Advertising Letter Writing



Chapter Nineteen:

Letter Writing

This is another phase of advertising which all of us have to consider. It enters, or should enter, into all campaigns. Every business man receives a large number of circular letters. Most of them go direct to the waste basket. But he acts on others, and
others are filed for reference.
     Analyze those letters.  The ones you act on or the ones you 
keep have a headline which attracted your interest.  At a glance 
they offer something that you want, something you may wish to know.
     Remember that point in all advertising.
     A certain buyer spends $50,000,000 per year.  Every letter, 
every circular which comes to his desk gets its deserved 
attention.  He wants information on the lines he buys.
     But we have often watched him.  In one minute a score of 
letters may drop into the waste basket.  Then one is laid aside.  
That is something to consider at once.  Another is filed under the 
heading "Varnish."  And later when he buys varnish that letter 
will turn up.
     That buyer won several prizes by articles on good buying.  His 
articles were based on information.  Yet the great masses of matter 
which came to him never got more than a glance.  
     The same principles apply to all advertising.  Letter writers 
overlook them just as advertisers do.  They fail to get the right 
attention.  They fail to tell what buyers wish to know.
     One magazine sends out millions of letters annually.  Some to 
get subscriptions, some to sell books.  Before the publisher sends 
out five million letters he puts a few thousands to test.  He may 
try twenty-five letters, each with a thousand prospects.  He learns 
what results will cost.  Perhaps the plan is abandoned because it 
appears unprofitable.  If not, the letter which pays best is the 
letter that he uses.
     Just as men are doing now in all scientific advertising.
     Mail order advertisers do likewise.  They test their letters 
as they test their ads.  A general letter is never used until it 
proves itself best among many actual returns.
     Letter writing has much to do with advertising.  Letters to 
inquirers, follow-up letters.  Wherever possible they should be 
tested.  Where that is not possible, they should be based on 
knowledge gained by tests.

     We find the same difference in letters as in ads.  Some get 
action, some do not.  Some complete a sale, some forfeit the 
impression gained.  These are letters, going usually to half-made 
converts, are tremendously important.
     Experience generally shows that a two-cent letter gets no more 
attention than a one-cent letter.  Fine stationary no more than 
poor stationery.  The whole appeal lies in the matter.
     A letter which goes to an inquirer is like a salesman going to 
an interested prospect.  You know what created that interest.  Then 
follow it up along that line, not on some different argument.  
Complete the impression already created.  Don't undertake another 
     Do something if possible to get immediate action.  Offer some 
inducement for it.  Or tell what delay may cost.  Note how many 
successful selling letters place a limit on an offer.  It expires 
on a certain date.  That is all done to get prompt decision, to 
overcome the tendency to delay.
     A mail order advertiser offered a catalog.  The inquirer might 
send for three or four similar catalogs.  He had that competition 
in making a sale.
     So he wrote a letter when he sent his catalog, and enclosed a 
personal card.  He said, "You are a new customer, and we want to 
make you welcome.  So when you send your order please enclose this 
card.  The writer wants to see that you get a gift with the order - 
something you can keep."
     With an old customer he gave some other reason for the gift.  
The offer aroused curiosity.  It gave preference to his catalog.  
Without some compelling reason for ordering elsewhere, the woman 
sent the order to him.  The gift paid for itself several times 
over by bringing larger sales per catalog.   
     The ways for getting action are many.  Rarely can one way be 
applied to two lines.  But the principles are universal.  Strike 
while the iron is hot.  Get a decision then.  Have it followed by 
prompt action when you can.
     You can afford to pay for prompt action rather than lose by 
delay.  One advertiser induced hundreds of thousands of women to 
buy six packages of his product and send him the trademarks, to 
secure a premium offer good only for one week.
Return to Book Intro and Chapter Index:  Scientific Advertising
Continue to the next Chapter: Advertising Brand Names


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