Five Mistakes to Avoid when Writing Sales Letters

Sharon Jacobsen

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Look around the Web and you’ll find sales letters promoting just about every kind of product and service imaginable. Some are long, some are short, some are punchy, some are formal, some work well and some simply don’t work at all.

Writing a sales letter isn’t a difficult task but unless you avoid the five mistakes that far too many copywriters make, your sales letters simply won’t be pulling their weight.

1. Features Don’t Sell

If your sales letter tells your visitors that the “amazing new ‘whizzle’ is being offered complete with 3-way tracking and an incredible 6 Mb of storage" you won’t really be telling them very much at all.

Instead of concentrating on the product’s features, focus the reader’s attention on the benefits the product offers them. They want to know exactly how owning a ‘whizzle’ will improve their lives. Will it help them lose weight, store their music collection or find their car if it’s stolen? If so, use the sales letter to tell them!

2. Exaggeration

Ok, so advertising always contains an element of exaggeration and Web-based sales letters are no exception, but don’t let it get out of hand. A sales letter that sounds too good to be true will most likely be ignored so always stick with the truth while getting those benefits across. In fact, a sales letter that sounds 100% honest will be such a breath of fresh air that its honesty alone will most likely make it a success.

3. Thinking the Reader is “Stupid"

Most people are intelligent and want to be treated as such. Far too many sales letters talk down to the reader, offering them every snippet of information with the proverbial teaspoon.

Once a reader starts to think: “Yes, yes, I understand that now get on to the point", you’ll most likely have lost a sale.

When writing sales letters, give your reader enough information to leave him feeling that he’s learned something, but give it in a way that has him thinking he’s picked it up without it being explained in detail.

4. Bore. . . Bored. . . Boring Your Reader

Whether of not you’re able to hold the reader’s attention will mean the difference between a killer sales letter and a sales letter that just hangs around doing nothing much at all.

As with all forms of promotional business writing, a certain amount of drama is needed in a sales letter in order to grab the reader’s attention and hold it throughout the message. Emotion is also used for the same reason. BUT, too much drama and emotion that isn’t substantiated will become boring.

Appealing to the good nature of the reader in order to have him donate money to your “save the garden slug fund" isn’t going to work unless you give him clear information about the slug and what impact its loss would have on the environment/his family/the economy.

While it’s important that the main selling points of the product or service are repeated several times throughout the sales letter, it’s crucial that the way in which the information’s presented differs each time. If miniature windmills “will generate power for your home", they will also “create enough energy to heat and light your home" as well as “save you hundreds of dollars in energy bills".

5. Lack of Motivation

Why are you writing a sales letter? Because you want the reader to buy a product, donate money, join a club or anything else that requires him to do something. If the sales letter doesn’t motivate the reader to action, you’ve wasted both your time and his.

Give the customer the opportunity to take action at several points throughout the sales letter and ALWAYS end the letter with a direct appeal. Click the link now! Ring today! If you want them to do something, tell them what!

Now that you know what to avoid, writing sales letters should become easier and the finished product far more effective. Here’s to sales that skyrocket and a prosperous future for all.

Sharon Jacobsen is a full-time freelance copywriter living in South Cheshire, England. For a competitive fee she’ll happily write compelling sales letters to promote any product or service.

To contact Sharon or to learn more about her work, please visit her website at:


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