12 Tips on writing an online brochure

12 Tips on writing a brochure that will support your (online) marketing efforts and increase your sales:

1. KNOW WHAT YOUR READER WANTS. Write your brochure or leaflet from the reader’s point of view. What are the reader’s concerns? What do they need to know before they make a purchase? Try writing down all the questions you hear from your customers and try and answer them in your collateral.

2. MOTIVATE YOUR READER TO LOOK INSIDE. The first page your reader will see is the front cover. Get it wrong and you will probably lose the sale. Start with the benefits of your product, or use thought-provoking statements that motivate the reader to pick up the brochure and open it. Tell the reader there’s something inside just for them – an exclusive invitation, a free report, a special discount, or advance notice of sales. Don’t put just your company logo or product name on the front. This will not work.

3. LIST THE CONTENTS. In brochures of eight pages or more, a table of contents is essential. Design it so that the table of contents stands out from the rest of the text. Use the contents to sell the brochure. Don’t use mind-numbing words like ‘introduction’ or ‘Model A848DHGT’. Use your key sales points in your heading.

4. LOST THE PRODUCT’S BENEFITS. Purchasers care about benefits, not features. To develop a list of benefits, draw up a list of product features and add the words ‘which means that…’ after each point. For example, ‘The cake is made from an original recipe, which means that …it tastes better.’ Or, ‘The car has a 300 horse-power engine, which means that…it goes faster.’ Benefits are what sell products.

5. MAKE THE BROCHURE A KEEPER. Putting helpful information in your brochure will encourage the reader to keep it, refer to it often, or pass it on to other people. If you are selling paint, you can provide hints on colour schemes, painting how-to information, tips from the pros, or other information. If you are selling skin care products, you can give your readers tips on how to combat pimples, dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.

6. ALTER THE SHAPE. Who says a brochure has to be 8 ½ by 11? If you are selling sandwiches, design a brochure in the shape of a sandwich. Season tickets to soccer matches? Design it in the shape of a soccer ball. Use your imagination to come up with an original, eye-catching piece. According to Direct Magazine, a recent mailing by CSi, a company that conducts customer satisfaction surveys for automobile insurance firms and repair shops, got a 15% response rate with a brochure delivered in a 32-ounce squeeze sport water bottle. The headline read ‘Thirsty for more repair orders.’ Try tall and slim, square, oblong, whatever you like. The only limitation is your imagination, and of course, your budget.

7. MAKE IT PERSONAL. An experienced speaker talking to a large audience will pick out someone in the crowd, and talk directly to him or her. This connection allows the speaker to make the talk more personal. In a similar fashion, write your brochure with an imaginary person in mind. Why? Because writing in a direct ‘I’m talking-only-to-you’ style will increase response.

8. ADD ATMOSPHERE. You don’t want your brochure to sound aloof. Let your reader share your feelings. A brochure about a wood-burning stove does not need to go into the ins and outs of how the stove works. Tell your reader your reader about rain swept winter evenings and snowbound afternoons. Let your words show them how warm and snug they’ll be when they purchase one of your stoves.

9. START SELLING RIGHT AWAY. Not everyone needs to know about every aspect of your product or service. Don’t waste their time selling them about things that don’t convey a benefit.

10. ADDRESS YOUR READER’S NEEDS. Don’t get carried away with your own interests. Talk about your reader, not yourself.

11. GIVE DIRECTIONS. Organize your brochure so readers can flip through the pages and easily find what they want. Provide clear signposts throughout the brochure and make sure each one says ‘Hey, pay attention to me!’

12. ASK FOR ACTION. Regardless of how you organize your brochure, there’s only one way to end it. Ask for action! If you want your reader to respond, include an 800 number, reply card, or some form of response mechanism. In fact, to increase your brochure’s selling power, include your offer and a response mechanism on every page.

Need more help? Email David L. Galet at dgalet@allyeartaxation.com

Shoebox Bookkeeping

Over the many years that I have serviced literally thousands of clients with bookkeeping, accounting and tax preparation services the one consistent comment that I hear is – I don’t know how to keep my records! And I have always advised – do what you do best and leave the bookkeeping to a professional. In other words spend 100% of your time devoted to your business and leave the record keeping to a record keeper – an accountant or bookkeeper.
The next question is how and what receipts should I keep and should I list them and how!
In a recent study conducted for American Express 39% of the 1,000 small business owners questioned said they put all their receipts in a shoe box and then periodically drop it off with their accountant. Interestingly, the highest percentage of those who use the ‘shoebox bookkeeping’ method are in the 18-34 years age group – the most computer knowledgeable group. These people know that their time is their most valuable commodity and that time should be spent on their business and not on their record keeping!
Another part of the survey shows – not surprisingly that 83% of small business owners are stressed out by record keeping and tax reporting.
Twenty years ago the author Donald Katz wrote a book about a small business that grew and grew and grew! The company was called NIKE and the title of the book was ‘Just Do It’. The book shows how Phil Knight grew a business started out of the trunk of his car into a world powerhouse by concentrating on what he knew and did best – marketing, and leaving the record keeping to the professional. Since the book was first published in 1994, Nike has grown many times over by ‘Just Doing It’.
So learn from the successful entrepreneurs and leave the mundane world of record keeping to those that enjoy it and get on with concentrating on what you do best!

Back in the Saddle

Several months have passed since I last posted a blog. The problem I faced must face all individuals who start a blog. After several postings I was swamped with so called ‘comments’. So many that the website was closed down while the techies put up a firewall thereby preventing access by anybody and everybody. Those who really care can contact me through the email address on the website or call me with questions or comments.

In the early part of the year I wrote a blog suggesting to everyone the as part of their new year (2013) resolutions, they look at all their expenses and determine where they can save money. A suggestion was made to call all your service/product suppliers and ask them how you can save money on their services or products without reducing or diminishing the service/product. It sounded great to me at the time and so I decided to take my own advice and call Bell and Rogers and ask for a ‘discount’. Both were eager to ‘keep our business’ and promptly offered savings. The savings achieved were in the 22%-25% range. Unfortunately for us we have very few suppliers since our business is based on labour, but the theory could very well apply to your business. Let me know the savings you have achieved!