Our Writing Projects

are managed using a generally
accepted project life cycle
based on

Project Management Institute
PM Book of Knowledge

Supervised by our Pm4hire Affiliate

Sales Collateral

The quest for information to help prospective customers to make a decision on buying your products or services involves producing sales and marketing collateral that acts as an extension of your website: flyers, brochures, fact sheets, comparisons with similar products, and so on. You know it must be short and sweet, and it has to be convincing to entice the prospects to purchase your product instead of a competing product. Less is more, and it is also much more difficult to express yourself so that you say the most with the least amount of words.

The purpose is that people can take the information with them even if they do not have instant access to the website.  Usually we think of this as typical of business to business transactions, but for business to consumers the idea of people shopping around makes it difficult to keep enough information on hand.  Of course printed information is costly: if you use electronic information published via the website the costs are reduced to the pure creative work, not the glossy printing.  This is not outlandish: paint companies are moving to putting samples on-line or to help you recolor a picture of a room, which is a lot cheaper than stocking high quality samples in all paint stores.

In a business to consumer context the nature of sales collateral will include brochures, flyers, catalogs, and instruction manuals, among other documents. We will review those named in the next couple of pages.


The purpose of a brochure is to describe a product or service.   Typically we suggest that a PDF document is placed on the website with a selection to open and/or download that document.  Producing a brochure electronically is much cheaper than to print: no waste if it has to be updated.  If the customer wants a hard-copy they can print it at home.

People like meaningful information to make product selections.  Brochures are intended to provide enough detail for the consumer to learn what a product is about.  Consider a car dealership that carries lots of high-gloss, magazine-quality brochures so people see at a glance all the features and options available for a particular model.  Of course you have to go to the dealership, and on to 5 others, to compare and make a selection.  If it was available, would you prefer to browse PDF versions of the documents? 

Fact is that an electronic brochure can be created for as little as $100 for the PDF that is available for unlimited downloads, pictures and all, with extra cost if much artwork must be added.  People don’t have to come to your store first to see the product, that means they are more likely to surf the net for information, and if you are that business offering information they want, you have the first shot at making a sale.

You can supplement the on-line brochure with much simpler flyers that cost about the same to produce.  However, flyers are much cheaper to print and distribute – you might leave supplies around in different locations to be picked up to pique curiosity, which in turn may lead to the prospect following up on your website to look at a brochure.


A catalog is a complete inventory of what you have for sale.  Depending on whether you focus on on-line order processing or just information the nature of the catalog can be a bit different.

An inventory of what you have in store, and where it is located, can be a great service to customers.  The catalog would need to have “generic” and “specific” search criteria that help prospective customers narrow down what they are interested in.  You may even add stock status information and links to brochures where available, so that prospects can browse on-line and have a fairly good idea of what they are looking for before they come to the store location.

An on-line order processing catalog with fulfillment capabilities is another type that may be linked with a payments processing service, so that you can sell the products on-line with (ideally) drop-shipments.  Again, there may be options to link to a brochure that details the product to facilitate the customer selection.

A useful service can be to provide a shopping list by location within the store that makes life easier for the customer: since this is customized to your store it will most likely draw customers to your store to make their purchases.


The idea for a flyer is to summarize select portions of your website combined with text to explain what you are about.  You would use this where it is not practical to feature the website itself: an outdoor booth, for example, could have a rack were people fetch a flyer for information – the flyer in turn should direct them to your website, where they can find details they are looking for.  Sometimes a company features selected products in a mall: with this strategy you can have everyone pickup cheap flyers – you can print a lot more if the traffic calls for more flyers.

Flyers are printed materials that can be distributed through conventional channels and can be made available for pickup, but we don’t usually print flyers on high-gloss paper (there are exceptions to every rule): color copies should be sufficient for the purpose of telling your prospects where real quality information is accessible as online brochures.  It is unlikely that everyone that visits your booth is actually a true prospect – keeping a lid on costs and using on-line brochures is just smart business: compare the cost of 500 flyers to 500 brochures and decide which option to use in your mall exhibit.

Flyers are typically associated with a campaign, a sale for example.  While the brochures referenced in the flyer carry the normal price, the purpose of the flyer is to highlight a savings from that price, typically as a time-limited feature.  Companies sometimes post last-week’s flyer, this-week’s flyer, and next-week’s flyer as a customer service: when it becomes known that you have on-line flyers people are more likely to come visit the site and you can supplement a campaign with Tweets, for example, to alert followers that an item is up for sale.  This can also significantly reduce your flyer distribution costs.

Instructions Manual

The intent of an instructions manual is to explain how to use a product, where to get parts, how to get it repaired, and so on.  Having this information on-line can become a major selling point for customer service, because typically sales clerks are not experts in the product and may give the customer the wrong information.  Like other documents we suggest you place these manuals on-line with an easy select and download process to help customers find what they need to know.  

This can be a completely technical description on how to assemble and install a product like IKEA furniture – sometimes it is nice to be able to get back to the instructions when a repair is required.  Let’s face it: advertising excellence and then hiring teenagers with no technical training that serve customers can backfire on a hardware store unless you separate the sales help from the product excellence.  Instruction manuals can also be completely non-technical, like recipes for using the (exotic) products you feature in your store, or how-to instructions for the care of aquarium fish, or how to knit – whatever is applicable to your business, to differentiate yourself from the competition.

We can help you structure how-to guides so that they clearly feature your store: that has the added benefit of when people share information they also share your store that carries the particular product.  Once you have produced that information for customers, putting it on-line makes the information go viral, which is important because it shows a level of sophistication that your competitors cannot match.

Other Materials

The purpose of focusing on examples is not to exclude other possibilities.  The idea is for your website to be unique to pull in business through differentiation from competitors: whatever that information is that makes you stand out is just what you want to publish.  If you believe there is a benefit from publishing an E-zine for your grocery store to have “recipes with shopping lists attached” featured to draw people in to purchase produce and other items, then power to you.  Turn that into a contest for people to select their favorite recipes from those submitted by shoppers, and you can really draw a crowd. 

Options for on-going customer support that draws them to visit your site are endless as well as dependent on your line of work.  Sometimes people need to learn about what is involved in alternative medicine to consider that as an option, or what it takes to select dentures as an alternative, or information about dealing with common problems to care for babies, the elderly, diabetics, you name it: if it applies to your business you can draw prospects by focusing your site on being helpful and portraying yourself as caring – why else would you go through the trouble of creating an informational website?

We can help you strategize an informational website that aims to generate business just as our own website: it has the same objective to inform, to reassure, and to draw clients who see the benefit of creating a lasting value from their marketing investment.  Once a site is created you have a ridiculously cheap 24/7, never expiring, presence that people can turn to for information – and you do not have to build everything at once, as adding new information over time keeps the site active and engaging.