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How To Write A Compelling Marketing Letter That Actually Gets Read. Part 2

Aug 17, 2007
In my last article I gave you a template for hooking the reader's attention. It's important to reiterate that the purpose of the first sentence is simply to get the reader to read the second sentence.

Not surprisingly, the purpose of the second sentence is to get the reader to read the second paragraph. If we can get the reader to read the second paragraph then we have a good chance that they'll go down the entire slippery slope of readership and read the entire letter.

If the focus of the first sentence is to raise a potential problem that the reader may be facing, the goal of the second sentence is to expand on that problem. There are a couple of ways we can do this.

The first is to focus on the reasons why the problem occurs. In some instances the problem that you're communicating is well understood. It's been around for a long time and everyone acknowledges it's an issue. Thus simply stating that you too understand the problem, won't earn you much credibility in the eye of the reader.

What will enhance your credibility is briefly communicating why the problem exists. Now I realize that every company is unique, and it's impossible to communicate the exact reasons for why a problem exists with anything close to 100% accuracy. However, if you're marketing to a specific niche (which you should be) then there are going to be some common reasons that are shared across companies within a particular group.

By communicating the reasons for why the problem exists, you will demonstrate that your understanding of the issues are deep rather than superficial. An approach I use is the following:

Although the problem is well understood, the underlying issues are often not so readily apparent. For example in many cases we find that the key contributors to this problem include: (A, B, C)

When you create the three bullet points make sure you keep them short and concise. Remember that at this point in the relationship building process what we are tying to do is to raise enough interest so that the reader will do what we want them to do once they have finished reading the letter.

In other situations the challenge may be that the problem you raised in the opening sentence just isn't seen as "all that big a deal." If that's the situation, then the second sentence needs to focus on why this issue is important. The way I do that is by communicating what is likely to occur if the problem isn't addressed. The key at this stage is to strike the right balance. You want to raise real consequences of not addressing the problem, while not going overboard and sounding like Chicken Little.

I like to use a bullet point approach for listing the consequences. The bullet points can be set up with a simple statement such as; Unfortunately, the consequences of not addressing this issue can include...

If we've done our work correctly, at this point we've got our reader's attention. This is the point when we want to shift the focus of the content to What Do We Want To Reader To Do When They Finish Reading The Letter? This is where we make the reader a very compelling and specific offer, which is designed to move the relationship building process to the next step.

And that will be the topic of my next article.
About the Author
Mark Satterfield is the creator of the Gentle Rain Marketing System: How to Generate a Consistent Flow of New Clients. Quickly & Easily. With No Cold Calling. Find out more:
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