Did you go to college? If so, do you remember what you learned?
When I look back at 4 years in college and what I learned, I realize that I came away with only two bits of information that absolutely stuck with me - and that have any bearing on my life.
Both of them came from just one class - a business writing class.
Both of them are still important to me and to my business today. Here they are:
1. Find out the name of the person you're writing to, use it, and spell it correctly.
That means you don't begin a letter with "Dear Sir."
Although it's easy to customize your letters when you're using e-mail autoresponders, it can be an overwhelming job if you're doing a postal mailing to a large list. So what to do?
In copywriting classes we learned that if you absolutely can't write to individuals, at least go with something that's more personal and appealing than "Dear Sir." You can write "Dear Fellow Pet Lover," or "Dear Mytown Homeowner," but it's still not a wonderful solution.
My answer to that is to send a newsletter instead of a letter that is supposed to be personal but isn't. Then make it so interesting, with such compelling headlines, that they'll read it even though it's obviously a mass mailing.
2. Never, ever, ever, begin a letter with the words "I" or "We."
This rule was reinforced in every book I read and every course I took when I started studying copywriting.
It's THAT important.
And yet, it's probably one of the most frequently broken rules in do-it-yourself marketing. People just can't seem to resist focusing on themselves instead of their prospects when they sit down to write. That's probably also the reason why so many marketing efforts never get off the ground.
So... what did you learn way back when that has stayed with you ever since?