Three Reasons Why Your Mailer Failed

There are only three reasons why a direct mail piece fails to pull a response for your business:

  1. The piece was mailed to the incorrect prospect for the product or service. (i.e. you have an old, bad, or incorrectly targeted mailing list.)
  2. The piece that was mailed did not communicate to the reader.
  3. No follow-up or consistency of mailing.

Unlike with other methods of advertising your small business where the problems and reasons why it failed are clouded, direct mail marketing is the opposite…the fix is always simple. All three of the above reasons are within your power to handle and fix.

Direct mail is the only form of advertising that does reach 100% of the time your best prospective new customer. So if the mailing list that you’re using is good, you can rule that out and the next thing to check is the design and message of your mailer. We know that the United States Post Office delivers the mail, every day. We know that people get their mail from their mailboxes and go through their mail. What happens or doesn’t happen after they get the mailer is a failure in communicating.

The following is a checklist for debugging the failure to communicate in a direct mail piece:

  1. Did you try to advertise more than one service or product? Loading a direct mail piece or any other form of advertising with more than one product or service can cause confusion for the reader. People have short attention spans nowadays and will not read a lot of copy.
  2. Did your mailer have too much copy? You have to have photos and graphics to break up the copy. No one wants to read a textbook.
  3. Did you promote the benefits of owning the product or having the service?
  4. Did you have a headline that stated the benefit of the product or service?
  5. Did you give the reader a reason to buy? A special offer? Something to get them to respond now? Whatever it is, it has to have a perceived value.
  6. Was the special offer a good value based on what your competitors are offering?
  7. Did you give them a way to respond that is obvious? The phone number needs to be in a large bold font, that is easy to find and see. Is the email or website easy to find?
  8. Did you ask them to respond and give them an expiration date for the offer you presented in the piece?
  9. Did you avoid using industry terms that a normal person would not know the meaning of?
  10. Was the piece easy to read?
  11. Could you look at it and in 2 seconds know what it is about?

Direct mail marketing is easy. The failure to communicate is a big reason you did not get a response.

You could also have gotten a huge response and simply did not know it. You might be thinking, “Wait! That does not make any sense. How could I have not known I got a response?”

Today people will respond to your advertising in one of three ways:

  • They will call
  • They will walk into your store.
  • They will go to your website and check you and your company out.

In fact, 98% of people who are interested in your offer will go to your website long before they call or buy something from you. If your website is old or not designed to convert leads you are losing business. Having a well-designed website is vital to your business’s success today.

We offer free website analysis and can give you tips that you can use to make your website better and convert more leads. For more information, click here.

What Is The Best Way to Generate a New Lead Today?

There is no doubt that it takes more effort to generate a new lead today than it did a few years ago.

Research has shown that the average prospect will respond to advertising and marketing after 8 to 12 contacts (or touches).  My feeling is that it takes even more touches than that to get a response today. People are over-advertised nowadays and ads are everywhere. The average person is exposed to over 1800+ advertising messages in a single day.

To further complicate the process of getting a new customer, the Internet puts you right smack in the middle of a pot of competitive stew.  There are so many choices for your prospects. Who do they choose? The sheer volume of choices a person who is interested in your services has created a sort of bottleneck in your prospective new customer’s mind and complicates their decision-making process.

It use to be that you ran an ad in the local paper or sent out a mailer and you were able to tell exactly what you got for the expense. Not any more.

So what do you do? You need new customers, in fact, if you are not seeking new potential new customers for your business, more aggressive competitors will soon leave you in the dust.

So what is the best way to generate a new lead today?

The answer to that question is in three parts:

  1. You have to get noticed.
  2. You have to create interest.
  3. You have to follow-up, and follow-up, and follow-up… and follow-up some more.

funnel to generate a new lead todayWhen it comes to the “sales funnel” there are four types of potential new customers for your business:

1) A SUSPECT:  This is a group of people you think would be good prospective new customers for your business.

  • This is based on a profile you put together for who is the best buyer of your product or service.
  • It is from this “profile” that you get the mailing list or select the media that best reaches these people.
  • Suspects are at the top and wide end of your sales funnel. You want lots of them to load at the top of your company’s sales funnel.

2) A LEAD: A lead is someone who has responded to your advertising. You usually do not know much about them other than they filled out a form on your website or called in for an estimate.  They may or may not be a qualified buyer for you. You will not know until you have a conversation with them and qualify them.

  • Just because you talked to them once does not mean they will automatically open their wallets and buy. This is especially true the larger the ticket of the item you are selling. So, you follow-up & follow-up.
  • A lot of work goes into the “lead” section of your sales funnel because your company is most likely not the only one this person has reached out to. They are in the researching phase of the buying cycle.
  • The rule of thumb is the squeaky wheel when gets the grease. The grease is in this situation is your following-up with them.

3) A PROSPECT: This is a lead that you have spoken to and qualified to be a good potential new customer for your business.

A prospect is someone who has reached out to you and you have had a conversation with. You know a little about them and what they want. Maybe you sent them a proposal.

