An effective sales letter, not surprisingly, hits the same objectives as an effective salesperson. And just as a salesperson wants to be sure to avoid certain mistakes in the selling process, so too the writer of sales letters.

To be effective, your sales letter must be opened, read, believed and acted upon. To do this, it must attract attention, warm the interest of the reader, create a desire for your product or service, and cause your prospect to take positive action.

So today I present "Five Deadly Sales Letter Mistakes." Eliminate one or more of the common blunders described here, and your response will surely improve.

Deadly Sales Letter Mistake No. 1: Writing your letter for the hundreds or thousands of people you will be mailing it to instead of one special person

One sure way to generate an apathetic response to your sales letter is to write for the group or list of people you will be mailing it to. Approaching your letter with a "crowd mentality" instead of focusing in on a single, real, living, breathing prospect will greatly impair the ability of your letter to make a genuine connection with the reader.

The sales letter is the most personal, one-to-one form of advertising there is. It should read as if one person sat down to write to one other person.

Here's a clear example of exactly what I mean. It's from a letter by the brilliant copywriter and nonpareil advertising man, Maxwell Sackheim, and it's more than 80 years old—proof that the more things change, the more they remain the same:

Thank you very much for having written to me for my latest catalog. A copy is being sent to you in another envelope and should reach you in a day or two.

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Ernest Nicastro is an award-winning B-to-B freelance copywriter who is also equally adept at crafting B-to-C content. For more information, and to review samples of his work, visit Positive Response.

LinkedIn: Ernest Nicastro

Twitter: @enicastro