Sales Letter Writing

Over the last few weeks I've been testing out a new habit. I've been looking at old sales letters and hand copying them.

I know it sounds weird. I saw someone recommend it on Twitter and decided to give it a shot.

I've copied less than 10 letters by hand at this point, but I'm surprised by how much I'm learning. Despite the fact that I LOVE technology, I've always preferred pen and paper when it comes to learning. 

In a world where everything feels abstract and somewhat unimportant (because everyone is trying to make everything feel urgent and important)...it's nice to slowly and deliberately work through a sales letter.

To uncover how a sales person of yesteryear led a potential customer on a sales journey. From the introduction to the social proof to the ask and close...I'm not surprised that these sales letters worked.

In fact, I've found myself wondering, why don't these kind of sales letters still exist in newspapers? 

Sure, newspaper distribution has dropped by almost 50% since 2000, but there are still MILLIONS of people who pay for and read the newspaper on a regular basis.

But I don't remember the last time I saw a sales letter or ad in a newspaper. I also don't remember the last time I read a newspaper (probably when I stayed in a hotel and got it for free).

I think this is a great habit as far as my writing ability goes. It forces me to be deliberate and intentional about my writing. I'm learning from the patterns of salesmen of the past (who were successful) AND I'm learning how to structure an offer (and guarantee) in a compelling way.

With all of that in mind, AND the fact that 30 million+ people still receive a daily newspaper (and most of them are older)...I can't help but wonder if the properly placed sales letter/ad for a specific product wouldn't crush with a newspaper ad in USA today or another similar newspaper?

It also makes me wonder if a sales letter sent as snail mail (direct mail) could still convert at a decent percentage. I don't know what kind of product I would try out or any of the details. 

I do know that if I received a hand address envelope with a letter to me inside, I would undoubtedly open it and AT LEAST scan the letter inside.

I probably won't write that idea off just yet.

What do you think? If you got a hand addressed envelope (from someone you don't know), would you open it and read it?

Let me know. I'm curious.