How Not to Write a Sales Letter

Sales letters are excellent tools for companies to generate leads. Whether you’re strictly online only or a brick-and-mortar business, both snail mail sales letters and emails can drum up hot leads that you can convert into sales. But — and this is big — only if you get it right.

Copywriters and content marketers should hone their sales letter skills. At some point, a client may ask you to write a bona fide sales letter, prospecting email, or a landing page. They all need certain elements to convert.

There are plenty of “experts” out there who spout off how best to write a sales letter. Let’s focus on what not to do when writing your sales letter so you can avoid these common pitfalls.

1. Me, I, we, us, our

Write every sentence with the you, yours, and your point of view. You want to tell readers how they’ll benefit, how their lives will be better, or how you can help them relieve some pain point. Remember, it’s all about them and what they want or need.

2. Spamming

Some companies use the spray technique for email marketing. They spray their emails far and wide and hope something sticks. You want a more targeted approach. Carefully cull email addresses and names, and research to find out if the company is a good fit for your product or service. For example, SaaS providers can use certain databases to learn what software a company is currently using so you only target those willing to switch to your platform.

3. Flowery, verbose prose

  1. Present what you can do for them and how they’ll benefit
  2. Who you are (the person sending the letter/email)
  3. And what they should do next (e.g. call for a consultation, schedule a demo, click a link)

Every great sales letter has a beginning (where you capture their attention), middle (where you tell readers what’s in it for them), and an end (where you tell them what the next steps are).

4. Boring…

The best way is through strategic use of captivating headlines. Use headlines to lead your readers through your letter. Make sure they understand your intention from just the headlines. Many readers glance through the headlines and your P.S. at the end and call it a day.

5. No “ask”

And the more options you give your readers, the more likely they are to act. Because if you don’t “ask,” they’ll never respond the way you want them to.

6. Wrong tone

Showing your personality is a good thing, but don’t crack some off-color jokes or word things a little risqué.

7. Errors and typos

Definitely run any sales letter or email through ProWritingAid to polish it and make it perfect. And make sure you double-, even triple-check your prospect’s name, company name, and other personal information. Worst place ever for a misspelling.


Let us know in the comments below a big no-no you’ve discovered when writing sales letters.

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