How to Go Broke With Your Bad Sales Letter

Empty Pockets

Image by danielmoyle via Flickr

Writing a sales letter is a bit of an art.  You have to grab attention, make your case, and make it clear what people will get by responding.

If it’s online,  you have the benefit of lots of colors, graphics, maybe even video and sound.  If it’s in the mail (no, direct mail isn’t dead) your words will have to do all the work.

Ignore do not mail requests

I recently got a letter from Chase bank, urging me to get a credit card.  Two things, one I’m on the do not mail list (boom, they just violated that).  Second, the reason I don’t have a Chase Visa is because they canceled it. However, back to the letter.

Confuse people

The envelope said “Chase”, but the sheet inside says “Slate” across the top.  I have no idea what Slate is.  Never heard of it.  It’s rather confusing.

Be irrelevant

It offers me savings on gas (oh good, something I never buy).   And more savings if I pay with Full Pay (whatever that is). Also, I can add or change categories at any time (categories of what?).

Bait and switch

There’s also a low APR initial rate (bet that goes up).  And, my favorite part, the opportunity to opt-out of further mailings if I call a toll-free number.  I’ve already asked that (I’m on the do-not-call list too).  Fail!

How not to fail

OK, so my refusal to apply won’t make Chase go broke. But, if you sent a letter that showed such a poor understanding of your audience’s needs and wants, you would go broke (and fast).

Writing an effective sales letter, especially to a new prospect, or for a new product, has to do a better job than that. It needs to:

Tune in tomorrow for Friday Fun. There may be some fireworks.