The reading level for this article is Novice

If you said in your ad you’re giving away a brochure, people think “so what – everybody gives away their brochure.” It’s true – just go into any car dealership and if you have a wood burning stove you can come home with enough brochures to keep your house heated for an Alaskan winter.

With a little bit of forethought you can transform your brochure into an informative booklet. At worst, design your brochure to fold in half – making an 8-1/2″ x 11″ sheet into a 5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″ four pager you can safely call a “booklet.” That same single sheet paper when it was unfolded paper was once called a flyer, or called a brochure when it was folded in thirds, is now folded in half and voila, now you have an “incredibly valuable booklet.” For additional credibility, add one more sheet folded the same way and nested inside. Now, you definitely have a booklet, and no one can argue.

Create “Drive-Them-Nuts” Content

The drive to make readers call can come from 2 directions: pitching content or title. Both are similar – your assignment is to create the most compelling set of words to make the reader call. It sounds so simple, doesn’t it?

When creating content for your literature, can you think of 10 questions that everyone in your market will drive 40 miles to get the answers to? Write them down, then use the top 3 or 4 in your ad. I’m talking questions so penetrating that if the reader throws out the magazine, he’ll wake up in the middle of the night, go downstairs and dig it out of the trash so he can call you first thing in the morning to get your booklet. Now, that’s the kind of burning questions we’re looking for.

Examples of questions: “Find out 3 ways to get home with an 8-foot table and a 6-foot car trunk. Call now for our FREE Booklet on Car Tricks” Our FREE Booklet also includes “Flat tire and no spare? How to get home safely.” Plus, “The four ways gas stations cheat almost every customer at the pump – and how to avoid them!”

Stop Them Cold with a Promise, or an “I-Can’t-Believe-It” Title

The best way to make the phone ring is to paralyze people&ldots; with the title of a booklet that sounds so good they can’t possibly pass it up. It’s the title of the booklet that drives the reader crazy and makes sure he calls. A promise of information so outstanding the reader just has to know it. “What to do: Flat tire and no spare? Call for our free booklet ‘How to get home quickly and safely.’ It’s FREE!” There is only one rule: your booklet title has to be great enough to make the phone ring consistently. Nope, not just “good” – it has to be great.

Using Titles to Limit Response to More Qualified Prospects

Tired of sending literature to everyone, and their mothers? Booklet titles can almost hand pick which readers will respond, thereby setting thresholds of prospect qualifications. The booklet title can throw a loose or tight qualification net, whatever you like, or whatever the product calls for. If your product is widely used, has good margins and your literature is a hard-hitting direct mail piece that pulls a 25% response, throw a loose net and invite everyone to call. Raise the bar if your product has low margins, your literature is expensive and your market limited to a few at the top.

An offer for a free booklet on how to install a new roof is only of interest to people needing new roofs. So is a FREE booklet on “6 Major Considerations before You Buy a New Roof!” or “Selecting, Grading and Pricing a Shingle Roof for Your Home.” Voila – instant qualification. When the phone rings, the caller is looking for a new roof. A FREE booklet on how to pack valuables for moving? You guessed it – this free booklet is fascinating, but only to people thinking about moving. Save on literature costs by restricting your marketing message to the really interested, and your most likely purchasing candidates.

By the way – see the difference in reading: I’ve used the word FREE in this last paragraph four times, two in all capital letters and two in lower case. Notice how differently they are read? The “FREE” in capitals yells at you – it commands attention and makes you stop and notice it. The “free” in lower case blends into the rest of the copy and lets you continue to read without even a pause.

A Simple Way to Create Great Booklet Titles

The question finally arises, “”Jeff, how do I consistently think up these compelling booklet titles?” You’re not going to like this: you follow the Jeff Dobkin hundred-to-one rule: “Write 100 titles, then go back and pick out your best one.” Yep. Same with intriguing questions about the content: write 100 questions, go back and pick out your best 3. Hey, I didn’t say it would be easy, I just said it would be simple. It’s simple, and effective.

Yes, it’s a little more work writing 100 titles, but the real question is this: Do you want the absolute best return on your advertising dollar? Is the objective of your ad to compel the most people you possibly can to pick up the phone and call? Offering a FREE Booklet can do just that. And it’s cheaper to spend the extra hour or two writing a better booklet title than placing ads and getting only half the response you could be receiving. Isn’t it?

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This Marketing Contributed Content article was written by Jeff Dobkin on 3/1/2005

Jeff Dobkin is the author of How To Market a Product for Under $500 and Uncommon Marketing Techniques. He is also a speaker, writes response-driven sales letters, engaging web content, persuasive catalog copy; and exceptional direct mail packages. He also is a marketing analyst for direct marketing packages, ads, catalogs, and campaigns. To place an order, or to speak with Mr. Dobkin call 610/642-1000. Visit him online at
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