It is not easy to write a good sales letter! Yet a good sales
letter is probably the most vital component of any targeted
mailshot. It can make or break that tenuous first connection
between you and your prospect. If it is too long, he won't
read it. If it does not convey enough about you and what you
are offering, his road to committment won't become
The goal in writing a good sales letter is ONE page! The
prospect must see his name and address at the top and your
signature at the bottom. Compacting a complete smooth-reading
sales message in the space between is the whole underrated
skill of the sales letter writer.
MARKETEER cannot compose the text of your sales letters for
you. But it does provide every 'mechanical' assistance to
make your job of outlining, building, drafting, reviewing,
editing, tuning and honing your sales letters as easy as at
The Letter Writer program deals only with the actual content
or text of your sales letter. It does not put in the names and
addresses of the prospects to whom you are sending it.
Neither does it put in the date, reference number or the name
& title of the letter's author or signatory. All these are
handled by other programs within the MARKETEER package which
are described in other chapters.
MARKETEER's letter creation section contains two libraries: a
Sales Letter Library (which holds up to 40 letters) and a
Standard Paragraph Library (which holds up to 40 paragraphs).
You may create, amend or delete any letter in the Letter
Library or any paragraph in the Standard Paragraph Library.
You may write a standard paragraph for sales letters and place
it in the Standard Paragraphs Library under a title of your
choosing. You may write a complete sales letter and place it
in the Sales Letter Library under a title of your choosing.
You may import text from a word processor text file into the
Letter or Paragraph Libraries under a title of your choosing.
You may build a draft sales letter from one or more standard
paragraphs selected to appear in whichever order you choose.
The selected paragraphs will then appear in a new letter in
the Letter Library under the title NEW LETTER. You may then
edit and add to this NEW LETTER to form a polished sales
letter. You may then change its title to one of your choosing.
You may select, and place in the MAIL FILE, any ONE of these
up to 40 letters (or paragraphs) at any one time. MARKETEER's
Mail, Telex, FAX and Electronic Mail subsystems assume that
the text of letter of message they are supposed to print or
transmit is that currently to be found in the MAIL FILE.
From MARKETEER's Main Menu, select Item 3 Letter Creation.
You should now see the Letter Creation Menu. Use the vertical
cursor control keys (up-arrow and down-arrow) to scan up and
down this menu and read the help text on the right of the
screen which describes each item.
THE LETTER LIBRARY
As a practical introduction to MARKETEER's letter creation
section, let us now go through the exercise of `test printing'
the sample sales letter which we have placed on file for you
prior to despatch. So now, please select Item 1 Sales Letter
A list for upto 40 letter titles now appears. Only the first
position has a letter title inside it, namely SAMPLE LETTER.
We have written just one letter to serve as an example. To
select a letter from this list, move the cursor opposite the
title of the letter you require and press the Ins key to mark
it and then the function key F2 to select it.
The text of the sample letter is now displayed on the screen
and the function key options are shown at the bottom of the
screen. Press the F1 function key to display the help screen
and read what each function key command does.
PRINTING THE LETTER
[NOTE: You should have already set up the appropriate margin
setting control codes in the printer control codes box in the
Configuration Menu. The coding must be set to the left print
margin to between 6 and 10 spaces in to suite your notepaper.]
Now switch on your printer, make sure there is A4 plain paper
in the in-tray, then press the function key F8-PRNT (print).
If you press F8 before switching on the printer, a red message
`device fault' is displayed above the text window. If you now
switch on your printer, this message should disappear and
printing will take place. If it does not, check the cable and
power supply to the printer and see that the paper is properly
placed in the printer's in-tray. A green message `PRINTED'
will appear as soon as all the text has been passed to the
[NOTE: if your printer has a buffer memory, the green
`PRINTED' message will appear almost immediately while actual
printing has barely begun. This is because the printer's
memory has taken in all the text and the printer is printing
from its own internal memory.]
When it has finished, take the paper from the printer. Please
read the letter you have just printed out. Press the Esc key
twice to take you back to the Letter Creation Menu.
