Do “Snail Mail” Sales Letters Still Work?

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During a workshop recently, a participant asked me if an old-fashioned snail mail sales letter still works for generating leads.

I answered the question with a question. “How many here found out about me as a result of a letter I sent them?”

Out of a group of 31, three raised their hands.

That might not sound very impressive to you. In fact, that example might confirm your suspicion that a direct mail letter is a dinosaur of a marketing tactic that doesn’t fit in today’s online world.

Not so fast.

You see, in addition to those three who came to my workshop by way of a sales letter, I have two private consulting clients who found out about me that same way.

Sales letters can be an effective lead-generator —
if you use them correctly.

I use sales letters regularly in my own business, And I write them for my private clients as well.

Here are just some of the things I’ve learned over the years about crafting a winner:

  • A highly targeted list filled with ideal prospects works best. In fact, I wouldn’t bother with any other kind.
  • A two-page letter tends to work best. (Yes, I know that flies in the face of current “no one reads more than a page” wisdom. But for me and my (mostly B2B) clients, the two-pager is often the winner.
  • The more a letter looks and reads like an actual letter – and not a polished marketing piece – the better it works. No surprise there.
  • Lumpy letters (with something inside, like a stylus pen) get opened more often. However, the freebie or gimmick often gets all the attention and the prospect never reads the letter! I prefer to focus instead on writing a great sales letter and having it stand on its own merits.
  • Don’t restrict the prospect to replying via a website landing page. Also provide the option to call or email. Phone and email responses typically come from higher-quality prospects.

Of course there are many other tips and tricks for creating a print sales letter that brings in the business. Those are just a few.

So if you’re not currently using a persuasive, inviting letter to call on prospects, consider it. You might discover it works well for you, at least as a supplement to your other sources of leads.

© 2013 by Steve Slaunwhite. All rights reserved. Steve Slaunwhite came to appreciate the value of great marketing when, at age 16, he wrote a sales letter for his dad’s business that doubled sales. These days, as a marketing strategist, he helps entrepreneurs grow their businesses via his consulting and copywriting services. Steve is the author of several books including The Everything Guide To Writing Copy and 101 Writing Tips For Successful Email Marketing. Visit to download his free Copywriting Workbook.

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