By Steve Strauss
I am a big believer in brochures, and these days they need not cost a fortune. Think about it, who knows more about selling than automakers and car salespeople? That’s right, not many people. And when you leave a car showroom, what do you leave with? That is right, too: A beautiful, glossy brochure. The reason is that the automaker knows that a great brochure can go a long way to selling its product. It hooks you, gets you excited, and gets you invested in the product.
Personally, I have had great success as well with brochures. I do a lot of public speaking, and when I send a prospective client a proposal, front and center is a beautiful, color, eight-page brochure about my business — which I created myself and have printed at Kinko’s. My seminar business dramatically changed for the better once I started using the brochure.
For the right business then, a brochure can be a vital marketing method. It is a chance to put your best foot forward, display who you are, what you offer, why it is unique, and why people should buy from you. It is a rare chance to proffer your best offer.
Here’s how to create a great brochure:
Meet with your team (if you have one) and get their input, or otherwise simply have a personal brainstorming session. What is important to have in the brochure? What do your customer’s need to know about you or your business? What sells them? What needs do they have that you can fulfill, and why can you fulfill it best?
2. Decide upon the purpose of the brochure.
What will be the role of the brochure in your overall marketing efforts? Is it to be a tool for sales? Will it be used at a tradeshow? Will it be at the point of sale?
In almost all cases, testimonials can be a very effective use of brochure space. Having real people, real customers, say what a great business or service you offer creates legitimacy and desire.
3. Consider the competition.
Know what your competitor’s brochure looks like and strive to best it.
4. Determine your budget.
As indicated, while it used to be that creating a brochure was an expensive proposition that is no longer true. Sure, you can hire a graphic artist for layout and design, and have it printed at the local printer, but doing so is no longer necessary.
If you have (or buy) a graphic arts software program, and either learn it yourself or assign that task to a staff member, creating a brochure in-house should not be that expensive at all.
The one place where you may want to splurge is on your logo. Having a professionally created logo makes a difference, and adds panache to your brochure.
5. Create a mockup.
You do not have to, and should not try to, get every important fact crammed into the brochure. Less is more. People are busy and do not like reading a lot of copy. Just get the essential ideas across. Use bullet points. Get them to want to know more. Color and pictures spark interest. Then be sure to get some feedback from people you trust before rolling it out.
6. Print it.
Of course, if you have a color printer, you can print the brochure yourself, but even if you do not have access to a color printer, you can always go to a discount copy shop.
You can also simply farm out the entire project to a commercial printer — where you will be dealing with a professional — and you should get excellent results. Just know that you do not have to anymore. The point, in either case, is that a snappy brochure can yield snappy results.
Steve Strauss is a senior small business columnist at USA TODAY and author of 15 books, including The Small Business Bible.