Promotional writing requires a careful balance between grabbing the reader’s attention, presenting the information in an appealing format, and marketing to the needs of a specific audience. Successful advertising comes in both written and visual formats, and many types of advertising letters contain both text and images. While advertising is a creative business endeavor, some copywriting letters produce results on a consistent basis, earning them top spots in the ranks of promotional writing.
A sales letter promotes services and products, or markets your business, in general, to potential customers. Despite the name, a sales letter usually doesn’t try to make a sale in the actual letter. Instead, it employs creative content to introduce a special offer or a new item of interest. A sales letter, which is generally one or two pages in length, is often the first letter in a marketing campaign.
A follow-up letter is instrumental in keeping your product or service in the customer’s mind. Designed to arrive shortly after the receipt of a sales letter or after an initial meeting, a follow-up letter is friendly and assumes a congenial business relationship with the customer. The tone of a follow-up letter is conversational, and it thanks the potential customer for stopping by, for making a purchase, or for taking the time to read a sales letter. This type of letter lists contact information and might include a business card.
Advertising newsletters, whether sent by snail mail or email, are standbys for getting marketing messages out to a customer base. Newsletters offer information of interest, in addition to marketing content. Typical advertising newsletters contain a variety of articles that center on industry news, and they generally feature journalistic writing, as opposed to the report-type writing of sales letters. Newsletters create interest in products and services.
Case studies are usually contained within another type of advertising letter. A case study is a marketing tool that makes an emotional connection with the customer. Case studies can feature success stories, often called "testimonials," from real people or businesses that benefited from using your services or products. Case studies can be of any length, often ranging from one to three pages, and they make use of an entertaining story to help the reader make an informed buying decision.
White papers were originally used by lawmakers and government officials to document statistics and defend legislative proposals. Today, they’re a soft-sell method of informing clients of the benefits of your products or services. White papers are business-to-business letters that are typically between five and 10 pages in length, but can be much longer. A white paper details a problem, then proceeds to present statistics, graphics and other images to inform the reader of the depth of the problem. The paper then concludes with a solution. White papers are factual and informative, but they don't ask the reader to make a buying decision immediately.
Press releases are letters sent to local or national media sources. When you write a press release, you’re hoping that an editor or reporter will find your news interesting enough to publish. Press releases are among the items in press kits that companies develop for the media. Press releases document new products or services of general interest, inform the public about changes in your company, or announce major sales events, contests, or other promotional activities.
Glenda Taylor is a full-time freelance writer with work featured in national and international publications. Taylor specializes in health, business and construction writing, and she is a past editor of “Kansas Women—Focus on Fitness.” Taylor's education includes marketing and a bachelor's degree in journalism.