Translating The Fourt Part Sales Letter & E-Mail Message

Analyzing the effective unsolicited sales letters you receive and you will notice they contain four interrelated parts:

  1. Gets the reader’s attention
  2. Creates interest and builds desire for the product
  3. Offers convincing proof
  4. Persuades the prospect to act

By integrating the four parts, translating them into foreign languages and maintaining the laws of cultural sensitivity, you should attract enough foreign consumers to make your letter or e-mail campaign successful.

Getting the Prospect’s Attention

Because many consumers throughout the world regard unsolicited sales letters and e-mail messages as junk mail, your first task is to get their attention.  Chicago Chinese Translation Services workers often recommend the use a catchy phrase or slogan, a sample, sketches, attractive design—anything that will make readers take notice.

The Marketing Analysts Translation Services Company recommends that their clients get attention by including a teaser in the subject line or envelope.  For example:


Here is a chance to tell the white house exactly what you think

Be sure the opener is reasonable, culturally acceptable and relates directly to your product or service.  Consumers are not fools.  They reject overstatements such as “Amazing Power,” “absolutely,” “astounding,” “the best,” “without fail,” “fabulous,” “the greatest breakthrough,” “positively,” “tremendous savings.”  Instead, stick to the advice of Atlanta Certified Translation workers of providing an honest description of the problem and its benefits.  By avoiding misleading gimmicks, preposterous claims and overblown language, you increase your chances of success.

The following attention-getters do succeed.  This article explains the Story Opening and later articles will include additional attention-getters that are geared toward non-English language speaking markets.

Story Opening

The mother of Tamara described, after they left Chile, the treatment her daughter received in police detention.  “They undressed (her) and whipped her with a leather whip.  They put her in a barrel with ice water and held her head under the water until she almost drowned.  They threatened to rape her and whipped her again.  This was repeated four times a day for four days.”  At that time, Tamara was three years old. – (Amnesty International/USA)

On a beautiful late spring afternoon, twenty-five years ago, two young men graduated from the same college.  They were very much alike, these two young men.  Both had been better than average students, both were personable and both – as young college graduates are—were filled with ambitious dreams for the future.  . . . But (twenty-five years later) there was a difference.  One of the men was manager of a small department of a company.  The other was its president. – (Wall Street Journal)

Persuasive Appeals in Translation

Consumers throughout the world buy products for many reasons: pleasure, prestige, reputation, health, status, approval, security, beauty, love respect, comfort.  In short, the buy to fill social, practical, egoistic needs.  Consumers often don’t know the real reasons for their purchases.  For instance, as one Houston French Translator explains:

Consumers in France might say they buy designer jeans because they fit better, because the color is nicer or because they are more durable.  In reality, they think they look sexier and more stylish in the jeans.

Rational and Emotional Appeals

In the preceding example, consumers rationalized buying the jeans for practical reasons (fit, durability) when, in reality; they bought them to fill emotional needs (looks, status).  Although controversy exists over which appeal is more effective, sales letters combine appeals.  If, for instance, you are selling smoke and fire detectors, your major appeal is rational.  You explain why the prospects need the detector.  But you’re also appealing to their emotions—their love of family, fear of death and the like.

As New York English to French Translators suggest, “Your product therefore determines your appeals.”  When you sell designer jeans, your major appeal is emotional.  Yet you can still include rational appeals (fit, durability) in your letter. In general, emphasize rational appeals when the product is expensive, long lasting or essential to health, security and comfort.  Emphasize emotional appeals when the product is inexpensive, short-lived or non-essential.

Same Product: Different Appeals

Since the sales letters will be sent to target groups in foreign countries, Portland Translation workers suggest that companies vary their appeal for different groups.  Say you’re writing a letter to promote a new computer operating system.  Since the new the new computer operating system will be expensive to switch over and train employees on, your major appeal will be rational and stress increased productivity, enhanced security and lower service costs.  Through product and market analysis, you’ve determined the target markets to be global insurance companies, investment firms and financial institutions.  In your communications to each of these organizations, you might stress different product features and capabilities that might be uniquely tailored for linguistic differences and industry needs.

