Marketing Copywriting, Maslen on Marketing

Are your flyers tempting or turgid?

You may feel that long letters aren’t right for your product, market or customers, and stick to one page, but the flyer is where you should tell the whole story, including all the features.

So how do you persuade your potential customer to take their time and read it all? Here are five practical ideas.

1 Avoid too much narrative copy

It’s fine to open a brochure with a couple of narrative paragraphs (ie paragraphs like this one, in ‘normal’ sentences), but people are more likely to skim these and any others written in a similar style.

You can help them by breaking paragraphs into shorter-than-normal blocks. Remember that although four or five-line paragraphs look OK on screen, they become daunting grey blocks when set in the narrow columns of a brochure.

2 Use bullet points and lists

People love reading lists. They look less daunting and come with built-in white space, which gives your copy room to breathe. Use bullet points when the order of your list items isn’t important, a numbered list when it is (perhaps a set of operating instructions, or ‘how to order’).

If you’re using bullets, stick to one type. And PLEASE don’t punctuate them as if they were a long narrative sentence, ie with semi-colons and a final full stop. The bullet points themselves do the job of splitting the items and the semi-colons just add clutter.

3 Use sample pages/packshots/product shots with call-outs

If you’re promoting a publication of any kind, use sample pages. Add a drop-shadow if you want to create a more three-dimensional feel.

And always use call-outs – you know, those little bits of text with arrows pointing to the relevant page. People tend to look at picture captions (of which these are a special type) so they’re an ideal place to put some stealth sales copy.

You can also use call-outs with any kind of product shot or illustration.

4 Have a Q&A section

I love these. They look so impartial, as if you’re merely providing an information service. But, of course, YOU wrote the questions, so they lead into further selling copy in the guise of simple answers.

You need to adopt a different tone of voice for these: wide-eyed but not overtly stupid for the Qs, authoritative and friendly for the As.

5 Use testimonials

I’ve written about these before, but they are SO useful they deserve another airing. Whether you draft them or you let your customers do the hard work, make sure that the testimonials make a series of relevant points about your product.

Try to be specific, rather than the “…I find Sunfish very useful in my work…” style. If your product saves people time, or makes them feel special, explain how.

This month’s message

Make your brochures easy to read – a pleasure, even – by breaking up narrative copy into small digestible chunks. And consider using a range of presentation styles so that your reader can flit like a hummingbird from one blossom to the next, sipping a benefit here, a call to action there, without getting bored.

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