John E. Fike Copywriting Services; Copy, Content & Custom Publications for Companies Who Make Life Worth Living

Is Your Brochure Building Business or Wasting Money?

A brochure is more than a series of bullet points and a phone number slapped on an 8 1/2 by 11 inch paper and folded in three. Like any marketing tool, if a brochure doesn’t increase your business it’s not worth the paper and ink it’s printed with.

While the most common form of a brochure is a three-fold piece of paper printed on both sides, that is not necessarily the most effective form. A brochure is any printed product that explains in brief your business and why others should do business with you. Brochures can be quirky or straight-laced, colorful or black and white, be mostly text, be mostly pictures, be rectangular or cut in interesting shapes. There are few limits as to what a brochure must look like or contain. The only ‘must’ is that it must increase your business or accomplish whatever goal you want it to achieve.

I encourage clients to think outside the office cubicle and broadly consider different approaches to brochure design--even if it’s only in the brainstorming stage and is later refined to more conservative modes.

An important piece of any brochure--and one that is frequently missing from most brochures--is effective copy that helps your prospect move further along the buying process. Copy should tell your prospect what your product or service is and what they stand to gain by using it. Benefits. Benefits. Benefits. The most important thing to include in your brochure copy (with very few exceptions) is an explanation of how your customers benefit from buying your product or service. Many people like to list lots of features in their brochures. Features are important, without a doubt--but if you customer doesn't understand the benefits of those features, they won't understand the value of what you're offering.

For example, one of my clients created and sells a fantastic time-management software. One of the features of the software is that you can create hierarchical project and task lists. Well, if you don't understand that this feature helps keep you organized and makes it easier and faster to prioritize your to-do list, then it doesn't mean anything to you and doesn't help you decide whether to buy the software.

How much copy should your brochure have?

This question gets debated a lot, with copywriters pushing more copy and designers pushing for less copy and more photos (generally speaking). If your product depends highly on its appearance, such as jewelry, travel packages, or furniture, then it's appropriate to include lots of large photos. But for most services and products that don't depend highly on appearances, it's better to give the copywriter lots of room. While it may make sense to include a photo of a telephone operator or phones on a brochure for a telecom company, it doesn't make sense to dominate the brochure with those when what is really being sold is phone SERVICE--something that can't be seen. Instead, the brochure should focus on delivering the features and benefits of the service.

With these things in mind, here are a few things to think about as you go through the design process :

  • How will you use the brochure? As a mailer? A handout? A business presentation? Will it be carried in a vest or coat pocket or displayed on racks or some other presentation form?

  • How will your client use the brochure? To compare your service/product to competitors? To present to a boss or colleagues? File it for later use?

  • How will it draw your clients' attention while still presenting the image you want to project?

  • How much information do you need to include?

  • How will photos and illustrations play a role?

  • Do you need to stay conservative in your format or can you press the limits of creativity?

  • If you need to stay conservative, why and how conservative? If you can go wild, what are the limits?

  • What is your budget? What can you spend on printing? What can you spend on design costs? Note: Spending more on design can yield a brochure that can save you printing costs and produce better results, which will give you more bang for your buck.

What your brochure should accomplish:

1. Your brochure should grab your customers' attention. You could accomplish this through its appearance, but it's more effective to do this through the headline by immediately addressing an undeniable need the client has.

2. Your brochure should make the case for using the kind of service you provide. Do you save clients money? Make them money? Prevent lawsuits? Make them more efficient? Increase productivity? Make a list of the statistics and features you can use to build your case.

3. Your brochure should make the case for hiring your company over other companies that provide the same or similar products and services. What is your unique selling position? Are you more affordable? Provide more value? Higher quality?

4. Your brochure should illustrate the process by which you provide your service or product. Does your client come to you or do you go to your clients? What will clients have to do to use your service? What do they have to provide? What do you provide?

5. Your brochure should invite a call or other contact for more information. What incentive do they have to call today? Do you have a special offer, such as a discount price, free information product or premium to give them in return for responding immediately? Will they make or save more money by responding sooner rather than later?

6. Your brochure should explain what the client has to do to get started and state why sooner is better.

7. Your brochure should provide all your company's contact information: company name, address, phone number, fax number, e-mail address, Web site url, different people's names and extensions/e-mail addresses, any other way a client can contact the company.

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posted by John E Fike @ 4:50 PM, ,

What Your Direct Response Copy Requires to Be Successful

Direct response copy is marketing copy that gets readers to take action and contact you or order your product or service. You see direct response copy in your mailbox every day and it is equally present on the Internet.

Direct response copy includes sales letters, direct mail packages, web site sales pages, requests for e-zine subscriptions and advertisements that ask for a reply from the reader. It can be used to generate leads or generate sales.