  • You have decided that this person is a good potential new customer for your business.
  • You present them and if you don’t close them, you follow up with them.
  • It may require you to send them a brochure that explains the benefits and answer typical questions.

4) A CUSTOMER: This one is obvious. The person bought something from you. This is the bottom of the funnel. The majority of the work is done to create a new customer.

  • You still want to have a marketing program the goes to your customers on a regular or semi-regular basis.

The majority of businesses today are losing hundreds of prospects because they do not know who is on their website and do not have a tool to follow up with any anonymous visitors to their website. Our Direct Mail Scout program gives small businesses the tools to identify and follow up with website traffic.

The best way to generate a new customer is by hitting your “suspects” from a variety of channels.  A channel is simply the medium you are using to advertise, i.e. direct mail, email marketing,  Facebook, Google advertising, TV, etc.

You are trying to do two things when you advertise…get ATTENTION and generate INTEREST.

For our clients, we offer a program called Direct Mail Scout where we hit the prospect in the following ways for our clients in a single program.

  • Direct mail is still the best way to get in front of the majority of people. Mailing lists have come a long way and you can precisely target who you want to reach.
  • Google ads, both geo-targeting and remarketing.
  • Facebook, both geo-targeting and remarketing.
  • Gmail ads, 65% of the population has a Gmail account and Gmail runs ads at the top of the email inbox.
  • Email sent by USPS as part of their Informed Delivery program. This program announces that your mailpiece is being delivered.
  • Youtube video The 2nd largest volume of searches on the Internet is Youtube.
  • LeadMatch. We identify prospects who went to your website and left. It is like a caller-ID for your website. With LeadMatch you can build a list of hot prospects to market to.

The biggest error most business owners and marketing people make is that they do not understand what it takes to generate a lead today. There is no shortcut way to do it and no one medium can do the job by itself. That is where we come in to coordinate and execute for you. For more information, click here.

10 Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of Your Brochure

What will make your small business’s brochures more effective?

The following are 10 powerful techniques that will help you improve the look and the effectiveness of your business’s sales brochures and marketing material that you give your customers.

Brochures have been used by businesses to sell products and services for decades, yet most brochures that are designed for business use are ineffective. Why is that?

1. The purpose of the brochure is forgotten and the design proceeds haphazardly.

The purpose of any brochure is to guide the reader/buyer towards the decision to buy or to validate his decision to buy.

2. The second reason a small business brochure fails is the business owner wants to have a brochure with a laundry list of everything they offer or use too many product features with no benefits.

The purpose is usually overlooked and the brochure is laden with too much copy.

Resist the urge to laundry list everything your company does in one brochure.

3. Not enough graphics or graphics that do not support the message. Graphics are photos and design elements that always should support the message of your brochure.

People will always look at a photo first and read the copy second.

4. Always present your product in light of the problem that it solves. People buy benefits of your product or service for emotional reasons. The bigger the ticket item you are selling the more benefits you need to sell it.

Each product has its own benefits that address a specific need or problem the customer wants to solve.

5.  Hire a graphic designer to design your brochure. A designer has more tools for designing a brochure than you would have. The money you pay will be returned in sales.

Tip: if you hire a graphic designer always get the raw digital design files and store them where you can find them later. You will need them in the future when you get the brochure reprinted and want to make changes.

Your printer will need the files to make changes.

6. Create the brochure with the reader’s point of view in mind. Before you sit down and slap together a brochure, spend some time looking at the end-user.

  • Who are you trying to influence with the brochure?
  • Why would they want to buy your product?
  • What is in it for them to have your product?
  • What are the problems your product or service can solve for them?

In the end, people have an interest in your product based on what they need and want.

7.  Do not be boring. The easiest way to be boring is to load your brochure up with clichés. Write the copy for your brochure so that it is entertaining and easy to read. Nobody likes to read a textbook.

Avoid saying things like “conveniently located”, “in business for 50 years” and do not put a photo of your building on the cover of the brochure, unless somehow your building is of some benefit to the reader.

8. Survey the draft of your brochure by showing it to a few of your customers.

I said show to your customers, not Sally your bookkeeper or Jim your salesman “because he works with customers and knows”.

The only person’s point of view that matters is your customer’s:

  • What caught their eye first?
  • What decision about the product or service did they make?
  • Is there anything they did not understand?

9. Do not use industry terms unless you explain what it is or means. The quickest way to turn off your reader is to present a term they will not understand because they are not in your business.

Never assume the reader knows. You want the reader to buy your product or service and people do not buy things that they are confused about or do not understand. Present it in plain English without talking down to the reader.

10. Do not forget the call to action. Ask them to respond. Make it easy for them to respond.

These are the basics of designing a brochure but not everything you should know. The actuality of designing a brochure has its own rules I have outlined in our other blog articles.

If you need help designing a brochure for your business please give us a call. We are here to help.

5 Reasons Why Sending Holiday Cards is Always a Good Idea

The mood in the country changes between October through December each year. Virtually all the people in the US celebrate the holiday season in one way or the other. People are happy and in a giving mood.

