Flyers are a smart way to spread the word about your business. Rachel Miller explains how to produce your own inspirational marketing leaflets
Leaflets and flyers are a cost-effective way to tell everyone in your area about your business and they can deliver powerful results. They are ideal for start-ups that want to get off the ground and can be a great way to communicate special offers for any business with a local clientele.
Writing effective marketing copy
The rules about writing good copy that sells are the same, whether you are producing an advertisement, an email or a leaflet.
- Plan your approach: who is your target market, what tone of voice will work, what results are you looking for?
- Split your copy into bite-sized chunks so it's easy to read and navigate. It's a lot easier to write, too!
- Focus on the benefits, not just the features - how will your products or services actually improve someone's life? Focus on your customers' needs.
- Spell out your USPs - what makes you different from the rest? This could be price, expertise, speed or top-quality service.
- Use satisfied customers to bring in more business - include testimonials.
- Appeal to customers directly by using the words "you" and "your".
- Include all the important contact details: phone, fax, email, website, address.
- Try asking a question - "Does your garden need a makeover?" or "Are you paying too much for your MOT?"
- Reassure new customers by offering money-back guarantees or trial periods to encourage them to try you out.
- Keep it fresh by cutting out any jargon, clichés or waffle.
Getting your tone of voice right
You need to think carefully about how you talk to your customers in your messaging to customers - be it via email, mailings, letters or brochures. When it comes to customer communication, how you say something is just as important as what you are saying.
Drayton Bird of Drayton Bird Associates says, "The difference between good copy and so-so copy is largely about tone. Of course, few writers even understand the basics, but even if they do most write with a sort of half-witted enthusiasm, where everything is 'fabulous' and 'exciting'. So, the copy lacks credibility.
"Really good copy is conversational in tone, and is adapted to suit the context. So, read your copy out loud. Does it sound like someone talking? It should. If it sounds like the typical 'sales' copy any one of your competitors could run. It shouldn't.
"The other thing to watch out for is that the language must be appropriate to the writer - and the recipient.
"It's deceptively simple - but not that easy to do. You just have to work at it."
The call to action
Every piece of marketing material should have a call to action to encourage potential customers to take the next step. It's good to raise awareness, but it's also vital to turn that awareness into new business.
A flyer is a good way to advertise a money-off promotion or a sale - anything that will encourage people to pick up the phone, go to your website or visit your premises. Depending on the nature of your business, you could offer a discount, a free gift or a special offer. You'll need to set a time limit on offers, so make sure you don't print more leaflets than you need as they will become out of date. However, minor changes can easily be made to leaflet layouts so that new versions can be produced at a later date.
Designing the layout
Your first step is to make sure you have a software package that will allow you to create a design with words and pictures. Many common business software packages allow you to create layouts, including Word, PowerPoint and Photoshop.
If you are nervous about starting a layout from scratch, there are two main options. You could ask a designer to create a basic template to start you off. Or you could use one of the many free templates available online.
The key to good design is simplicity and consistency. Start by choosing the font you want to use. Keep it simple - anything fancy can be difficult to read. It's important to balance all your elements. Your heading should stand out and be supported by relevant graphics and pictures. Text should be easy to read. You should use colours and graphics that you already have in your company literature, letter headings and in your premises. Contact details should be easy to spot.
Working with a printer
Printing costs vary, and it's worth shopping around on price and doing some negotiating. You'll also need to choose a printer that you can work well with - their input could improve the final results no end.
Printers can advise on everything from paper size and weight to colours and fonts. Start a dialogue with a printer early on in the process. Make sure they can work with the software you are using and get advice on how to supply artwork and images. It's worth looking for printers that can offer an environmentally-friendly service using recycled paper - and don't forget to mention that fact on your leaflet, as it could bring in more business. Many printers have a design service of their own, so if you get stuck, ask for help.
Alternatively, you could print your own leaflets. This may mean buying a new printer, but if you plan to produce a lot of your own marketing materials the investment will be worth it. When choosing a printer to buy, make sure you get one that will meet your needs without lots of capability that you simply don't use.
Editing and final checks
Always allow time for checking. Show your leaflet to friends and colleagues to ensure that it's readable and effective. At the same time, check for spelling errors, poor grammar and inconsistencies. Check and double-check contact details and the spelling of any names. Make sure you've got permission to use images or quotes.