Writing Sales Letters: Greetings and salutations — or not?
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Greetings are important — they often make or break a relationship, right?
I remember when I was a kid. I wasn’t outgoing and confident the way I am now – I was outgoing and insecure.
Which meant, I had big balls but I didn’t know what to do with them. I remember agonizing over how to approach women, for instance. What to say to them… how to start the conversation… and so on.
Do I go, “Hi, I’m Craig.” Or, “Hi, what’s your name?” Or, “Hello.”
I remember spending a crazy amount of time on things like this. It’s funny when you look back and see what you wasted time on, isn’t it?
How things you think are important today, really aren’t important at all.
Anyway, that’s life, right?
But one thing a lot of people often ask me about, is how to open up, or start your sales pieces. This is very important, if you like success.
Specifically, they ask about the best ways of greeting your buyers.
And here’s what I’ve found.
First, the more personal the media, the more this issue matters. The less personal, and the less effort involved in the communication, the less this issue matters.
Here’s what I mean by this: About 6 months ago, we stopped using first names in e-mails.
This has had ZERO impact on our sales and on our relationship with our buyers, prospects, and so on.
I believe that’s because e-mail communication is basically an “easy” media to use, and since most people do it so poorly… people really don’t care about the way they are or are not greeted.
The media itself just isn’t regarded very highly.
If you provide quality content – that’s what your readers are concerned about. Their primary concern is this, “Is the value of their time, worth what you have to say.”
That’s it, period.
Now offline communication is a little different.
Your readers have to put a lot more effort into reading an offline sales letter, and so how you greet them is somewhat more important.
I’d be lying if I told you I’ve personally done a mailer large enough to split-test the results of first-name versus not using first name, so I can’t comment on this.
However, I’ve done many mailers that performed extremely well, using first names, AND using “Dear Friend.”
But one thing you should never do is say things like, Dear Resident of 123 Elm Street. And also, always make sure the spelling of your reader’s first name is correct.
Spelling someone’s name wrong is like saying their name wrong, and no one wants to hear or respond to this.
That’s as impersonal as a kick in the groin. NO ONE is going to read that, and if they do, it’s not going to be given very much attention or respect, at all.
In fact, I remember one Christmas, many many years ago…
My ex-wife’s mother gave me a mug for Christmas that said “Greg” on it.
I should have run, right there and then, right?
But apparently… I wasn’t as “enlightened” as I am today.
Now go sell something, Craig Garber
P.S. “Well done, Craig! It’s an amazing book: thank you so much – that last chapter alone, on what a sales letter must have, is worth so much. All the best” Stephen Byrne Williams & Byrne Designers, Painters and Restorers of Glass Studio – Shropshire United Kingdom
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