From The Golden Thread Mailbag …
Reactivation Letters

A question from Bill C. about writing "reactivation letters":

"Last September, I wrote my first self-promotion letter. I mailed/faxed it to 57 potential clients – and guess what? I received two positive replies and now have two live assignments!

"One assignment is quite straight forward. However, the other one has me a little baffled. My client wants me to write a letter to encourage and convince his past customer base to start buying his products again. Is this a different type of letter than a traditional sales letter?

"I love a good challenge and I would like to rise to the occasion and help this client retrieve at least some of his old customer base."

– Bill C.

Bill, what you’ve been asked to write is a "reactivation letter" – used to get back old customers. The good news for you is that your audience is already familiar with the product… and its benefits. He was persuaded to purchase once … and chances are he still has the same needs, wants, and desires he had at the time of the original purchase.

So you don’t have to do as much “work” as you would for a full sales letter … but you do need to still follow the Architecture of Persuasion.

It’s important to understand what promise or benefit(s) in the original promo struck a chord with the reader … and to “resell” him in the same way. You might want to acknowledge that you understand why he may have stopped buying the product or discontinued his membership or subscription (without scolding or making him feel too guilty) … and let him know the benefit is still available to him and that’s he’s welcome back.

Another common element in reactivation letters is a special offer (e.g., a free month of service, free shipping, etc.) as way of thanking them for their past business (and encouraging them to come back into the fold.) We’ll ask one of the Masters to cover reactivation letters in an upcoming issue of The Golden Thread. Meanwhile, you may want to revisit sections 22-25 in the copywriting program. That will get you started.

Congratulations to Steve S. and Kammy T., who wrote in to tell us about their latest paid assignments:

"I guess I can now finally call myself a professional freelance copywriter, as an assignment I picked up through Direct Response Jobs is now "live" on-line, and I’m awaiting a formal contract for commission payments."

– Steve S.

"Just had to share… I hit 3 out of 3 on the spec assignments I sent in from Bootcamp. I just heard from Agora’s new magazine, Money Chronicles, and they not only bought the lead I sent in, but they’ve given me 2 additional projects. Lori & Jen really liked the sales letter I did for Travel Writers and already set up a March 1 mailing. Lori is sending over a new project for another of their products. And the letter I did for ETR will mail soon as well. Yes!!!"

– Kammy T.

After reading the article in Issue #158 on avoiding computer disasters, Sean W. wrote in with another suggestion on how to back up your files – for free:

"You can also back up your files (up to 30MB) for free using the ‘Briefcase’ service from Yahoo. Each email address you use for this service entitles you to 30MB of storage online: free from hard disk crash and accessible anywhere, any time!"

– Sean W.

Thanks to one and all. Keep those emails coming!


The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: February 28, 2005

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