Analyze Your Market

Because designing and developing a product is costly, few companies take the risk unless research indicates that the product will appeal to a definite population.  As a legal translation worker who works with a creative team, you will rarely do the actual research.  But in selecting the appeals to stress for different cultures in your sales letter, you must rely on the researcher’s findings.

From your product and marketing analysis, you should know to whom your product will appeal.  Or your localization and professional translation worker may have determined that with different appeals, your product will sell to varied markets.  Now, you must either compile or buy a list of names and addresses for each market segment.

Within the United States, sources for lists are virtually limitless.  Look at telephone books, Yellow Pages, trade directories:  You can find listings for just about any business group you might wish to solicit.

Keep Accurate Mailing Lists

Whether you buy or compile your own mailing lists, be sure they are accurate and up to date.  As you use a list, delete names of those who have moved, died, requested their names be deleted, or shown no prior interest in your products.  Many companies have lost goodwill because of inaccurate lists.

The Essentials Of Writing And Translating An Unsolicited Sales Letter

Before you begin to design your sales letter that will be translated into multiple languages, you must know your product and target market.  A French Translator with The Marketing Analysts Translation Company suggests that having a firm grasp on these two items will allow you to focus on the right features that will interest buyers in a foreign marketplace.

To learn about your product’s unique features, gather the following data:

  1. raw materials used
  2. design rationale (Why is it made and packaged this way?)
  3. manufacturing techniques (Is it homemade, mass produced, or something else?)
  4. testing procedures (what procedures were used to test the product’s ability to withstand wear, abuse, etc.)
  5. ease of performance (Is it easier to operate or maintain than similar products?)
  6. performance records (efficiency, durability, reliability)
  7. Warranties, guarantees (What’s covered?  How long?)
  8. repair or service procedures (Can it be services locally, or must it be returned to the manufacturer?)
  9. prices (Is financing available for expensive items)
  10. major appeals
  11. overall special features (What makes it better than competing items? The rule: Know your competitor’s product as well as you know your own.)

Translating Features into Consumer Benefits

Once you have gathered the information, our legally certified translation workers suggest that clients begin the process of converting product features into consumer benefits.  Instead of telling prospective buyers your insulation has an insulation factor of R-22 and is easier to install, show the benefits: The insulation can save an average of $400 a year on heating and air conditioning; the average homeowner can install it easily on a Saturday afternoon; the insulation increases the resale value of the home;  the insulation increases the resale value of the home; the insulation is a fire retardant.  According to Jonathan Mahoney, a regarded French translator in Washington D.C., “Throughout the world, consumers are universally the same in extent that most are interested in the benefits to themselves and their families—not in a product’s physical features.”

Analyzing Your market

Because designing and developing a product is costly, few companies take the risk unless research indicates that the product will appeal to a definite population.  As a writer, you will rarely do the actual research.  But in selecting the appeals to stress in your sales letter, you must rely on the researcher’s findings about

Using Sales Letters Effectively To Reach Diverse Markets

Sales letters have distinct advantages over other advertising media.  For instance, with accurate mailing lists, you can address your sales message to a specific audience or target market.  Depending on the product or service, you can tailor a message for foreign language speaking college students, women between 18 and 22, people with incomes over $40,000, plumbers, horticulturists, matadors or any well-defined group with well-defined needs.

Besides addressing a specific population or culture, sales letters can be specially tailored to create a familiar and confidential tone.  For instance, one effective sales letter that was written by the Chinese Translation Chicago company begins, “At least for the time being, we would prefer that you do not share this news with friends.” Another begins, “You may just be the solution.” And a third invites the reader’s confidence by saying, “We’re assuming that you’re as fed up as we are with the decline of your dollars.”

Sales letters also are more detailed than other media.  As professional translators at the Chinese Translation Washington D.C. company explain, “Unlike a TV spot, a magazine ad, a column in a newspaper or a billboard, your sales letter can be comprehensive.”  You have time to spell out how the product can fill specific needs—time to describe the product and its benefits.

