The Essential Guide To Creatively & Effectively Writing Brochures That Generate Sales Leads
Although a huge portion of business marketing has moved from traditional methods to online, one of the most common reasons that businesses fail is completely over-relying on one single channel alone: the Internet.
Contrary to the growing modern-day popular belief, businesses must also provide printed marketing literature in order to increase the credibility and the impact they have on their ideal customers.
After all the whole point of marketing is to attract and retain customers. Therefore, a mixture of relevant marketing tactics needs to be implemented which will offer an overall experience for the customer.
By ‘printed marketing material’ I don’t just mean providing branded business cards and letter heads. Businesses must consider whether a brochure will be a good fit for their target market.
“A brochure is a great piece of marketing material that provides potential customers with something tangible in a digital world.”
It is all very well trying to cut back costs and go fully digital, but a business needs to be careful about their marketing decisions by thoroughly thinking about the emotional journey their ideal customer will go through when either reading a pdf on a device as oppose to physically holding and flicking through a beautifully printed brochure in their hands without any distractions from calls or application notifications.
Businesses should use brochures to showcase their products or services to their customers as part of improving the buying process a customer will go through from first being aware of the brand all the way through to purchasing a product or a service.
“The point of a brochure is to be convenient to pick up, carry, and convince a customer to take action.”
The experience you provide to the customer during this journey is key to whether particular chosen marketing tactics will either shorten or lengthen the time it takes to transform a prospect into a fully paying customer.
On this note, for businesses who agree that having printed brochures available will in fact help to shorten the customer purchasing journey, I will be providing proven tips that help to tackle the nitty gritty of brochure production.
Before reading all my recommendations in this article, and to set the scene, take a read of the following critical analysis between two marketing brochures:
Within this guide, I will discuss the key tactics and elements of a brochure that need to be considered in order to create a winning business sales brochure. I will take you through the logical steps from start to finish so that you can be confident that your printed marketing brochure will win client leads and convince them to take action.
- For a full list of articles covering content writing tips for beginners click here.
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Your Guide To Writing Brochures Overview
This guide will help you when you are dealt with the task of writing brochures for showcasing business services or products. The information provided has been carefully selected to help you produce successful brochures that will support your ongoing online marketing efforts while increasing your business sales leads.
In this article the following topics will be discussed:
- Preliminary research – know your customer!
- The key basic elements of a brochure
- Writing style for a winning sales brochure
- Considerations to help you stand out from the crowd
- Become a successful content writer
Preliminary Research – Know Your Customer!
You MUST understand who your target audience is. Factors such as:
- Where do they hang out?
- What are their interests?
- Demographical information (race, ethnicity, gender, age, education, profession, occupation, income level, marital status, etc.)
Once you have your customer personas identified, you can then begin to think about where they will most likely pick up a copy of your brochure.
An individual consumer who is looking for a product or service will be much different from a team of investors and board members.
Then, every decision you make from here-onwards such as the brochure design, the copywriting style and tone of voice, the images chosen to include etc. will specifically meet the needs and interests of your target group of customers.
It is therefore so important that you know what your reader wants and that every decision fits around your ideal reader’s point of view.
To help, ask yourself the following questions about your target market:
- What are your readers’ concerns?
- What do they need to know before they make a purchase?
Often, preliminary customer research tasks such as carrying out questionnaires or surveys, will help you to prompt questions from your customers that you can then answer in your marketing collateral.
For a list of preliminary questions that will be helpful for you to answer about your brochure before you get started check out this article:
The Key Basic Elements Of A Brochure
1 – Front cover
The first page your reader will see is the front cover. It is so important that you pay attention to the design of your business brochure’s front cover to make sure that it will grab the readers attention and motivate them to look inside. Get it wrong and you will likely lose the sale.
Designing the front cover of your brochure takes more effort and thought than simply placing your company logo or product name on the front. Placing an intriguing idea, as well as catchy photos and colours on the cover will help attract prospective customers.
