5 Secrets of Creating Successful Marketing One-Sheets

by Jennifer Beever

[Updated by the author Nov. 8, 2011: more one-pager samples at the end!]

One of the networks I belong to, ProVisors, advocates the use of one-sheets or one-pagers that describe each member’s differentiators and the benefits of the service(s) they provide. (See samples at the end of this post.) These one-sheets are important, because in each ProVisors meeting there are about thirty different service providers giving their elevator pitch to the group. Believe me, you don’t remember much when thirty people give their pitches at 7:30 in the morning (and some of the pitches are not as effective as they could be).

In fact, when I’ve done presentations on one-sheets in ProVisor groups, I’ve asked the members, “You just heard thirty elevator pitches – what do you remember?” I get a bunch of blank stares at first, and then someone may remember something funny, someone else remembers a catchy tagline or perhaps a niche market that someone serves. That’s it – three or four recollections seem to be the max!

Cup of Blah Blah Blah

Photo by Kevin Spencer, on Flickr

What if, in addition to an effective elevator pitch, members pass out an superb one-sheet with a compelling title? By using a printed marketing piece, they are reinforcing their elevator pitch with more detail, perhaps including testimonials, case studies, bio and more. When I pass out my one sheet, my networking colleagues are more apt to connect with me on a more personal level (what some call the “back of the business card”): “I’m from Maine/New England, too!” “I went to the Pepperdine Business School as well! “I worked in that industry, also!

So, what does it take to create a superb one-sheet or one-pager? Here are five secrets for one-sheet success:

1. 50 – 30 – 20

Expect to spend 50% of your time on the one-sheet on your marketing strategy, your differentiators, and your positioning. This is the tough (and in my opinion, the fun) part! 30% of the effort will be spent on crafting a great headline and then writing great copy (less is more – most people don’t take or have time to read much). The remaining 20% should be spent on design and layout by a professional graphic designer.

To begin, write down your differentiator, your work philosophy, your values and life philosophy! (To get to the latter, I highly recommend ProVisors member Mark Lefko’s eBook, Unlock the Power of Your Team: How to Build a Powerful Organization through Principles and Values. It’s a great exercise that you can do in one or two hours, and Mark provides the eBook download free!) Your one-sheet can reflect all of these qualities in the headline, the tagline, the copy, and in the photos and graphics that you use.

2. The Grabber

You’ll get your audience’s attention with a headline that is interesting and different. The headline can convey what you do and/or what makes you different. Jeff Zabner, estate planning attorney in ProVisors, uses “Everything You Love and Everything You Own.” Sheryl Mazirow, tenant representative for commercial leases sometimes uses “25 Cents Could Save You Thousands.” Defined benefits expert Judy Soled’s headline is “Retire Sooner With More.” Because I create marketing plans and systems for my clients, my headline is “Don’t Leave Your Marketing to Chance.”

3. Less is More

Most people either don’t like to read or don’t have time. Once your grabber headline gets a reader’s attention, make sure your one sheet is easy to read by using sub-headlines and smaller paragraphs. “Bulletize” content like services, background and education, and markets served where possible. Draft your one-sheet copy and then cut… and cut… and cut… and cut again.

4. The “Z”

One-sheets can be done very simply by printing text on your stationery. But, to leave a lasting impression, a professional designer can make your one-sheet really pop. When I was in sales and marketing in the software industry our ad agency account rep told me that people read letters and ads in a “Z” format. They scan the header or opening line asking, “What is this about?” If you get their attention, they scan diagonally through the body of the letter or ad, asking “What’s in it for me?” Then, they read the signature line or close, asking “Who sent this? How important is the sender or the offer?” (This is why a post script in a business letter can be very effective.)

5. Compelling Call-to-Action

At the bottom of your one sheet, provide a compelling call to action. One example is a free consultation or assessment in person or on the phone. Make sure that all of your contact information is on the one-sheet and very easy to read.

Once you create your one-sheet, what do you do with it?

I call the one-sheet the “calling card of networking and sales.”  Post a PDF version on your networking profiles and your web site. Distribute your one-sheet when you visit networking groups. Send the one-sheet as an attachment via email or provide a link to the online PDF prior to meeting with someone. Leave your one-sheet with referral sources or prospects after the initial meeting as a leave-behind. Mail your one-sheet to clients to remind them of your services, especially if you create a new version. Email or mail your one sheet to the media to showcase your expertise. Include your one-sheet with proposals and reports. Place your one-sheets in the back of the room during your presentations.

Great one-sheets are incredibly versatile and cost-effective marketing pieces. What do you think? Please comment below.

Sample One Sheets We’ve Created

(click the links below or simply scroll down to view)

Dennis McCue, Management Consultant to CPA & Law Firms

Jim Ludwick, Fee-based Financial Planner

Judy Soled, Pension Consultant

Michael G. Lushing, Retail Leasing Specialist

marketing one pager

marketing one page example

marketing one sheet




{ 3 trackbacks }

14 Do’s and Don’ts of Marketing One Sheets — NewIncite
January 16, 2012 at 6:43 pm
May 5, 2014 at 11:48 am
October 14, 2014 at 2:03 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Marilyn Wheeler November 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm

your like, tweet in share info is over the top of everything including theis box so I can’t see what I typing??? question, do the same rules apply for a author/speaker? Your examples seem to have so much writing and I wonder if that is changing with the iphone world of simple and small?

Jennifer Beever November 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

Hi Marilyn, thank you, you are so right, on two counts.

One, when it comes to one sheets, and all print pieces, less is more! Less text, a few well-placed, strategic images or graphics that illustrate your point, and know that some white space is OK! But our clients have the final say, and, especially for those who are smart and do a lot of things, it is hard for them to let go and allow a reduction in text. The most difficult thing is to distill who you are and what you do into a few words – a simple statement!

Two, the sharing plug-in I use on my blog is not compatible with some smart phones. Sorry for that inconvenience. We are upgrading to allow better mobile viewing – I know mobile is how I look and comment on a lot of things!

Thanks again for your comment.

taras Collum February 11, 2015 at 1:51 pm

Excellent article and invaluable information. Thank you for sharing your expertise!!

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: