The worst marketing flyer in the world

5 tips for writing better marketing content

Yes, it’s 2022 and people are still thrusting hard-copy flyers through our letter boxes. We didn’t ask for them. We don’t read them. And they invariably end up in the bin. But last week a flyer arrived that truly made me gasp with horror…

This was no A6 one-pager. This was four sides of printed white A4 paper, with no colour, very few photos and not a single attractive design element to be seen. It came from a local cleaning company, but it looked more like the kind of local community newsletter that an over-enthusiastic councillor might have cooked up in Quark in 1999.

The worst content you’ll ever see (no really!)

Now, I’m sure that someone (I’m guessing the owner of the cleaning company?) spent a LONG time writing, editing and printing this giant missive. So, well done for being proactive with your marketing. But, man alive, what on earth were you thinking!? 

This was more like a small novel than a flyer:

  • It had horrible blocky text filling every millimetre of the page. 
  • Any white space would have suffocated and died with the sheer volume of text on the page. 
  • And it had several highly technical and extremely dry explanations of how they get certain stains out of your carpets and curtains etc

…because we were all DYING to know, right?

So, using this marketing monstrosity as a starting point, I thought it would be useful to break down the misplaced thinking in this tedious mega-flyer…so you don’t make the same mistakes.

1. Keep your content short and to the point

People are busy. And we all have very short attention spans since social media came along. So, keep your marketing content short and to the point. 

No-one, I repeat NO-ONE, wants to read four pages of text that describes in minute detail how amazing your cleaning is. Or what method you use to get red wine out of a carpet. I might have a wine stain I want removing, but I don’t need to know HOW.

Have one bullet point that says ‘We specialise in getting stubborn wine stains out of carpets’ and leave it at that. 

2. Talk about value, not features

Make your content about the value and benefits you bring to your customers. Don’t use the majority of the body copy to tell the world how brilliant you are.

If I’m in the market for a cleaner (which, incidentally, I was), tell me how you’re fast and efficient. Let me know that you have a competitive prices and discounts. Give me some great testimonial quotes from Karen who was delighted at the way you got that babypoo stain out of her Axminster.

In short, explain to me how you’re going to make my cleaning dreams come true. And tell me in the most engaging and enlightening way possible.

3. Use great design to enhance your text

In an age where we all use apps like Canva, it’s easy to think we’re all great designers. Newsflash: we’re not! And paying for good design makes a HUGE difference.

A designer has spent years learning their craft, gaining experience and finding out the best ways to support your written content. So, don’t try to cobble something together with clipart and the latest terrible template from Word.

Working with a good designer elevates your marketing to a whole new level. So invest in the time and money and don’t self-design.

4. Tell me more about you and your business

The cleaning company mega-flyer DID have a small section introducing the owners. There was even a bad, low-resolution, pixelated photo of the husband and wife team. 

It’s a good start, but no cigar on this occasion, folks. As a business, you absolutely need a one paragraph descriptor that tells me WHAT you do, WHO you are, and WHY I should choose you. By making it quick and easy, you’re far more likely to catch someone’s attention, get a hook into them and turn them into a customer. 

For example: 

‘We’re Acme Cleaners, your local husband and wife cleaning team. We take the hard work out of cleaning, so you can keep your home sparkling fresh all year round.’

Not great, I know, but it’s to the point and tells me what you can offer.

5. Stop sending me flyers, for the love of God!

I don’t know about you, but I have never, ever been converted into a paying customer by an A6 flyer coming through my letterbox. I’m not convinced that anyone has (there may well be stats to disprove this).

But we now live in the digital age. There are so many brilliant ways to target, reach and convert customers in the online space. So why are we still mailing out these unsustainable, ineffective flyers?

Leaflets and flyers may have a place at a conference or an event – somewhere where people expect to be hit with marketing and may well want a short run-down of your business. But is there really any need for local businesses to keep wasting money on these flyers?

If you’ve had huge success from a leaflet drop in the past five years, I’d love to hear about it. It may be that I am wrong. But in the meantime, let’s all focus on improving our content writing and marketing skills – and producing content that your end audience actually wants to read.

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