Cover Letter Writing 101
You know sending something sent in the post can often have more effect than e-mailing it - especially if you have rather a lovely glossy brochure to share.
However, time after time I see companies putting a lot of time, effort and money into creating a sales brochure and then sending it with a cover letter which would have tripped them up at the first fence in terms of engaging a potential client.
I would hate this to happen to you so here's what you should be doing:
Firstly, work out the problems of your target market and make a note of your solutions to those specific problems.
Secondly look at your competitors and see what they are offering in order to differentiate yourself with a capital "D".
Yep, that's it. By doing these simple things you will be recognised as informed and empathetic and will help your potential customer decide to use you rather than anyone else. I am particularly fond of the phrase "unlike other companies we..." but NEVER directly criticise your competitors. That just makes you look mealy-mouthed.
I recently looked at someone's cover letter - unfortunately after they sent it out. Having done a detailed report into a particular sector they had identified the fact that they had three main advantages which would really benefit their potential clients:
- accessible pricing
- better calibre of personnel
- short time frames
Unfortunately the letter mentioned NONE of these things - which made it what I describe as "Marketing Wallpaper" i.e. making no impact and therefore instantly forgettable.
Instead they had taken the tack of talking about how excited they were to be working for a new sector and meekly wondered whether they could possibly help.
In other words they lacked confidence and it showed.
The other thing that's really key is to check that your cover letter follows the rules of AIDA:
- Attention - a great headline- does your headline stop them in their tracks and encourage them to read on?
- Interest - have you used the above technique to express the benefits of your business
- Desire - have you included an offer or incentive?
- Action - absolutely key - what would you like them to do now that they have read your letter? Quote a code online? Ring to place an order? Sign up for your regular newsletter? Follow you on social media? Expect a phone call?
If all this makes you feel like lying down in a dark corner please get in touch for some copywriting support :-)