5 Reasons Why Sending Holiday Cards To Your Customers Is A Good Idea:

  1. My question to you is why would you not want to associate your business with the biggest event of the year. It’s huge and people are happy about it.
  2. Staying in front of your customer and prospective new clients is always a good idea. Sending holiday or Christmas cards is a great way to do this. It’s a PR world and anything you can do to generate goodwill is a good idea for your business. 
  3. Custom Christmas cards help brand your business. In today’s world,  your brand is the most important asset you have for your business, next to your customer database. Sending holiday/Christmas cards builds your brand and reinforces your relationship with your customers, clients, or patients.
  4. Include a coupon inside your holiday card to help boost your sales in the first quarter.  Christmas cards have almost a 100% open rate and are an excellent way to deliver a “gift coupon”. We can send you samples of this if you like.
  5.  Holiday cards let your customers, clients, or patients know that you appreciate their patronage.

Tips For Saving Money When Sending Out Christmas Cards For Your Business

It is always less expensive to buy in bulk. The more you buy the lower the cost per piece will be.

For quantities over 250 we can save you 50% on the cost of postage by mailing your holiday cards out using bulk presort postage.

Order early. We offer discounts beginning in July for early orders of holiday cards. It helps us manage the “Christmas card rush” that happens around Thanksgiving every year.

Always include a special gift coupon in your holiday card. The sales generated from doing this pay for the expense of sending the holiday cards out.

TIP: If you are in a service industry, such as financial advisors or real estate, it is a good idea to put a referral card in with your Christmas card.

TIP: If you would like to send something out more personal, we can print your card with your customer’s name on the front of the holiday card. Example  “Alan, We Wish You the Happiest of Holidays”. Having the person’s name on the card adds a personal touch to your already personal holiday cards.

I hope this article gave you some ideas for your business for the upcoming holiday season. If you would like to see samples of holiday/Christmas cards or have a catalog sent to you, please click here.

8 Steps For A Better Brochure Design For Your Business

people discuss the purpose of a brochure

Ok, you’ve decided that your small business needs a brochure but where do you start?

If you want to create a brochure for your business that is effective the first step is to decide on what the purpose of the brochure will be?

The purpose of a brochure is the first step because having a clear goal of what you want the brochure to do will guide you through the design process and help you to make those decisions about what to include in it.

Common Purposes of Brochures:

  • To help close prospects.
  • To promote a specific product.
  • Overall company introduction.
  • To educate prospects about the options they have.
  • Product information/instruction sheet.

Once you have a purpose for your brochure delineated the rest of the design process will be easier for you.

Step 2:  Write down what you want to promote in your brochure. Is it a product or a service?

Step 3: List out the benefits of what you are promoting. For this part of the process, you will need to look at your product or service from the viewpoint of your customer, client, or patient.

  • Why would they want to buy the product or service?
  • What problem does your product or service solve for them?
  • How are you going to make life easier for them?
  • What is in it for them to buy from you?

Step 4: The headline.

Your headline should communicate the benefit or solution to a problem in a short and sweet communication.

Your headline is the most important part of your copy because it is the one thing that will draw the attention of the reader.  To use a fishing analogy, your headline is the bait on your marketing hook.

Step 5: Main copy.

Resist the urge to put too much information in the brochure, unless it is a product information sheet used after the sale (even this can be brief).

When putting together the main body of copy the following will help:

  • Think in terms of concise points. Today we live in a sound bite, bullet point era.
  • Always direct the copy to explain and sell the benefits of owning the product or having the service. It’s ok to have features of a product but always communicate a benefit of that feature. Too many times I see brochures with features and no benefits. NEVER assume the reader will automatically know the benefit of the product or service.
  • Include testimonials or reviews in the brochure.

Step 6: Use appropriate graphics that support your message. Picture and photos should support your message.  Also, do not put graphics in just for the sake of having graphics. A professional graphic artist can help you find just the right images for your brochure.

Step 7:  Call to action. This point is neglected or left out entirely on 80% of brochures. The reason most businesses want a brochure is to sell something but they leave out a call to action.

A call to action is a direct message telling the reader how to respond and why they should respond now.

10 common mistakes in brochures ebook


10 Common Mistakes and Pitfalls Made On Brochures!

    Hire a professional to help you design your brochure. Sure you can do it yourself but you probably lack the technical know-how, the professional design programs, the access to graphics, and the time to actually design the brochure.

    If you have gone through the above exercise you will be able to communicate to the graphic designer the information to get a great-looking brochure.

    We offer graphic design at a low cost if you are having us print your brochure for you.

    4 Steps You Need To Do To Make Postcards for Business Work

    What do you need to make a postcard for your business work? There are 4 basic steps that need to be present in order for a marketing postcard to work but before that, you need to have a basic strategy.

    How To Make Postcards Work
    1. Market Research. Find out who your idea client is.
    2. Think of a Benefit. Why should a prospect purchase from you?
    3. Call To Action. Why should your prospect pick up the phone and call right now?
    4. Consistency. You need to mail to your prospects consistently.

