What makes a good marketing brochure?

“We’ve got to have a brochure!

What makes a good marketing brochure?

Is that a familiar refrain in your office?  Have you ever asked yourself why your colleagues are so adamant they can’t live without a marketing brochure?

Is it because it’s a bit of a comfort blanket?

Is it because you’ve always had one?

Is it because everyone else has one?

Or is it to actually sell your products or services?

Let me let you in to a secret.  The fourth option is the only commercially viable option!

The only problem is how do you make a piece of paper sell?   Putting brochures together can be an expensive business.  You need copy, images and a design.  You also need to balance what you want to say with what customers want to hear then cross-reference that against the risk that the final piece may put as many people off as it attracts if you don’t get every element dead right.

It’s a fine balance to strike but here are our tips on what you can do to make sure you’re producing brochures that sell:

1. Know your customer

Before you put pen to paper (or fingertip to keyboard) make sure you understand your customer/client and, more specifically, exactly what they want from you.

You can list out all of the different features but features don’t sell.   Selling is all about knowing how these features benefit your customers/clients.  That is what a good brochure spells out.

If you take nothing else from this blog please remember – you sell features but your customer buys benefits!

2. Plan your marketing brochure so it sells

AIDA is not a new model but it is a model that works.  If you haven’t come across AIDA before it stands for:

Attention

Interest

Desire

Action

Your copy and design need to capture your audience’s attention, garner their interest, create a desire in your product or service then make them take action (and spell out clearly the action they need to take and how to do it).

3. Use eye-catching images 

You may love your offices or be proud of your team but that won’t capture you audience’s attention.  

Make sure your cover images is the thing that they care about.  What that is will obviously depend on the type of business you are and the products and services you offer but it needs to be big, powerful and relevant.

4. Use quality images

Your cover image could well be the first interaction your customer/client has with you so make it count.  Make sure it’s sharp and impressive.  Make sure it conveys quality.

5. Use a quality finish

And following on from the previous point, use a decent weight of paper with a decent finish.  A cheaper option will only make you look cheap.  

6. So what?

When you get to the copy don’t just create lists of products and lists of what they do – persuading someone to buy something requires you to create a reaction, an emotion even.

Your audience is interested in themselves not you so spell out what your products/services will do for them.

Tell them how it’ll save the time.

Tell them how it’ll save them effort.

Tell them how it’ll save/make them money.

One way to do this is to make a list of what you have then ask yourself “so what?”  Then you’ll have your benefits.  These are what your copy should be made up of.

7. Invest heavily in your headlines

Your headline will be the shortest part of your copy by some distance but it is the most important part by an even greater distance.

The average reader takes less than 5 seconds to decide whether they want to read something.  These 5 seconds will be spent reading your headline.

To get it right you’ll need to invest time and try out a load of options.  You’ll also need to test it out on different people (internally and externally).  And you’ll need to be honest; if it doesn’t grab you and your guinea pigs, it won’t grab your audience so you’ll need to go back to the drawing board.

8. Get to the point

You’re writing a marketing brochure, not a book.  Waffle loses readers so instead of starting with a potted history of your business and/or ideas, jump straight in.  Tell your readers what you know is important to your them, tell them what they want to know.

And keep it clear.  

Avoid jargon or technical terms and try and stay away from big words (a New York Times journalist once told me to write everything for Year 9).  Big words don’t always impress but they can sometimes confuse.

9. Make it easy to read

It is difficult to read pages with too much text.  It’s also hard to read lighter type of a white background or dark type on a dark background.  Keep it simple; use dark text on a (very light) background and break up your text to leave as much white space as possible.

Wherever possible try to use bullet points.  People are pressed for time these days so let them be able to skim the key points as quickly and easily as possible.

10. Mitigate any risk

Even if you get your benefits across there can still be some doubt in the mind of your audience, particularly if this is a first purchase.  Try and mitigate the risk by including testimonials and case studies or even a simple-to-redeem money back guarantee if you’re selling products.

11. The more creative you are, the more you’ll stand out

There are a lot of marketing brochures in the world so yours needs to stand out.  Design will play a huge part in making sure you do.

Your design needs to be congruent with your brand and your audience but the level of creativity  being employed by designers is such that this can now be taken further than probably ever before.   

Make sure you find a good designer and trust them do their job.   

12. Less is more 

The other benefit of using an experienced designer is they are professionally restrained.  Many business owners can go a wee bit overboard with fonts, font sizes, colours and bolding but the more you try and put in, the less pleasing it is on the eye.

With design, less is most definitely more.

13. Always add a call-to-action

We’ve already touched on this in a few of the previous points but it really is the most critical success factor when you’re creating marketing brochures.

You can get the copy spot on, employ the highest standard of design and produce your final piece to the highest spec.  But, if it doesn’t tell people what to do next and make it as easy as possible for them to take that step, your brochure won’t work.  

People aren’t going to take the time to find your phone number or your email address for themselves.  They’ll go elsewhere.

The other thing you could do is to give them a reason to act immediately.  Add an introductory discount, a free gift or something extra for free if they were to sign up by a certain date.

14. Make your brochures worth keeping

Sometimes your audience will be interested in what you’re saying but won’t be able to ready to buy.  Make sure the quality of your design and production are good enough to keep until they are ready. 

If you’re planning to put together a new marketing brochure or a few new brochures why drop us a line?  Or we can share some examples of our work to give you a better idea of what we could be doing for you?


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