THE LIBRARY OF STANDARD PARAGRAPHS
Please select Item 2 of the Letter Creation Menu. A list of
paragraph (or text frame) titles appears. This looks similar
to way the letter titles are listed in Item 1. Only 4 text
frame titles are shown. This is because only 4 of the 40
possible paragraphs exist as yet.
Text Frames are generally synonymous with 'paragraphs'. Each
text frame is originated, edited or deleted individually.
Each frame can be given a title so that you can identify it at
a glance in the Standard Paragraph Library list later on. Up
to 40 different text frames can be held in the Standard
Paragraph Library at any one time. Any sales letter may be
made to comprise any number of these upto 40 possible text
frames, and the frames can appear in the letter in any order.
Each frame can theoretically contain up to 200 words. However
the limiting factor is the space within the actual text window
on the screen which is 14 lines, with each line containing up
to 70 characters (letters, numbers, punctuation marks etc.).
This generally works out as 10 or 12 lines of text maximum per
paragraph in a printed sales letter with a print width of 65
While the term 'text frame' refers specifically to a physical
unit of text which can be independently identified, composed,
edited or deleted, the term 'paragraph' refers to the
corresponding 'logical' or 'semantic' unit of text which
expresses a single integrated thought or idea. Generally, one
paragraph is accommodated within one text frame, however,
where appropriate, a text frame may hold two or three small
paragraphs or an itemised list.
This limitation on the size of a text frame (and hence that of
a paragraph) imposes the kind of discipline needed to make
sure each point in your sales letter is put over concisely.
It probably means that you cannot fit in what you want to say
first time. It forces you to work at it. The result can only
be a punchier, smoother flowing, more informative - and hence
more effective - paragraph.
EDITING A TEXT FRAME
Within the confines of a text frame, MARKETEER provides
editing facilities to enable you to write and play around with
your text until you get it exactly right. But it does this
without burdening you with the maze of control key functions
associated with most word processors. In fact, all you need to
know is shown on the screen.
So now let us have a look at one of the text frames which make
up the letter you have just printed. With the cursor at the
title of the first text frame entitled INTRODUCTION, please
press the Ins key to mark it, then press the function key F2
to select it.
[NOTE: the title of a paragraph given in this list does not
itself appear as part of the text of that paragraph. It is
there simply as a memory trigger for you when you come to
select the paragraphs you need for a particular sales letter.]
The text of this text frame now appears on the screen. You
will recognise this text as the first part of the printed
letter. Above the text window you are told which paragraph
this is. Below the window are the currently effective function
key command. Please press the function key F6-EDIT. The
cursor now appears at the top left of the text window and you
may now edit the paragraph within this text frame.
Just to recap, the cursor is the flashing line which is always
on the screen when the computer is waiting for you to do
something. It also indicates the position at which whatever
you type-in will appear or where the next 'action' will take
So before you can edit any part of the text, you must position
the flashing cursor to the place within the text where you
want to make the alteration. The cursor is positioned by
advancing it along the text using the right pointing arrow
key, or returning it back again using the left pointing arrow
key. If you have a long way to go in either direction, keep
the appropriate key held down. The cursor will then travel
along the text continuously in the appropriate direction.
Try it. Press and hold down the right pointing arrow key. The
cursor skims along the text line by line. If the last word in
a line is a long way short of the right hand edge of the
screen, the cursor does not venture into the 'dead space'
between the end of the word and the edge of the screen.
This is because that 'dead space' is not part of the actual
text stream. Therefore you should never be able to get into a
position to type in anything there. Should you wish to insert
anything there, this is dealt with in another way which is
discussed later. Notice that when the cursor reaches the very
end of the existing text, it goes no further.
Now press and hold the left pointing arrow key. The cursor now
skims back along its path until it reaches the beginning of
the line. When it gets there, it refuses to go further. This
is how you position the cursor so that it `hovers' over the
precise character at which you wish your editing actions to
The End key takes the cursor to the end of the text on the
current line and the Home key takes the cursor to the start of
the current line.
Now move the cursor to the middle of the first line using the
right-pointing arrow key. Then press the down-arrow key. Each
time you press this key, the cursor moves down to the line
below. Keep pressing this down-arrow key until it reaches the
bottom line. Now press the up-arrow key. This takes the cursor
up to the line above. Keep doing this until the cursor reaches
the top line again.
