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How To Write A Really Great Marketing Letter that Makes Readers Take Action

Marketing Planning and Implementation by
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Unfortunately, many marketing letters do not end with a compelling call to action. When you're developing your marketing plan you always want to think about what is next? What do we want our reader to do? That is why you need to create intriguing and compelling offers that motivate people to take that next step.

Marketing letters are a very powerful tool. However, they are limited in terms of what they can realistically motivate a reader to do.

For example it is very unlikely that a single letter will:

  • Get a reader to call you up and hire you.
  • Result in a flood of phone calls of interest.
  • Immediately enable you to set up a large number of face-to-face appointments.

It would be nice if a single letter to a never-contacted-before prospect galvanized them into hiring you. Nice, but unrealistic.

Although common sense would dictate that this is true, it is surprising how many people tell me, We tried letters and they did not work. No one hired us as a result of our mailing.

Well what were you expecting? Unless you are marketing tree-trimming services, you are probably not going to get someone to hire you on the basis of a single letter. That is just not a good criteria by which to judge the effectiveness of a letter.

Keep in mind that this is all about building relationships. And in order to do that we need to crawl before we can walk.

What we need is a smaller request. Something that advances the relationship, but offers better odds that the reader will say Yes. Remember that this is a lot like dating. You do not go up to the pretty girl (or handsome guy) who you have never met and say, Want to get married? That is akin to saying, I hope you will hire me, in your marketing letter.

Maybe you will get lucky with your letter and it will hit the desk of someone who desperately needs your services. But that is luck. And being lucky just is not an effective long term marketing strategy.

Unless your letter is lucky enough to reach someone who has a crying need for your particular service, the best your letter can accomplish is to raise a mild level of curiosity. Unfortunately, marketing letters are often judged on how many meetings they generate, or how many people call to discuss their problems. From a practical level this just is not how most readers are going to respond.

You will achieve a lot more long-term success if you structure your letter so that it intrigues those who might have a little bit of interest in what you do, rather than only appealing to those with a burning need. This means that the letter needs to offer something that does not commit the reader to a lengthy meeting, a telephone call or anything that requires they actually communicate with someone. At this stage in the relationship, the reader may be interested in your services, but they are also very leery of leaving themselves open to a sales pitch.

This is why the offer of Free Information works so well at this stage in the relationship building process.

The scenario is something like this. Your reader puts down the letter and thinks to himself. That is kind of interesting. They seem to have an understanding of the issues I am facing. However I really do not want to meet with this person, nor do I really want to talk with them on the phone. However they reference some additional information, and that might be kind of interesting to read. If I can go to their website and get it, I just might do that.

This is why it is so important to think about marketing your services as a system. Each step in the process should lead to the next component in the sequence. And the step that has the greatest likelihood of succeeding at this-point-in-time is the offer of a some more information.

This call to action should direct readers to your website in which this offer should be prominently displayed. Naturally the information form people must fill out in order to get the report links to your automated stay-in-touch system. That is crucial in order for you to continue to move prospects from curiosity to interest to action.

Mark Satterfield is the founder and CEO of Gentle Rain Marketing LLC. Since 1992 he has advised consultants, financial advisers and owners of small businesses on marketing strategies, and strategies for developing new business relationships. In addition to his consulting work, Mark has written over 250 articles on professional development which have appeared in publications including the Atlanta Constitution, the Los Angeles Times and numerous professional, trade and technical journals. He is also the author of five books, including Power Prospecting: How to Gain Access to Key Decision Makers, How to Negotiate the Raise You Deserve, and Career Etiquette. Find out more at

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