By Ted Janusz, MBA, CSP.  Ted is a Certified Speaking Professional who has delighted audiences for more than 5,000 hours, in 49 of the 50 United States, in Canada from Halifax to Vancouver, in Australia, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at www.januspresentations.com.
Do you need to write copy for a brochure or sales letter?  I teach a copywriting workshop, so just for fun, I signed on to edit and write brochures and sales letters as a freelancer on Fiverr.com.
And it has been a blast! I have had the enjoyable opportunity to work with fun individuals all over the world, from a health and wellness practitioner in Ireland to a tour operator in Russia.
These professionals know their business, as I am sure that you do, too. But, as we shall soon see, that might actually be a detriment when trying to explain to others what you do.  When composing a brochure or sales letter to describe your organization, avoid these four mistakes:

  • Being “you” focused rather than “they” focused. Of course, you understand your business, and are anxious to tell others everything about what you do. Guess what? They don’t care! (At least, not yet.) The first thing you need to do is to write text that relates to them. (Notice how I did that from the first sentence in this article.)
  • Providing too much detail. With a brochure, provide just enough information so that the future customer will want to contact you to get more details. One of the best ways to do this is to start with a story. And make the story be about them, such as structuring the brochure or sales letter with: Is this happening to you? If so, here is the solution.
  • The curse of knowledge. You can be too close to your operation, so you cannot unlearn what you already know. Or the only way you can explain what you do is through the use of intimidating jargon. Use simple English instead. Adults do not like to admit when they do not understand. And a confused mind will never buy.
  • Not “chunking” the information. 79% of your prospects and customers, when they go to the Internet, do not read; they scan instead. So for a brochure or sales letter, do not write lengthy prose; use short paragraphs, bullet points, and lots of white space. One of the exercises I have the class participate in is to write a random nine-digit number. Then I ask the class members if they could remember that number a week from now. Most say they could not. But then I ask them to insert a hyphen after the third and the fifth digit. Now, rather than a nine-digit number, they have a Social Security number which only has three “chunks” of information, making it far easier to remember.

If you avoid these four mistakes when composing your brochure or sales letter, you can and will get the results you desire.