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Business Marketing: Sales Letters, are they still relevant?

The internet has been around for a while now and you could be forgiven for thinking that it has taken over every aspect of business interaction. Combine this with the rapid rise of Social Media for business and the obvious question is ’are sales letters still relevant’? Whist people in general hate ’junk mail’, it has been shown that people really like to receive a proper letter. In a world of digital communications, a physical letter can have a far more positive impact on the recipient. So many businesses resort to sending their marketing message out through email, and when used with an email marketing tool it can be a very cheap way of reaching many businesses. The problem however, with any form of email, is that the open rates are generally small. Emails are impersonal, may not be opened due to the sheer volume people now receive or could be automatically routed to a spam folder. By comparison, a letter will always to picked up and if you follow the tips below should always be opened. You can even argue that it is a way of standing out and differentiating yourself in this digital world!

Like most things, it is worth while trying and evaluating against your other forms of marketing (you do other marketing don’t you?) If you are going to try it, make sure you give the content a lot of thought and try looking at it from the customers point of view. What problem are you trying to solve for your potential customer? Rather than it being all about your business, focus on the benefits you can provide for your customers business. One final thing, make sure it does not get confused with junk mail by following the simple tips below.


tip graphicHand write the name and address, and whilst your pen is out, hand sign each letter. If you want to increase the chances of the letter being opened still further, why not include a small gift i.e. something that can be felt when picking up the envelope. Examples of cost effective gifts are pens or mouse mats, and why not send branded examples so that you are always in front of them!

tip graphicIf you have spent all this time crafting your letter content, don’t ruin everything by falling down at the final presentation stage. Using cheap quality paper could give the wrong impression about the quality of your business. Standard printer/copier paper is normally graded as 80gsm (grams per square meter) and this is generally quite flimsy. A far better alternative is to use 120gsm paper. Finally, the envelope should be good quality and preferably any colour but brown, with plain white being a good choice.

tip graphicWhenever you run a marketing campaign, why not do it in a controlled manner utilising one method (letter, flyer, email etc) at a time, and evaluate the success by monitoring the increase in visitors to your website. It may not be an exact science but could help identify which of your marketing methods are more successful. You would need to be using an analytics package with your website. If you are not using one you should give it serious consideration as it can tell you so much useful visitor information, such as the most popular keywords used , how many visitors you are getting each day, where they have found your website (i.e. link from a business directory etc) and much more.

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