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Why your letter to Santa is just a form of direct response marketing…

Knowing how to write a persuasive letter to Santa or anyone else is a crucial direct response marketing skill. We know that Santa does his best to get you everything you want at Christmas. Especially if you’ve been nice. But if you’ve been naughty, you need to make that letter you send up the chimney particularly persuasive. This is my typical letter to Santa:

Now Santa was very tolerant of my writing skills, and I generally got what I asked for. But as I’ve got older (and naughtier) I’ve needed a few more tips and tricks to get people to give me what I’m requesting. So here’s what I’d tell my nine year old self about writing a killer letter to Santa. Or to anyone.

Six top tips for writing a killer letter to Santa 

Think about your target audience.

So what makes Santa tick? Yes, he’s a kindly ancient saint who enjoys giving presents to children, but what else do we know about him? What does he get out of giving you what you want? Well, like most saints, he cares about whether you’ve been naughty or nice. So finding ways of assuring him that he’s bestowing gifts on a ‘nice’ child, and making him feel involved so that he invests emotionally in your requests is a good idea. Your story needs to become his story. With Santa, a personal narrative – in fact the personal touch – will probably work well.

Write a good headline

We know Santa gets a lot of letters… So yours needs a good headline in order to stand out. It needs to be short, and punchy. A word or phrase that gets him interested, involved and wanting to know more. Or that tells him what’s in it for him.

Use strong subheads

Santa has a lot of reading to get through. And strong sub heads can keep him interested in what you’re saying, and sum it up/orientate him so that he knows exactly where to find the information he’s looking for when he scans your letter again later. For instance, I’d summarise your wish list under one, and tell him how to deliver under another. Make it easy for him. Those chimney caps can be tricky to remove!

Don’t forget to sign your letter and include your address

The elves need to know exactly how to label your presents so that they don’t get delivered to some other lucky child by mistake.

Use good spelling and grammar, and sign off correctly too

We all know that Santa checks his list twice. You should check your letter twice too. Look it over carefully looking for spelling, grammar and punctuation. Printing it out, or reading it aloud will help you to spot mistakes, such as repeated words. Signing off correctly is also important. When writing to someone you know by name, you should sign off ‘yours sincerely’. If you don’t have a name then it should be ‘yours faithfully’. But as Santa is someone you’ve been writing to for years, ‘best regards’ or ‘best wishes’ are also good options.

Include a compelling P.S.

This is your final opportunity to give Santa a reason to respond favourably and to remember your requests despite all the other demands on his time. So you could throw in another incentive – such as the fact that you’ll leave warm home-made mince pies out waiting for him. Anything to get him to turn up early on while he still has a few bikes on his sleigh…

We can always do it for you

If you’re having a problem writing that persuasive letter or email to Santa or anyone else, we can always do it for you. Give us a call on 0845 2606 255 or email us at enquiries@oxygenagency.co.uk.

Steve Lodge :Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.