The Illustrated Sales Letter

Illustrated Sales Letter

by Pete Godfrey · 9 comments

The Illustrated Sales Letter

If you want a BIG breakthrough with your promotions then here’s one way to do it.

It’s called The Illustrated Sales Letter. And hey, it’s nothing new. I’ve seen examples of Kennedy’s over 20 years old. I’ve been doing them for years as well.

One of Kennedy’s clients, Ted Thomas, is a master at this kind of letter. (You need to get a couple of Ted’s letters in your swipefile; they are brilliant.)

But we’ve got a couple of masters here in Australia too.

Dean Kennedy is one guy that springs to mind. His Direct Mail piece he did for Mal Emery recently makes you green with envy.

Bret Thomson is another copywriter that really gets it. The letter he wrote for my Master Class Home Study Pack is World Class and the results speak for themselves.

Point is; more folks should be using this technique.

So what is an Illustrated Sales Letter?

It simply means a sales letter that’s broken apart with graphics, drawings, graphs and the like. And no, I’m not talking about Magalogs; that’s a whole different kettle of fish.

Illustrated Sales Letters are still letters; they just contain elements that catch the eye that other standard sales letters lack.

So why are they so effective?

Well first up, understand people don’t want to read your letter. Your number one job is to keep them reading. (Think Joe Sugarman’s Greased Slide.)

  • Open Loops
  • Bullets & Fascinations
  • Sub Heads
  • Mixing up the tempo
  • Smooth transitions

… Are just a few of things we do to keep them reading.

Yet there is one critical yet overlooked aspect of the sales letter that few people understand… and that’s how the letter looks.

If it’s one big chunk of type many folks just won’t read it. That’s why adding photos and graphs, illustrations and handwritten notes is so effective. It breaks up the copy, it’s easier on the eye, and done right it really breaks through the clutter and gets your reader’s attention.

I’ll be showing examples of this technique at my Sales Letter Writing Workshops. I may even post a few examples on this blog if you want to see them.

In the meantime, keep an eye out for examples of this technique… you can then see why it’s so effective.

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About The Author

Copywriter, Sales Strategist - Pete GodfreyPete Godfrey, The Wizard of Words, from rebel without a clue to one of the most in demand and highest paid Copywriters and Sales Strategists in Australasia… all with the power of his emotionally charged words that sell… Discover the “Secret Weapon” to increasing your Sales and Profits by downloading the valuable report "The Ultimate Copywriting and Marketing Secret" While you're at it, follow Pete on Facebook

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Judd Leverton July 9, 2009 at 4:41 pm

Thanks for the tip Pete. When I sit down to write the Free Report for my mechanic (changing focus of his core business after 15 years twirling spanners to fix cars) I’ll ensure I include the above advice. The targeted reader is use to reading magazines with lots of pictures (being performance car related), so utilizing an illustrated sales letter will create a sense of familiarity, and the more of that we can create the less they are guarded and more open to what you have to say.


Pete Godfrey July 9, 2009 at 4:56 pm

Judd, that’s right. Break the report up with pictures… if including pictures of cars make sure you include people in the photos as well.

Now, we’ve all heard of Kennedy’s “message to market match” right? That is, match your message and language to the market. Some copywriters say “write like you speak”… however, I prefer “write as your market speaks.” Much better.

But you’ve also got to match the packaging to the market as well. An 8 page sales letter stapled in the top left hand corner, mailed in a DL envelope so it’s folded in three, may work to the Business Opportunity crowd but not to a corporate prospect.

A website with multiple red headlines, multiple exclamation marks, and so much yellow highlighter that you think you’re stuck in Big Bird’s Playpen, may work for the “money while you sleep” crowd but won’t cut it to a more intelligent, sophisticated buyer.

The lesson

: It’s important we all keep in mind who is reading our letters, who our market really is… and then you match your message and the look of the message to the market.
That’s where the money is



Lisa Wood July 9, 2009 at 5:24 pm

Great blog…will be bookmarking this one so I can keep updated with a great copywriter.


Tom Caraccio July 18, 2009 at 5:53 am

Too right Pete they make the letter exciting also when used right, it adds to the stimulation you’re trying to create in your reader… and Dean and Brets work is great they really know how to take the sales letter to a whole new level.

Cant wait for Inner Sanctum in Sydney next week… Another shock to system of marketing gold nuggets that I’m sure we will get and it will be great to catch up for a drink also.

Take care mate


Christine September 2, 2009 at 7:38 am

Being new – totally to copy writing, only having been the customer till now, this resonates with me. I would always scan the pictures and illustrations first to see if the text was worth reading! Shallow but true. Am really enjoying your information, please keep it coming.

many thanks


Rachel October 21, 2009 at 8:56 am

Any hints where to find Ted Thomas’ sales letters for my swipe file? Thanks


Chantelle Mader April 20, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Of course, the best pictures are those showing the benefits the product brings or, at the very least, the product in use…

Happy people in the photos are critical… this also has the added benefit of giving buyers a better idea of the physical size of your product too. 🙂


Chris Wilkinson September 10, 2010 at 5:50 pm

Hi I recently went to Mal Emery’s seminar and he said to do the opposite of what your competitor was doing. If people are sending illustrated letters, should I not put pictures in my letters, or should I not send letters, trying hard but really confused..


Pete Godfrey September 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Chris even though I wasn’t there to hear Mal, I know him well, and can probably guess what he was meaning. What Mal meant was most business owners do not do direct response and most of their ads are boring brand ads with no headlines, no offers, no urgency.

As for sales letters, test everything. Pictures can BOOST response in ads and letters. The thing is to test.

The important thing is to put Direct Response Marketing into your business. Trust this clears it up.


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