Sales letters have three disadvantages.  First, many people consider them “junk mail.”  You must overcome this image by convincing prospects your message will benefit them.  Thus, Houston Portuguese Translation workers suggest that their responsibilities are twofold: You must attract prospects’ attention so they will read the message; then you must move them to action, whether ordering the product, requesting more information, or asking that a sales representative call.  Consumer distrust is a second disadvantage.  Many have lost money or received junk by mail and were left with no recourse.  So, besides breaking down initial resistance to sales letters, you must also persuade consumers that you are reputable.  Finally, some consumers simply dislike ordering by mail.  They want to see, touch, smell or try to the merchandise before buying.

To counter these objections, use the flexibility the sales letter package allows.  Include graphic illustrations, colorful pictures, samples, brochures, swatches of fabric—anything that will encourage consumers to order by mail.

To eliminate fear of bad merchandise, offer money-back guarantees, examination periods, delayed payments, 30-day trials, gifts, or any legitimate compensation.  A shirt company, for instance, notes in its sales letter: “What’s more, there’s NO OBLIGATION for you to keep the shirts.  If you’re not completely satisfied after wearing them for a week, send them back and owe nothing.  No questions asked.”

An Introduction: Direct Mail and E-Mail Marketing Using Translation Services

Direct mail marketing uses the mail to sell goods or services through e-mail, letters, catalogs, brochures, pamphlets, postcards or any printed material sent by mail to attract consumers.

Direct mail selling is a multibillion-dollar enterprise.  According to the Direct Mail/Marketing Association, in 1982 direct mail selling accounted for $40 billion in sales, or 4-percent of all retail sales.  Companies such as L.L. Bean, Neiman-Marcus, Land’s End, and Hammacher Schlemmer do the majority of their business through catalog sales and internet.  Sears, Roebuck and Company began its $18 billion yearly retail business by mailing its popular catalog to rural populations.  Sear’s catalogs were successful because they targeted a specific market (i.e., rural) that had no easy access to large stores.

According to Tampa Translation Services, direct mail and e-mail selling has increased dramatically because of its convenience and ability to reach non-English speaking markets at affordable rates.  Not only do consumers have the convenience of at-home comparison shopping, but they can also buy specialty items not found locally, in their local language—anything from bulletproof vests to buffalo steaks.

This week, we will be focusing on one form of direct mail selling: sales letters and e-mails.

Persuasive Forms Of Communication In Professional Translation

Over the past two weeks, we have covered a variety of different types of communications for non-English speaking readers.  The goal of persuasive communication is to persuade someone to take some desired action.  The four types of persuasive messages that frequently require language translation include and were covered in in our last several blog posts are: (1) requests for favors, (2) requests for adjustments, (3) requests for payments, and (4) requests for permission.

Dallas Translation workers recommend that with the exception of the urgency and ultimatum stages of the collection series use the indirect format for persuasive messages.  By delaying your requests until you have explained your purpose and your reasons, you stand a better chance of convincing your audience that your request is reasonable and workable.  The format follows this organizational pattern: (1) Get the reader’s attention, (2) create interest in the purpose of your request, (3) offer convincing proof that your request is worthwhile, and (4) persuade the reader to act favorably on your request.

You increase your chances of success when you can point out the specific benefits gained by acting upon your request.  Keep in mind, though, that you must present benefits tactfully and sincerely.  Few people are persuaded by heavy-handed techniques.  Also, never make proposed benefits sound like bribes.

International Requests For Permission To Implement New Ideas

When requesting permission to implement an idea that will impact your firm on an international basis, you may be dealing with internal communications across various language that move upward through your company’s chain of command instead of downward to subordinates.  When requesting permission, you might need the use of a translator and you will certainly need to use your persuasive skills to convince superiors that your idea is worthwhile.

