Get my immediate attention? You betcha!
Even though I didn’t recognize the sender’s name and address, it must be personal, I thought. It had a first class stamp that was hand applied. Naturally, I opened it right away. (So 10 points for the outside envelope: hand addressing an envelope is a surefire way to get your letter opened.)
Inside was a one-page, pre-printed letter on very nice stationery. There was no loud brand ID anywhere, just the company name and address preprinted in petite type across the bottom. A logo would’ve been nice. What struck me as odd was that there was no date on the letter.
I started reading it, and the first sentence gave it away: this was no personal letter, just a canned sales letter.
The thrill was gone.
I must’ve received it because I signed up for something on the web site (maybe a newsletter?) or merely visited the site. Frankly, I think it’s a smart follow up. But since it didn’t refer to anything specific, I can’t say for sure what prompted the writer to contact me.
You have to be really careful when sending a canned sales letter. It can backfire and do you harm. This letter claimed to help business owners like me take my print shop online.
It goes on to say that the sender has taken a look at my business and that she knows how hard printers work.
Again, I am not a printer.
In the end, it was a wasted letter. It would’ve been cheaper for them to send me an email. I wonder how many of these letters went out?
It wasn’t offensive and barely four paragraphs long. But I’m not a candidate for this company’s software solution. However: I do BLOG about this type of software for my own posts and for clients. If the writer had looked at my site, she’d have surmised this.
This is the message she should have sent to me:
I realize you’re not a printer, and therefore not in the market for our software. But I’ve looked at your site and see how much writing you do (great work!) for printers and their customers. I’m guessing you know a lot about the type of software we produce.
Are you familiar with our product? It’s a crowded space, I grant you, but our software is particularly valuable to small-to-medium print shops. I believe that if you knew more about it, it’d make for an interesting blog post.
Please have a look at our web site at (inserted URL here), especially the section on Software Solutions, and you’ll find a lot of great information about our products.
Would you be interested in a 10-minute call from me, so I can tell you how this is different from other similar products? Alternatively, I can send you a link to a 3-minute video that gives a great product demo. I’m happy to do whichever is more convenient for you.
Thanks for your time, Margie, and for considering speaking with me. I’ll call in mid-September to follow up.
In the past I’ve written a lot about the importance of doing your research before ever contacting a prospect. Failure to do so is ridiculous. It could be a wasted effort if sent to someone with no need for your services whatsoever.
BTW, I do prefer a letter or a note card to a call or an email in these B2B prospecting situations. But my expectations are very high for relevancy and content quality.
So what 3 things would have improved this particular letter?
- A date
- Improved brand ID
Canned sales letters need to be banned – or at least reviewed and tweaked. If it’s worth your time to send a letter through the mail, it’s worth doing it well.
© 2014 Margie Dana.