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Bob Tallent
The Synergy Group
January 2012

A well-written sales letter can generate sales or open doors, but only if the letter is actually opened. These strategies will help increase your success rates.

1. Address the envelope to an individual

This sounds obvious, but it’s amazing how many times I get letters addressed to a title as opposed to me. If your envelope is addressed to The Manager, then in real terms your saying: “I am junk mail. Don’t open me. Throw me out.” Address the envelope with the full and correct name and title of the recipient, and make sure you’ve got the spelling right.

2. For small campaigns, handwrite the envelope

You could argue that this does not look professional. I could argue that it shows personalisation. A handwritten envelope sparks curiosity because it reminds us of a bygone era when we used to receive correspondence purely via snail mail. Most handwritten mail gets opened.

Make sure your handwriting is neat. If your handwriting makes the letter look like a ransom note, then it’s not good for business.

3. Use a coloured envelope

Standard, white, DL-sized envelopes are what most sales letters are put in. Therefore they can be thrown straight into the bin. If the envelope is coloured, however, it hints that there could be something exciting inside.

4. Mark the letter ‘Private and Confidential’

An envelope marked ‘Private and Confidential’ should only be opened by the recipient – in theory at least. On the other hand, if your recipient has a secretary or PA, those words might actually be interpreted as, ‘Dear Gatekeeper, I am a sales letter’. Also, because your sales letter is not actually P&C, it may upset your recipient. So you decide.

5. Include an item that creates a bump in the envelope

I’ve used this tactic a few times. I remember I sent a letter to a person I’d been trying to arrange a meeting with and he said: “I get hundreds of emails every week that I never read, and I get junk mail that I never open. But I loved your card with the gift inside.”

Be creative with the item you include. Ensure that it ties in with the theme of your sales letter.

Here are some ideas:

  • We did a promotion for a fork lift company in which we designed a leaflet and stuck a fork to it, with word “lift” after the fork.
  • A business mentor like me could include a mini Toblerone in each letter, with the idea: ‘Mountains are easier to climb with a mentor by your side’.
  • A de-clutter consultant might include a promotional pen, writing something like, “Lost another pen? Use this one for now, and we’ll help you find the rest”.
  • A professional cleaner might include a sachet of all-purpose-cleaner in every letter, writing “Don’t you have better things to do than clean your office?”

Including an item in your envelope may cost more in postage, but it also might inspire more people to contact you.

6. Don’t send too many out at the one time

Consider sending just 20 mails per week instead of 200. That way you are able to research your prospects better, personalise the letters, examine the results of your efforts every week and modify as necessary – and it won’t cost the earth. You are also able to follow up each letter better with a phone call and then a face-to-face call. Hopefully, your conversion rates will be improved.

Consider following these tips to the letter (no pun intended!)

The next time you’re considering sending a sales letter out in a flat, white, DL-sized envelope, consider adopting some of the imaginative strategies above. But remember, your sales letter is only the first step in your direct mail campaign. Be sure to follow it up with a friendly phone call. See other article.

Will these tactics work for you?


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