Permission Format

Unless your company policy dictates otherwise, The Marketing Analysts Translation Company recommends the indirect format for your requests (1) get the reader’s attention, (2) create interest in the purpose of your request, (3) offer proof that your request is worthwhile, and (4) persuade the reader to act.  Because the memorandum is the most common form of internal communication, in this article we’ll use memos for illustration.

Direct and Indirect Benefits

Many Legal Translation Services in Los Angeles stress that persuasion works best when you can point out specific benefits.  Too often, people requesting permission to implement an idea ignore the benefits because they seem self-evident.  This myopia usually leads to rejection.

A very good idea, according to a San Jose French translator is to cite studies showing that companies who have used this program have increased sales by an average of 14 percent.  Increased profit is an obvious benefit.  Also, a sales force that speaks well enhances the company’s image (another benefit).  Also, since clear writing and speaking are directly related to clear thinking, you can also point out the benefits of having a sales force of clear thinkers.  The more benefits you identify, the better your chances that your idea will win approval.

Audience Resistance to Change

Despite an idea’s merit, people often resist it.  By knowing why people resist new ideas, you can plan counter arguments in advance.  The common causes of resistance include the following:

  1. Implied threats to security.  People feel more secure with their families, be it a way of processing documents or brewing coffees.  Show them that the change will not threaten their security
  2. Implied threats to status.  New ideas can threaten some people.  Some will resist an idea out of jealousy, simply because the idea is not theirs.  Others resist because the fear encroachment.  For instance, as marketing manager, your role is limited to promotion and selling.  Because marketing is central to the firm’s success, you propose working more closely with product development, engineering, manufacturing and customer financing.  Although you point out the benefits to the firm, other department managers might oppose the plan—not because it lacks merit, but because you might assume some of the authority.  By knowing that people react in such a way, you can address this form of objection in your memo or proposal.

Credit Investigations of International Clients

The extent to which you investigate each international customer’s credit will vary with each case.  San Francisco Translation services companies remind all readers that to consider the following:

  1. The size of the order and the potential for future orders.
  2. The length of time the customer has been in business.
  3. The status of the present account.
  4. Relationship of the order to the local credit exposure of the customer.
  5. Whether the credit risk falls with the firm’s credit policy, and
  6. If it is special order, whether a deposit should be required or if the order should be COD.

You will base your credit investigation primarily on experience with the customer, both yours and the experience of other suppliers as well.   Your own customer ledger file is the first place to look.  This will give you payment history, high credit and frequency of purchase.

Hiring Translation Companies For Telephone Collections

Hiring a translation agency to call your non-English speaking clients for reasons of collection has certain advantages over writing letters.  The following are four advantages that Baltimore Translation Services professionals have found:

  1. You can be sure you’ve reached the debtor.
  2. You can hear an immediate explanation for the non-payment.
  3. You can convey more information in a conversation can clear up misunderstandings immediately and suggest specific solutions for payment.
  4. Studies show that people with legitimate complaints of overdue debts have a better chance of succeeding in a phone conversation than by other means.
  5. Phoning is a safer and cheaper than writing letters.  This is especially true in the later stages of collection when letters are individualized and long explanations are needed.

The Disadvantages of Making Calls

Telephone collections have certain disadvantages, too.  According to The Marketing Analysts Translations Company, the major disadvantage is that many translation companies don’t offer this type of service.    Although you should always keep a record of calls and points of agreement, such promises or agreements arranged by phone are more difficult to prove in court.  Letters, on the other hand, are permanent records and often serve as legal documents.

Some cultures consider phone calls from strangers an invasion of privacy and react belligerently—especially to bill collectors.  You therefore risk losing goodwill and any chance of payment.  Also, no matter how much you prepare before calling (and you always should), and no matter how courteous you are, you have less control than a letter.

When using translation agencies for telephone for collection, prepare carefully.  (1) Study the person’s credit history (at times, this will help you decide whether to write or call), and gather all the facts about the delinquency.  (2) Determine the purpose of your call (ie. Reminder, inquiry, urgency, ultimatum).  (2) Jot down what you wish to convey and ask, including alternative payment plans.  In addition, follow the guidelines for collection letters.