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12 Vital Elements Each of Your Marketing Vehicles Should Include
by Joe Gracia

In case you're not familar with the term Marketing Vehicle, it simply means any marketing piece you use, like an ad, a flyer, sales letter, a business card, etc. to deliver your marketing offers to your prospects and customers.

A workshop, an in-person presentation, a networking session, a Web site, even a phone call, are also examples of Marketing Vehicles.

All Marketing Vehicles are essentially based on something we are all very familiar with--a simple letter.

There is only one reason for a Marketing Vehicle; that is to deliver your marketing offer to your prospects and customers. You should never spend time or money on a marketing vehicle that doesn't have a clear and specific offer. Never use them "just to get your name out there," or "just to touch base," etc.

Here are the top 12 elements that each of your Marketing Vehicles should include:

1. A Headline
You must have a headline for every Marketing Vehicle you use. Not just for ads, but also sales letters, post cards, flyers, even your business cards.

When it comes to most Marketing Vehicles, like ads, flyers, sales letters, etc. your prospects and customers expect to find your headline at or near the top or your vehicle--and that's where you should put it.

2. Name Your Prospects in Your Headline
You are not marketing to the entire world--if you try to, you will be marketing to no one.

If you were marketing a headache relief medication, your headline might start off with, "Attention Headache Sufferers!" Other examples are, "Free to Dog Owners," or "At Last! A Guide Written Especially for Professional Organizers!"

By targeting your prospects in your headline, you will get their attention and they will want to know exactly what you have for them.

3. Make an Offer in Your Headline
Remember, the only reason for you to invest time or money in any marketing vehicle is to deliver your offer. Don't hide your offer in your body copy or somewhere else in your vehicles. Always put your offer in your headline. For example, "Get Your FREE Marketing Resource Idea," "Save 20% Off Our New Widgets," or "You're Invited to a Free, Get Organized Now! Luncheon Workshop!"

4. Use a Sub-Head to Present Further Details of Your Offer
A Sub-Head is a smaller line under your primary headline that adds a little more compelling and enticing details about your offer. For instance, "Your Free Idea-Pak Will Contain Hundreds of Tips and Ideas to Help you Sell More in Less Time."

5. Explain Your Offer in Your Body Copy
When you write a personal letter, you put all of the details in the body of your letter. Do the same in the body of your Marketing Vehicles. The area of copy where you give all of the details of your message, is called the body.

Your body copy should support your offer and give convincing evidence that your offer is genuine and legitimate. You can use stories, statistics, examples, analogies, or just straight from the heart explanations.

6. Use Bold Sub-Heads to Make Your Body Copy Easier to Read
Just as this tips article is broken up into organized thoughts by the use of bold sub-heads, you should do the same in your body copy. Make sure your sub-heads are enticing to your reader. Each one should draw them into reading the next section.

7. Keep Your Paragraphs Short
People hate to read long paragraphs. Keep your line lengths under 60 characters long. If your lines are longer, it can be difficult for people to find the beginning of the next line.

If reading your words gets to be difficult in the slightest, your prospects will stop reading. Take a look at newspapers and magazines and you may be surprised at how narrow their copy is. They learned a long time ago, "to keep people reading, keep lines short."

Keep your paragraphs short in terms of the number of lines also. Don't go over 5-6 lines if your can help it. 2-3 lines is even better.

People like to read in short, quick and easy snipets of information. If you write a paragraph that is 20-30 lines long, it will appear to be a daunting task to your readers, and they won't tackle it.

8. Use Bulleted Lists in Your Body Copy Where Appropriate
It's all about making it as easy for your readers as possible. If you bury a list of items within a paragraph it makes if difficult for your readers to absorb and remember the list: Here's an example:

To copy and paste text, first you should take your mouse and hightlight the text you want to copy; then presss Ctrl-C to copy the text; then place your cursor where you want to paste the text and then press Ctrl-V to paste the text in the new area.
Can you see how difficult it is to distinquish the steps? Now we'll list the steps in a bulleted list:

To copy and paste text
  • Hightlight the text you want to copy with your cursor
  • Presss Ctrl-C to copy the text
  • Place your cursor where you want to paste the text
  • Press Ctrl-V to paste the text in the new area
It's much easier now for you to see, absorb and follow the bulleted list of steps. You could number the steps too, if you like.

9. Include a Call to Action
Now that you have gotten the attention of your target prospects in your headline, and you've made them an offer and you've explained your offer in detail in the body, you're now ready to tell them what they must do to get your offer. This is called the Call to Action.

Here are some examples: "Call 555-5555 Today to Get Your Free Marketing Idea-Kit," or "To Sign Up for Our Free Workshop, Fill Out the Enclosed Fax Form and Fax it to 555-5555."

10. Include a Tracking Code
It is vital for you to know exactly which of your Marketing Vehicles are working for you and which are just big-time money wasters. One of the easiest ways to track your responses to your vehicles is to include a code in your marketing vehicles.

If you were to respond to an offer in the Milwaukee Journal newspaper, here in Wisconsin, and the advertiser put DEPT. MJ1201 in their address, there would be a good chance that there is no such department at their company. It may, in fact, be a simple tracking code to tell them that you are responding to their ad in the Milwaukee Journal (MJ) that ran on 12/01/00. Pretty tricky, right?

You could also put a fictitious Extension Code next to your phone number, such as 555-5555 Ask for Extension 83, where 83 would be the code for that particular marketing vehicle.

Some businesses tell you to ask for Catalog #120 -- that's a tracking code for the vehicle. Or they may tell you to Ask for Operator 87, or even ask for Mary. In another ad, it may say Ask for Sue, etc.

11. Give Your Prospects/Customers More Than One Way to Respond.
Some people hate responding by phone--so they won't. Others can't be bothered finding an envelope and stamp to mail their response. Others like to fax, and some like to go to a Web site or use e-mail. Give your prospects and customers a variety of ways to respond and you will significantly increase your responses.

12. Include a Sense of Urgency
People are notorious for being procrastinators. They love to put things off, and once they do, you can bet it's not going to happen later. Out of sight, out of mind. That's why it's important to include a Sense of Urgency to get your prospects to act now! Some examples are: "Hurry. Supplies are Limited," "Free Gift to the First 100 Callers!," "Special Offer Ends December 31, 2000."

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