Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sales Brochures: A Brief How-to for the Uninitiated

An effective brochure is one that gets read. A brochure that gets read is one that is planned for and has a clear focus. Brochures can be used to

• Keep your product or service at the top of customers’ minds.
• Differentiate you from your competition.
• Reinforce your marketing message and your brand image.
• Present new info or update info about your company to your customers and prospects.

Brochures have a lot of capabilities, if you design them right. If you haven’t created a brochure, or want to improve your current brochures, read on for some tips to add creativity to the brochure printing process.

1. Decide on your brochure’s purpose. Do you want to let people know about your new product line? Do you want to inform customers of your new location and all the amenities there? Create one brochure for one purpose. If you mishmash a lot of information just to fill up the brochure of if you think you’ll save money by combining all your brochure purposes into one brochure, you’re brochure will not get read. Too much clutter turns people off and they won’t even look past the cover of your brochure.

2. Choose your target audience. The potential buyers for your product or service should have some characteristics that identify them as prospective customers. Don’t just send your brochures out to everyone in the phone book. That’s a waste of money. Carefully target your audience so that you can craft your message for that audience. Brochure copy that is targeted toward a Baby Boomer audience should differ from copy that is target to teens. You need to appeal to each group individually since they won’t both respond to the same motivations.

3. Next, create a plan. Bad or decent brochures can be written and designed in a few hours. Awesome brochures that have higher readership take weeks or even a couple of months to create. Some development timeline rules of thumb: Give the writer 3 to 7 business days. The designer gets 7 to 14 business days. Add the printer’s timeline of 2 to 14 business days and you’ve got about a month before your brochures can get to your customers.

If you’re planning a brochure for your store’s grand opening or a new product launch, give yourself at least a month to prepare the brochures and then another week or so for mailing, if necessary.

4. Implement your plan. Hire a writer and designer if necessary. Compare different brochure printing companies and don’t forget about online printing companies. They can often beat out your local printer with sales and specials.

Of course, this is a simplified step. There’s many more details to implementing your plan, but I just wanted to give newbies the gist of what takes place when creating sales brochures.