In a recent Sunday issue of the New York Times, I came upon a 12-page insert promoting The Economist, a wonderful magazine that I've enjoyed for years.
The production values of The Economist's slick piece, designed to attract new subscribers, were absolutely first rate. The insert featured four-color printing, attractive art direction, a terrific "free trial" offer, etc.
There was one big problem, however. The two-page pitch letter that was part of the mailer sounded as if it was written by a non-native speaker. I wish someone could explain to me how a letter like this ever sees the light of day.
Here . . . read the first two paragraphs of the letter yourself and see what you think of it:
There is no doubt that The Economist is enjoying an
unprecedented dynamism in the latter half of its second
century. Its unlikely name is bandied about and bragged
upon in the highest places. Our essentiality has arrived.
The interdependency of the world has been brought home all
too clearly. The case for global intelligence has been made.
The Economist provides it in a unique and refreshing way.
Thus, our reputation . . . . . . . .
See what I mean? Instead of trying to appear so darned erudite, (and winding up sounding pompous and muddled), the writer of the letter should have stuck to basics.
How should the writer have begun the letter? More importantly, how should you begin your next sales letter?
My advice to all non-professional copywriters is to come out swinging. Right from the start, grab the reader's attention.
Let me show you how much better the Economist letter would have been had the writer skipped the fluff. I discovered that elsewhere in the copy the writer buried some amazing testimonials. I started putting them to work right from the get-go . . .
Bill Gates, the Chairman of Microsoft, recently said, "The
magazine I spend most of my days reading is The Economist."
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, said, "I used to think. Now I just read
If you want to see for yourself why The Economist has such
incredibly enthusiastic (and successful) readers, here's a
no-risk FREE offer not to be missed . . .
Return the postage-paid "Free Trial Acceptance Card" and
I'll make sure you get four free issues of The Economist at
no cost and with no obligation to continue.
All I ask is that you be the judge and decide . . . . . . . .
You get the picture. When you're starting a letter, don't get to the point slowly. Get the reader's attention immediately, then move on to the offer quickly. You won't go too far wrong.
If you want me to write a sales letter, web landing page, email, or anything else for you, give me a call. If you want results, like the kind I've delivered for countless clients over thirty-five years, I warmly invite you to get in touch right now at (415) 461-0672 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org