The 10 Laws for Writing
Letters that Get Results
by Joe Vitale
The following is a letter in response
to a question about how to write sales letters. This is something you
could model in layout, tone, and ideas, to write your own letters. By
the way, this is where your letterhead should go.
Dear Fellow Chicago Seminar Attendees,
Jerry Jenkins asked me to tell you how to
write letters that get read and get results. That's a tall order! Well,
here's what I think the "laws" are:
1. Know what's in it for your reader.
Get out of your ego and into your
reader's ego. Complete this sentence: "Get my book so that you can...(fill
in the blank)." Your book (or whatever you are selling) is the feature.
What people get as a result of having your book is the benefit. Focus
on benefits. Always! Without this, your letter will bomb.
2. Write a headline that telegraphs the
key benefit to your reader.
ALWAYS use a headline. There is
only ONE exception to this rule. When you personalize your letter, the
"Dear (whoever)" opening becomes your headline. There are few headlines
more powerful than the reader's own name. The headline is THE most important
part of your letter! Spend nearly all of your time on it.
3. Be brief.
Say what you have to say in terms
of the reader's self interest and shut up. This does NOT necessarily mean
a short letter. If you are trying to make a sale, and the reader has never
heard of you or your item for sell, you may have to write four or more
pages to get your message across. If all you want is a return call, a
one page letter may do. Don' be afraid of length. People will read any
length of copy AS LONG AS IT'S INTERESTING!
4. Always use a PS.
Always. Why do copywriters who
charge upwards to $15,000 to write a sales letter and have weeks to draft
it always use a PS? They are always read. Always.
5. Look good.
Visual attractiveness accounts
for 70% of your letter's impact. Use short sentences, short paragraphs,
bulleted points, indented paragraphs, subheads, etc. Some people will
just skim your letter, so engaging subheads and bulleted points help reach
6. Outline first.
Use a planning tool such as the
program Project KickStart to help you think through your message. Or talk
to a friend. Or to a tape recorder. Or to yourself. This also helps you
get comfortable with speaking your letter rather than writing it.
7. Write first, edit last.
Turn your inner editor off. You
can rewrite later. For now, write spontaneously and quickly to get your
ideas on paper.
8. Ask for something.
Why are you writing? You want a
call. Or an order. Something. Say so!
9. Get a reader.
Find one person to read your letter
OUT LOUD in front of you. If he (or she) has trouble reading your letter,
if he wrinkles his brow or stops to reread a sentence, rewrite those places.
Don't skip this step! It's the secret of many professional writers.
10. Rewrite your letter again.
Is it the best you can do? Be honest!
If not, throw it away and call the person instead. Or hire a copywriter
to write it for you. Why waste your time or your reader's with something
that doesn't communicate in a persuasive and interesting way? (I rewrote
this letter 24 times!)
Well, there you have it. Of course, there
are more rules, laws, ideas and suggestions for writing letters that get
results. You should always guarantee whatever you are selling, for example,
and always offer proof for all of your claims. But the above will get
(Identify yourself. People look here to see who the letter is from.)
PS -- Notice that you read this PS?
PPS -- Notice that you read this one, too?
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