Today I was helping some clients with sales and marketing letters. It’s an interesting thing to write a letter to someone you don’t know-but it’s a great way to reach out and follow up, create some dialogue with a customer, and create an action, whatever that action may be. But the constant question I’ve been asked is where to start and what kind of format. I’m not sure there’s anything set in stone (and even so, I prefer to do my own thing anyway). I think the keys to most communication are the following:
1. It has to sounds genuine. I hate when people are more worried about grammar than conversation style. That doesn’t mean you get a pass on good grammar, but it’s not as important to me where you put your commas as it is what you message is.
2. Have something to say. There is nothing worse than receiving a letter or email that is long and has little to nothing to say. If it isn’t compelling, you shouldn’t be writing it.
3. Get to the point. Please stop with all the filler. If it takes only a paragraph to potentially position your ask-then take only a paragraph.
4. Stop using big words, tech speak, acronyms. I don’t care how intelligent you are, it makes you sound like…well…a jerk. I’ll give you a pass at a couple good SAT words, but the fewer the better. People won’t stop to look something up, and you’ll lose momentum in your messaging.
5. Specify a problem, and follow up with a solution. Don’t just tell someone something is wrong-tell them how YOU can fix it.
6.Figure out a valid call to action. Without that, the reader doesn’t know what to do.
I’m less inclined to worry about a format and more inclined to look for well flowing content.