A Sales letter, also known as Copy, is one of the most versatile forms of letter writing. Its main purpose is to persuade a prospect (the receiver of the messages) to buy the goods or services marketed by the writer or his client. Therefore, the architecture of the Sales Letter is designed to catch attention, sustain interest, build up desire and demand action to buy.
The Sales letter begins with a catchy headline, followed by the Lead (opening sentence) which will sustain the reader’s interest. The writer now proceeds to build credibility for the message, by citing facts which the reader finds difficult to ignore or dispute.
The sales letter writer now has to find ways to get into the prospect’s mind and awaken the resident, dominant emotions and motivate him/her into wanting urgently to buy. The headline does a good part of this awakening of desire through subtle hint and the lead and the body of the Letter creates a strong undercurrent of desire.
Desire is soon converted into demand and the prospect, almost unwittingly is now ready to buy. The writer of the Sales Letter has to bear in mind that his primary aim is to promote the sale of the product. There has to be a call for action (like: ‘ORDER NOW’).
Three percent or more of sales resulting from the letter makes the letter a Classic and is thereafter repeatedly mailed to produce the maximum returns. Such a letter is called a Control. It should be the goal of a Sales Copy writer to create as many Controls as he can, because that would ensure the butter and Jam on his daily bread, through Royalty for the repeated use of the Control.
Writing a sales letter demands certain level of persuasion ability. Many Volumes have been written on the skill of persuasion as a marketing tool. In a Marketing or Sales Letter, the persuasion element is expected to play a big part. Beginners in the Copy writing profession are chided, if their copy does not prominently indicate the persuasion technique.
We can notice that even a child will resist being pressurized psychologically. But a skillful mother draws out deep desires of the child through suggestions and hints and then acts quickly on the ones that show positive responses. The same thing holds good for the adult buyer also.
If he has a desire for a product or service that he had entertained at some time in the past, suggestions about that desire will quickly bring forth positive responses. Thereafter it becomes easy to apply the persuasion technique.
It is not impossible to create a desire within the short time span that a prospect takes to read through a Sales Letter. One of the reasons why most of the celebrated Control Copies in the Ad world are very long is this factor. The long sales copy almost always forces the reader to read through- once in a cursory manner and then return to it later.
During the interval, the impression gathered during the first reading awakens resident emotions and a desire is created. When the second reading happens, the desire, already awakened, is further strengthened, and the order follows as a natural outcome. Persuasion works in making a sales letter great, but only if it addresses a resident desire.