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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Writing effective letters, Part 1

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How do you know you’ve written an effective letter? In marketing, the answer lies in the number of responses the letter evokes. The purpose of this article is to show you, step-by-step, suggestions for writing effective letters – letters that generate responses.

So, how can you capture your reader’s attention?

Start with the envelope. The more you personalization you include on your envelopes, the more like your readers will be to open them. Here are some tips for capturing your reader’s attention with your envelopes:

  • Handwrite the “to” and “from” lines or use a handwriting font.
  • Use a color other than black on the “to” and “from” lines, like a blue pen for example.
  • Try different envelope styles, such as different colors and sizes. For example, everyone likes to open invitations and/or cards for special occasions. Try using a greeting card or invitation envelope versus a standard #10 business envelope to increase the likelihood that your envelope will be opened by the recipient.
  • Apply a regular postage stamp whenever possible.
  • Print a teaser on the front of your envelope to arouse curiosity, such as “Do not bend.”

Map out your letter content before you write the first draft. The recipient of your letter will only spend a couple of seconds (or less) deciding whether he or she will open your envelope. Once the envelope is open, your job is to keep them reading from start to finish! So, before you write your first draft, follow these suggestions to keep your reader on the same page:

  • Determine your letter’s main goal and stick to it throughout your message.
  • Remember one of the most important words in marketing: YOU. Focus on your audience and their needs.
  • Know every detail about the product and/or services you’re offering. If you’re confident and prepared, it will shine through your message.
  • Be aware of timing. Avoid high mail volume times to ensure your message doesn’t get lost. For instance, one agent sends “Thanksgiving” cards instead of holiday cards to make sure that her clients don’t miss her message. This is a great “timing” idea.
  • Decide an appropriate letter length. Short is not necessarily better. Choose a letter length that fits your message. Sometimes a longer letter will get a better response.

In Part Two, we will look closer at writing and editing the actual letter, including using the AIDA formula (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) to tailor your message, capture the reader’s attention and motivate him or her to respond.

For additional marketing tips from Amy Kennel, visit