5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Writing a Sales Letter

Photo of a modified one-way road sign that has a big arrow pointing right with text above it that says, "CALL TO ACTION."
A great sales letter doesn’t make the reader guess what to do next. (Photo: Arnel Manalang)

Businesses sometimes lose sight of why they’re launching a marketing campaign or writing a sales letter.

It’s hard to produce a successful sales letter if you’re not clear about what you’re trying to accomplish, as well as the best way to go about it.

One big mistake is thinking about things from the perspective of your own company. It’s not about what you want; it’s about what your prospects and customers want.

You need to figure out how your product or service helps make their lives better before you can craft an effective sales letter.

Here are the five questions you should be asking:

1. Who’s the target audience?

Think about demographics:

  • How old are members of your target audience?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • Where do they live?

Understanding your target audience doesn’t stop with demographics: You also need to know psychographics—how these folks think.

  • What do they worry about?
  • What do they enjoy doing in their free time?
  • What are their goals and aspirations?

Both demographics and psychographics are important to understanding your intended audience.

2. What are you offering them?

Now you can start thinking about what you’re offering your prospects. Maybe it’s a product or service that they can buy now. Or maybe you’re offering them an opportunity to learn more by visiting a website or making a phone call.

The reason you’re writing a sales letter in the first place is to make an offer. In order to get the best results, you want to have a solid offer—so experiment with multiple options and see which one resonates best with your target audience.

3. Why is it important to them?

Now that you have a clear idea of whom you’re writing for and what you’re offering them, it’s time to combine this information. Why should readers be interested in your offer? How does it make their life better?

One of the best ways to figure this out is to consider all the benefits that they’ll get if they take you up on your offer. Then you can incorporate these benefits into your letter so that readers can see what they stand to gain.

4. What’s the next step if they’re interested in the offer?

A great sales letter can still fail if it’s not clear what readers should do afterward. You don’t want to leave it up to chance and hope they’ll make the right move.

Instead, make it clear for them—if they’re interested, what should they do? Don’t make them guess. Make sure to include a clear call to action.

5. What will pique their interest and motivate them?

It’s important to have a strong offer and call to action, but it’s not always enough. You might need to persuade the reader a little more.

For example, if you’re having a sale and the discounted price is available only until a certain date, say so. Or maybe your product or service offers additional perks, so explain those to the reader.

Writing a successful sales letter can be a challenging task. By answering these five questions, you’ll be ready to create an effective letter for your next marketing campaign. If you need someone to proofread your sales letter before you send it out, contact Super Copy Editors today.

Dave Baker

View posts by Dave Baker
Hi, I'm Dave Baker, founder and copy chief of Super Copy Editors. I have more than two decades of professional proofreading and copy editing experience, including work for The Nation magazine, The New York Times, and The Times-Picayune of New Orleans, where I shared two staff Pulitzer Prizes after Hurricane Katrina. Today, I have put together a hand-picked team of copy editors, and we especially love working with ad agencies, marketing departments, and education companies to make their text as polished as possible. Learn more here.

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