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.”