    The overall strategy for your postcard campaign needs to be thought out before you even get to the design step. Too often we see a business owner say, “Okay, time to promote let’s do a postcard” and then throw together a postcard for his business quickly.

    The problem you will run into with the “throw something together quickly” strategy is that you are likely to just throw something together without much thought to it.

    When it comes to any marketing and advertising, a campaign that is thrown together will likely fail.

    The streets are littered with the failed hopes of many business owners who “threw something together” and hoped it would work.

    The first step on the road to being broke is to hope your advertising will work.

    Decide what service or product you want to promote with a postcard?

    Step 1: Who buys this product or service?

    • What characteristics does this group of prospects have?
    • Where do they live?
    • What is their income?
    • Do they have families?
    • Do they need to be creditworthy to buy this product or service?
    • Anything else that differentiates and helps to identify this group of prospects?

    The above information is important for two reasons.

    One: for a targeted mailing list. This is one of the biggest reasons a postcard mailer fails. The postcard is mailed to the wrong people for your business!

    We can get a mailing list that is very refined to reach a specific group of prospects.

    Two: when you design a card it has to appeal to the recipient.  Knowing who the postcard is mailing to will help the designer make the message appeal to the prospect.

    Step 2: What are the benefits of the product you want to promote using postcards?

    Why do people buy the product or service?

    What problem does it solve for the prospect?

    Step 3: Offer or Call to Action.  An offer or call to action is important because your offer is often the hook that pulls the prospect in to do business with you.

    • Before you set the offer or special, research what your competitors are offering.
      • FACT: 98% of the people who have an interest in your postcard and your business will go to your website first to do research, and also to your competitor’s site. If a competitor has a cheaper price the prospect will go to them.
    • If you cannot compete on service, is there anything you can offer that will add value?
      • For example, we were working with an auto repair shop that offers a free car wash with an oil change. The car wash cost them little but was perceived as a value to the prospect.

    Step 4: Consistency. Other than the above points, consistency of mailing is the main reason for a postcard mailer not working.

    There is no such thing as one-and-done marketing. The one mailer to test to see if it works will always fail.

    Every product has a buying cycle. The bigger the ticket item you are selling, the more people will shop and research. The buying cycle goes from:

    1. Prospect notices they might want the product/service.
    2. Prospect wonders where to get it and how much does it cost?
    3. Prospect now really wants it.
    4. Prospect wonders who is best to buy product/service from?
    5. Prospect is ready to buy it.

    Your target market has many prospective clients who are in the various stages of the buying cycle.  Over the course of several months, you will have more people who will come into the market for your product or service.

    Just by mailing your postcard, you are in fact creating prospects. People who before they received your mailer were not even thinking about owning your product or service, or maybe did not need it but today their A/C broke down and now they are looking.

    Incidentally, this is why direct mail is superior to internet marketing because the internet only reaches people who are searching right now. The “searching now “ prospects are being heavily marketed to by much larger competitors.  It is a very competitive space.

    There is a rule in marketing that says 100% of people will buy from a company or individual they know over a company they have never heard of or just heard of. By mailing consistently to a group of prospects you are creating familiarity with your business which means more people will buy from you because they know of you.

    Know that you have the basics down for your mailer. Here is a link to the 10 design tips that get your postcard noticed.

    How To Drive Interested Prospects to Your Business Every Day for Pennies

    No doubt about it, we are living in a digital age. Never has it been easier and faster for consumers to research, shop, and buy.

    I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. But do you know how to maximize technology to generate more sales for your business?

    How To Drive Interested Prospects to Your Business

    So the big question is for my small business owners–is throwing up a website enough technology to generate sales for your business? This is okay and is a good start, but alone is not enough to generate quality leads in this digital era we live in.

    Once upon a time, not too long ago, it use to be that a website was a sort of online brochure or business card that you sort of threw up with a few keywords built-in and that was enough for any small business. This was fine when there was not much traffic on the Internet and your competition was limited.

    Then one day, some guy in silicon valley thought what if we could make a phone smarter?  And boom, the first smartphone came out and people loved them. Then a few years later Wi-Fi was put everywhere. Now it became so easy to go online.

    Today 98% of people will research online before buying a product or service from a company. The bigger the ticket item, the longer they will research and shop.

    You have a website for your business up. So all should be good, right? Wrong.

    First things first, you have to get traffic to your website. Then you have to convert visitors by getting them to fill out a form or download something.

    According to Google, 96% of traffic to the average website leaves without taking further action. (Some websites it is closer to 99.99% of people leave without taking further action.)

    How many leads have you gotten from your website this week, this month, this year?  If the answer is “not many” you are missing some marketing points.

    Point 1: You have to get people to your website. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) helps but it still relies on chance. There is no business in existence today that does not have 100x more competition than it did just 10 years ago. So SEO by itself is not enough.

    Your competition is a lot better organized and has more funding for competing on the Internet.

