How not to write a sales letter

Written by copywriter on Nov 1, 2011 in Copywriting

How would you write a friendly letter?

You’d probably be sincere, show a bit of empathy for the other person and talk enthusiastically about interests you both share.

Unfortunately those simple principles are ignored by Calumet Photographic in this disingenuous sales letter they sent to me, full of bland self-aggrandising and false sentiment:

Sales letter from Calumet

Calumet's thoughtless sales letter

A good sales letter compels a reader to do something, like buy, book or inquire. Not foam at the mouth in an eruption of venomous bile like I did. I imagine that isn’t the response Calumet sought from their lecture of irrelevant facts and indulgent dirge about how great they think they are.

A light-hearted response

So I bit my tongue and thought about how to reply to Calumet constructively, here it is:

Letter to Calumet

My reply to Calumet's letter

The reply cuts to the point, is honest and offers friendly advice that could help us both. There’s even a bit of insight to show how to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. All delivered in an approachable tone that speaks to the reader instead of preaching at them.

I look forward to Calumet’s response and hope that “if you have any feedback on our service, I would welcome your call or email” isn’t just an empty platitude like the rest of their letter.


  1. Well done! I’m sick of receiving ‘we are great’ DMs and just as depressed by the number of clients I get asking for sales letters in that style. I’ll just refer them to this post now instead of arguing my case time and again.

  2. Cheers Craig. Yeah it’s remarkable how many people get the basics wrong isn’t it? Good job there are Freelance copywriters like us to help put things right again with letters that actually get read.

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