You will no doubt have noticed that when a line of text was
shorter than the original position of the cursor, the cursor
moved leftwards to the end of the short line. However, when
you moved it further down to a long line, the cursor resumed
its original position along the line. This is because the
cursor is never allowed outside the text stream where you
cannot legitimately type.
Let us now insert a couple of words into this text. Position
the cursor to the letter `f' of the word `for' on the first
line. Now press the 'Ins' key. You will see the word 'INSERT'
at the top of the screen.
Now type-in the words `very much '. Don't forget the space
after the word `much'! Instead of starting off `Thank you for
your enquiry' the letter now starts off `Thank you very much
for your enquiry'. You have inserted the words `very much '
almost at the beginning of the letter without having to re-
type the whole lot.
Notice that as you typed in each new character, all the words
in the rest of the paragraph instantly moved up and re-
arranged themselves as necessary. You can insert single
characters, words, phrases, sentences, lists or even
paragraphs anywhere within a text frame by this means. You
cancel the INSERT mode either by moving the cursor or by
pressing the `Ins' key again.
SAVING AMENDED TEXT
If you wish this amended version of your text to be preserved
in place of the original for possible future inclusion within
a sales letter, press the function key F2. If you wish not to
preserve the changes you have just made, but leave the
original in place, then press F3 instead. Do not do either for
We shall now delete the words we previously inserted. Now
move the cursor to the letter `v' of `very' which you
inserted. Now press the 'Del' key. The letter `v' disappears.
You are left with the word `ery'. Keep pressing this key until
the words `very much ' have disappeared. Don't forget the
space at the end of the word `much '. You are now back to the
You can use this key to delete any character or group of
characters within the text. If you have a lot to delete in one
run, hold down the `Del' key firmly. Try it now! Never mind if
it makes a mess of the text on the screen. Notice how the text
beyond the cursor appears to be sucked continuously into an
insatiable `black hole'.
Notice also that it all stops when you let go of the key. To
re-set the paragraph with the text to exclude the deleted
text, press the function key F7. The remaining text is re-set
correctly within the text frame. We don't want to store this
mess, so let's just leave the original text in place so you or
one of your colleagues can go through this exercise again at
some other time. Now press the F3 to escape from the editing
function without storing the changed text. The original text
now reappears in the text window.
It is useful to remember what you have just done. Sometimes,
when you have recalled an old text frame and started to edit
it, you find that you have ended up with a total mess. Rather
than try and make something out of what is now on the screen,
you would rather abort the whole thing and start again from
RECALLING THE OTHER TEXT FRAMES
There are two ways of accessing the other text frames in the
Standard Paragraph Library. You can scan through the text
frames in turn by pressing the function key F3-NEXT (or F4-
PREV to scan in the reverse direction). Alternatively you can
press the Esc key to get back to the Standard Paragraph
Library list and select another text frame by title.
Use F3 to scan through and read the existing paragraphs. You
will see that these paragraphs are all parts of the sales
letter which you have just printed. Notice that the order in
which the frames appear in the letter is slightly different
from the order in which they are listed here. This is simply
to illustrate that when forming a sales letter, you are not
tied to the order in which you originated the paragraphs. Now
please press the Esc key to get back to the list of Standard
WRITING A NEW TEXT FRAME
Move the cursor down to a position where no title exists and
press the function key F2. The beep indicates that you cannot
select at this position. Now press the function key F4 to
enter a new paragraph title. As a test piece, let's call our
new text frame `BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP'!
Please press the F4-EDIT function key. This places the cursor
in the title field ready for you to enter the paragraph title.
The editing functions available to you while typing in a new
title or amending an existing one are the same as those for
editing the text of a paragraph described earlier. So type in
`BAA BAA BLACK SHEEP' and press the carriage return (or Enter)
key. The title is then stored. Now mark this title by pressing
the Ins key and then select it by pressing the function key
F2. The text window then appears.
Normally this would be blank. However, if you once had a
previous paragraph text in this title position within the
Standard Paragraph Library list, then that old text will
reappear. This is because a paragraph (or letter) is deleted
by deleting its title. The text remains but is rendered
inaccessible. It becomes accessible again when a new title is
entered in its original title position. This is a safeguard so
that a paragraph deleted inadvertently can be `undeleted' by
re-entering its title (or any other title for that matter) in
the position originally held by its title.
