Good sales letters never begin with “I” or “We,” and there’s a very good reason why.
It isn’t because it sounds a bit rude and self centered, although it does. It’s because of a fact which many of us would rather not believe. That fact is that our readers really don’t care about us. What we think or what we want holds no interest for them.
At least, not until we’ve gotten well acquainted and given them a reason to care.
If you walked up to a stranger on the street and said “I want you to stop what you’re doing and listen to me,” do you think they would? I don’t. I think they’d say “I don’t know you and I don’t care what you want. Get lost.”
And I don’t care” is just the kind of reaction you should expect if you write a sales letter and start right in telling your reader who you are and what you want.
What your reader wants to know is “What’s in this for me?”
If you make it clear in the first sentence that there IS something in it for him (or her), then you’ll have thier attention and they’ll probably keep reading.
After all, that stranger on the street would stop and pay attention if you said “Look, there are hundred dollar bills falling out of that window!”
That’s why a good sales letter either starts with the word “You,” makes a statement that the reader agrees with, or asks a question that sparks his curiosity.
There’s a formula in copywriting called AIDA. It stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.
If you don’t get that attention, then the rest doesn’t matter because your message won’t be read.Remember that most people are skimming their mail – and their email – looking for things they can discard so they can get on to something else.
“I” is OK in special circumstances…
I’ve often said that you should only begin a letter with “I” if you’re writing to your parent, your child, or your sweetheart – and then it must be followed by “love you.”
But that isn’t entirely accurate.
Once you’ve established a relationship, you could write a letter that began with something like “I have great news!” and they’d probably read it because they trust you and expect to read that your news is also good for them.
But if you’re writing to strangers, find a way to turn your sentences around and focus on them first.