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How To Create A Brochure And Cover Letter Your Prospects Will Respond To...NOW!!!

Millions of dollars are spent annually on creating and sending ... cover letters. Most of these dollars are wasted, because ... ... don't do what they're supposed to do: get

Millions of dollars are spent annually on creating and sending brochures
and cover letters. Most of these dollars are wasted, because these
marketing materials don't do what they're supposed to do: get a prospect to
act, either by requesting further information, picking up the phone and
making an appointment, or actually buying something. These are the sole
purposes of marketing documents.

If the brochure and cover letter you create don't do one of these three
things, they have failed. Completely. Which brings us to the first rule of
this game: the brochure and cover letter you produce must have a purpose.
And since the only real purpose of any marketing document is motivating
immediate prospect action, the purpose of what you create can only be one
of the three things above.

Your brochure and cover letter exist either to:

. get the prospect to request more information;
. call up and arrange an appointment, or
. buy something, by either filling in an order coupon, or walking into your

Prominently post the purpose you have selected before you write your
brochure and cover letter. Everything you put into this brochure, this
cover letter must work towards achieving this single objective. Nothing
else must be allowed in.

The truth is, when most marketers create their brochures and cover letter
they get off the track. They forget what they're doing... and why. Don't be
one of them. There's a very easy trick to seeing if your brochure and cover
letter are correct: after you write each sentence, ask yourself if it's
helping achieve your overriding objective. If it isn't, it's wrong. And
that's a fact.

Focus On The Prospect, Not Yourself

Everybody supposedly knows that all marketing documents ought to be about
your prospect, not about you. Sadly, the vast majority of brochures and
cover letters fail to achieve this objective. Take a brochure I received in
today's mail: on the mailing panel it simply says, "Instrument Calibration
and Repair. Calibration: Standardizing a measuring instrument." That's it.

Now, I ask you: are these words about the sender, or about the recipient?
It's obvious, isn't it! Lines that are about the marketer rightly elicit
this response: "So what!" "Instrument Calibration and Repair". So what!
What does this have to do with me, your prospect?

Lines that are about the prospect, the most important person in every
brochure and cover letter, get this response: "Aha!" The prospect is
interested in knowing one thing and one thing only about you: "What can you
do for me?" And when that question is answered, he's interested in these
questions: "When can you do it?" And "How much will it cost me"?

When you're writing a brochure, do this simple test. Read each sentence and
ask yourself if it's about you or your prospect. If it's about you the
sentence will feel incomplete, because it won't have the persuasive
information the prospect wants. No wonder! Your prospect is saying, "So
what?" to it. But if the sentence is focused on your prospect, offers him
honest, believable benefits, and motivates him to take immediate action,
it's finished.

Doing Your Homework

The big reason most people's brochures and cover letters fail is because
their creators don't do any homework before writing them. Most people hate
writing; their objective is to get it out of the way as quickly as
possible, right or wrong. But not your savvy marketer! He may hate writing
as much as the next person, but he never loses sight of his objective: that
each marketing piece will either make him a profit, or be a dead loss. And
that if he's to achieve the former, he needs to get other people, his
prospects, to act... NOW! Homework helps achieve his objective.

What You Have To Know Before You Write

The first thing you've got to know before you can successfully create any
brochure or cover letter is who you're talking to. The best marketing
documents, even if millions are sent out, are conversations between two
people... you and just one prospect. You have to know who this prospect is
and have to understand what he wants, when he wants it, why he might not
take action to acquire it, and how much he can afford to pay for it. All
these points must be dealt with in your marketing materials.

Without a doubt, one of the greatest single reasons why marketing
communications fail to get people to take action is because those people
don't feel that what they're being asked to consider has anything to do
with them... it doesn't speak to them about what's important to them and,
therefore, doesn't motivate them to take immediate action. In marketing,
this is disastrous.

Hint: don't create brochures and cover letters for a mass. Create them for
a single person, a person who represents your market. Make yourself focus
on this single individual, perhaps someone you know; certainly someone you
know about. This will help you create just the right tone and style. In
writing to this individual, consider what he wishes to achieve, when, what
specific benefits (in priority order) will motivate him to act, and what he
has to do to get these benefits... NOW!

Fashion The Components Of Your Brochure And Cover Letter

Creating a brochure and cover letter is rather like making a quilt. You
need to fashion each individual square before you knit the whole together.
Start with the Anxiety Component.

Using Anxiety Information

People act when action is less threatening and more desirable than
non-action. Most of us are pretty lethargic; even when we have problems,
our inclination is simply to hope they go away without us having to exert
ourselves. This is one of the major problems each marketer must overcome.
Identifying and utilizing prospect anxiety helps us achieve this objective.

What is happening to our prospects? What are they likely to lose if they
don't take immediate action? How believable can we make this loss? Who is
willing to testify that these things will happen? This is the kind of
information you need to use in your Anxiety Component.

Remember: fear of loss is always a greater motivater than hope for gain.
Your prospects know what they have now... and even if it isn't what they
want, they are still afraid of losing it.

Be specific! Don't just vaguely intimate to your prospects that they will
lose something by failing to act. Be specific. Tell them how much they'll
lose, when they'll lose it, why they'll lose it. Use numbers... and the
names of real authorities. In short, make the anxiety you use authoritative.

Turn The Features Of What You Produce Into Benefits

If you want your brochures and cover letters to get fast prospect response,
you've got to turn the features of what you produce into buyer benefits.
Features are things that pertain to what you're selling... color, size,
weight, payment terms, delivery information, etc. But these things are only
important insofar as they can be transformed into benefits that motivate
immediate prospect response. In other words, the fact that your widget
comes in blue is no necessary advantage; it's merely a feature whose
significance you must establish and sell to the prospects.

Here's how to handle this problem: list all the 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"

When you're finished with this activity you should have dozens of "you get"
sentences. Now the trick is to prioritize them... which are the 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 the 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 the past... and knows his judgment is questionable. Because of
this, his natural inclination is to do nothing... the 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
the satisfied customer made as a result. In short, quantify your
testimonials... and give them teeth by making them specific and detailed.
This is the 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 the sender, data
that does nothing more than make the 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 the 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 the use
of desktop publishing software and hardware." So what!!! What benefit does
the 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 the 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 the biographical
features of your life must be transformed into benefits the 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 the
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 the marketer when the prospect responds. The marketer has
invested time, treasure, trouble, and talent creating his brochure and
cover letter... and the only justification for this is getting more
treasure back as fast as possible. That's where the offer comes in.

The offer provides the prospect with the justification he needs for
immediate action. It says, "It's not only okay to act NOW, but acting NOW
is the only sensible thing to do." As a result, he does act.

Offers come in many shapes and sizes... two for the 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 the 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 the 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 the next thirty days! After
that, you have to figure out these secrets yourself!" See the difference?

Don't offer people a feature... offer them the 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 the eye of your prospect first
alights. ThusFind Article, don't build up to what you want the prospect to do... hit
him with it right away... and pile on the 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 the marketer too
long to get to the 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... the one you selected at the very

Now ask yourself: which of the 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 the greatest number of your prospects fastest.

Article Tags: Cover Letters Fail, Take Immediate Action, Cover Letter, Cover Letters, Letters Fail, Take Immediate, Motivate Them, Immediate Action, Offer Them

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Dr. Jeffrey Lant
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