Please press the function key F6-EDIT and type-in the nursery
rhyme. We have not reproduced it here since most people can
remember it. But if you really can't remember it, please try
another nursery rhyme instead! We suggest you type it out as
straight prose rather than as lines of poetry. As confirmed by
the instructions shown at the bottom of the screen, all the
functions which were available to you while editing are
available to you now for originating a new piece of text.
When you have finished typing in your nursery rhyme, press the
F2-SAVE function key to store the text. The press the Esc key
twice to get back to the Letter Creation Menu.
FIXED FRAME v SCROLLING
Unlike most word processing systems (and indeed MARKETEER's
own letter editor, MARKETEER's text frame editor operates on a
`fixed frame' basis. When you have filled the text frame, you
cannot enter any more text into the frame (unless of course
you delete some first). The text does not scroll upwards out
of view to make room for more text at the bottom. This is
The prime market for word processors is general office work.
In that environment, the content or wording of what is to be
typed into the word processor is normally decided and
finalised in advance before it is entered. The purpose of the
word processor is merely to store, recall, organise and
sometimes edit pieces of prescribed text. The operator is
usually a typist who deals only with syntax rather than with
the semantics of what is being entered.
The user of MARKETEER on the other hand is a writer of sales
letters who is definitely interested in what is being said and
how it can be improved. The function of MARKETEER'S Letter
Writer is to help the user DEVELOP the wording and content of
a letter - paragraph by paragraph. The concern is primarily
with the semantics of (the meaning carried by) the words being
When actually composing and developing text, you need to keep
constantly in view the text, the whole text, and nothing but
the text pertaining to the one set of closely related points
about which you are currently concerned. In other words you
need to be able to extend or edit the paragraph while being
able to glance back over any the foregoing words relating to
your current train of thought. And for this, the `fixed frame'
system used in MARKETEER is the obvious choice.
PLANNING YOUR OWN SALES LETTER
It is now time to think about your first real sales letter for
MARKETEER. What is going to be the theme of your next
mailshot? Are you going to enclose a catalogue or product
brochure with your letter? What points must you get over in
Naturally, you know the questions which you ask yourself when
setting out to prepare a new sales letter. But however you
prefer to go about it, you should end up with a list of
distinct points which you feel you ought to get over in the
letter. Then you will probably arrange these points into
groups such that each group can be dealt with in a single
paragraph. Perhaps in some paragraphs you will put over only
one vital point.
The important thing is to finish up knowing exactly what you
want to say in each paragraph, bearing in mind that you will
have only four or five paragraphs worth of space available in
the entire letter.
Now, in order to prepare for composing the actual wording of
each paragraph on MARKETEER, please write down the points
pertaining to each planned paragraph on a separate sheet of
paper. Then think hard about the points you have made on each
sheet and mull them over with your colleagues until you are
all satisfied that they are correct and exactly the way you
want them. Finally, number each sheet, and write a `paragraph
title' which expresses the collective essence of all the
points made thereon.
COMPOSING YOUR SALES LETTER
From the Letter Creation menu, select the Standard Paragraph
Library (Item 2). Move the cursor to a spare title slot on the
Letter Library title list and press F4. Enter the `paragraph
title' from your first sheet of paper, then press the `Enter'
key to store the new title. Now press the Ins key to mark the
new title then press F2 to select it.
The empty text frame appears. Now for the skilful part! From
the points you have written down on your first piece of paper,
compose the text for the first paragraph of your sales letter.
It will probably take you some time to acquire a skill in
using MARKETEER'S text entry, insertion and deletion
facilities to maximum advantage. But it will come - probably
quicker than you think. With them, for instance, a sudden
flash of inspiration after the event can be slotted in back
`up stream' almost instantly, whereas if you were writing,
typing or dictating instead, you might well be tempted just to
let it go.
DEVELOPING YOUR TEXT
Once you have covered all the points planned for this
paragraph, read it over on the screen and try to improve it.
Mould and tune the wording to give the right amount of punch,
persuasiveness and smoothness of flow. Try to cut out
verbosity, but without sacrificing clarity or completeness.
