Fans of championship boxing know that a staple of the sport is the introduction of the fighters by a ring announcer famous for his adrenaline-inducing words "Let's get ready to rummmmble!" Causing that kind of a rush on paper isn't easy, but this example teaches a lesson all entrepreneurs must learn: Introductions--especially in advertising--need to get the juices flowing for readers to perk up.
That's my message to Lee Tubbs, who wrote recently with a request for a brochure makeover. Tubbs owns Enviroguard Inc., an environmentally friendly pest control service in Chattanooga, Tennessee, whose distinction needs more play on the brochure's cover. Offering an alternative to chemical warfare, Tubbs says in his piece, "Where treatment is required, nonchemical procedures are utilized in combination with low-impact baiting???" These words show a sensitivity that prospects need to know about, starting right up front. Promoting that difference simply can't wait until the inside of the brochure if you want to maximize the readers' first impressions.
Imagine a prospect with little time on his or her hands sitting down with three or four brochures splayed out on the coffee table, trying to decide in an eye-blink which to consider. If the Enviroguard piece is among them, it's got only Tubbs' name and phone number and a symbol of a flower to invite the reader in. This is not all bad because the flower hints at a more sensitive, benign approach to solving the problem, and the name--Enviroguard--also says the company is not just a wanton killer. But the covers on competing brochures likely beckon with more flair. Although Tubbs' brochure needn't match the others in slickness, it does need to stand up and be counted.
To do that, I would keep the flower symbol but add a headline that says "Finally, People- (and pet) Friendly Solutions to Pest Control." This would be followed by a subhead that says "Protection for you and your loved ones, while eliminating a nagging problem." With these few words, the unique selling proposition is set up, giving Enviroguard an appealing point of differentiation. The new cover is now more competitive. Remember, no matter how compelling and motivating the message is on the inside, you need to have a strong sales pitch on the cover to draw the prospect in to read your complete story. This is not optional--it's compulsory.
There is a little "flower power" to this cover, but it needs a selling message.
1. The symbol of the flower, combined with the name, says that Enviroguard takes a more benign approach to pest control.
2. Only on the cover of an annual report would you put just your company name. This is a promotional piece that requires some salesmanship.
This cover now has some salesmanship on the outside to motivate readers to look inside.
1. This headline targets prospects who want this nasty business handled without poisoning the environment.
2. The name of the company is not necessary or recommended here. It's more important to say how the reader will benefit.
Jerry Fisher is an advertising copywriter, consultant and author of Creating Successful Small Business Advertising ($39.95), available by calling (800) 247-6553. If you'd like Jerry to consider your materials for a makeover in this column, send them to "Advertising Workshop," Entrepreneur, 2392 Morse Ave., Irvine, CA 92614, or contact Jerry via America Online at Jerry228@aol.com