How to write a flyer-leaflet that doesn’t go straight to the garbage

Smack! … goes your mailbox and your dog runs, barking delightedly, to the front door hoping to tear apart and kill all that paper prey from the pizza parlours, replacement window vendors and make-your-lawn-greener merchants.

How to write a flyer-leaflet that doesn't go straight to the garbage

Is this how your business flyer or leaflet will end up?

Face it: that’s the fate of many a flyer (as they’re called in the UK) or leaflet as they’re known elsewhere. OK, maybe some others are given out at exhibitions and other business events. But where do those end up unless they capture your attention?

Instead of being chewed up by your dog, this time maybe they’re on the floor of your car along with the empty Starbucks or Timmie’s containers and McDonald’s wrappers?

Boy, do flyer-leaflets have a tough act to perform

Much as we do most things online, the printed flyer-leaflet is still a significant part of many local (and indeed national) businesses’ marketing efforts and deserves to be taken seriously. But along with the printed brochure, it has fallen into an “also-ran” category that attracts less than contemporary expertise.

I don’t automatically throw out flyers that land on my doormat (and I rescue them from my 4 dogs!) because I have written the text for such things – and still do. The flyers I write tend not to go into the garbage, if you judge by the number of responses they generate. And when I see other people’s flyers I empathise with the work they have put into them.

But to be perfectly honest, the vast majority of such flyers deserve to go into the garbage, despite how hard their writers and designers have worked on them.

Why so tough? Because people fail to address flyer-leaflets as follows:

  1. What problem our product/service can solve for customers
  2. How potential customers will be feeling about that sort of problem when they see our flyer on their doormat
  3. How well, how simply and how engagingly what they see on the doormat (or exhibition stand) grabs them
  4. What trigger word or phrase on the flyer will make them realise your offer can help them
  5. How our own attributes, testimonials, text about how good we are etc. don’t matter until later in the flyer

OK, solution time: how to make flyer-leaflets work

Let’s look at each of those five points in turn…

1.What problem our product/service can solve for customers. Many of these flyer-leaflets are written by the business owners themselves who understandably are proud of what they offer and how they offer it. Hence you see a lot of “we” and “us” information which actually means very little to the reader standing over the doormat in his/her pyjamas. Forget all that stuff and remember that people are only interested in what’s in it for them. Start with that. Big and bold.

2.How potential customers will be feeling about that sort of problem when they see our flyer on their doormat. Bear in mind they are shovelling up your leaflet with a bunch of others. Be sure that one of those is yours, by grabbing their attention with something that may well be bothering them right now. E.g. not “we know about making lawns greener,” but “could you use some help to make your lawn greener this spring?” And business versions? Think of people leafing through the info they’ve picked up at a business event. They’re tired, but still react to propositions that hit them where it could hurt. Special offers work well too, BUT they need to be supported by the right come-ons.

3.How well, how simply and how engagingly what they see on the doormat (or exhibition stand) grabs them. Whatever you do, don’t cram your leaflet full of headlines, images, special offers, and everything including the kitchen sink even if that truly is what you offer. Keep your offer simple, and strong. Make it grab at something your target customers really will care about. (Green lawn? Uncontrollable weeds? Draughty windows? A truly tasty new pizza flavor? A business problem you can solve cost-effectively?)

4.What trigger word or phrase on the flyer will make them realise your offer can help them. Given that your flyer-leaflet is going to be competing with several others – whether on the doormat, in an exhibition or anywhere else – you only have once chance to grab your target’s attention. Don’t clutter that up with with more than one thought, but make that thought really powerful. (Does your patchy lawn embarrass you with your neighbors? Do you really want to keep managing your mailing list in the 20th century way? Aren’t you fed up with feeding on tasteless, “cardboard” pizzas?)

5.How our own attributes, testimonials, text about how good we are etc. don’t matter until later in the flyer. Sorry guys, but your target customers are selfish so-and-sos and don’t care if someone they’ve never heard of has given you a pat on the head. However, don’t dismiss this stuff altogether. Just keep it as a backup to your marketing messages, so readers can have a look through it if they want to.

More key points to make flyer-leaflets deliver results

Keep them simple. If yours is cluttered and doesn’t smack readers in the teeth with what’s in it for them in the first couple of lines, you will have lost them.

Use images, but only if they are relevant to point your readers towards what they should be grabbed by. OK, use your logo and images of the great work you carry out on driveways or special occasion cakes, but don’t ever forget your core message.

Don’t make the mistake so many smaller businesses do: make sure it’s easy to get in touch, and preferably share that information on front and back pages so no matter how the flyer-leaflet is viewed, your contact details are right there.

Don’t let graphic designers talk you into layouts that look amazing to a designer, but won’t grab potential customers. When presented with a design/layout never mind how pretty it is: how will it grab your customer? And is it strong enough to grab a customer who is either paddling through what the dog chewed up on the mat early morning, or someone who has stuffed your flyer-leaflet into his/her bag at a business event and only checks them all out the next morning?

Final word? Focus on the reader. If in doubt, think about how you feel when you look at a business flyer-leaflet, whether on your doormat or elsewhere. What grabs your attention? And how can you adapt that approach to help you make your own work harder?

Shout out if I can help you here

I can’t afford to write your leaflets for you without charging, but you can always drop me a note on suze at suzanstmaur dot com with your questions and I’ll be happy to answer if I can.

Comments

comments

Thoughts

*

css.php