Courtesy navigation

How to write a mailshot


  1. 1 Clarify the objective of the mailshot, for example, to collect leads, to make direct sales, or to give information to existing customers.
  2. 2 Identify your target audience - what do they already know about your business and products, what are their needs, and what objections might they have.
  3. 3 If appropriate, identify different groups of readers and consider preparing different versions of the mailshot for each group.
  4. 4 Decide what the main message of the mailshot will be and focus on the single major benefit you offer.
  5. 5 Decide whether you can write the letter yourself, or whether you should invest a few hundred pounds in using a freelance copywriter.
  6. 6 Produce a headline and an opening sentence which will highlight the main benefit and encourage the reader to read on.
  7. 7 Make a credible offer: explain the reasons for buying your product or service, anticipate likely objections and provide facts to back up your claims.
  8. 8 Maintain the reader's interest throughout the letter, for example, by linking it to topical issues, using 'you', or including provocative questions.
  9. 9 Use short sentences and keep everything clear, simple and convincing.
  10. 10 Format the mailshot as a letter, but use underlining, italics and so on to make key points stand out.
  11. 11 End with a call to action, telling the reader what to do next; make it easy (eg by including an email or web address, freephone number or reply-paid card).
  12. 12 Add a PS which restates your main point in a different way.
  13. 13 Consider what other inserts will support your message, for example, a free sample, a brochure, press cuttings, or an order form.
  14. 14 Proof read your letter and try it out on colleagues and customers; use sample mailings to test how effective it is.
  15. 15 Use software to personalise each reader's letter with their name and sign the letters, preferably by hand.

Cardinal rules


  • focus on a single message
  • create interest
  • explain clearly
  • make it easy to reply
  • personalise the letters


  • confuse the message with unrelated information
  • fail to back up your claims with facts
  • send mass mailings without testing your copy