Ninety percent of you who will read this report will at some
time get involved in marketing by direct or response mailing.
Whether you solicit through mailing lists or have people write
to you for information, there is one thing you must do to make
the most of your investment, and that is to write a sales
letter. If you send only the material requested, you will
drastically decrease your chances of success.
Most of you have by now seen the world famous Edward Green
marketing letter, one of the most successful quasi-legal pyramid
plans of all time. It is an absolute masterpiece of
salesmanship, and when all five of the recommended pages are
included in the mailing, it bull-baffles so many people that a
great number of its users do make money with it.
We do not recommend you try it, however, since it does not offer
dollar value and puts you in a very poor light when you do have
something to offer later that does give good value.
The personal sales message is the most vital piece of any direct
or response marketing campaign. Write a good one and you can
literally make a fortune. Write them regularly and you can make
excellent money helping others to make fortunes. Good sales
letters from professional direct mail agencies can cost anywhere
from $1,000 to $10,000.
If you’ve never written one of these letters, we’d like you to
try an exercise before proceeding with the rest of this article.
First, write a letter from 300 to 500 words long explaining to
your friend cross-country why you got involved in the best
program you have right now and why it might be something he
would like to try.
Next write a letter of the same length explaining to a mail
order dealer this program you have right now and why it would be
good for him and why you’d like him to get involved.
This is a deadly serious request, and to prove it, we’re
stopping the article right here and continuing it under another
title on the next page. For your own sake, write those letters!
SUPER TIPS – PART 2
We hope by now you have the two sales letters we asked you to
write. We’d like you now to place them side by side and
carefully note the differences in the two letters. If you’re
not experienced with this, you will notice immediately that you
gave both the fictitious mail orders dealer and your faraway
friend different reasons why they will like your opportunity.
Excellent! Because the most effective sales letter for both
your friend and your dealer will be somewhere in the middle.
For the time being, don’t worry about the grammar or structure
of the letter, for it’s the content and presentation that’s
We gave you a word limit because the letter should be short to
keep the reader’s attention. Many of the people you reach via
direct or response mailing receive loads of offers every week.
They have to in order to keep up with the state of the industry.
And they’re not going to sit through a lengthy explanation
unless you grab them at the start.
What you do is focus on the single most important benefit the
owner will enjoy from it. It doesn’t stop there! You’ve got to
tell the client about the benefit in an interesting, let’s say,
Say you’re selling the Crust-Buster Widget. It’s the best
widget available for busting crusts, and reduces the daily time
required to bust crust by at least one third.
Here’s how we would open out the sales letter:
« I’ll have to admit I was shocked. Two weeks after I got my
first Crust-Buster Widget, I got so mad it was frightening. »
Intriguing? You bet. The reader expects a put-down for the
Widget. But that’s not what you’re getting at.
You’ve caught the reader off-guard, and for shock value, you’ll
want to put those two lines in capitals at the top of your
letter, but you don’t want to use underlines for emphasis or it
will look a little too contrived. You could use this line to
open a letter to a friend or a stranger with equal effect. Now,
here’s where you’re taking the reader:
« At first, I was amazed that the Crust-Buster really did cut a
lot of the time it takes to bust crusts. But when I realized
how long I’d been doing it the old way, and how many chances I
had to own a Crust-Buster Widget, I was furious at how stubborn
I had been. »
Let’s examine the methodology here, because it applies to any
good sales letter. The first sentence does not explain the rage
mentioned in the lead sentence, so the reader has to read on to
get the explanation, and the longer you can keep the reader
hanging, just like a good whodunit, the more likely they’ll read
to the end.
It also satisfies the requirement for a good lead sentence. It
explains the major benefit of the product, and does it in strong
language. The writer is « amazed ». The product « really did » the
job. And it says nothing to the prospect about buying the
While still using a personal example, a testimonial, which is an
excellent technique in most sales letters, the writers points
out what the prospect is doing, busting crusts the old way, and
points out a situation the reader has probably encountered.
Chances are good that the writer knows his prospect and has seen
the Crust-Buster Widget many times before but still doesn’t own
And finally, he very subtly points out why the prospect probably
doesn’t own it by using himself as an example. He’s saying
that people are basically stubborn, and no one likes to be that
way. he’s set himself as someone much like the reader, stubborn
to try new things, and angry at his mistakes.
Now, the writer knows that it is a mistake not to own the
product, but if he actually came out and said « If you don’t own
the Crust-Buster Widget, you’re wrong », he’s not going to make
any friends or sell widgets.
One last point is worth noting. It doesn’t take a degree in
English to write such a paragraph, just a bit of thought and a
whole bunch of editing and rewriting so it reads just right.