Direct response copy isn't as easy as it may seem. Making a sale through writing requires that the writing evoke both an emotional and logical response from the reader that creates a desire to buy the product/service or contact you. Achieving this is difficult, because many of the conventions for direct response writing run contrary to the instincts of most people.

I've been trained in direct response copywriting by the American Writers and Artists Institute in order to provide you with the valuable resources you need for an effective direct response marketing campaign. Call me for a free consultation on how to get your direct-response copy and sales letter to be more effective and generate greater response.

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posted by John E Fike @ 3:53 PM, ,

Make Your Marketing Work Harder and Get More Customers for Every Marketing Dollar

A lot of marketing material today is nothing but flash and sizzle. That is, it makes an initial visual impression, but after that it does very little to bring the prospect closer to becoming a client or customer.

How many brochures, flyers, leaflets or business cards have you seen that do nothing more than just list products or services and give an address and telephone number, but leave you wondering about the company's quality and expertise or why you would even need the company's services?

Good marketing copy (the text or wording on a promotional device) helps the reader to relate to your product or service so that they understand why they need it. It should explain the benefits of your product or service and make it clear what your unique selling point, or USP, is in order to create a desire for it in the mind of your prospect. John E. Fike Copywriting Services provides this kind of effective marketing copy.

A brochure is a condensed and concise representation of your product or service. It should do more than brag; it should also supply genuine information that is helpful to your prospect or client.

Identity Package
Presenting a unified image is important to building business. From brochures and stationary to mailing pieces, envelopes and business cards, you should be presenting a consistent image-not only in appearance and graphic design, but also in the message you convey. A consistent image and message helps people identify you and what your product or service is.

Annual Reports
This important marketing tool is profoundly underused. Many organizations view the annual report as a burden or chore and believe it gets read by very few people. But anyone who wants to know the strength of an organization turns to the annual report first. This makes the annual report a valuable tool for bringing on new partners, collaborators, investors, volunteers and more. The annual report is an opportunity to showcase the accomplishments and successes of an organization that may not be readily apparent in the financial figures. By adding articles or including financials as part of a corporate story, the numbers are given more relevance and serve to attract people to your organization.

Web Sites
Good web copy quickly lets the reader know whether they need your product or service and why they need it. It also directs them to the next step they need to take or the next piece of information that they need.

Most business choose a slogan because it sounds nice or evokes a certain image or feeling. While a slogan should do both of these things, a slogan is more powerful and identifies you better when it reflects your unique selling point (USP).

Whether for TV, radio or newspapers and magazines, your advertisements should avoid hype and be more than just cute. Advertisements should relate benefits to customers and create desire for your product or service.

Multi-media & Presentations
Presentations that represent your business, whether in print, video or electronic media, such as a Microsoft Power Point presentation, should be scripted to keep people's interest and to create emotional buy-in.

Effective copy for all these marketing vehicles is available from John E. Fike Copywriting Services and our network of service providers. Call us for a free consultation on how to make your marketing more effective at generating leads and customers.

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posted by John E Fike @ 3:33 PM, ,

How to Make Your Web Site More Profitable

Many businesses maintain a web site, but few make the most of that valuable piece of electronic real estate. For most businesses, web sites serve only as electronic brochures, listing their hours of operation, briefly describing services and giving some background on the professionals providing the services.

But marketing studies show that people visit web sites for information—not just to find out what the office hours are or to request a call from a salesman. For example, if you're a fitness professional, visitors expect to find out what your exercise or weight loss philosophy is and what kind of training program you recommend. If you're a pediatrician, patients who visit your site want to know how urgent their child's symptoms are or how much Tylenol to give their 2-year-old. If you're a technology company, visitors expect to find out what your technology does and how it will benefit them.

Credibility & Reputation
Your clients and patients want to know that you're an expert in your field, but a pretty image on a web page doesn't make you an expert. Having answers to customers' questions makes you an expert. Filling your site with a rich supply of articles, answers to frequently asked questions, tips and advice helps people to recognize your expertise. John E. Fike Copywriting Services uses your expert guidance to research and write articles that demonstrate your expertise and enhance your reputation.

Build Client Relationships
Increasingly, the web is about relationships. Good website content helps you build relationships with your clients by keeping them informed. Frequently posting new articles, event information or relevant news updates lets your customers know that they are important to you. Imagine a parent who heard that meningitis broke out at her daughter's school. She goes to her pediatrician's web site and finds a new article about the breakout, what it means for her child and what kind of treatment or precautions are appropriate. She is thankful for the information and her loyalty to that pediatrician grows, so she is less likely to change doctors. John E. Fike Copywriting Services can help keep your web site up to date without you having to take more time out of your schedule. Just let me know what you want to put up and I'll get it written and posted for you.

