Copywriting for conversion

20 March 2010

It’s time for a confession. Yesterday, I had to ask a copywriting pal of mine what was meant by ‘response’ in direct mail. Was it the number of people who did what was asked of them or the number of sales or conversions? I was relieved to find out that he was almost as unsure as I was.

After a quick bit of consultation and a flick though a few pages of some specialist marketing dictionaries, we discovered that it’s the former. The ones who pick up the phone or post a coupon back or make a tentative enquiry. The average is generally reckoned to be 2% response.

Which got me thinking. I’ve done a lot of sales letters recently. So what’s my conversion rate? After a few brave e-mails, the answer appears to be around the 3% mark. Wow. That’s half as good again as the average direct-mail RESPONSE rate. So, if you have a product that sells for £1000, as one of my photography clients has, and you send out 300 letters, you’ll sell about £10,000-worth of product. That’s not bad for a £150 to £200 sales letter.

Then, of course, there’s the letter I wrote back in 2004 for a translation agency that’s still pulling in around £100,000 a year. Every year.

If you’d like to see some sample sales letters, drop me an e-mail at Then let’s see what I can do for you.

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