By Guest Author Diane Autey of Projects Done Write
Ã¢â‚¬Å“Stay in touchÃ¢â‚¬Â is advice we often hear when our business is dependent upon relationship-building. It makes sense. As a marketing and business writer, I developed a Stay in Touch Program to keep in front of my clients and prospects on a regular basis. The first mailing was a letter introducing the program. Subsequent mailings are postcards or letters sharing a newsy update or helpful tip from my industry. Here is the latest postcard I will be mailing to my contacts:
5 Steps to Powerful Business Letters
You need to write a business letter so you sit down at the computer andÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ ya got nothinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. You stare at the screen, not certain how to start. Save this card and take it out the next time you get stuck.
Step 1. Start by asking yourself the following questions (Hint: type the answers in your document. It will get you started writing the letter):
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Who am I writing to?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ What do I want the person to do?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ What is the purpose of the letter?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Why should the recipient care?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ What will the topic of my letter do for the recipient?
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ Can I offer the recipient an incentive?
Step 2. Now youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re ready to write. Go over your answers and pick the most interesting, compelling information. Open your letter with that. Be sure to include enough information in the opening paragraph to pique interest, help the recipients understand why they are receiving the letter, and give them a reason to read on.
Step 3. The next few paragraphs build on the introduction. Give the recipients background information and additional reasons to act. Look for ways you can break up the information in bullet points or use emphasis such as italics or bold to highlight key information. Keep the reader engaged throughout the letter.
Step 4. Pay closest attention to the first and last paragraphs of the letter, since people remember the first and last thing that they hear or read the most. Refer back to the questions you answered before you began to write Ã¢â‚¬â€œ what is the purpose of the letter and why should the recipient care? Refer to these reasons in your closing paragraph and tell the recipients what you want them to do.
Step 5. Review your letter to delete unnecessary words and correct style, spelling and punctuation errors. Finally, think like the person you are writing to and re-read the letter from that personÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s point of view. Will it cause that person to act? If not, fix it.
Diane Autey, president of Projects Done Write, is a professional marketing and business writer who helps companies influence their clients, customer or prospects to respond in a desired manner through the strategic, insightful use of the written word. She specializes in feature articles and marketing campaigns that inspire, inform and persuade. Diane can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 612-716-7642 or www.projectsdonewrite.com.