Help Prospects Become Customers
Imagine the person who's decided to lose weight and wants to know if Pilates is the way to go. If she has to choose between a Pilates instructor that has only a yellow-pages ad and an instructor with a web site that describes what Pilates is and what it can achieve for a person, which instructor is she likely to choose? Marketing studies indicate she will choose the instructor that demonstrates his expertise on his web site. John E. Fike Copywriting Services can provide you with informational website content that helps your prospects decide to be your clients.

Be Easier to Find
Having lots of good, relevant content on your web site can increase the number of prospective customers that find you. Search engines like in-depth content, such as informational articles that match key words for your site. So people searching the web for someone with your expertise are more likely to find your site if it's loaded with informational articles and other good content. This additional site traffic increases response to your offering of services and increases sales of any products you sell via your web site. Contrary to popular Internet lore, web content that is optimized for search engines does not have to be useless to site visitors. John E. Fike Copywriting Services can provide you with interesting articles that are also optimized for search engines.

Increase Word-of-mouth Advertising
Word-of-mouth advertising doesn't cost a dime, but you have to have something for people to talk about. Web sites with good, useful content get more word-of-mouth advertising. Think about it: are you more likely to tell a friend about a web site with somebody's office hours and biography on it, or a site with in-depth information about a subject you care about? The latter, of course. Increased word-of-mouth advertising is an added benefit that comes automatically with quality web content from John E. Fike Copywriting Services.

Types of Content You Can Put on Your Web Site

  • Informational articles related to a service or product you provide, such as instructions for products or unique ways customers have used your services

  • News and updates, such as notices about a new features or product lines available

  • Multimedia, such as video product demonstrations or audio about how to solve common problems related to your business

  • Blogs to keep clients up to date or to share your latest discoveries and revelations or talk about what you learned at a recent conference or program

  • Reviews of products or books your customers may be interested in

  • Answers to frequently-asked questions (FAQs)

  • Detailed descriptions of services or products

  • Your professional background and philosophies

  • Calendar or schedule of events

All these types of web content are available from John E. Fike Copywriting Services and our network of service providers. Call us for a free consultation on how to make your web site more effective and profitable.

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posted by John E Fike @ 3:10 PM, ,

John E. Fike Tops of List of Freelance Writers Serving Up Articles, PR, Content, & Sales Copy

Companies across the globe needing high-quality press releases, newsletters, case studies, Web content, and marketing copy can get affordable rates from highly-ranked copywriter John E. Fike., the world’s largest online marketplace for freelance talent, ranks freelance copywriter John E. Fike among the top freelance writers in its international network.

Out of more than 629,000 freelancers working through to connect to potential employers, John E. Fike’s high-quality writing and practical pricing place him within the top 25 freelancers offering similar services. John E. Fike was ranked among the top 30 freelancers in all writing categories as of September 2007 and maintains a strong position among the top 25 writers in the following categories:

  • Report Writing & Editing (Ranked 17 as of Oct. 18, 2007)
  • Article/News/Press Release Writing & Editing (Ranked 24 as of Oct. 18, 2007)
  • Web Content Writing & Editing (Ranked 24 as of Oct. 18, 2007)
  • Creative Writing (Ranked 24 as of Oct. 18, 2007)
  • Copywriting (Ranked 25 as of Oct. 18, 2007)

Clients from across the country and around the world consistently rate John E. Fike as a Five-star professional on

“John completed our three case studies quickly and for a very reasonable price,” said Dale Harris, advertising manager for Washington State Correctional Industries. “He conducted several interviews, needed very little guidance, and produced excellent copy that effectively communicates our brand to our customers.”

“John is a very talented and skilled writer,” said James Villepigue, author of 15 published fitness books for whom Fike ghost-wrote some material. “His ability to translate and articulate ideas is impeccable. I highly recommend his work to anyone looking for a seasoned writer, who is additionally timely and of the utmost professional caliber.”

Clients who are not part of the Guru network also applaud Fike for delivering high-quality products on time and taking time to thoroughly understand an organization and its project before beginning work.

“John has been able to relate to our company’s needs as far as providing great articles for our publications, especially our annual report,” said Rhodes State College Public Relations Coordinator Paula Siebeneck. “John always has the work turned around in a timely manner and has always met our deadlines.”

John E. Fike combines a creative-writing education with a practical background in journalism to deliver information-packed copy in a style that is pleasant to read and easy to understand. Educated in direct-response copywriting by the American Writers & Artists’ Institute, John E. Fike also delivers high-response sales copy for letters and web sites. John E. Fike focuses on promoting the benefits of products and services and helping prospects understand their need for those products and services.

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posted by John E Fike @ 2:58 PM, ,