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Improve your information materials and sell more

Download the nearest brochure that you've produced or download a brochure that you received in the mail.

Check the language. Do you feel that you or the person who wrote the text has turned to his best friend?
That's usually never the case. Everything is probably written for a large, unidentified mass. It was probably written to show how smart the sender is. I see this happening in my clients work every day and you know, it doesn't appeal to customers at all! For me, it feels impersonal and boring to browse a brochure packed with big words and abstract visions. For me, it's evidence of a lack of confidence and imagination - the sender only compensates this with big words that are difficult to evaluate.

And you see it everywhere. You see it in brochures, in information, instructions and on so many companies' websites. Now you have a big task ahead of you if you want to take over your competitors' customers. The fact of the matter is that the only people who understand this industry lingo are your competitors or other people who are linked to your industry in other ways. I hope I'm clear enough with this because it's extremely important for both your old and your new customers that they know that your business is a resource for them. Your company should make your customers feel that you are their best friend.

And what if the first meeting a customer has with your company results in that they suddenly understand what your complicated world is all about too because you explain it to them in an easy and understandable way?
How many more clients can your business accept then, I wonder? You'll get a whole bunch. Especially if you sell things that normally are considered complicated. The best part is that you will be alone in doing this. When your competitors see your material, they will think that you have simplified it way too much and made a fool of yourself. When your potential customers read what you tell them, they will say: “AHA, finally”!

If you think it's your best friend who will read your texts, the customers will know that your business in some strange way always seems to have such fantastic know-how and are so great at explaining it. There's a successful online retailer, called Dustin, that prove this point. They don't just reprint the suppliers' own complicated texts to products they sell. The rewrite everything to make the texts more competitive and sales oriented - and the results speak for themselves: Dustin sells for millions very year and also makes huge profits. I'm convinced that part of their success lies in the way they treat information that makes its way to the customers.

Almost all marketing materials available have these problems:
• Too much text.
• Difficult to read.
• Boring.
• Poor design.

The thing is that there are so many people (myself included) who look through their mail to read the marketing materials for study purposes. Most people are looking for something that is valuable to themselves or the company they represent. That's why you need to put on your customer's shoes when you make your marketing materials and think about what they are worried about in this world and that you can provide relief to.

Here are 6 things you can do right away to give your written material about yourself means to stand out:

1. Talk about results, not about what you do. No one is interested in how good you think you are, they want to know how good they can be themselves and what exactly they will get from reading your material.
  • Use customer opinions. To claim that you're the best in the business is totally uninteresting. If other people think you are, then it's suddenly very interesting. Contact previous customers if you haven't already and use their statements to sell.

3. Use bulleted lists instead of plain text. People don't want to read page after page. They have no time. Make bulleted lists instead and tell them happens if they hire you and save all the details for later contacts.

4. Use your current customers' names if you must. You won't get statements from everyone, but if you can tell your future customers about the renowned customers you have today, they will trust you a lot more. If the company X has hired you, it should be safe for others to do it too.

5. When writing texts, work extra with headings so that they appeal to those you want to attract.

6. Tell readers what the next step is. Give them a phone number, an email address, a fax number so they can contact you and discuss whatever they want to talk about.

Memory rule and homework assignment: Rewrite your texts so that a smart, but bored eight year old would be interested in them. Hold on to your readers and give them a steak instead of a picture of a steak.

About the author

Stefan Ekberg has worked in marketing for small business for 20 years and has written around 30 books on how small business owners can market themselves with limited resources. . In 2012 Stefan was nominated as Entrepreneur of the Year in Stockholm.

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"The 5 minute marketer" - the book
You run a small business and you want to get ahead of the competition, but how can you give resources to marketing when you're short on time and the budget is tight? The solution is here! The 5-Minute Marketer is packed with 395 tried-and-tested ways to market your business in 5 minutes or less.