Monday, September 3, 2012

7 Point Checklist for Business Letters

I don't claim to be a good advertising writer. But over the years, I've sent hundreds of business letters. Here are a few things I try to include in each of them:
l. The headline, first sentence, and P.S. are usually the best-read parts. They need to dramatize an offer, or focus on the reason the letter was sent.
2. Most letters should emphasize a single theme. Everything in the letter should relate to that theme.
3. Use active, descriptive words.
4. Show customers how to solve a problem. In a letter to your customers, this might involve MAKING or SAVING money.
5. Readers relate to "success stories." Can you tell them how you've solved a specific problem for other customers?
How about running an "open letter to customers?" Detail your plans for your company's future, or for an upcoming trade show. Tell how your reader can benefit.
6. One major question companies ask is "How do we get more response - or feedback - from a letter?"
Here are a few ideas: give away something free; offer that item or service in the first sentence; use a color marker (perhaps red or blue) to highlight the letter's main points; give readers a reason to contact you by a specific date; put a toll-free number, e-mail address, phone, and physical address in the letter.
7. "The pain/gain concept" is an idea that's been around for years. In it, you talk about (1) the pain or problem your reader may have, and (2) how your company, product or service can solve it.