It is a good idea to terminate your paragraphs with two
carriage-returns. This will in effect put a blank line between
this paragraph and the next when the paragraphs are printed in
the letter. This gives a good visual appearance to the
finished letter. The automatic spacing done by the program
which deals with putting the signatory's name and title on the
letter assumes there will be a blank line at the end of the
Once you are completely satisfied with the paragraph, press
F2-SAVE to store your new paragraph, then press the Esc key to
return to the Paragraph Library titles list. Now go through
the same procedure for writing the other paragraphs of your
BUILDING YOUR SALES LETTER
Your sales letter is constructed by bringing together the
paragraphs you have just composed and developed. You may place
the paragraphs within the letter in any order you choose. You
do not need to keep to the order in which you wrote them.
Go back to the Letter Creation Menu and select Item 3 BUILD A
NEW SALES LETTER. A Title Entry display now appears which is
similar to the one for new paragraphs (text frames). Decide
the order in which you wish the paragraphs to appear, then
move the cursor to the one you have chosen to be first and
press the Ins key to mark it. An asterisk appears to show that
it is now marked. Now move the cursor to the paragraph you
have chosen to appear second in your letter and mark that one.
Do the same for the other paragraphs. Then press F2 to build
Press Esc to return to the Letter Creation Menu and then
select Item 1 Sales Letter Library. In the library list you
should now see a letter title `NEW LETTER'. Move the cursor to
this title and press the F4 key. Now overtype `NEW LETTER'
with an appropriate title for your new letter and press the
carriage return key to store it. Then press the Ins key to
mark it and the F2 key to select it. The text of your letter
should now be displayed in the text window.
CHECKING YOUR SALES LETTER
It is not the job of MARKETEER'S Letter Writer program to
print the finished sales letter complete with reference, date,
name & address of prospect and name & title of signatory.
Here, we can only view or `test print' the main text of the
letter. However, the test print facility does centre the text
to the middle of the note paper where it will appear later in
the actual sales letter itself.
Please press the F6-EDIT key. You can now use the PgUp and
PgDn keys to scroll through the whole letter in order to read
it and check it. At this stage, your sales letter comprises a
simple concatenation of standard paragraphs - text which for
the most part does not change. So normally you would now
topicalise your letter by editing and adding to the standard
text to make it relate more fully to the marketing or sales
exercise of which it is a part.
MOVING TEXT AROUND
As you are editing your letter you may decide that you wish to
change the order in which parts of it appear. To do this, move
the cursor to the first of some lines of text you wish to move
and press F3. The line goes red. Keep pressing F3 until all
the lines you wish to move are red. Then move the cursor to
where you want to put them and press F6. The marked lines then
appear at their new location.
If the text you wish to move starts or ends with a partial
line, move the cursor to where you wish to start marking and
press the carriage return key twice. Then move the cursor to
where you wish to finish marking and do the same. This
isolates the text you wish to move. Then move the cursor back
to the beginning of the text you wish to move and press F7 to
tidy it into a paragraph. Then move it. Come back to where you
moved it from and use F7 in the same way to tidy up that area
of text also.
BOLD & UNDERLINE
Fashions come and go. One fashion in sales letters is the use
(usually overuse) of bolding, underlining, banner headings and
an ever-increasing list of other fanciful graphics tricks
featured in printing devices. Use with caution: the more
graphic finery you have in a sales letter, the less personal
it looks and the less likely it is to be read by a recipient.
It can easily look like a cheap brochure or leaflet and be
`filed' accordingly! It is better to leave image projection
through graphic arts to an attached or enclose high quality
brochure or leaflet.
However, Marketeer does provide normal bolding or underlining
of key parts of the text in your sales letter. If you do feel
the need to go overboard, Marketeer provides the facility for
importing a letter text prepared on an external work processor
or, if you are technically inclined, you can implant within
the text the appropriate literal control codes for things like
banner headings and typestyle changes.
