10 reasons why sales letters bring more clients

Bob P. was in my (now defunct) LinkedIn Group, Copywriters and Direct Marketers Solve the Marketing Problem.

question-marksHe asked a question that bears repeating.

Bob said: “What is the best way to get marketing people at companies to raise their hand and express interest in what a copywriter might be able to do for them? Most of us are familiar with the letter you helped Pete Savage write several years back, which got his copywriting career going…

…is a letter like that with a free article still as effective today as it was then? What are people doing to catch the attention of marketing people at companies whose main marketing is done online?”

The answer is a resounding YES… letters have always worked and they always will. In the 13 years I’ve coached the Marlow Marketing Method™, I have never seen a drop off in effectiveness. (And I can say the same for my 30+ years in the business.)

Here’s why sending a strong letter to a targeted prospect works so well:

1. The letter is in your face. You’re not waiting around for them to come to you… (and you know how well that works!).

2. A letter offers more real estate with which to sell yourself. And there are (practically) no other distractions; potential clients must stop and focus if they’re to read your letter.

3. When you send a letter, you’re targeted. You have to know who you’re sending it to and you will have done the work of knowing they’re the right match. Potential clients love it when service providers do the heavy lifting; after all, you’re saving them the work of having to find you.

4. You can put an offer in your letter that helps to generate the lead. All potential clients have problems that you can solve. Write your paper around a pain they have that you can solve, and offer it on your site in exchange for their information. This is classic lead-generation that all the sophisticated marketers use.

5. Relatively few copywriters — or any professional service provider for that matter — send letters. You’ll stand out like a beacon.

6. A letter showcases your writing style and marketing acumen. It’s a great real world “sample.”

7. You can flatter your prospect by telling them that you’ve spent time to locate them and you’re sending a letter because you believe there might be a perfect match. (You did spend time looking for them, right?) With potential clients, this kind of flattery works.

8. You can personalize a letter, add a “bulky item” to raise curiosity, get creative with the envelope, and come up with a sharp concept to show off your skill. A personalized mailed letter lets you have maximum impact.

9. A well-written sales letter is enormously powerful. The sales letter is the foundation of direct marketing copywriting. We’re not so far into the electronic age that that’s forgotten. In fact billions of sales letters go out every year… it’s just that you don’t see them because most of it is in the B2B space.

10. The most effective marketing is one-to-one marketing, and a mailed letter lets you do that. Although some clients will actually respond, most of the success comes in your follow up call. You letter paves the way for a positive reception (especially when you say in your letter that you’ll be calling!).

I’m not dissing other forms of marketing. I know one copywriter who built a massive Twitter following. Her constant presence, ability to know who to follow, and smart Tweets landed her business, for about a year while Twitter was in its youth. But it’s important to know that the sales letter has been a primary means of lead-generation for decades. It has legs for a reason.

As much as I love the sales letter, I nevertheless believe that Professional Service Providers should use all of the proven marketing tactics at their disposal, including networking, speaking, social media, and more. This is called “integrated marketing” and it should be your goal.

But mailing personalized sales letters can make it happen faster for you because you are in charge. You’re in charge of who you mail to. You’re in charge of how many you mail. And you’re in charge of the follow up. You control the timing… the acquisition of clients. And when you pick who you want, then you control the quality of the clients you work with too.

Classic lead-gen says you’ll close one in 100 letters mailed. That’s one new client for simply mailing 100 letters and following them up with a call. Past student Pete Savage (referenced earlier by Bob P.), earned $64,000 in 12 months with his first targeted campaign while following the Marlow Marketing Method™ as a coaching student.

More recently I decided to test a new niche. I sent out 140 letters and got one phone call from one of the “elites” on my list. That’s less than one percent without follow up, but what the heck: I’d only mailed the batch four days before!

All businesses have marketing problems. All you have to do is understand one of their pains that you can solve, and send a letter stating that you can solve it.

What kind of marketing have you done… and to what success? Comments welcome!

P.S. — As of 216 the S.S. Treasure Hunt — my membership site for fast-moving copywriters — has the latest and greatest tools for client acquisition No one has this material because it’s new. Times change. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to become a member of the S.S. Treasure Hunt.

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About Chris Marlow

The original copywriter's coach, Chris Marlow has worked with copywriters since 2003. Her acclaimed Marlow Marketing Method™ Client Acquisition Course has produced hundreds of successful copywriters. Chris' S.S. Treasure Hunt membership site not only houses this course but four more on the subjects of Copywriting, Advanced Copywriting, Productivity, and Closing Clients. The S.S. Treasure Hunt also contains the world's only statistical pricing database for about 100 copywriting jobs. Chris has put together this resource to give copywriters everything they need to succeed — and nothing they don't. Chris is committed to helping copywriters focus on what's important, saving them from the time- and money-wasting Bright Shiny Object Syndrome so prevalent on the Internet.

6 Responses to 10 reasons why sales letters bring more clients

  1. Phil Dunn May 29, 2014 at 8:54 pm #

    #2 is such a zinger! I’ll extend the concept a little. A letter, at mail opening time . . has no open tabs (like a browser!). Ther person has to be absolutely engaged. An email, on the other hand, has all kinds of other noise around it – including other emails in the inbox, other subject lines, new mail that comes in, notifications from plugins, etc. And that’s just the email tab or app. There are also IM clients, SMS apps for the desktop, Skype messages and on and on. Interruptions are everywhere on the glass screen. The piece of paper is one thing. Just one simple thing.

    • Chris Marlow May 30, 2014 at 7:05 am #

      Hi Phil,

      Thanks for the additions! I wonder if we will see a sales letter renaissance in the future? According to the DMA, it’s still the best ROI despite the cost.

  2. Tia Dobi May 24, 2014 at 9:02 pm #

    Hi Chris,

    For those in a pinch — and/or to test the creative — when would it be appropriate to send a ‘cold’ (i.e. first contact) email?

    My target market is ad agencies: creative directors, studio and print managers for a very specific gig.

    Thank you,
    Tia D.

    • Chris Marlow May 25, 2014 at 10:41 am #

      HI Tia,

      The best way to market is to do it all. You’re a smart marketer Tia… it’s about testing… always about testing. The nice thing about email is that in some niches it’s very accepted, and forward thinking agencies should be a good niche for that. I like a “pronged” approach where you come in at several angles. Where you live you can target by email, letter, and even show up at marketing networking events that they show up to. Reverse engineer… go to the event, pick out some targets, then email and send a letter, then call. That’s 4 touches in a short period of time (sounds a little like stalking, haha!). And to make it happen faster, it’s about numbers. But bottom line, you’ll make things happen faster if you can identify a pain they have, and then promise to solve it. We are motivated to solve marketing problems. So what could you put in your subject line that would make them stop and consider you?

  3. Kevin May 24, 2014 at 5:41 pm #

    Chris,

    I can’t imagine what my life would be like today, without your personal coaching. I was struggling, working for a pittance, for clients who pushed me around.

    Now, they are coming to me, treating me with the utmost respect – and even asking me when they can get on my schedule. And the royalties I’m getting are far more than my fees!

    I’ll always say you are the classiest lady in copywriting – and a damn good coach.

    • Chris Marlow May 25, 2014 at 10:27 am #

      Thank you Kevin! Nothing makes me happier than to see my students’ success. I love my job! However, not all succeed the way you do. You have the talent, the focus, and I must say you have tenacity… b/c that’s what it takes to work at the top of the financial sector!

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