Do “snail mail” sales letters still work?

Do snail mail letters still work - imageDuring a workshop recently, a participant asked me if an old-fashioned snail mail sales letter still works for generating leads.

I answered the question with a question. “How many here found out about me as a result of a letter I sent them?”

Out of a group of 31, three raised their hands.

That might not sound very impressive. In fact, that example might confirm your suspicion that a direct mail letter is a dinosaur of a marketing tactic that doesn’t fit in today’s online world.

Not so fast.

You see, in addition to those three who came to my workshop by way of a sales letter, I have two private consulting clients who found out about me that same way.

Sales letters can be an effective lead-generator — if you use them correctly.

I use sales letters regularly in my own business. And I write them for my private clients as well.

Here are just some of the things I’ve learned over the years about getting a good response:

  • Use a highly targeted list filled with ideal prospects. In fact, I wouldn’t bother with any other kind.
  • A two-page letter tends to work best. Yes, I know that flies in the face of current “no one reads more than a page” wisdom. But for me and my (mostly B2B) clients, the two-pager is often the winner.
  • The more a letter looks and reads like an actual letter – and not a polished marketing piece – the better it works. No surprise there.
  • Lumpy letters (with something inside, like a stylus pen) get opened more often. However, the freebie or gimmick often gets all the attention and the prospect never reads the letter! I prefer to focus instead on writing a great sales letter and having it stand on its own merits.
  • Don’t force the prospect to reply only via a website landing page. Also provide the option to call or email. Phone and email responses typically come from higher-quality prospects.

Of course there are many other tips and tricks for creating a marketing letter that brings in the business. Those are just a few.

So if you’re not currently using a persuasive, inviting letter to call on prospects, consider it. You might discover it works well for you, at least as a supplement to your other sources of leads.


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