THE MOST COMMON reason why a business develops marketing collateral is to widely distribute information about its products and services, and having done this, thus generating enough sales of the product or the service to sustain and guarantee future growth of the business.

When developing materials to communicate about your services and the needs your products serve in a particular industry, it is important to understand the most important things that influence buying decisions among your potential customers. This knowledge will help you to develop communication strategies that will translate to increased sales or build brand loyalty to your products.

One of the first things to consider when creating marketing collateral is the kind of instant impression they will create upon your prospective customers. Effective collateral should catch the attention of the prospective customers immediately; after all, you only have one first impression, make the most of it. The marketing collateral should first elaborate the needs of the prospective customer, then illustrate how the initiative is the most appropriate solution on the market. Additionally, the message contained in the collateral needs to be factually informative and enticing. The customer should be able to find a good description of the product and the related attributes.  Use language or imagery in a way that ensures the customer is well-informed.  

The message inside the collateral, in its most basic form, should be telling the customer about the key benefits of the product or service. Comparing this with an in-person selling scenario, the message in the collateral should be prompt and to-the-point so that the customer can ask questions related to where they can find the product, price, etc. In an in-person selling scenario, you would be negotiating and answering questions raised about the product(s).

Your materials should persuade your customers and inform them that you have something valuable to offer them. It should motive them to purchase that product or service. You can do this by simply putting your materials through the following five-point test:

Question 1:
Are you defining the nature of your product and/or service by citing all of the features that would be of interest to the prospective consumer?
Question 2: Have you positioned your product and/or service to clearly define why you are different from your competitor?  Have you touched on the pain-points that your product and/or service eases?  Why do they need you?
Question 3: Did you write your market material with your target audience in mind? It isn’t wise to write your collateral without doing a demographic study of your potential customers.
Question 4: Is your collateral easy to understand? Does it flow smoothly without causing confusion? Does it contain a friendly and none-bias tone?  Is it uncluttered, persuasive and involving?
Question 5: Can your sales team distribute the material and know that it will peak the interest of your customers?
Keep these questions in mind when you are writing newsletters, advertising copy, website marketing, collateral, and sales letters.  Always remember people want to buy - they just don't want to be sold.

Lastly, your marketing collateral should be well designed.  The layout of the collateral should not only be informative, but also attractive to the eye.  With these important guidelines in mind, it is possible to create marketing collateral that will lead to increased sales and take your business to the next level.