I got another one of those calls the other day.
"John, can you make me a brochure?"
Many business owners have been sold on the notion that they need a tri-fold brochure or they are not really in business. I’m telling you right now, forget it...everybody's got one and no one uses it.
Your potential clients need an education. They need to know how you are different. (The typical tri-fold brochure simply confirms that you are the same.)
No single brochure can grab your prospect’s attention, hold it, and demonstrate how you are uniquely qualified to solve their greatest challenges.
If your marketing materials are to do as stated above, then they must go much deeper than you may be used to seeing.
Your prospects believe that your firm is pretty much like any other firm that does what you do. On the surface, they are right. If you are an electrical contractor, you probably do wire a ceiling fan the same way every other electrician does. The difference, though, is in the way you provide the service, the experience, the way you communicate, your professionalism, your training, your 27-point safety checklist, your story.
That’s the stuff they need to hear about. That’s the stuff that will make them say, “This is someone I can trust coming into my home.”
Your business should create the following pieces of information and format them in a way that will allow you to print them inexpensively and update them often.
1. A pocket folder - A multi-use workhorse, this piece alone, if designed well, can send the message that you are in business to stay. (This one will cost a little, but it has many uses.)
2. A template - This should be a professionally printed piece that carries your logo and contact information, but is different than your letterhead. This is the base piece then for the following pages that insert into your pocket folder.
3. An executive summary - Hit them with how you are different and shower them with benefits of doing business with you. Don't tell them what you do. This is where you will communicate your core marketing messages. If you have an unheard-of guarantee; if you are faster, smarter, cheaper…let’s hear about it on this page.
4. A list of services - Okay, now tell them what you do or what you offer. You may even need to create a sheet for each of your services or different service areas.
5. Case Studies - Pick representative clients or industries and outline how your product or service solved someone else's challenge. People learn in different ways. Case studies allow them to see themselves getting relief.
6. Testimonials - Get quotes from real live clients and create a page titled - "See what others have to say about us."
7. Process Description - Show them how you do what you do. Create detailed checklist and flow charts that show them how you keep your promise. In many cases you have these anyway, but by making them part of your marketing, you can demonstrate how much more professional your organization is. These also help you justify why you charge a premium for your services. Many people underestimate how much really goes into delivering a quality product or service. So show them.
8. Your Story - Many companies have interesting or even gut-wrenching histories. Tell them your story in an open, honest, and entertaining way, and you will win their hearts as well as their heads.
All of the above pieces can, in many cases, be word-processed files that are laser printed onto the template I described above.
This format allows for very inexpensive printing and a great deal of flexibility when you need to update, change, or even personalize your magnificent marketing materials. (Wait…this looks like a pretty good layout for a website too!)
Will they read all of this stuff? Like all marketing efforts, some will, some won’t - but the ones that do will pay a premium to acquire the services of someone so obviously magnificent.
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John Jantsch is a veteran marketing coach, award-winning blogger, and author of Duct Tape Marketing: The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide, published by Thomas Nelson, 2006.
He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing Small Business Marketing SystemTM.