Creating an Effective Brochure

Brochures are a great marketing tool for reaching your customers, but as with any marketing venture, it must be carefully planned. Proper planning and execution can determine the difference between a brochure that is read and one that is thrown in the trash. Here are some tips to get you on your way to an effective brochure.

Set Goals

Determine what you expect the brochure to achieve. Be sure it fits in with your current business and marketing objectives. What is its purpose? Should it generate leads? Promote a product? Much of this is determined by when and where you intend to distribute the brochure. Are they being handed out at a trade show? During a sales pitch? In a storefront? The purpose of a brochure determines the content and design.

Target Your Audience and Focus on Benefits

Your brochure should grab the interest of your target audience with a message that resonates with them. Make sure the text tells your audience how your product or service will benefit them. Don’t just list off a bunch of services that you provide. Tell your customer why they need your services. Write out a list of features, and ask yourself how each feature would benefit your customer.

For example, a brochure for a painter should not say, “We provide quality painting for less.” It should say something like, “Redecorate your home without breaking the bank.” Replace “we” and “our company” with “you” and “your.” Resist the temptation to write boring details about your company, and instead focus on the customer and what they would be interested in reading. Read other brochures and sales materials to get ideas.

Organize Your Content

Make sure your content is well organized, short and to the point. Your main message should be determined in a quick skim of the brochure.

The front of your brochure should have a message that generates interest (Don’t expect a huge logo on the front to grab their attention).The inside content should contain the information needed to bring the customer to the next step (whatever you have determined that is) without overwhelming them with too much text. Don’t be afraid to stretch text and photos over multiple panels. The back of the brochure should contain all contact information. End your brochure with a call to action.

Use Good Photography

If you are using a picture of your product in your brochure, make sure it looks great. Take the photo in the good lighting (natural sunlight works well) and make sure your camera is in focus. A designer can adjust colors and lighting in Photoshop, but it is best to start with a good photo. If you can afford it, hire a professional photographer.

If you need a generic photo to emphasize a point, purchase a stock photo. My favorite place to get photos is where photos are $1 to $27 depending on photo size and quality. Don’t let amateur photography decrease the quality of your brochure.

Get it Professionally Designed

Though content is king, good design is crucial to the success of a brochure. The best content in the world cannot help a poorly designed brochure (and vice versa). Good design and placement of elements will help to promote your message and keep your readers interested. Your brochure may be the first impression customers get of your business. Show your customers that you are professional and reputable by having a professionally designed brochure.

Stay Consistent

Be sure your brochure fits with any other marketing materials you have. Don’t use one logo on your brochure and different one on your business cards and yet another one on a website. If your brochure happens to be your first professionally designed piece, don’t modify the brochure but rather slowly update your other materials as you can. Be consistent with your color scheme and font choices. All of your marketing materials should work together to deliver a consistent message and build your brand.

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Third Party Resources

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Norma said on February 22, 2009:

This was a helpful article as I create my own brochures.  I think your point about quality pictures is essential - I see too many brochures that look like the creater simply copied pictures off of the web.

Mandy Porta said on February 23, 2009:

I’m glad the article was helpful. Yes, people often don’t understand picture resolution. While web images are usually 72 dots per inch, print images should be around 300dpi.

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