    So what do you do?  Hire some 20-something year old to run some Google ads or Facebook ads? It’s better than nothing but you will probably spend a lot of money and not get much business, especially if your website is not designed to convert traffic to leads and customers.

    Point 2: The best way today to create traffic and sales is Direct Mail.  Direct mail is the only form of advertising where you can reach 100% of your best prospects with limited competition.

    You might say, I’m not interested, postage is too expensive.

    If you are running Google PPC ads, depending on the industry you are in, you are going to pay anywhere from $2.50 on the low end, to $50 – $60 per click on your ad.  A click does not mean anything unless you get a new customer.

    Unless you know what you are doing you might even have a lot of people clicking on your ad who are not qualified or are looking for something you do not even offer.

    Or on the flip side, you can get a mailing list of the exact people that you want to do business with and the United States Post Office will deliver into their hot little hands a targeted mailer from your business for only about 19 to 29 cents.

    They are going to see your message. They are going to hold your message. Now what they do after this is going to be one of three things:

    ONE: They are going to throw your mailer in the trash because they are not in the market or because your message did not generate interest for what you sell.

    TWO: If your message piques their interest, 98% are going to Google your business, read your reviews and check out your business on the Internet.

    If your website is confusing, difficult to navigate, or not set up to convert the traffic to leads, then you are not going to get a lead. They will go to the next business (your competitor) that pops up on the Google Search when they typed your name into the browser.

    We help small businesses by building websites that convert more visitors to customers. We also have methods we use to identify and follow around prospects who have been on your website after they visit your site. (It is part of our Direct Mail Scout program.)

    THREE: Being so interested and inspired the prospect picks up the phone and calls you. This is usually a very low percentage at first.

    Remember you have piqued their interest. They are not ready to buy or talk to someone. They are researching. How long they research and shop depends on how big the ticket item or commitment is.

    The point I want to make is that if someone is on your website today THEY HAVE SOME SORT OF INTEREST, NEED, OR QUESTION. They are a prospect. You are losing business if you do not have the tools in place to convert that interested person to a bonafide lead.

    Most businesses spend a lot of money marketing but will lose their hottest prospects because they do not have a way to follow up with and market to these hot prospects.

    Direct Mail Scout is a game-changer for a small business. It combines target direct mail, with Google, Facebook, and even Youtube to follow up with your hottest prospects every day – affordably. Direct Mail Scout, most importantly, will also identify prospects who are on your website with no form fill out required.

    If you are tired of wasting money on marketing that does not produce, you should schedule a no-obligation demonstration of the Direct Mail Scout program.

    Your Small Business Website

    What is the best website builder for small businesses? Should you use a website template and do it yourself?

    Should you have your niece build a website? (After all, she is a millennial, and they all pop out of the womb experts in the internet and websites.)

    What about hiring a professional? Oh, wait! That sounds too expensive! How much would it really cost to get a new website designed for my business? Ah, forget it I probably can’t afford it.

    small business website

    So what is the best way to get a website built for your small business?

    If your concern is simply price and getting a website designed for cheap, well there are thousands of options for you.

    What you should be asking is how do you get a website built that will generate new customers and sales for your business.

    10 years ago you could get away with throwing up a cheap website. Not any more.

    98% of your prospects will research and shop online long before they make a purchase.  The bigger the ticket item the longer people will shop.  So having a good website is vital today. Notice I said good, not cheap and there is no such thing as good and cheap.

    Your business’s first contact with a new prospective customer today often will be via your business website.  Most businesses have hundreds of competitors online so having a website that represents you well is very important.

    If you have a home service business like HVAC, plumbing, electrical, landscaping, or anything related to construction, roofing, or building your website is the first impression and your prospects will make a value judgment. In short, you do not want to look like a “chuck with a truck”. Even if you started your business last week your website needs to convey professionalism and communicate that your company is the “safe & right decision” for your potential customer to make.

     Sorry, that’s just the way it is.

    Things You Have To Have On Your Small Business Website

    • Obviously, your website has to look aesthetically pleasing. Things like font choice, color balance, eye trail, and correct graphic elements combined that sell your story and business.
    • Your website has to be easy to navigate. This is more difficult than you think, as most cookie-cutter sites are not set up for this. If you do not know how to program and change the template your website will fail.
    • Your website has to be optimized so you show up on searches. 72% of people do not get past the first page of a Google search. Are you aware of how and what people are searching for when it comes to your business?
    • It has to have a flow pattern that guides people through the visit.
    • Do you know what causes people to hit the close button leaving your website to go to a competitor’s website?
    • Do you know what the tools are to help convert visitors to leads?
    • Do you know how to drive traffic to your website?

    Having a poorly designed small business website today could cost your business hundreds of thousands in lost opportunities and sales.

    So the money you are saving by “doing it yourself” is not saving you money and is, in fact, shackling your company sales and growth and potentially losing you money.

    So how much should you expect to spend when having a professional design a website for you?

    The answer to that question is, it depends on what you need.

