There's a large furniture store in San Francisco where I've bought office furniture, now and again, over the years.
Because I'm on their mailing list, I recently received a letter informing me that they are "proud to be moving to a larger, better San Francisco location."
They go on to say:
"You'll find well-lit showrooms, plenty of free parking, street level pick-up of our many in-stock items, and of course, the same timeless style, quality crafting and customer service you expect from us. Where is our new San Francisco location?"
I expected them to answer their own question and tell me the store's new address.
No way. Amazingly, they refused to do so. Instead they told me that I should enter a contest to "guess the location of our new showroom."
That's correct. Nowhere in the letter do they tell you where they're moving! Instead, you're invited to stop into their old store, or visit their Web site where you can analyze six clues and guess the new store's location and perhaps win a prize.
Wouldn't it have been just a tiny bit better to have said:
"Where is our new San Francisco location? It's conveniently located at 425 Market Street. (Please see the enclosed map for your convenience.) Our new store opens with a gala celebration at 10:00 a.m. on November 1 and we cordially invite you to stop by and say hello. We'll have fabulous new showrooms for you to explore, great deals, valuable door prizes, coffee, snacks, and a whole lot more."
The important point is to be sure that you are not burying important facts in your own letters or email the way the furniture store did. If you have an offer or an announcement to make, put it where the reader can see it immediately! For example:
1. Splash the offer on the envelope.
Why make people open the envelope to find out what the offer is? Put the message where the reader can see it. Right up front. (The furniture store I mentioned above might have been better served by using a post card instead of a letter. A post card is perfect for simple announcements like a new store opening.)
2. Put the offer at the top of your letter in a "Johnson box."
Highlight the offer in a centered rectangular box placed at the very top of the letter above the salutation. Your offer will get noticed for sure!
3. Include the offer early in the letter.
Don't wait until the end of the letter to make your offer. Get right to the point quickly. You may only have few seconds to get your main points across before your letter hits the waste paper basket.
4. Restate the offer in the postscript - the "P.S."
Postscripts get very high readership. Which means it's the perfect place to issue a final call to action. In the P.S. you can stress that there's no obligation, there's nothing to lose, this is a limited-time offer, whatever.
5. Feature the offer in your flyer/booklet/brochure.
Just because you make the offer in your letter doesn't mean you shouldn't restate it in the flyer. You can't be certain which piece will be read first no matter how everything is nested and comes out of the envelope.
The take-away message this month? Your readers don't have time for fun and games. They want you to get to the point and tell them how you can solve their problems. Remember this and watch the cash register ring!
Let me get the cash register ringing for you. Do you need me to write a motivating email, sales letter, home page, landing page, you name it? Give me a call at (415) 461-0672 and let's talk.
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