In Box or recycle bin – the choice is yours

writing a killer brochureRemember the last time somebody sent you a killer brochure? No, neither do I. Brochures often tend to be dull affairs – the sort of thing you skim through, decide they’re not worth the effort, and file. In the bin, usually. It’s a shame, because brochures are a great opportunity to engage the reader, tell your story, make a promise, and move the sales process along. Next time you plan one (you do plan, don’t you?) try following these tips.

1. Work out where it comes in the sales process

This is so obvious, it’s easily overlooked. If a brochure is sent out in response to an enquiry, it needs more information than if it’s a leave-behind (which is, not surprisingly, left behind after a sales meeting). If it’s part of a sales pack, you want to reinforce your message without repeating yourself, so you need to strike a balance. It’s always worth remembering that marketing collateral often gets separated, so a brochure that did have supporting material may just end up on its own. So it’s a good idea to make sure a brochure can stand alone, and still make sense when somebody picks it up in six months’ time.

2. Lead with a strong headline

Ask a question, tell them something they don’t know. Intrigue them (but not too much). Tell a story, and make sure you have a good opening. Often, brochures simply say: here we are. This is what we do. This is how we do it. This is how long we’ve been doing it for (as if longevity was a guarantee of quality). These are all the qualifications/awards we have (ISO 9001, Investor in People – sound familiar?). And these are our contact details. Would you respond? Yes, but probably by putting it in File 13.

3. Make it an easy read

Pretend for a moment that you’re the reader, not the writer. Look as objectively as you can at your brochure. Can you scan and get the essence of the message? Is the information nicely broken up into manageable chunks, or do you just see a mass of text? And are you going to commit the time to reading it, or take that split-second (that’s all it takes) decision to dump it? That’s how a reader reads. So make it easy – use headings, bold, bullets, boxes and enough white space. Organise your information logically, and in bite-sized pieces. In short, write like a reader.

4. Balance copy with graphics

Need to tell people how much they’ll save? Show them, with a chart. Do you offer free delivery within a 15-mile radius? Then include a map.  And if you’ve got a difficult process to explain (or even a simple one) include a diagram. Graphics and photos reinforce the message, and make it easier to get your point across. And to make sure it sticks. It’s really important here to use relevant graphics. Don’t just go to your favourite stock photography site and download something generic. If you can, use pictures of your offices, your people, your products.

5. Remember the call to action

Can you imagine a salesperson saying, “Well, that’s it. Thanks for listening to me. Here are my contact details,” and walking away? Of course you can’t. So why is it that so many brochures do it? After all, your brochure is a salesperson on glossy paper. So get it selling. Tell people what to do next – call you for more details, get online and have a test-drive, organise a meeting with one of your sales team, take up the offer of a FREE consultation. Tell them what to do, and at least some of them will do it. Don’t tell them what to do, and you know exactly what’s going to happen.