Sales letter layout and design is almost as important as the actual word content of the letter. A poorly designed letter reflects badly on the product being offered, and causes the reader to lose confidence in the company offering the product. If the letter looks unprofessional, the reader assumes the company sending it is unprofessional.
A lot goes into getting the right look to your sales letter. Here are some tips and techniques that can help you get the look that increases sales.
- Start by looking at other successful sales letters. Examine each element closely: the envelope, the method of addressing, the return address, the paper quality of the letter, the number of pages, the font size, margins... everything! It’s all important, and each element makes a difference.
- Don’t be cheap. When it comes to envelopes and paper, use a better quality than your competitors; it makes you look more successful.
- Use readable fonts and font sizes. Depending on your intended audience, use either an 11 or 12 point font size. Smaller fonts are more difficult to read and discourage readers.
- If you typeset your letter yourself, use a professional publishing program such as PageMaker, Quark, or Ventura. These give better results than word processors.
- To get the most professional look, make sure your leading (line spacing) and kerning (letter spacing) is right for the font you are using. Most top end publishing programs handle this automatically.
- Serif or sans serif? Tests show that the response is better in sales pieces when serif fonts like Times Roman or Century Schoolbook are used.
- The magic of a typewritten letter... a letter that appears to have been typed seems more urgent.
- When writing a personalized computer letter, personalize it no more than you would a letter you were typing by hand.
- For a two-page computer letter, use two separate sheets of paper. Don’t print on the back of a single page. This cheapens the offer, and reflects poorly on the product.
- Don’t use non-standard fonts. Customers expect a certain level of professionalism in your letter. Don’t let them down by specifying an unusual font or font size.
- Use page numbers on all pages except page 1. Page numbers add a professional touch, and make it easy for your printer to get the page order correct when printing.
- At the bottom of each page include the phrase, “please go to next page.” This encourages readers to keep reading.
- Use a logo, especially on your order form. Even the simplest logo gives your written materials a professional look. it’ll also be easier for the reader to recognize your letter or package when it arrives.
- If you underline... be very sparing. Too much underlining makes the letter hard to read and cheapens the product.
- To make an important sentence stand out, make it the only sentence in the paragraph between two longer paragraphs.
- White space... try to have more at the top of the letter than the bottom. Go for lots of short paragraphs and wide margins to make the letter more attractive.
- Stretch it to the next page. When you get to the bottom of a page, stretch the copy to the next page, leaving a lot of white space on the ending page.
- To indent or not to indent... most sales letters are indented and experts claim the results are better.
- Stick with the most legible color combination... black ink on white paper.
- Colors are a no-no... using colored paper in a sales letter creates a ‘carnival’ atmosphere, something that in most cases, you don’t want.
- Always sign a sales letter with a real person’s name. This continues the personalized feel. Much better than no signature, or a company name.
- Sign in blue ink... for greatest impact, have your letters signed in blue ink. This adds only minimal costs to printing, but adds greatly to the perception of a personal letter.
Source: 301 Direct Mail Tips, Techniques & Secrets