Whether you’re creating a sales letter, a brochure, a newsletter, or any other business promotional piece, you need to write in a way that not only explains your product or service, but that also compels your prospects to contact you.
A well-written promotional piece entices people to seek out more information, whether it be via a phone call, an e-mail, or an in-person visit. A good promotional piece also showcases your professionalism and your creativity.
The key word to remember here is “entice.” Your promotional piece should not give every detail – that’s your sales department’s job. The promotional piece is merely the introduction.
Unfortunately, many promotional pieces miss the mark. Outrageous claims, weak calls to action, and sloppy formatting are the common mistakes that plague most people’s writing. Such errors accomplish only one thing: They destine your promotional piece for the infamous “round file.” They also show prospects that you’re lazy, uncreative, and possibly incapable of delivering quality work.
In order to entice prospects to contact you based on your promotional mailings, you need to keep your writing both lively and factual. The following guidelines will help you write promotional pieces that even your toughest prospects can’t resist.
1. Make it readable.
Only use white, off-white, or other soothing paper colors. If you think using outrageous paper colors, such as neon yellow or fuchsia, will gain attention, think again. Hurting someone’s eyes is not the way to gain attention. Also, be mindful of the font you choose. Sure, your computer comes with all sorts of innovative fonts, but this is not the time to try them out. Stick with a simple font, such as Time New Roman or Arial, in a 10, 11, or 12-point type. If you have to make your print tiny in order to squeeze everything in your allotted space, then you’re saying too much. As Shakespeare said, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” In the case of promotional writing, “Brevity is the showcase of your wits.”
2. Write a headline that gets to the point.
You have less than five seconds to impress your prospects to read on. And the first thing any prospect reads is the piece’s headline. So craft a compelling headline that immediately conveys why this information is important to your prospects.
The four main headline formulas that work are:
· How To – The formula is “How to” + verb + product/service/noun + benefit.
Example: How to Create a Store Promotion that Increases Revenue
· New – The formula is “New” + product/service + benefit.
Example: New Tax Law Saves You Money
· Power Verb – The formula is “Power Verb” + product/service + benefit.
Example: Prepare a Business Plan that Boosts Company Profits
· Free – The formula is “Free” + product/service + benefit.
Example: Free Booklet Reveals the Secret to Lowering Your Interest Rate
Regardless of the headline formula you choose, avoid sounding like an infomercial or a used-car salesperson. Since your headline determines if the prospect keeps reading, craft yours wisely.
3. Keep the hype to a minimum.
Many people think that in order to solicit interest in their promotional piece they must write something outrageous. To some degree, this is true . Saying something outrageous is a great way to generate interest, as people naturally love controversy. Plus, if you can stir things up, you’ll get lots of exposure. The thing to remember, however, is that you must be prepared to answer questions and/or prove everything you write. So if you want to write something just for sensationalism but can’t back it up, don’t. You must be able to support everything you print.
4. Go easy on the posturing.
While you may produce the best products or offer the most unique services in the world, that is for your prospects to decide. Every superlative you use in your promotional piece will reduce the prospect’s trust in what you say. So instead of telling prospects that your product is “the most extraordinary widget to hit the market” or that your service is “capable of revolutionizing the industry,” show your prospects how these claims are possible. Give the benefits of using the product or service as they pertain to your prospects’ lives so they can determine just how extraordinary or revolutionary the product or service really is.
5. Evoke images.
As you write, evoke more than one of the five senses. Paint a picture with your words so prospects see, hear, smell, taste, and feel what you’re describing. Contrary to popular belief, the best promotional writers think in pictures, not words. They see the image they want to convey to their prospects, and that’s what they write. So if you’re a candy manufacturer or a florist, for example, write so that your readers smell the candy or the flowers, not just see what they look like. If you’re in the restaurant business, help your readers taste the food. If you’re writing about business productivity, help your prospects hear the hustle of productivity and feel the rush of a sales call. Do more than just tell prospects what’s going on.
6. Always make a compelling call to action.
What do you want the person reading your sales letter, brochure, or other promotional piece to do? Buy your product? Call you for more information? Visit your web site? Whatever action you want your prospects to take, state it clearly. Too many promotional pieces ramble on about all the features and benefits of the product, but they never tell the prospects to actually do anything. For example, in a sales letter you could write: “Please call our office immediately for more information on how we can help.” A brochure could say: “Order the widget at our special introductory price today.” In a newsletter you could write: “Visit our web site for more information about our new product line.” Tell prospects precisely what you want them to do.
7. Clearly state your contact information.
Always let prospects know whom to contact and how to do so. List a name, phone number, and e-mail address prominently on every piece. Rarely will prospects search for your contact information, so display it prominently at the top and bottom of every page. Highlight the contact information if it blends in with the text too much. Remember, the goal is for your prospects to contact you. Make it easy for them to do so.
Make Your Promotional Pieces Work for You
When your promotional pieces present your information in the most compelling and factual manner, your prospects will find them and your company irresistible. So as you write future sales letters, brochures, or other promotional pieces, keep these guidelines in mind. When you do, you’ll create a promotional piece that delights prospects and makes them eager to do business with you. With well-written promotional pieces, you will attract more and better clients to help your business grow.
About the Author:
Dawn Josephson is the author of Putting It On Paper: The Ground Rules for Creating Promotional Pieces that Sell Books (ISBN 0-9744966-1-8). Contact her via e-mail dawn.cameopublications.com or by calling 843-785-3770.