    For a basic business website, you should expect to spend anywhere between $2000 to $3000 (90% of businesses fall into the basic website category). For a website that is more advanced, it will range between $6000 to $20,000 in cost to build.  (Advanced websites get into building design and function from the ground up–a lot of custom programming, secure customer login portals, shopping carts, copywriting, user testing, and advanced SEO).

    It depends on your business and what you need.

    The money you spend on a website will be well worth it, as it will generate returns that far exceed the cost of building it.

    11 Ways to Make Business Brochures 10X More Effective

    Often a business brochure is thrown together. You grab a product photo or two, slap some verbiage together, and BAM you have a brochure. Unfortunately, you also probably have wasted your time and effort because your brochure will fail to communicate and invoke action.

    Why? Because there are at least 11 points that most brochures for small businesses leave out that will affect the overall performance of the brochure itself.

    woman looking at a business brochures

    By performance I mean results. The purpose of that beautiful full-color brochure is to move a customer to a decision to buy or at least closer to buying and to separate you from your competition.

    How can you make your business brochures more effective?

    The following are 11 powerful techniques that will improve the look and effectiveness of your business’s sales brochures.

    Your businesses marketing brochures will create an impression of professionalism and competence or it will leave the impression of a small-time shady operation.

    The bigger the ticket item the more important it is to have professionally designed and printed brochures and sales literature.

    So, what can you do to make your business brochures stand out and, more importantly, be effective? By effective, we’re talking about the result of getting people to buy your products and services.

    The following are 11 tips to help you create powerful sales brochures and literature:

    1. Start your planning with the reader’s point-of-view in mind. Before you sit down and slap together a brochure, spend some time looking at the end-user.
    • Who is your end-user?
    • What questions do they usually have?
    • What benefits of your product or service do they want?
    • How does your product or service solve a problem for them?
    1. What is the purpose of your brochure?
    • Is it to help over-come buying objections for a specific product or service?
    • Is it to educate the buyer about the benefits of a product or service?
    • Is it an overall company introduction piece?
    1. Promote only one product per brochure. Resist the urge to put every product or service you offer. The reason for this is your brochure will become too cluttered and will be hard to read and follow. The result is that no one will buy what you are trying to sell.

    I understand you want to showcase and highlight everything your business offers, but you should do a separate brochure for each product you offer.

    An example of this is your local bank; they have a separate brochure for checking accounts, credit cards, and mortgage loans. The reason is if you are interested in a checking account you want information about just checking accounts. Anything else in that brochure would distract you from what your main purpose is.

    1. The headline. Your headline is your main attention-getter.

    Your Headline has to convey the main benefit of the product or service expressed in easy to understand language.

    The purpose of a headline is to get the attention of the end-user and create an interest in reading your brochure. (There are some tricks to creating good headlines that Wilson Print Marketing can help you with.)

    1. Use of graphics. Choose graphic elements that help to communicate the message you want to convey. Graphic elements should support the message not distract from it.
    2. Avoid using industry terminology. If you have to use industry terms always define them and do not assume your reader will know what they mean. This is also true about specific designations and titles. The quickest way to lose your reader is to use terminology they do not understand.

    I have seen brochures that are so packed with big terms that it makes you wonder if they are trying to sell a product or impress you with how smart they are. What these brochures accomplish is in making the reader feel stupid.

    Every industry has terminology that everyone in the industry knows. The error is in assuming your reader/end-user will know and understand your terminology.

    When people come across terminology they don’t understand your intended communication is broken as a result. The reader’s eyes glass over and they throw the brochure away.

    1. Avoid being boring. The quickest way to be boring is to use tired worn-out cliché’s in your brochure.

    Avoid saying things like “conveniently located”, “in business for 50 years” and for god’s sake, do not put a photo of your building on the cover of the brochure, unless somehow your building is of some benefit to the reader.

    1. White space is your friend. Avoid packing brochures with too much copy. We are in a sound bite, small clip era – keep it short and simple.

    When your reader opens a brochure packed with information the instinct is to close it and put it down. This is called information overload.

    Use white space to calm the piece down, highlight main points and help sell your message. When the reader opens the brochure you want them to instantly be interested. Your brochure must appear easy read.

    1. Call-to-action is important. How do you want them to respond? Why should they respond now? Your call to action should be easy to see. Do not make the reader search around on how to respond.
    2. The Buy Now Offer. What is your ultimate goal? You want to sell something, right? Give the reader a reason/benefit of calling you now as opposed to six months from now. The buy-now is a marketing basic yet I am surprised how often this point is neglected.

    Without a buy-now offer, your piece is an image-branding piece. Branding and image are ok if you are a big company with a board of directors and investors you want to make feel good. Unfortunately, a small business needs and wants to sell something today and a sole branding piece does not sell.

