation of value, how they work, and proof of results. Short copy, on the other hand, can work well for selling to informed customers, or for selling products that are self-explanatory. Short sales copy may also work well for follow-up letters, and letters that entice a follow-up action in order for the reader to get access to information (such as setting up a phone call to go over options, for example).

If you still aren’t sure about whether you should write a long or short copy sales letter, ask yourself whether you have a need-to-know or a want-to-know product.

A need-to-know product is a product that your target customers already feel they need, therefore you don’t have to take as much time or letter space to persuade them to buy. Short copy does best for need-to-know products. These products might include clothing, household services (such as lawn care, house cleaning), food deals, auto care, and more.

A want-to-know product is a product that you must convince customers to want to know more about. Long copy does best for want-to-know products. These products are non-essential, however, a successful sales letter or email can persuade your audience that they are necessities. To sell want-to-know products, you need more letter space to create a desire for that product where none existed. Think about the infomercials you’ve seen on TV. Nobody thought they needed sleeved blankets like the Snuggie, limited edition presidential coins, or a CD collection set until infomercials convinced them otherwise. Want-to-know products may include magazine subscriptions, self-help books, CD or DVD collections, certain beauty products, novelty items, charity donations, and more.

Regardless of product, the shortest copy should be reserved for emails. A study of 40 million emails by Boomerang showed that emails with between 50 and 125 words had the best response rates at just above 50%. That means that sales emails that are as short and sweet as a tweet sell better than their longer counterparts.

Tips:

  • Many copywriters report that two-page sales letters tend to work best for most of their B2C clients. (Just be sure to write “over” on the bottom of your sales letter, so that your reader knows to flip the page!)
  • When writing your sales letter or email, always write as much as you need to write, and no more. If adding another section to your letter will make it more persuasive, then go for it. If lengthy user testimonials will make the case for buying your product, then put them in.
  • Don’t bulk up your letter with fluff just for the sake of length. Long-winded, empty, or uninteresting information can end up putting your readers to sleep rather than persuading them to buy. Be aware of any points that serve only to make your letter longer without strengthening your argument. Quality is always better than quantity.
  • Similarly, don’t cut vital information just for the sake of keeping your sales letter or email short, or you run the risk of being too vague.
  • Remember who your audience is when deciding how long your sales letter or email will be. B2B sales letters tend to benefit from being short and sweet, while B2C sales letters can be longer.

Sales Letter or Sales Email: How Are You Going to Send Your Letter?

What is the best way to send your sales letter? Should you send it through traditional “snail mail” or email?

It depends. The advantage of sending sales letters through email is that it’s cheaper, faster, more convenient, and more easily quantifiable. With emails, you can measure engagement, track replies, and schedule delivery times. You can then use any of the information gathered to plan follow-up contact and adjust your sales strategy accordingly.

Still, “snail mail” has its advantages. Many customers and executives report suffering from email overload and see letters – especially personalized ones – as something that stands out. As one commenter wrote, “People receive hundreds of email messages each day but only a few letters and packages.” Many recipients also have email systems that filter out “junk” mail, potentially reducing the visibility of your sales email.

The physicality of mailed letters is another one of their benefits. While emails can be disposed of in a matter of clicks, people have to physically handle mail before dismissing it. “Snail mail” also gives businesses the option of sending in small freebies to further incentivize the reader, such as a free edition of a magazine, a pin, a catalog, a pen, or more. While email is best used for short sales letters, physical letters can more easily accommodate any length.

Tips:

  • When sending a sales email, remember that half the battle is creating an interesting subject line that will entice readers to open, rather than ignore, your email.
    When sending a physical sales letter, try and make your letter stand out from the rest of your recipients’ mail. You can do this by using some eye-catching detail on the envelope, or ideally, by making your letter as human and personalized as possible (such as by hand-addressing the envelope).
    Track the delivery of important sales letters through the post office to make sure they arrive at their destination.

When Should You Send Your Sales Letter or Email?

Sending a sales email is all about timing. The problem is, studies often disagree about when is actually the best time to send sales emails.

According to a Hubspot study, Tuesdays around lunchtime (from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm EST) are the best day and time to send sales emails. Another study by Yesware, which focused on explicitly measuring B2B sales emails, argues that weekends are 10% more likely to result in open rates because 80% less marketing emails are sent on weekends (this means less competition for your reader’s attention). The times that Yesware recommends sending B2B emails are early mornings (from 6:00 am to 7:00 am) or evenings (around 8:00 pm).

Tips:

  • The best time to send an email will depend on whether you have B2C or B2B clients, what time zone your clients are in, and the nature of your sales email. Use your email engagement metrics to discover the best time for to send your unique sales email.
    Whether you send a sales letter or a sales email, your delivery should be timely and relevant (especially if your sales letter or email is following up on a previous interaction, such as a sales pitch).

Conclusion

Once you have made these considerations, you will be clear in your purpose, your audience, and your methods for writing your sales letter or email. With your planning finished, writing will come easily.

Whether you are writing a B2C or a B2B sales letter or email, we hope that this blog post has given you a few helpful considerations to mull over, and new ways to consider planning your sales strategy.

Free Download: A Complete Guide to Writing for Customers: Templates & Tips for Credible Communication in Every Situation

Free Download: A Complete Guide to Writing for Customers: Templates & Tips for Credible Communication in Every Situation

If you’d like all of these tips in a printable guide, download your copy of Writing For Customers – containing templates and tips for credible customer communications when drafting apologies, thank you letters, sales and marketing letters and more.

Download Now
eBook

About Isabella Steele

Isabella is a freelance editor, writer, and blogger with Comm100. She is passionate about helping people, teams, and organizations grow into their full potential, and excel in their service. In her spare time, you can find her traveling, painting, or drinking copious amounts of coconut water. Connect with Isabella on LinkedIn.