A Look at a Direct Mail Sales Letter from Allstate

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As a copywriter, I tend to open a lot of mail that other people would throw away because it’s “junk”. Why? It’s because I want to study what others are doing so I can improve my own direct mail copywriting.

Recently, I had the idea to start blogging about some of the direct mail I receive. Today, we’re going to take a look at a sales letter I received from Allstate insurance trying to convince me to use them as my auto insurance provider. Here are my thoughts on it.



The Good

First, let’s talk about the positive aspects of this sales letter.

• The headline is strong—The headline of a sales letter needs to hook readers in with a benefit strong enough to keep them reading. Here, Allstate succeeds. The headline tells you exactly how much money you could save if you switch your auto insurance over to Allstate. In an economy where people are looking for ways to trim their expenses, this is a benefit that’s sure to capture most readers’ attention.

• The content is easy to scan—The Allstate sales letter does a good job of using subheads and short paragraphs to keep the copy easy to scan. You can easily eyeball the letter and understand the main message in just seconds.

• The copy is focused on “you”—The most important word in copywriting is “you”. Using it liberally allows you to connect with readers and to answer the most important question: What’s in it for me? The Allstate sales letter has “you” peppered through it, keeping the letter focused on the reader, not the company.

• Statistics are used to back up the claims—Using statistics in your copy is an excellent way to build credibility and to gain the trust of your readers. It shows that you aren’t full of it, and it eliminates ambiguity.

• The letter talks about $$$ saved rather than percentages—Many companies like to talk about how you can save “__ % off” when you use their services, but I’m a big fan of using actually dollars saved. This keeps your readers from having to calculate exactly how much they’ll save, delivering the benefit in clear, easy to understand terms.

The Bad

Perhaps “The Bad” is a bit harsh, but let’s look at some things I believe could be done better with this sales letter.

• The letter covers two pages—While the letter is technically on one page (front and back), it’s still a bit longer than I prefer. My suggestion: Print the addresses on the envelopes so you can use that precious real estate at the top of the page to begin your sales letter.

• The P.S. doesn’t reinforce the main benefit—The P.S. in a sales letter is a good place to include extra information while reinforcing the main benefit. I’d like to see the P.S. in the Allstate sales letter say something along the lines of “To start saving money on your auto insurance, call us today for your no-obligation quote.” This hammers home the benefit of saving money on car insurance that’s so prevalent throughout the rest of the copy.

• The final call to action could be improved—The call to action in this sales letter has a couple of problems. First, it’s just too long. It spans over 4 short paragraphs. Second, it’s missing vital information. The phone number should be printed right there in the call to action. Don’t make readers go searching for the toll-free number to call.

Overall, this is a solid sales letter that I’m sure is getting Allstate some new customers. However, I think a few simple tweaks could improve the response rate for Allstate.

What do you think of this sales letter? What would you change? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

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