What is it about the fantastic windows of big department stores during the holidays? The beautifully-lit cases in posh jewelry stores? The elegant glass display cabinets in arty museums? They’re designed to give you a bit of a thrill, and in all honesty, they usually do to some degree.

A showcase displays to your best advantage
That siren’s call to your gut which seeks to hook your true interest (past the initial curb appeal) is what a showcase is all about. And ‘showcase’ is an excellent way to describe the sales and marketing tool known as the one-pager, also known as one sheet, sell sheet, tear sheet, and now… showcase sheet (by me).

Basic components of a good showcase

I was recently staring down at information I’d collected to write for a client’s one-pager, trying to organize my thoughts. They’d hired me for my own “special sauce” (writing) but there still needed to be a plan. So, I jotted down a half dozen milestones to outline what should be included.

1. Determine a goal 

A one-pager does not need to be a summary of all your services, features and benefits. Rather, the purpose here is to spotlight a focused part of the business that appeals to a specific prospect.

2. Decide the hierarchy of information

Much like the classic news story, you want to get your most important messages across first. You never know how much time or attention you’ll get from the reader – it’s best to serve up the choicest bits first. (Do not hide the cheese.)

3. Write a catchy headline

This may be the most important part of your content. The headline is the pith of the message and needs to capture its essence by showing rather than telling. In prose it’s pretty straightforward, e.g. “Catching sight of a large spider, she shivered involuntarily” vs. “She was scared of the spider”. However, showing in a headline is trickier because you must do the same thing with a lot fewer words. A descriptive core word is a crucial element – although try to resist being too precious.

4. Allow personality to peep through

Your due diligence with buyer personas will signal what content resonates with your target audience, and how you communicate it will provide tacit signals to the reader. The personality of your organization (your brand) is your ‘voice’ and it needs to be discernible in the content. It’s a differentiator.

5. Use meaningful testimonials (word pictures are worth a thousand words)

These take up space, yes, but they’re worth the cost of the real estate. They’re the ultimate “show, don’t tell” way to demonstrate your value.

6. Conclude with a compelling call to action

There should always be a call to action, but make it flow naturally. It should not squawk at the reader with some self-serving hard-close pitch, it should just… serve. You’re there to help, right? That also means doing all the heavy lifting; make your CTA easy to execute.

Above all, remember to talk to your prospects and not at them. It’s important to remember: There’s no crying in baseball (#arcanemoviereference) and no throwing around a bunch of facts and figures about your products and services. Do not try to dazzle with mind-blowing statistics and mind-numbing data, because here’s a secret – they don’t care. Well, not at this point anyway. They just want to know you understand their pain, and know how to fix it.

Remember to love your end user more than your product.