Marketing Q & A
Marketing Q&A
By Al Jabaly


Al Jabaly is a certified marketing and business consultant with over 20 years of small business experience. Email your questions to al@FloridaBA.org. All questions will be answered via e-mail. Some of the most interesting questions will be posted in this weekly column. For further information, Al can be reached at 1-888-899-3190

“AL. MY BROCHURES AND FLYERS DO NOT SEEM TO WORK. CAN YOU ADVISE ME ON WHAT I NEED TO DO?"

I will advise you on what you need NOT TO DO when you design your brochures and flyers! Avoid these 10 common mistakes most businesses make when designing a brochure or flyer and you will have accomplished a lot!

1) NOT having a an attention grabbing headline: People scan ads and only stop at headlines that grab their attention. Headlines are the most important part of the brochures. Without them, everything else that follows the headline is not going to be read. Headlines usually occupy 20-25% of the total space. The most effective headlines are the ones that offer the reader specific benefits right away. Compare these two headlines:

A) THE FIVE BENEFITS YOU GET FROM USING MY SERVICE, with
B) WE OFFER THE BEST SERVICE IN TOWN!

(A) is specific about the benefits and will attract someone’s attention more than (B), a “generic, sterile” headline.

2) NOT writing in simple spoken English: Write as if one person is talking to another person and not a large
company talking to the whole town. Remember that only one person will be reading the brochure at any one time. In (A), using the word “MY” is much more effective than using “WE” in version (B).

3) NOT writing in the present tense: Writing in the present tense is what you should do. Again, go to (A) above: it is more effective to say “YOU GET” instead of “YOU WILL GET”. Keep that same style throughout the brochure.

4) NOT explaining enough: Once you start listing the five benefits in (A), explain each benefit. For example, “Save Money!” is better explained by: “You save money with our great purchasing power”. “Get quality service” is better explained by: “You get quality service with our trained and certified technicians” and so on.

5) NOT proof-reading: Proof-read your final version several times before printing it. Then ask someone else to do so, after you have just done it. You do not want your customers to find errors and typos in the brochure they receive.

6) NOT providing credibility: Statements of credibility like “We serve the local school board” are important but they will be more important if expanded to highlight the benefits. “We serve the local school board as our product has been proven to be safe to use around children” is more effective. You hit two birds with one stone!

7) NOT using an image: Brochures and flyers that are all script do not invite being read. Images, in general, break down the monotony of a lengthy script. Use ONE large clear image than several small ones. Do not use “generic” images but ones that will enhance your brochure. If you are a plumber, put your photo and write “John Smith, Owner” below it, instead of using a generic image of a van. Go back to (A) above. Placing your photo and name in the brochure amplifies the use of the word “MY” in the headline and personalizes the whole message.

8) NOT testing or tracking: I cannot stress enough the need to test various versions of the brochure! Instead of printing say 1,000 copies of one version, print 500 copies of two versions and put in each a tracking mechanism to measure the effectiveness of each version, like including a different phone number to call you, different offer, etc.

9) NOT keeping the flyer or brochure simple and clear: Keep copy short, simple and straightforward. Do not use confusing jargon. Use sentences and paragraphs that flow from one to another. Break it into sections.

10) NOT asking for action: At the end of the flyer or brochure, ask the reader for a specific action and NOW! “Call me today!” is more effective than “When you need a plumber, we will be there!” Give clear contact information. “Call 123-4567” is more effective than saying “We are in the white pages”