A 21-Point Checklist for Writing Lead-Capturing Marketing Materials

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For business owners needing leads from their marketing materials – whether it’s a website, sales letter, e-mail or other type of promotional piece -- a poor response often results in frustration and plenty of wasted money. Here's a 21-point checklist anyone -- even non-writers -- can use to boost responses on all types of marketing materials.

Tom Trush

One of the most common mistakes is attempting to generate an immediate sale from one promotional piece.

For business owners needing leads from their marketing materials -- whether it’s a website, sales letter, e-mail or other type of promotional piece -- a poor response often results in frustration and plenty of wasted money.

“One of the most common mistakes is attempting to generate an immediate sale from one promotional piece,” said Tom Trush, a direct-response copywriter, marketing strategist and author of the new book “The Reluctant Writer’s Guide to Creating Powerful Marketing Materials: 61 Easy Ideas to Attract Prospects and Get More Customers.” “Most times, you should focus on initiating a relationship so you can build credibility and trust with your prospects before going after a sale.”

The following is Trush’s 21-point checklist anyone -- even non-writers -- can use to boost responses on all types of marketing materials:

1. Do you have a headline? Immediately grab your prospects’ attention by addressing their needs and making your product or service’s big benefit impossible to ignore.

2. Have you provided prospects with a reason to continue reading? Incorporate curiosity and demonstrate an understanding of your prospects’ problems, feelings and desires.

3. Do you have an emotional appeal? All buying decisions are driven by emotions and justified with logic.

4. Are your claims supported with proof? You must satisfy those inner critics mingling in your prospects’ minds.

5. Have you educated your prospects? Make the information you share in your marketing piece so valuable that prospects can’t throw it away.

6. Is your company name prominently featured (it shouldn’t be)? Your company name is irrelevant to your prospects when compared to the end result your product or service provides.

7. Have you established yourself as the expert? Reference articles, awards, books, case studies or media coverage to help demonstrate your position as an industry authority.

8. Is your unique selling point incorporated? If you don’t explain why you’re different than your competition, then your marketing message becomes as noticeable as a whisper in a crowded bar.

9. Do you have testimonials? Anything you say about your product or service is never as powerful as your customers’ comments.

10. Are long paragraphs broken up? Lengthy blocks of text are easier to comprehend when divided into 1- to 3-sentence chunks and topped with benefit-laden subheads.

11. Are your facts specific? A statement such as “14,154 traffic tickets dismissed since 2002” is more believable than "thousands of traffic tickets dismissed during the last few years."

12. Who does your text speak to? Your copy should read as if you're having a one-on-one conversation with a friend (i.e., involve your prospects and use easy-to-understand words with short sentences).

13. Have you made it easy to capture your prospects’ information? Your prospects will instantly qualify themselves when you offer them an opportunity to exchange their e-mail or mailing addresses for free information.

14. How many times do you use “you”? The words “you” and “your” should appear at least three times as much in your copy as “we,” “our” and your company name.

15. Does your text portray enthusiasm about your product or service? You can’t expect prospects to want your product or service if you’re not excited about it.

16. Do you have a call to action? Tell your readers exactly what you want them to do next – or risk them doing nothing.

17. Is it simple for your prospect to act on your offer? As you add more steps, you decrease the likelihood of getting your desired response.

18. Do you have a deadline? The longer you allow people to wait, the less likely they will take action – so provide compelling reasons to act now.

19. “What’s in it for me?” Your prospects want to know, so frequently tell them by building on the big benefit stated in your headline.

20. Have you reversed your prospects’ risk of taking action? A guarantee or free trial demonstrates to prospects your confidence in your product or service.

21. Did you address every common question prospects might have about your offer? Your prospects will reward you with action when you acknowledge their resistance.

A direct-response copywriter, marketing strategist and founder of Write Way Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona, Tom Trush has helped business owners in 126 industries develop marketing materials that attract attention and create customers. A collection of tips videos and information about his new book, “The Reluctant Writer's Guide to Creating Powerful Marketing Materials: 61 Easy Ideas to Attract Prospects and Get More Customers,” is available at http://www.powerfulmarketingmaterials.com.

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