Writing Effective Sales Letters and Emails: Write to Your Prospect
What do you do when you have 30 unread emails in your personal inbox from 30 companies? Or when you have a mailbox full of promotional materials? Sales letters and emails can cause a lot of noise and clutter when they’re piled together, so it can be intimidating as a business owner or marketer to try and stand out among the crowd when sending your own sales pieces.
But when done correctly, well-written letters and emails can be an incredibly effective way to generate leads and gain new clients and business.
In our Writing Effective Sales Letters and Emails series, we’ll discuss ways to write letter and email copy that converts.
In the first part of the series, we’re going to talk about how to write to your prospect.
Sales letters and emails can seem daunting if you’re new to them or haven’t spent much time doing them. Understandably so. Nobody wants to come off as pushy or like they’re trying too hard to make a sale because that’s how you turn your prospect away. Unfortunately, many businesses write their sales copy in a way that makes them come off like a used car salesman. And by that we mean, if you appear to sell like a used car salesman, your prospect isn’t going to want to buy your product because they lack trust.
So, how can you avoid presenting yourself like a used car salesman to your potential customers? Stop thinking about yourself and instead, think about your prospect. Rather than talking about how great your product or service is, talk about how your product or service will help your prospect. Want to take it to the next level? Make it emotionally appealing to your prospect.
It might seem straightforward, but a surprising number of businesses fail to do this. Let’s talk about how you can write effectively to your prospect.
Research your prospect.
It’s one of the most important rules of writing: know your audience. By learning more about your prospect, you discover what’s important to them. As mentioned earlier, you should make your copy emotionally appealing to your prospect. After you’ve learned more about your prospect, you should be able to understand their wants, needs, and fears. And by knowing those things, you can tailor your letters and emails to fit the solutions they’re looking for.
When you write to your prospect and adjust your language to address their needs, you’re establishing trust. When your prospects believe that you understand them and can sympathize with their wants and needs, they’re more comfortable with what you’re telling them and are more likely to take interest in the product or service you’re presenting to them.
How do you adjust your copy to resonate with them? A great tactic is using emotive language—words and statements that evoke feelings and emotions. When it comes down to it, emotive language is persuasive language.
For example, let’s say you own a day care center. Your prospects are parents who are looking for the most trustworthy place to take their children. While it’s absolutely valuable to share the services you offer at your day care facility, consider the emotions of your prospective customers. Instead of saying, “At XYZ Day Care, we offer high-quality child care from licensed professionals,” you could use emotive language that’ll resonate with parents by stating, “At XYZ Day Care, we understand it’s difficult to leave your children in the hands of others. That’s why we only employ licensed, professional caregivers who’ll ensure the best care for your children while you’re away.”
Do you see the difference? Instead of solely focusing on your own business, you can make your message more personal to your prospect by telling them you understand their needs and how your service addresses those needs.
Alternatively, using emotive language, you can establish a hypothetical scenario by incorporating some of these specific words and phrases:
- Have you always wanted…
- Do you wish you could…
By adding one of these options to the day care example, you could say something like, “Are you worried about where to take your newborn baby when you have to head back to work after maternity or paternity leave ends? Imagine a place where your baby will be safe. A place where licensed professionals will look after your baby with the same care you would. When you bring your bundle of joy to XYZ Day Care, you can rest easy knowing your little one is in good hands while you’re away.”
In a hypothetical scenario, you’ve helped your prospect achieve a goal or solve a problem. Therefore, you can help them imagine what it would feel like to reach that accomplishment.
As the day care provider in the example listed above, you’re tapping into the fear most new parents have when it comes to leaving their baby alone for the first time. You’re then using that emotion to highlight your features and benefits to help keep their fear and nervousness at bay, so they can go back to work to provide for their child.
Addressing these emotions can ultimately help you boost your call to action. The call to action is what you use to tell your prospect what to do next. Typically this comes at the end of your sales piece. So, in our day care example, after you’ve used emotive language, you could say, “Visit our website to schedule a tour and see how we’ll provide the perfect place for your little one.” Your call to action is asking your prospect to reach out and learn more.
In fact, many marketing experts believe that evoking emotions like gain, logic, and fear can increase email click-through rates by triggering your prospect to take the desired action. If you’re using sales emails and rely on click rates to get your prospects to your website, this can be an especially powerful tool.
When you trigger an emotion in your sales language, you’re giving your prospect a very specific reason to click through your email and convert, whether they’re looking for something to gain or are worried about something to lose.
While it’s understandable to be excited about your product or service and want to highlight all the things you have to offer your prospects, it’s not necessarily the most effective way to convert. But by highlighting your service or product from your prospect’s perspective, you can help them understand how they will benefit. One of the most effective ways to help them understand how they’ll benefit is by using language that speaks to their emotions. Whether it’s hope in something they can gain, satisfaction in solving a problem, or fear of something, when your prospect can imagine how your product or service will help them, they’ll be more likely to act on your sales material.
In the next part of this series, we’re going to explain how to lay out your sales piece with proper formatting. The structure of your layout and format is arguably just as important as the words you put in it. Now that you have the tools to write effective copy, we’re going to give you the tools to properly display that copy. Ultimately, the structure will help ensure the reader actually reads the copy that’s in it.