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ISSUE 1: How to write a letter that keeps residentsí spirits up (13 Sep 09)

A short, step-by-step guide to writing in a way that means something - and gets results

When you get right down to it, success or failure is often very simply measured.

Itís how many people attended the last meeting or event you promoted. And writing to get people to do something is quite a task. It means you are more often than not an ďaccidental marketerĒ.

Look at the simplest, yet most common test of your promotional writing abilities - writing to a couple of hundred households inviting them to a meeting to help set up a Residents Association.

I am sure you can identify with this. A small number of residents ask you to help them set up a residentsí group. You agree to help by sending a letter to advertise the meeting.

I wonder if we always realise how much hangs on the success of this letter. For the residents itís probably one of the most important letters anybody is going to write for them.

If it works it can get the group off to a flying start and the sky is the limit. If it fails and the meeting is a dud because no one shows up, heads lower and people moan about no one wanting to get involved. It can be terribly dispiriting.

Why are so many letters poor?

If such letters are so important, why donít more people take them more seriously? I am not saying we all donít but I attach a letter that I recently came across.

I suspect it looks very familiar to you. Perhaps itís like this because everyone is so busy with all the other groups they are supporting, so they donít give this sort of thing enough thought. Perhaps itís because we all write letters every day almost without thinking - and we donít think any more than usual about this one

I think, though, there is another more basic problem, and if you can crack it, you are 90% of the way to being able to write winning marketing material for all your residentsí groups and for any purpose.

Letís look at the letter in a bit more detail

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