Sales Copywriting Secret No. 3 – Write as you would speak

This should be easy.  You speak all the time, you hold conversations all the time.

Transferring all that knowledge and experience into a sales letter should be simple enough.

It seems not.

A client called me in November last year,

“I’ll be writing all our sales letters from now on.”  He proclaimed.

“You’re too expensive.  It’s only a letter after all!”

I let him get on with it.  And asked him to let me know how he got on.

One of his managers emailed me last week, to tell me that responses to her last two mailshots were down.  Well, very down.  In fact zero.  What a shame…

She was kind enough to send me a copy of the new sales letter written by her boss.

It was beautifully formatted, factually correct and sent out on lovely, heavy, laid paper with a nice, big logo at the head:  VAT number, registered office address and so on.  Oh yes, all the corporate bumf was there.

Unfortunately, the rest of the letter was also “corporate bumf”.  It read like an old fashioned insurance policy and was written entirely in the 3rd party.

It was certainly a letter, but it wasn’t a sales letter.  It was dull in the extreme – and it was going in the bin every time.  There was so much wrong with it I can’t list it all here.  But it struck me as I read down the lines, that those of us of a certain age were taught to write letters in what they call “business English”.  Few of us actually talk like that.  And I bet you don’t read like that.  Write these letters as though you were there in the room with the reader.  A sales letter is an intimate conversation between you and a customer.  Don’t banjo the whole thing by using expressions like, “we await your advices…”.  You’ll be awaiting for a long time!

If your day is interrupted by a sales letter, what would it need to do in order to attract and hold your attention?