Is this the worst ever sales letter?

This week, I received the worst piece of direct mail I’ve seen in the last 16 months.

… and it was from a marketing company touting their services

Here’s the letter. I’ve replaced the name of the company with “XXXX” (the words in bold were in bold in their letter):

……………..

Welcome to the new XXXX marketing campaign. We have officially adopted Einstein and other wise men to provide us with great business ideas.

The XXXX team have had great success this year with a previous campaign. We ran the “Da Vinci” Marketing Code campaign and were inundated with enquiries and orders for our service.

The reason for our new theme is the result of our recent success! The XXX team were running low on TIME hence our new theme. So we have recruited a bigger team!

We can provide an outstanding service that will provide you and your team with more time to create new business opportunities.

So if you need anything from “PRINT TO POST” we are the expert team to give YOU the TIME to grow new business!!    

XXXX would love to provide you with TIME, so if we can help please take the time to:-

 

(followed by website, email, telephone, fax info)

…………………….

 

Now, here’s the letter again, with my comments inserted:

 

Welcome to the new XXXX marketing campaign.

 

“Welcome to your campaign”? I never asked to be part of your campaign yet you’re talking about it as though I’ve been granted membership to some exclusive club.”

 

We have officially adopted Einstein and other wise men to provide us with great business ideas.

 

“You’ve adopted Einstein? He’s been dead since 1955, so good luck with that. I guess this is meant to be ‘cute’ or ‘clever’, but it’s just silly.”

 

The XXXX team have had great success this year with a previous campaign.

 

“Well, ‘whoopee for you’”

 

We ran the “Da Vinci” Marketing Code campaign and were inundated with enquiries and orders for our service.

 

“Four sentences in and all you’ve done is talk about yourself. You’re doing really well and, for some reason, you want me, a complete stranger who’s never even heard about you to know all about it?” 

 

The reason for our new theme is the result of our recent success!

 

“I’m sooooo bored. In fact, so bored that I’ve noticed that this sentence doesn’t make sense. It should be either “Our new theme is the result of our recent success” or “Our recent success is the reason for our new theme”. Anyway …

 

The XXX team were running low on TIME hence our new theme. So we have recruited a bigger team!

 

“Listen pal, I’ve never asked for your life story. Get to the point – why are you writing to me and why should I (not the XXXX team) care?”

 

We can provide an outstanding service that will provide you and your team with more time to create new business opportunities.

 

“Talk is cheap. Prove it. Give me some details. Show me some evidence.”

 

So if you need anything from “PRINT TO POST” we are the expert team to give YOU the TIME to grow new business!!    

 

“Again, more claims. Again, no proof. What do you mean “print to post”? What is it that you actually do (other than go on about yourself to complete strangers)?”

 

XXXX would love to provide you with TIME, so if we can help please take the time to:-

“Again, what is it that you’re offering me?”

……………….

As you can see from my comments, I wasn’t greatly impressed by this letter.

A few years ago, a direct marketing expert called Mac Ross gave an excellent talk on copywriting. He said that, when a prospect receives a sales letter, he’s got these 4 questions: 

 

  1. Why are you bothering me?

  2. Why should I care?

  3. Why should I believe you?

  4. Why should I do this now?

(isn’t this what you’re thinking when you receive a letter from a company you don’t know?)

Part of your job, if you’re writing a letter to a prospect is to address these questions.

This is where the letter from XXXX failed miserably.

The first half of the letter didn’t even address the reader, far less his questions. It was all about XXXX and how self-satisfied they are (failing questions 1 and 2).

Then, when they finally, started talking to the reader, it was a lot of boasting and no substance or evidence (questions 2 and 3).

I hope that, if you find yourself having to write a sales letter for your business, you do a far better job than this XXXX marketing company.

At the very least, if you start with these 4 questions, you’ll be writing with the prospect in mind. And, if you show you care what the reader is thinking, he might actually care what you’re saying.

Steve Gibson 

Marketing Consultant, Edinburgh