Start with a hook. Create effective, striking sales letters, brochures, and ads by starting with a hook – an enticing opener that makes readers want to keep on reading. To create a hook, put yourself in your potential clients’ or customers’ place. Think the way they think. What do they care about most when looking for someone with your expertise or product? What problems can you help them solve? Answers to those questions will lead you to an attention-grabbing hook.
Emphasize benefits, not features. Benefits are what your clients gain by doing business with you. That’s what they want to hear about. Appeal to emotions and needs. How will their lives improve by using your services or products? Offer benefits first; then briefly explain the features that provide those benefits.
Features describe your business. For example, a desktop publisher’s features might include accuracy, one-day service, and pick-up and delivery. To appeal to clients, change the focus of features so that they become benefits. In this case, accuracy becomes “make a good impression,” one-day service becomes “meet your deadlines,” and pick-up and delivery becomes “save time and money.”
Use powerful, active words. Make your message compelling and direct, urging readers to act. Give specific information. Avoid vague words like very, somewhat, andmany. Delete unnecessary words. Remember: short, simple words are more powerful than long, obscure words.
Think before you write. You have to know exactly what you want to say before you can say it with clarity. And you have to know something about your readers. Before you begin to write, ask yourself these questions:
- Who are my potential clients or customers?
- What writing style and graphics will best engage them?
- What action do I want them to take?
- How shall I organize my call to action?
- How can I make my message compelling?
- What image do I want to project?
Create visual appeal. Leave liberal amounts of white (empty) space. The white space in your sales letters, brochures, fliers, or print ads is just as important as the filled space. White space is easy on the eye and draws attention to the content it surrounds.
The easier your marketing material is to read, the more attention it will get. Text blocks of varying sizes make for easier reading and bring dynamism to your page. Spaces between paragraphs are also easy on the eye. ALL CAPS ARE HARDER TO READ THAN a combination of Upper and Lower Case.
Set wide margins ragged on the right in business letters, justified in newsletters. Choose an easy-to-read typeface. Use a serif font in letters or in any piece that is text heavy, because serif is easier to read than sans serif. Save sans serif for titles or headlines. For brochures or print ads, hire a graphic designer; a handsomely designed marketing piece can do wonders to attract new business.
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