Common Sales Letter Mistakes To Avoid

Posted by in Internet Marketing

Sales Letter MistakesAn online sales letter is supposed to function as a virtual salesperson. It should compel a visitor to read it, believe the information it contains on how this product or service will enhance their life, and then act.

Without these features, your sales letter could be merely taking up space online rather than being the work horse it should be. Take a look at common Sales Letter Mistakes that could hinder your success:

Sales Letter Mistake 1. Not Targeting The Market

Is your sales letter aimed at a very broad demographic, or is it targeting actual prospects? The text you use and the evidence you include to tell readers how your product or service will benefit them should distinctly speak to your target market.

For instance, if you sell football gear for young players, then a large part of your target market will be the mums who buy it. Instead of using copy that appeals to youngsters, you need to write text that draws in their mums – two very different styles. A mother is more concerned with her child’s safety than she is in how “hip” the products are considered.

Sales Letter Mistake 2. Making The Letter Too Short

You may be surprised to learn that long sales letters are generally more effective than short ones. Of course the caveat is that the text must be interesting in order to compel a prospective customer to read all the way to the end.

Refrain from using filler text just to make the letter lengthier, this is one of the more common Sales Letter Mistakes made by many. Instead, put yourself in the customer’s shoes and determine what type of information they would seek before making a purchase. Capture their attention and keep it. Answer all their questions and overcome any possible buyer resistance.

There is no real definition for how long is too long, but less than a page is certainly too short. Sales letters are often over 1,000 words and are sometimes over 5,000!

Sales Letter Mistake 3. Not Including Customer Testimonials

What is the best way to make readers take action after reading the sales letter? Arguably it is including customer testimonials from people just like your prospective customer that extol the virtues of your product or service. Unsolicited testimony means far more to your target market than unsubstantiated claims made by the manufacturer.

You might also want to consider including a case study showing exactly how your offering helped someone make a real difference in his or her life. This aids the prospect in determining how it could do the same for them, and discern its real value.

Sales Letter Mistake 4. No Call To Action

Even if you incorporate all of the above suggestions, your sales letter is not an effective marketing tool unless you include a specific call to action. You do not want to leave the prospect wondering “So what?” after reading through to the end of the letter. Instead, you want to compel them to take action, whether it is a request for further information or personal contact or an active link directed to a buy page.

Once you’ve got a prospect hooked don’t let them get away without taking action – even if that action is to subscribe to receiving future communication from you. Work really hard to convert the browser into a buyer!

Bear in mind that a sales letter is an effective marketing tool, but only if it is properly designed to do a good job. By erasing the above Sales Letter Mistakes, you can make your sales letter interesting, informative, and compelling in order to turn it into your virtual salesperson.

About Sean Rasmussen

Sean Rasmussen is a full time Aussie internet marketer and blogger since 2005. When he's not blogging, he's playing with his kids.


  1. Hi Sean,

    Thanks for the list of sales letter mistakes to avoid. I haven’t had the need to write a sales letter just yet but I think I’m going to need one soon. So, it will really help to be able to double-check my letter against this list.

    Realistically, this is a job I will probably outsource as I don’t think sales is a strength of mine. But, I still need to know what to ask for when I get someone to write it for me.
    .-= Jazz Salinger´s last blog ..Learn and Earn – It’s a Marathon Not a Sprint =-.

  2. Hi Sean

    It is very good to know how you can wreck a sale by the mistakes listed in your article. I know that when I receive a sales letter that goes on and on before it gets to the point I just discard it.

    Writing copy for sales is definitely is an art form and a skill to be learned. I would either get a professional template to use that I can customise or outsource it.

    One of my plans for the next 12 months is to sign up for a good copy writing course, and taking into consideration what you have just taught me, it will really help me in the future as my business expands.

    .-= Elly´s last blog .. =-.

  3. I definately am surprised to hear that the long sales letters are more effective then shorter ones. I personally scroll to the bottom after I have read the bit up the top to look at the price and if I don’t like it I click off the page. That is a good hint about targeting the buyer.
    .-= Jackie Stenhouse´s last blog ..Anxiety Separation in Children =-.