To embolden text, move the cursor to the start of the text you
wish to embolden, press the Ins key, then, while holding down
the Alt key, type the number 24 on the numeric keypad on the
right of the keyboard. An upward-pointing arrow appears in the
text indicating the point at which bolding will start. Then
move the cursor to the end of the text you wish to embolden
and do the same. To underline the text instead, type the
number 25 instead of 24. Underlining is shown as a downward-
pointing arrow. All this assumes that you entered the bolding
and underlining control codes appropriate for your printer in
the Configuration Section (Main Menu Item 9, submenu Item 3).
Once you have finished checking and editing your letter, press
F2 to store it, and then go through the same procedure as you
did at the beginning of this chapter when you printed our
sample sales letter. Note the comments on the right below the
text display window. This shows the advised maximum number of
lines you should have in a letter for it to sit neatly on your
company notepaper, and also shows how many lines are in your
letter as it stands.
MARKETEER has been programmed to present perfectly formatted
sales letters with adaquate and balanced name & address and
signature space top and bottom of the text. So if you exceed
the advised maximum number of text lines, you may have to edit
down one or more of your paragraphs. We think you will welcome
this imposition when you see the final sales letters it
disciplines you and your sales office into producing.
There is no technical reason why your letter should not flow
over onto a second page - or even more. If it does, however,
you will have to load the printer's automatic sheet feeder
with the appropriate sequence of notepaper when doing a
mailshot. For example, if your letter flows on to 3 pages, you
will have to load the sheet feeder with a repeated sequence of
one headed note sheet followed by two continuation sheets.
You will also have to put page break controls in the letter
text to suit the artwork of your company notepaper. This is
primarily why the letter editor has line numbers down the
left-hand side of the text. To place a page-throw control
character on the line on which you wish the page-break to
occur, move the cursor to the beginning of that line, then,
while holding down the Alt key, type the number 12 on the
numeric keypad on the right of the keyboard. The page-thow
character appears on the screen as a biology `female' sign.
Now print out the letter as previously described, then please
read it thoroughly to see how it hangs together. If you need
to make any further changes, please edit the appropriate
paragraphs and the letter as necessary and repeat the process.
Please remember that when you come to write your next sales
letter, you can use any of the paragraphs you have already
produced simply by including their numbers along with the
numbers of your new paragraphs when you come to the `BUILD A
NEW SALES LETTER' procedure.
LETTER & PARAGRAPH DUPLICATION
Often when you need to send a quick letter or mailshot, one of
the letters you use regulary is almost right, but not quite.
In this case, get the letter that is almost right into the
text window as if you were going to edit it, then press the
F2-DUPL key. This places a copy of the letter concerned into
the next spare position in the letter library and then
automatically goes to that position so that the letter text
displayed in the text window is now the copy which you can
edit into the variant you require. Its title is automatically
set in the Library List the same as the one it was copied from
prefixed with a `&'.
Before you leave MARKETEER'S Letter Writer, you might like to
delete all our sample paragraphs to make room for the future
paragraphs of other sales letters. However, please bear in
mind that perhaps some of your colleagues may also wish to go
through these exercises. If so, you had better leave them on
file for the time being.
PRINT & DISPLAY FORMATS
The width of the text galley as displayed on the screen and
printed in the finished letter, and the maximum number of
lines allowed in a printed sales letter can be adjusted
separately using Item 4. Please select Item 4. The values
shown are those we have set up. They are what are normally the
most suitable. However, you may change them if you wish by
following the instructions on the screen.
IMPORTING FROM AN EXTERNAL WORD PROCESSOR
If you have some standard letters produced on an external word
processor, you can import them into Marketeer's Letter Library
as follows. 1) Make sure that the line width of the external
letters is less than or equal to the line width settings
within Marketeer (See pervious paragraph). 2) For word
processors which do not work directly on text files, get them
to output the letter as an ASCII file [known also as a text
file or print file]. 3) Select Item 1 on the Letter Creation
Menu and move the cursor to a spare position in the Library
List. Then press F4 and enter a title for the letter to be
imported and press carriage return to store the title. Then
press F5-IMPORT. The cursor moves to a new field beneath the
Library List. There enter the DOS path and file name of the
word processor file containing the text you wish to import.
The text should then be in the appropriate position in the
Letter Library. You can import a paragraph in a similar way.
This completes your introduction to MARKETEER'S Letter Writer.