THE LEVISON LETTER
Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriter July, 2006
Volume: 21 Number: 7
Quick answers to questions about
how to copywrite a money-making sales letter
The letter is the most important part of any direct
mail package. Write a brilliant,
compelling sales letter and your response rates can shoot up. Make
thoughtless blunders and you're in deep trouble.
Maybe that's why so many of the questions I get from
readers of the
Levison Letter are about sales letters. Here are some of the many
that have been coming my way, along with some quick responses I hope
you'll find of interest . . .
1. Should I use a headline above the salutation?
A headline (boxed or not) can grab the reader's attention
and pull them into
your pitch with a terrific benefit. You can fill up to a third of
the first page
with your headline/subheadline intro. If the letter is personalized
or more formal,
consider dropping the headline.
2. Is it worth dating the letter?
If you're going first class, date the letter. If you're
going out bulk rate, you
don't have to. The last thing you want is for your letter to arrive
way past the
date you've put at the top your letter.
3. Should I try to make the letter look as though it
were typed on a
typewriter, or should I give the letter a more professional, typeset
Years ago I would have said go for the typewriter look.
Now, that's not necessary. Make sure you use a serif font like Times
Readability, not "style," is what counts!
4. Does it make sense to personalize the letter?
A tough question. Personalization does improve response
rates but there
are important cost issues to consider. If you're writing to "C-level"
personalize for sure.
5. Should the tone of my letter be conversational or
It all depends, but generally a friendly, human, conversational
tone of voice
does work best. One of the biggest problems that beginning copywriters
is that they get uptight and start sounding pompous. Their work lacks
6. How should I start the letter?
Jump right in with enthusiasm and for goodness sakes,
get to the point quickly.
You should always talk about the offer on the first page and start
away at benefits. If this subject interests you, see my article
7. What graphic tricks can I use to increase response
A letter should be inviting and easy to read. Use short
paragraphs and don't be
afraid to indent or use bullets. Underlining should be done sparingly.
color can add punch, but don't splash it everywhere. A little goes
a long way!
8. What's the right way to end the letter?
Go out in a blaze of glory. Feel free to invoke the
deities or promise eternal life.
But please . . . don't leave them with a flat: "To order, call
fax us your order card." That's flat and lifeless.
9. Should I use a P.S.?
Absolutely! It gets high readership and is a good place
to repeat the offer,
punch up the guarantee, and urge immediate action. I never met a postscript
I didn't like.
10. What's the easiest way to get a high-impact letter
Give me a call at (415) 461-0672 and let's talk. (Can
you blame me for sneaking this in?)
If you need a lead- generation letter, Webinar invitation, you name
it, I can help.
What's more, I can prove it at: http://www.levison.com/testimonials.html
How To Get In Touch
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904
Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
Web Site: http://www.levison.com
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