For centuries the written word has captured the attention of millions with its ability to transport a reader to another time or location, change their mood and even influence their behaviour. You may be wondering what exactly this has to do with marketing and the short answer would be a lot.

Okay so not everyone is going to be in the holiday business trying to flog far flung destinations, but we are all in the business of influencing customers’ behaviour and perhaps even having to change their mood to that of desire whether we realise it or not. And believe it or not, when it comes to building trust and making a sale the written word can be just as powerful as a doe eyed salesperson with impeccable manners and a polished pitch.

The format of selling through words is very similar to that of face to face selling, you can still convey tone, expression and feeling although it’s perhaps a little more difficult with paper and pen. But the real beauty of writing to your customers is that you have the opportunity to determine where the ‘conversation’ is going and thus steer the customer towards what you really want them to know.

Perhaps one of the main differences between writing to and talking to your customers is that as soon as finger hits keyboard almost all opportunity to stray off the beaten path by adapting your ‘spiel’ to their actions and reactions is gone. If you translate even the least tentative of sales conversations into words chances are it would be rather long and a customer does not want to spend all morning reading mail, let alone one single letter so therefore you must be clear and concise. This however is a blessing in disguise. It means that you need to focus on the benefits of the product you’re selling – in other words, your letter or communication will be simply filled with ways in which your product will make life easier, better, more enjoyable etc. etc. for your customer.

Besides creating the feeling of desire by showing how beneficial your product is, writing a letter also offers the benefit of something tangible the customer can refer to over and over again thus reinforcing your message each time they read it.

Another benefit of writing to your customers comes in the form of understanding. What I mean is that in order to have their contact details you must have obtained some information from and about them which should give you an insight into their demographic. This information may be the avenue by which they came to you or even their purchase history and frequency, but whatever it is it will allow you to begin to speak to them in their own ‘language’. Every little helps when it comes to tailoring your letters and a gift horse shouldn’t be looked in the mouth.

And last but by no means least, something that is stated all too often but rarely heeded…you must write to your customer and not at them. No one likes to be told what they will and won’t do, can or can’t, so please, when writing to your customers, remember the proverb do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

And as that cheery note concludes today’s blog all that is left to tell you is that next week the topic in the hot seat shall be spring cleaning – more precisely, spring cleaning your marketing activities. See you then.

How the written word can be just as persuasive as a meeting

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