1 Hook your reader

Let's put together a letter promoting a sale of garden furniture and barbecues at a garden centre. Some examples good and bad:

2 Paint a picture

Having hooked your reader with the headline, work hard on the first paragraph. This is where you will engage your reader and make him want to read more. Don't make it too long, short and punchy is better.

3 Time to tease

Now we have hooked the reader and engaged him, we need to tease him a little, make him want to come to the store. Let's work on the next paragraph:

4 Bullet point it

Bullet points are good to use to reiterate the points you have made and allow the casual skim reader to pick up the points you want.

5 Call to action

We have hooked and engaged the reader and reiterated the relevant points. We are now ready to summarise and provide a call to action.

6 Don't forget to PS

We need to sign off now and include a P.S. The P.S. is the second most read part of the direct mail letter after the heading, it is where you want to hammer home your message. We will also play around with the text formatting to really emphasise the key points.

7 Final review

You can make the final adjustments to your letter before requesting the letter to be sent to yourself. Please Note: The letter is not saved online. If you choose not to send the letter to your email address, any information you have used in the letter tutorial will be lost.

8 Start over

WARNING: You can restart from scratch, but all the text entered will be reset.
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Good Example

Good example

Mr John Smith
27 Good Street
Good town
Kent
ME22 1LL
One day special offer on all barbeques and garden furniture this Saturday
Dear Mr Smith,
Are you looking forward to lazy summer evenings lounging on a recliner with a glass of wine and delicious barbecue fragrantly cooking by your side? We have some great offers on barbecues and garden furniture at our store in Brickside this Saturday.
For example our best selling Kettle barbecue is reduced to just £49.99 saving £35 whilst our garden furniture is reduced by up to 25% for this Saturday only.
  • One day sale Saturday 29th May
  • Up to 25% off garden furniture
  • Major reductions on Barbeques
  • Great range
  • Free Parking
  • 5 mins from jct 3 M25
Our previous one day sales have always proved very popular if you are looking to upgrade your barbecue or garden furniture make sure you come to Brickside, 5 mins from junction 3 M25, we look forward to seeing you.
Yours sincerely,
Jackie Flowers
Garden Centre Manager
P.S. the one day sale is Saturday 29th May only, get here early to take advantage of our great bargains.
This headline is a short and precise example, with a time limit to create urgency with the reader.
This example paints a picture of what you can do with a barbecue and furniture as the old saying goes "you are buying the sizzle not the steak". The paragraph paints a picture and tells the reader what is on offer where and when
This paragraph teases slightly as it implies there are other bargains to have and creates urgency by saying Saturday only
We have reiterated the points and emphasised the key points plus added in some details on directions and parking.
A call to action tells the reader clearly what you want them to do or how to make a purchase. Surprisingly often this key step is overlooked.
Adding a P.S. Allows you to summarise the key points and is the most read part of a letter after the heading, although bear in mind that if the letter is a very formal approach it is not always appropriate.
Bad Example
Mr John Smith
27 Good Street
Good town
Kent
ME22 1LL
We are delighted to offer all our customers new and old some very special offers on our fantastic barbecues including our range of gas barbecues and garden furniture.
Dear Mr Smith,
Our range of gas powered and charcoal barbecues and garden furniture are on offer at our shop where you can see them displayed. We have kettle barbeques, Australian griddles and Hibachis and a range of tongs to go with the same and chairs.
Come and see us our happy trained staff will be glad to see you and show you round the barbeques and garden furniture where you can choose what you like and take them home with you.
We are easy to find just 5 mins from the M25 and you can park easily, we will have some great offers you really should come down and have a look.
Our barbecues and garden furniture are manufactured in the UK and carry a full 12 month guarantee, if you are not truly delighted simply return it, all part of the service.
Yours sincerely,
Jackie Flowers
Garden Centre Manager
This example is too long, using no punctuation, is not clear or grammatically correct. Good headings should be short and clear, go easy on alliteration and superlatives for example avoid: Sizzling special offers on our scintillating range of barbeques and garden furniture, one day spectacular sale.
The sentence structure and wording is clumsy and not easy to read, plus it just lists what there is rather than what you can do with it
This paragraph has a message but is clumsily put together and is very ambiguous, are you taking the staff or the furniture home
This does not use bullet points, whilst it is providing similar information it is not as clear.
Good points but the letter should be summarising now rather than selling more benefits.
There is no call for action at the end and more products are introduced which confuses things. There is no formatting of the text, which misses a major opportunity. You can see from the finished articles there is a major difference between the styles, one is punchy, clear and uses a whole range of tricks used by professional copywriters everyday. The other is woolly, poorly composed and unfortunately is the sort of thing many companies end out on a regular basis. If you want some serious response, get serious about your direct mail letters.
Try Writing Your Own
Mr John Smith
27 Good Street
Good town
Kent
ME22 1LL

Type Here.