The adage for advertising rings true: if you want to reel ‘em in, you need to have a good hook.
This ties directly into the the copywriter’s AIDA formula – Attention, Interest, Desire & Action.
You must create attention first. It’s like the flow of life: first you stumble, then you walk, then run. You can not do this in reverse order. It follows a natural path.
In fact, think of dating. When you meet and get drawn in to the other sex, you don’t ask to get married in the first minute. You build a relationship, get to know each other first, build trust and over time – love and affection.
Oftentimes, the hook to create the attention and subsequent steps can be in the form of a business, or sales letter.
Letter-writing skills are essential in the field of business – you need to appear and sound organized, competent, and persuasive.
The below should help you, and to think of business letter writing as a process, a step-by-step formula. And don’t worry – Even the pros use proven “templates” to create business and sales letters that get results.
Every person has some form of buying resistance. The objective of your sales letter should be to overcome your reader’s buying resistance while persuading them to take action. – David Frey, MarketingBestPractices.com
For your easy reference, I’ve collected these six parts of a sample business letter format for your perusal.
Try your best to use this information for good, and not evil. These are basic business letter writing skills you need.
1. The heading.
Contains the return address (usually on two or three lines with a return break after the street address and state/province) and the date of the letter after. Add a phone number, fax, or email if desired/necessary. A header is obviously not needed if you are using stationary with this information already printed on it. Return break after the heading. Microsoft Word has some nice business templates you can model after.
2. Inside address.
This is the address you’re sending the letter to. Make it complete – use names and titles if you know them. This is always on the left margin. Use a return break after the inside address.
Typically beings with “Dear ______” if you know the person’s name, and normally comes attached with a title like “Mr.” “Mrs.” “Dr.” etc. If you don’t know the sex of the person to whom you’re writing, or you don’t know their name at all, “To Whom It May Concern” is acceptable, but always use names if you can. Use a semicolon, NOT a comma after the salutation, it’s more formal. Return break twice after the salutation.
4. Body of the letter.
Say what you have to say. Keep it single-spaced, but return break twice after each paragraph. Make it clear and easy to read.
Best to stick with something formal, like “Sincerely.” Use a comma, return break four times after.
6. Signature line.
Write your name how you would prefer to be addressed – if you have a gender-neutral name (example: Terry) you might want to add a title indicating your sex. Sign between the closing and the signature line – use blue or black ink. If the letter is electronic, there is no need to sign.
When was the last time you used a business letter writing formula like the above?
I hope you enjoyed these business letter writing tips.
Related articles to business letter formats
- Business Letter Techniques (thinkup.waldenu.edu)
- Business Letter Format (socyberty.com)
- How To Write A Formal Business Letter (mademan.com)