Marketing Basics – Creating Sales Brochures, Part One

A company sales brochure is the most used and misused piece of marketing material in business. It serves one of two functions and your design is dependent upon which function is selected. The first is that of an attention grabber that plays on a customer’s emotions. When seen in a display rack, it must be picked up to see what’s inside. It will have an attention-getting headline.

This brochure is designed to be on public display, exposed to your target market as much as possible. It will contain short bursts of text surrounded by plenty of white space. It will have a “call to action” asking the customer to visit your premises, make a call, mail a reply card or some another action that will put you and the customer in touch.

This brochure is a teaser for your business, something that will make a potential customer want to know more.

The second brochure function is designed for the customer who knows about your company and wants more detailed information. This brochure can be packed with information that customers want to know.

This brochure should never see a display rack or be laid out for passersby. A casual customer, unfamiliar with your business, will be “turned off” by wading through page after page of information to find out what you do.

Brochure Use Mistakes

Don’t, under any circumstances, expect just your brochure to make a sale for you. The reason you have a sales brochure is to educate customers about your product or services and encourage them to contact you. Some small-ticket items however, can be sold with a Type One direct mail brochure. These are usually more successful when sent with some supporting literature.

Brochure Strengths

• You have total control over the visuals and what’s said and how.
• You control where your brochure’s placed and who gets it.
• You can design it yourself, but a professional designer would be better.

Brochure Weaknesses

• You should give your brochure to all qualified customers. Using it for mass audiences could be cost prohibitive. Other media may be more cost effective for reaching a larger audience.
• If your business changes, your brochures are outdated and money is wasted.
• Trying to match your competitors can be expensive if you’re forced into special designs and/or full-color before your budget can handle it.

Getting Started

Visit a location where you’ll find a rack of brochures, your local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Office or a major hotel. Stand back and look at them. Which brochures grab your attention? Which ones do you want to look at? Why? Is it the color, typeface, headline or design?

Now look at them again. Take out some of the brochures you didn’t select and ask the following:
• Why didn’t you look at them?
• Was it the lack of an eye-catching graphic?
• Was it a hard to read typeface?
• Did the headline lack sales appeal? Was it a label, not a call to action?
• Was it because the design of the rack hid the real message?

You can only be in one place at a time. Your company sales brochure can be in many places, helping you influence potential and existing customers. An effective brochure accurately outlines what your company is about and what it has to offer. A poorly constructed brochure can chase potential customers away.

I’ll be offering some design tips for creating your sales brochure in part two of this feature.

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