Everybody Writes: Always Know Your Audience

Posted on by in Reading Between the Lines

“Start with Dear Mom…”

Everybody Writes by Ann Handley, page 54

If I told you to write a sales letter, you would have every right to look at me as if you were a “deer in headlights.”  What does that mean… “write a letter?”

If you are good at taking instructions, you might get as far as finding a clean piece of paper after hunting down a pen.

Once you are in position, poised for action and with pen in hand, you are now ready… to do what?  You just sit there because you still are not sure of the assignment. Who are you writing to?  Why are you writing in the first place?

Click on the book to grab your own copy of "Everybody Writes"

Click on the book to grab your own copy of “Everybody Writes”

By its very nature, a letter is designed to be written to another person. The key word here is “person.” And in all likelihood this person has needs, wants, aspirations, fears, and a shortage of time to be wasted. (These are all important facts to keep in mind once you start writing.)

And by the way, why am I writing to this person? That too is an important question if you do not want to waste your time… and theirs.

Our mistake comes when we jump into action before defining the objective for our actions. Here is how we make this letter-writing thing easy:

If I told you to write a letter to your mother you would now know exactly how to open your letter: “Dear Mom,”

But you need to know more. “Why” are you writing to your mother? Let’s see; You are writing to ask her if she would send her favorite apple pie recipe to you. Perfect. Now you know to whom and why you are writing. The rest is easy. You know what words to write and what questions, if any, to ask. The task becomes elementary.

To write an effective sales letter you also must have answers to these two questions. Who and why are you writing.

If it is to the sales manager, get his/her name. This might require a little work, but is very doable. If you are asking for time to present your new service product, you now have a firm plan of attack from which to proceed.

Be sure to include a PS (post script). At the end of your letter, be sure to you say something of importance. This section of your letter will be read, I can promise you that. Wasting this space is a missed opportunity to connect with your audience. Give some focused thought on what you put in your PS.

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