The truth is there’s no one formula for writing effective lead-generation marketing materials. However, I have developed a 12-point checklist that provides you with a proven structure for creating a wide variety of lead-generation sales pieces.

Before you declare your next lead-generation piece completed, run it past this convenient checklist to make sure your marketing materials are as strong as they should be. Part 1 of this series features my first four checklist points. I’ll follow up with the remaining eight over my next two posts.

Here are lead-generation checklist items 1-4.

1. Include a promise or product benefit in your headline. This will compel prospects to read your body copy for more details. Your headline’s goal is to engage readers and drive them into your body copy. When you state or imply a promise in your headline, you have a much greater chance of grabbing your prospects.

2. Tie your first few lines of copy back to your headline. This gives your marketing piece an immediate sense of cohesiveness. Think of your headline as a setup and your first few lines of body copy as your payoff.

3. Write in a conversational voice. Choose a style that best represents your company. Your voice may be nurturing, insightful, witty, authoritative, scientific, hip and trendy or one of several other options. The key is to choose the right voice for you and write all your marketing materials through it.

4. Use simple words and short sentences. Sure, industry jargon has its place in your sales copy. But as general rule, keep your sentences tight and concise and your words simple. When you find your copy loaded with three- or four-syllable words, try to replace them with simple one- or two-syllable words.

Part two of this three-part series will feature checklist points five through eight. Look for it in the next few days.