Let’s continue the letter and see where it might go, and why it
may go that way:
« I’m not saying it’ll do for you just what it did for me… »
This is a soft-sell, and it works wonders. It tells the reader
what he already knows, that the product is not perfect. It’s
honest. It implies that the reader should see for himself how
useful it will be.
« …but it’s allowed me to spend a lot more time doing other
things, and that’s meant my business runs more efficiently and
makes bigger profits. »
This is the benefit the reader has been waiting for, the one
that really hits home… money. Depending on the product, it
could be happiness, attractiveness, anything. All products
touch on one of these two human needs: the need to increase
happiness or avoid unhappiness. One will always be more
important than the other, and one type of happiness or
unhappiness is the central focus of the sales letter as it
relates to the product sold.
The writer has led up to this benefit slowly enough so that it
has built to a climax, and now the reader will either move
directly to the advertising material, which is the whole point
of the letter in the first place, or read this letter to the end.
At this point, it’s always a good idea to mention that the
product will pay for itself over a certain period of time, if
indeed it will do that and is not merely a novelty or
convenience item. That’s a common claim, but it’s effective,
because it makes the product look practically cost-free.
From here on, you detail the other benefits you’ve noticed that
may not be in the sales material, and if you can’t think of any,
expand on a couple that are in the material.
As often as possible, use emotion-charged words and phrases but
don’t overdo it or you’ll come across as a cheap hustler. « An
extremely good value », « built to take the absolute worst »,
« jammed with amazing ideas », « unforgettably satisfying » are all
valid phrases. Think in terms of the movie review quotes you
see in your daily paper.
Those short snippets are chosen by the advertisers precisely
because they excite people’s emotions and get them to the
theater. Toss them into your letter at strategic points and you
will hold the reader’s interest.
Now, take the two letters you wrote before and see how many of
these points you managed to include in the two of them. All
told, your score should be pretty high. But you probably notice
a lot of filler material, especially in your letter to your
friend, and a lot of excessive hype in the letter to the mail
order dealer. Chances are good that if you find the middle
ground, you’ve got a good sales letter.
Rewrite the letter with this in mind, but don’t use this
article for reference as you do it. Let it come naturally to
you. You should find your rewritten letter ideal for both your
friend (who won’t think you’re putting a heavy business-type
hype over on him) and for the dealer, who’ll get the impression
you’re writing to him as if he were a friend.
Now you’ve got a workable sales letter. There are two steps
Firstly, get it checked for sentence structure and grammar. Get
the best person for this job that you can think of. It might be
a school teacher, a reporter, even an English student, but it
must be someone who can turn someone else’s writing into
flawless English… without removing the enthusiasm and snap of
the copy. This can be a headache, but it must be done for good
results, and every good aspect of your sales letter is money in
Secondly, add a little note on the bottom of the page, just
before your signature, reminding the reader to look over the
sales material and make his own decision. Follow it with
something unique above your signature. « Yours truly » won’t cut
One of the finest lines we’ve seen above the signature is « May
you make thousands rich and yourself happy, (signed). » It’s
thoughtful, conveys sincerity on the part of the writer, and
leaves you with a good feeling about the person who wrote it.
You are now ready to commit this letter to a sale letter. Put
it on top-quality stationery, the best you can afford.
Especially if you’re marketing income opportunity information,
you must look as if you’re doing well yourself.
When you have it copied, use premium parchment or other quality
paper. Make it look as professional as you possibly can! Have
a letterhead made up if you don’t have it already; you’ll need
it eventually anyway, and typesetting for a letterhead is just a
And finally, and we cannot stress this too highly, sign everyone
individually. Never, never, sign the original and have your
There is one more special touch which has been proven to get
results, and the fact that mail order people especially use this
touch an awful lot proves its effectiveness.
This is the personal sales letter, hand-written which is
attached to the major sales letter. And it can be done in one
or two ways. Either leave a couple of inches at the top of the
page for handwritten messages, or affix a 3×5 Scotch Post-It
note to the top of the letter.
If you’ve received a request for information and the person has
dropped hints as to what he might use the item for, by all means
target the note to the person’s needs, but if not, simply use it
to advise the person to look over the material carefully.
Make it short, fifty words or less, and address it directly to
the reader. It’s a time consuming job, especially on a direct
mailing of 500 or more pieces, but the time you spend doing this
will be well-rewarded.
By the way, this handwritten personal note makes it unnecessary
to put any sort of address such as « Dear Sir » at the top of the
sales letter. There are no good addresses you can use at the
top of the sales letter which will not alienate at least some of
the readership. We advise using no address at all, and just
starting the letter.
The standards such as « Dear friend » and « Hello, opportunity
seeker », and in fact any descriptive address in this style, is
so overused that it looks phony and contrived, and serves you no
purpose other than to turn off the reader. Simply start the