writing resize

I don’t have much in the way of marketing literature for my home-based business. Until a few weeks ago, my business card was it. No glossy brochure. No fancy flyer. No phone-book-thick catalogue.

The problem with that, of course, is that I was missing a key component in generating new business. While I don’t need a thick product catalogue for my services-based company as a gift-wrapping consultant, I do need something to hand out to prospective clients—something that tells them who I am and what I do.

I realized that it was time for me to create a general, all-purpose postcard to promote my services. My goal: to design an eye-catching postcard with short but engaging copy. I wanted people to hold on to it, to put it up on their bulletin boards.

Key to that objective was choosing a strong, graphic image for the front. My gift-wrapping work is what sells me, so a good photo of one of my best pieces was the most important element. The postcard also needed to be seasonally appropriate, yet without locking me into a Christmas look (I didn’t want to be stuck with postcards I couldn’t use after December 25).

Also on my checklist: the basics of my company’s name, tag line and contact information; as well as something about who I am and what I do to personalize it and generate credibility.

You’d think that with my experience as a magazine editor and writer I would have had no trouble coming up with some pithy marketing copy for my business.

Not so.

Writing about oneself and one’s business can be some of the hardest writing you’ll ever have to do. You lack objectivity. But without a budget to hire a copywriter, I had to rely on my own skills.

I started with a previously written bio of myself and the two-pages-long list of services from my website. But it was way much copy to fit on a postcard, even an extra-large one, so I had to whittle it down. I figured that most people could take in up to six ideas, preferably fewer. Could I combine some of my services under one umbrella? Was there one category or term that would describe multiple offerings?

I finally settled on four categories. And under each heading, I was careful to focus on the benefit, not the service because it’s not about me, it’s about my potential clients.

The final copy—bio and services description—is less than 150 words. That’s it. That’s enough for someone to decide whether they want to learn more about my company, either by calling me or visiting my website.

I designed the card myself (again, no budget for a pro), added a second photo on the back, and ordered them through Vistaprint (I highly recommend their services).

I am so happy with the results, and feel much more confident and businesslike having something at hand for events and after presentations. I think there’s still lots of room for improvement—I can’t wait until I can afford to hire a copywriter and designer to do a better version for me—but what I have now is a big improvement on the nothing I had before.

I can’t wait to see what response I get!

Corinna vanGerwen is a creative gift-wrapping consultant, the sole owner and only employee of her eponymous home-based startup, which provides gift-wrapping services, training and workshops, as well as packaging services for marketing and events.

Read more of Corinna’s adventures in solopreneurship.

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