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Here's how to handle this problem: list all facts (features) about what you're selling. Now transform them into buyer benefits by starting a sentence about each one beginning, "You get..." A feature is merely a feature until you turn it into a client-centered benefit using a "you get" sentence.
When you're finished with this activity you should have dozens of "you get" sentences. Now trick is to prioritize them... which are most important to your prospects and which most likely to motivate them to take immediate action. Remember: all benefits are not equal. Some are more important than others. And these are ones you should lead with and emphasize in your brochure and cover letter.
Find And Use Testimonials
Your prospect is a skeptical creature. Take my word for it. He's been burned in past... and knows his judgment is questionable. Because of this, his natural inclination is to do nothing... very thing every marketer fears and is constantly working against. That's where testimonials come in.
Recognize that your prospects are skeptical and need to be convinced to act NOW! Believable -- specific -- benefits achieved by people just like them will help motivate them. The key words here are: "believable," "specific", and "people just like them."
Don't make your testimonials vague. Make them specific. Don't say more widgets were produced in an hour... say how many more... and how much money satisfied customer made as a result. In short, quantify your testimonials... and give them teeth by making them specific and detailed. This is way to overcome prospect inertia, because with these kinds of testimonials here's what you're saying: do you want an extra widget each hour (with corresponding profit)? Of course you do! And that's why you need our product. Take action now to get it... or keep losing an extra widget each hour of every day.
Turn Your Bio Into A Marketing Hook
Most brochures are packed with biographical data about sender, data that does nothing more than make prospect scream, "Who cares?" Remember, what I said: EACH line of your brochure and cover letter either works to compel an immediate prospect response, or it shouldn't be there! Thus, every line of your bio must be turned into a reason for prospect to act.
Thus, don't be like this marketer whose brochure I'm looking at: "Mary Pretzer is a graphic design consultant with extensive experience in use of desktop publishing software and hardware." So what!!! What benefit does prospect get from this... does her experience mean she can show you how to produce books faster and cheaper? How much faster? How much cheaper? Make benefits believable and specific!
Keep in mind that biographical details are not there for your greater glorification (which most brochure creators seem to believe), but to motivate a prospect to take immediate action. Thus even biographical features of your life must be transformed into benefits prospect wishes to achieve and which he understands he can get only with your help.
Make An Offer
Most brochures and cover letters fail because they leave it up to prospect to decide when to respond. They say, essentially, "Respond whenever you want to. It doesn't matter to us." But we know in reality that it does matter to marketer when prospect responds. The marketer has invested time, treasure, trouble, and talent creating his brochure and cover letter... and only justification for this is getting more treasure back as fast as possible. That's where offer comes in.
The offer provides prospect with justification he needs for immediate action. It says, "It's not only okay to act NOW, but acting NOW is only sensible thing to do." As a result, he does act.
Offers come in many shapes and sizes... two for price of one, getting something free (that costs others money), getting more for your money, you name it. But a few things are common to all: they must offer perceived benefits to prospect and they must be limited in some way, either in time, quantity, or otherwise.
Thus, you should never offer a prospect something like a free audio cassette. That's a feature. And you know people act to achieve BENEFITS. Thus, "Learn 6 secrets of producing more widgets each hour... and pay nothing. This $14 audio cassette is yours absolutely free when you get (name of product)... but only if you act within next thirty days! After that, you have to figure out these secrets yourself!" See difference?
Don't offer people a feature... offer them benefit that that feature delivers. Don't offer them anything free... offer them something that's free to them, but costs everybody else. And never leave your offer open-ended. The whole purpose of an offer is to induce immediate action. And something open-ended torpedoes that objective.
Now Bring It All Together
At this point, it's a good idea to remind yourself what you really want to achieve with your brochure and cover letter. Whatever you've selected... getting your prospect to request more information, make an immediate phone call or buy something... involves action. And it is this action you must work to stimulate.
Remember, this stimulation begins where eye of your prospect first alights. Thus, don't build up to what you want prospect to do... hit him with it right away... and pile on reasons why it is to his benefit to do what you want him to do.
Too many brochures and cover letters fail because it takes marketer too long to get to point. Your point -- whatever your objective -- isn't something you build up to; it's something you begin with... and which everything in your marketing communication reinforces. Because this communication only has one point... one you selected at very beginning.
Now ask yourself: which of necessary components of effective marketing communications will best help me realize my objective? Starting with a testimonial... prospect anxiety... an offer... a client-centered benefit? The answer depends on your market. But one thing is certain: whatever you select should be a deliberate decision solely determined by your desire to motivate greatest number of your prospects fastest.
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