    10 common mistakes in brochures ebook


    10 Common Mistakes and Pitfalls Made On Brochures!

      1. Resist the DIY impulse. I know it seems easy but there is more to designing a brochure than arranging photos and copy. Mistakes commonly made by DIY graphic designers are:
      • New Times Roman is not the best font to use.
      • Using several different fonts that are not in the same font family.
      • Boxy sterile-looking design.
      • No eye trail. You want to guide the reader’s eye. There are several tricks a professional designer uses to do this.
      • There is no color balance making your brochure look busy and difficult to read.
      • Folds and margins are off and can make your brochure look unprofessional.
      • NO, Vista Print template designers or any other online design templates are not good to use.

      Online graphic design templates are there to help the printer sell printing not to help you sell your product.

      You may feel like you are saving money on design but when your brochure does not work you end up wasting money on printing.

      Hire a professional to help you design your brochure for your small business and other sales literature. Wilson Print Marketing has several designers on staff to help you create the perfect brochure for your small business.

      Today more than ever, you need printed materials to market and sell your product or service. The problem with using only digital media and online literature is in 2 seconds your digital brochure is gone, a printed brochure is held, is real, and creates a lasting impression.

      7 Mistakes Financial Advisors Are Making With Their Website

      Let me ask you a question? How many new clients did you get from your website this year? How many leads came in from your website this week? If your answer is none or never, then your website is costing you new clients and revenue.

      Today, the potential clients you are targeting to help are between the ages of 57 to 70 years old. These people, particularly the 57 to 67 age group, represent the younger end of the Baby Boomer generation and the older edge of Generation X.

      Financial Advisor Website

      What does this mean for a Financial Advisor who is trying to win new clients for their practice? It means if your website is not up to par, you will and probably are losing business.

      Why? Because this group of prospective new clients came up with the internet and technology. They may not be as sharp as their children but they are comfortable and accustomed to researching on the internet. This means if your website is just an electronic billboard, then you are losing business from it.

      I am going to share with you the 7 biggest mistakes I see on the majority of financial advisor websites. So when you are hiring a company to build a website for your business, you will know what to watch out for.

      1.  The number one problem with websites that the majority of financial advisors have is the design of their website is outdated. It looks old and the content is confusing. The website does not engage the viewer and invite participation.

      2.  The content is difficult to understand. If a visitor to your website is greeted by strange words, industry terminology, and an alphabet soup of professional designations, they will be confused and quickly leave your website. Think about when was the last time you bought something from someone that you did not understand the product or program?

      I know you worked hard for and are proud of your designations, but if you are going to use them, at least define what the letters mean and more importantly why should the visitor care if you are a CEP, RFC, CLU, CFP, LUTCF, etc.

      The same way with industry terminology, do not assume that the visitor knows what an IUL is.

      3.  Your website is hard to navigate. When a prospect goes to your website they are looking for an answer to a question they have. Every industry can sum up what questions their prospects have to three, maybe four questions.

      When people go to your website they should be able to see where to go to get the answer or at least a promising direction for the answer. The rule of thumb is that a visitor should be no more than 2 – 3 clicks away from what they want.

      4.  Generic content. The trend in the industry is to purchase one of the canned websites for financial advisors. The problem is your website has no personality and looks the same as a half a dozen other financial advisors in your area. Because your content is the same as other advisors, you get penalized with Google and rank way down on the search list. Google ranks sites based on original or unique content.

      While getting one of these pre-canned FMG Suite websites is better than not having a website at all if you have one of these websites you will need to be thinking of the next step and upgrading your website if you want to grow your practice.

      5.  Brand yourself. Your clients buy you first and then your company second. Photos and more importantly short videos of you talking to the prospect go a long way to building trust.

      6.  No or awkward call to action. Look at what do you want the visitor to do on this page? Do you want the to download a report? Schedule an appointment? The call to action needs to be clear.

      7.  Your phone number is hard to find. Your phone number should not be in small print and hard to find. You need and want people to call you, so do not make it hard for them to do so.

      direct mail factsheet


      The Effectiveness of Direct Mail vs Other Forms of Marketing!

        Printed Business Brochures & Booklets Can Really Rock Your Company’s Sales

        Seems the whole world feels that using electronic promotional materials is the way to go. Are they right? Are digital marketing business brochures and booklets really the way to go?

        If you want to build your business, digital marketing will not do that by its self. Why?

        business brochures

        What is the Biggest Drawback of Digital Marketing Materials?

        The biggest drawback of digital marketing is it is not real. You cannot touch it, hold it, or recall it later. After it is off the screen, it is gone and replaced by another digital message, often your competition.

        The fact is people are inundated with digital marketing and online ads of Google & Social Media, and overwhelmed with spam emails and digital business brochures that sit flagged in their inbox, unread.

        It is too much!! People largely ignore the majority of digital marketing they are exposed to.

        Old school printed marketing materials, such as business brochures, booklets, catalogs, and flyers can be held, touched, and experienced by the reader. Printed brochures and booklets cut through the clutter and put your business in front of your prospective customer with no competition or spam filters.

        direct mail factsheet


        The Effectiveness of Direct Mail vs Other Forms of Marketing!

          Booklets allow you to showcase several products or services and are very beneficial for small businesses.

