How to write marketing material that wins business.
We all want to stand out from our competitors, and in doing so grow our market share. But working out what to say in marketing material, plus how and where to say it can be a stumbling block.
Our step by step guide will walk you through this process, helping you to craft compelling marketing communications with which to wow your audience.
Before getting into the nitty gritty of what to include, the first step is to lay some solid foundations with good marketing planning. Take some time to think about the answers to these questions, they’ll really help shape your message. If you’ve already planned your material and just need help with content, skip to that bit now.
What do you want to promote?
This first question is most likely straightforward. You’re likely either reviewing and updating information about existing products and services or perhaps you have a new product or service you want to shout about.
If you have more than one thing to talk about, it is worth going through this process for each of them to make sure the message is clear.
What is your objective?
Arguably the most important question. Without working out exactly what you are trying to achieve, how will you know whether you’ve achieved anything? Thinking broadly to begin with, do you have a company objective you’re working towards? It might be something like:
- Grow sales by x% this year
- Diversify the product range by introducing x number of new products
- Start selling in new areas/markets
The wider company objectives will likely be driving the need for your new marketing materials. The next step is to work out the communication objective of your campaign/material. What it is that you want the campaign to do? For example:
- Generate appointments?
- Create sales?
- Raise awareness of the brand/product/service?
- Encourage newsletter sign-ups?
Let’s look at a hypothetical example:
Business: estate agent
Company objective: increase market share by selling more properties
Communication objective: increase appointments for home valuations
In this example, the estate agent wants to increase market share, which is the overall objective. They know that to do this they need to sell more properties, which drives the communication objective to generate more valuation appointments.
Establishing the communication objective is a crucial stage in shaping your message. In our estate agent example, the overall objective is to sell more properties. It’s only by establishing that communication objective that pins down where to focus the message, being property valuations.
Who are you targeting?
With the communications objective decided you’ll have a top level idea on what you need to say (don’t worry, more on that later on), the next bit is how to say it. Establishing who you targeting will help you decide on the tone of the message as well as what method or marketing channel to use. In order to build up a profile of the perfect customer for your product/service/event you could could think about the following:
- Predominantly male/female?
- Age category?
- Which social media channels do they use?
- What do they read?
This is pretty high level but is a good starting point. If you have a business Facebook page, there’s an easy way to check out the top three (although this may not be relevant if you are targeting a new market):
- Go to your page
- Click on Insights
- Click on People
You may be surprised by the results!
What is the right tool?
Thinking about your target audience will help you decide on which communication methods to employ. Here are just some ideas of the different marketing media you can employ:
- Newspaper ad
- Direct mail
- Content marketing
- Van livery
- Shop displays
- Exhibitions/trade shows
- Social media
- Search Engine Optimisation
- Google AdWords
OK, you’ve decided on your objectives and which tools you’ll use to share your message. Now it’s time to plan that content!
Brand colours and logo
Don’t forget to include your logo in your communications. Since it can take consumers/buyers between 7 and 11 touch-points before they decide to make a purchase, ensuring you consistently use your logo and brand style (such as colours and font) in all communications is vital to build recognition. This is the first stage in the ‘know, like and trust’ phase you’re trying to create in your audience. Learn more about branding and it’s benefits in our article: What is branding and why is it important?
Unique Selling Point (USP)
In a world with so much choice, you will need to stand out from your competition and this is where your USP comes in. What can you do that that your competition can’t, and crucially what benefit does that deliver to your customer?
You may need to spend some time thinking about this or even asking some existing customers what they like about you in particular. Try and avoid things like ‘excellent customer service’ and ‘x years of experience’ as these are expected as standard.
Don’t forget to include links or details of your social media pages in all your other materials and on your website. If you can drive people to follow your pages this gives you another opportunity to talk to them.
Arguably the most critical piece of advice, make sure whatever you write is benefit-led. Purchasing decisions are made by the ‘what’s in it for me?’ factor.
So when describing your products, remember to spell out the benefit of it, not just the feature. Here are some simple examples:
|Camera||Automatic mode||Takes perfect photos every time|
|Insurance policy||Damage cover||Peace of mind|
|Bookkeeper||Records your financial transactions||Frees you up to spend time doing your day job|
Write your copy predominantly in the second person (ie using ‘you’, ‘your’, ‘yours’ and limiting the use of ‘we’ and ‘our’. This ensures you’re focusing the content on the reader. Here’s an example:
Instead of saying ‘we can turn around orders within 24 hours’, why not say ‘your order can be with you tomorrow’?
Good photography/illustrations/icons can bring your products and/or services to life and break up blocks of text. Be sure to include these where appropriate.
Brief company overview
Depending on the method you’re using to communicate your message, you may have room to include some info about your company (in a brochure, for example). Remember the rule that the reader only wants to know what they will get by choosing your company. So don’t make your company background the focus of your material. Be brief and use ‘you’ instead of ‘we’ where possible.
Including short testimonials can help build trust in your product/service so if you have room, include one or two. If you have an online facility to collect testimonials or reviews (such as Feefo or Facebook), you can also direct people to them for the validity factor.
Call to action
Once you’ve done all of the above, the last step is to include a strong Call to Action. What do you want the reader to do as a result of seeing your message? Tell them to do it! Here are some examples:
- Call us to make your appointment now on xxxxx
- RSVP to our invite here xxxxx
- Sign up to our newsletter with your email address here….
- Visit xxxx.co.uk to learn more
- Click here to shop now
By giving a clear Call to Action, you are much more likely to get the required results.
With the content decided, free software such as Canva can help you layout materials such as flyers, business cards, posters and so on.
If you don’t have time (or inclination!) to design these yourself (or need some more help on content), then hi! We’re WONDROUS, we can help. You could be talking to your audience in a matter of days. Call Sally or Richard on 01384 590099 for more information, or simply email email@example.com.
That’s it, phew! Your material is out there, job done. Well, you’re definitely part of the way there. Because you set clear objectives at the start of the exercise, means you can monitor your return on investment.
What does success look like? Decide on key metrics to monitor your results, this might be number of sales, appointments, sign ups, page visits, email open and click through rate. Don’t forget to include how much investment you’ve made and where possible, measure the return.
With this knowledge, you can continually improve your marketing efforts. Do more of stuff that works and if it doesn’t, investigate why and make changes.