Five Essentials for Planning an Effective Brochure

How To Create a Brochure That Gets Results

Reading a Brochure
Reading a Brochure. Getty Images

Even in this very digital world we now live in, brochures can be your company's best friend. They can work in conjunction with your other sales literature. Or alone. What's more, they don't even need to be printed, with PDF and eBook technology making it very easy to read one on a tablet, desktop, or even a phone. 

The first step to creating an effective brochure begins with the planning. These five essentials show you exactly what you need to do before writing the first word of your brochure:

1. Know Your Brochure's Place in the Buying Process

Your product, the market, even your approach to how you want to make the sale are all major factors in how you write your brochure. Determine where your brochure functions in the buying process:

  • Leave-Behinds: Named for the type of brochure you leave behind after meeting a potential customer. It should support what you have just presented. 
  • Point-of-sale: The type of brochure you may pick up while waiting in line at the bank. This can be a good tool to raise interest, and get people asking for more. 
  • Respond to Inquiries: Someone asks about a specific product and you drop a brochure in the mail, or email, to follow up. This should be expansive, give them as much information as you can.
  • Direct Mail: Your sales letter sells but you can also include your brochure into your direct mail package. However, great direct mail is more than a letter and a brochure, so think carefully about how to make it stand out.
  • Sales Support Tool: Similar to leave-behinds but you use this type as a selling aid through a sales pitch.

2. Know If Your Brochure Stands Alone

Some companies have one brochure for one product and that's it. Others use their brochure in combination with other advertising mediums (commercials, print ads, direct mail, etc.).

If you're writing a brochure to be used with other forms of advertising, your content will be determined by the ad campaign.

For example, you've created the perfect direct mail package. Your sales letter covers the reasons your prospect has to buy your product now.

Don't follow up your direct mail masterpiece with a repetitious brochure. You've already convinced your potential customer that you have a great product. Now show them the benefits and features your product offers. The brochure here should complement your DM piece, not parrot it.

3. Know Your Audience

You've already determined where your brochure fits into the buying process. Don't forget to target that particular audience. Decide what type of information this audience needs and write your brochure accordingly. You wouldn't want to write a respond to inquiry brochure the same way you'd write a sales support brochure. Remember, write specifically to them. Make it too broad, and no one will be interested. 

4. Organize Your Selling Points

Your brochure should have a beginning, middle and an end, just like a book. Most people will look at the front cover, back cover, maybe even flip through the pages to see if it's worth reading.

How you determine the organization of your selling points depends on #3 - Know Your Audience. Once you've determined who's going to read your brochure, then you choose the approach that will best fit these readers.

For example, say you own a car dealership. You might want to write a helpful brochure like, "10 Things to Look for When Buying a Car." Now you can go into detail of what a customer should look for and how your company can help in the buying process.

This adds credibility to your company and the fact that you have this type of brochure could make the difference in whether you get the sale or your competitor does. After all, you were the one that wrote a helpful brochure your customer needed and used.

5. Be Accurate, Thorough, and Concise

Before you start hammering away at the copy in your brochure, take the time to really think about the information you want to include...and, just as important, what you don't need to include. 

Open up most brochures and you'll find lots of words. That's because brochures need to contain as much information as possible to get your potential customer to the next step - the purchase.

Someone who is interested in your product will read every word of your brochure. However, your prospect will feed their paper shredder if you're not providing them with useful information - or worse - your copy is dull. Give them just what they need, without bogging them down in endless pages of exhaustive copy.