          Business brochures and flyers allow you to sell specific products and services.

          Where Do You Start When Designing Business Brochures?

          Should you do it yourself and use one of those online design templates? Or hire a graphic designer?

          The benefit of online templates is that they appear easy. The problem with online design templates is they are impossibly generic and terribly bland.

          The purpose of your printed business brochure or booklets is to communicate the benefits of your product or service to the reader to a point where the reader wants to buy something from you. The money you spend hiring a professional graphic designer will be well worth it because your brochure will be unique and will communicate to the reader.

          For there to be a communication to the reader you need to know how to combine the message with the design elements to first capture interest, then to build desire and then to bring it home with a call to action. There are specific tools of the trade a professional graphics designer has that will accomplish this. The online design templates do not offer this know-how.

          Growing your business involves communicating with prospective customers in ways that reach them regularly and often. Also reaching them in ways that will be remembered and responded to.

          Using printed marketing materials combined with digital marketing materials will take your business to the next level. You should use both digital and real printed marketing materials but err in the direction of giving your prospects something real, can be touched, held, and is remembered.

          10 common mistakes in brochures ebook

          FREE EBOOK

          10 Common Mistakes and Pitfalls Made On Brochures!

            Have a question about creating a custom brochure for your business or need a quote? Fill out the form below and one of our Marketing Consultants will give you a call.

            10 Tips For Business Website Design

            computers with business website designs on them

            Your business website design can be one of the single most important things to have for your business today. Many business owners and managers do not understand how vital a functional website is to the success of their business.

            Everything changed in the world of marketing back in 2007 when Apple released the first iPhone. Over the next few years Androids, iPads, and Notebooks flooded the market almost overnight. Now it is easier and more convenient than ever for people to access the Internet.

            If you were not paying attention, you might have missed this important trend which makes it vital for you to have a good website and not just an electronic billboard.

            Internet and Website Trends Today

            72% of people who have smartphones use it to access the internet. 51% of all internet traffic as of the writing of this article, is via a smartphone.

            What happens when someone sees an advertisement for your business today? 94% of people will go online and research your business. They will look at your website, services offered, and read your online reviews.

            According to Google Analytics, 96% of people who go to your website will leave without taking any further action. These people will not sign up for your electronic newsletter; they will not download a free report; they just leave and go to one of your competitors who came up when they Googled your company name.

            There is a term used in online marketing – conversions. This simply means the people from your website that converted to a lead by filling out a form or called you directly, or if you have a shopping cart they bought something.

            How your website is designed either help your conversions or hurts them. This means your website design will either generate leads and new customers or it won’t.

            As a business owner, website design may sound like a foreign world and very complicated. People who design websites tend to make it seem that way, often it just hides the fact that they don’t know what they are doing.

            10 Things To Consider When Creating a Business Website Design

            #1: It is very simple really. What do you want when you go to a website? You want answers to questions, product information, prices, and solutions to problems. You do not what to have to look around. The flow should be obvious. Elements should be clear.

            What things do your customers want to find when they are looking for your product or service?

            #2 What is your goal with your business website design? In other words, what is the purpose of your website?

            If you have a clear purpose of what you want to accomplish with your website it will be easier for you to communicate what is wanted to your web designer.

            #3 Pages with clear headlines that answer the question of “what is in it for me?”

            #4 Don’t use industry nomenclature and terminology. You will just confuse and cause your visitors’ eyes to glaze over and hasten a click out of your website. Explain in common language and present your services as benefits to the reader.

            #5 Basic elements are: what, why, and how will it help me and how much is it. These are the most common things people are looking for. The “how much?” should be limited because for most businesses when you put a price on the website it stops the reach to call you and you want them to contact you.

            Make it easy to contact you. The phone number should be prominently displayed everywhere possible.

            #6 Call to action buttons or “doorknobs” as they are called are obvious. A doorknob opens a door to another section on your website. Doorknobs should be related to the subject being addressed or direct the person to the next logical step on their quest for more information.

            #7 Don’t be obnoxious with pop-ups. Pop-ups are necessary to get conversions/leads but if used too much will drive people off your website.

            #8 If possible, make your website a resource. People are on the internet looking for help and solutions to a problem. Go out of your way to provide service and to provide useful information.

            The trick is to only provide enough information to “wet their whistle”, not to quench their thirst. You want to increase the reach of the person for more information to the point that they call or email you.

            #9 Note on domains: Everyone’s first instinct is to select a domain for their website that is their company name. Which in some circumstances is okay, but it is better to have a domain that has keywords that people would search for. For example, a financial advisor could have retirementplanning.com or taxplanning.com or retiremeright.com

            #10 hire a professional web designer. Just because WordPress and other services make it easy to design a website it does not mean you should have your brother-in-law or friend design it. There is a technology to designing and programming a website that you need to have in order to have a successful website.

            We have a business web design division with the best designers and programmers to help your business have the best possible website.

             Have a question? Fill out the form below and one of our Marketing Consultants will contact you shortly.