Use an enticing brochure title…
A catchy title will certainly help. This should generally be something very quick to read and straight to the point. Do not try to be too clever with words or fancy here. Instead, make sure your title is easily scannable and simple to digest quickly.
According to Co-Schedule, the most converting headline styles are either:
The perfect headline is made up of:
- 20-30 % common words
- 10-20 % uncommon words
- 10-15 % emotional words
- At least one power word
Offer a freebie…
Persuade the reader to open the brochure and read more by telling them that there is something inside just for them.
For example, you could offer the reader:
- an exclusive invitation
- a free report
- a special discount
- advance notice of sales.
Other elements to consider incorporating…
- The benefits of your product or service
- Thought-provoking statements that motivate the reader to pick up the brochure and open it
- High quality eye-catching images
- Professional branding
2 – Contents page
If your brochure contains several pages, it is a smart idea to include a table of contents. This is essential in larger brochures to enable customers to navigate easily and smoothly throughout the brochure.
Make sure that you design the contents so that the table stands out from the rest of the text.
Try to be clever with the copy that you choose to include – speak in the tone of your customer and entice the reader’s attention by using their common language rather than using mind-numbing words such as “Introduction” or “Model No. U8R0PL32.”
3 – Unique selling points (USP’s)
You need to make sure that the benefits of your product or service are clear.
Often business owners struggle to distinguish the difference between features and benefits.
The benefits of your product or service offers a solution to the customer and this is what actually sells!
Therefore, in order to better understand the difference so that you can create winning sales copy which communicates the benefits to your customers clearly, the following exercise can be completed:
- Write down a list of your products’ features
- After each, write ‘which means that…’ and fill in the gap
- “The recipe contains organic homegrown tomatoes, which means that… it tastes more flavourful.”
- “The car has a 300 horse-power engine, which means that…it goes faster.”
4 – Provide clear navigation
Again, for the same reason as I mentioned earlier about including a contents list, you should make sure you organize the entire brochure so that readers can flip through the pages and easily find what they are looking for.
Essentially the layout of a brochure will follow the same traditional structure:
- Front – used to depict a lifestyle that can be achieved by the product or service within the brochure.
- Subsequent pages – contain answers and offers.
- Final sections – provide incentives to move forward (call-to-action) along with contact information.
Consider including a FAQ (frequently asked questions) section of common questions that you’ve been asked before, along with the answers provided.
Your brochure is a product that potential sales prospects will take away. Therefore, you need to provide enough relevant information quickly and effectively while you have their brief attention. Your brochure will serve as a salesperson of sorts.
Therefore, make the experience easier for the customer by providing clear signposts or headlines throughout the brochure and make sure each one stands out so that your reader pays attention to it.
Testimonials help to build trust between your prospects and your business. Potential customers want to be able to rely on the accuracy of the information provided, and third party reviews from previous customers helps to grow your credibility and reputation.
Customers are more willing to part with their money and purchase from a business if they can read testimonials and reviews, than if none were provided at all. So make sure you get a few quotes from satisfied customers to include in your business brochure. Don’t forget to also include the customer’s full name, as well as any other relevant information that helps to make the testimonial seem legitimate and trustworthy.
6 – Call to action
You must decide on the main primary purpose of the business brochure. What is the end result that you want to achieve when a customer picks up and reads it? You must make it clear to the reader what the next step is and direct them.
For example, it could be to…
- Pick up the phone and call you to make an enquiry
- Sign-up to your website or an event online
- Drive to your location
- Fill in a contact information card and send it to you
- Use a voucher to purchase a product or service from you
Once you have your call to action defined, you can then design the entire brochure based around this.
Try to create an emotional call to action by considering using words and pictures to elicit an emotion. After all, people are more likely to take action if you can create a sense of empathy.
To increase your brochure’s selling power, it is a smart idea to include your offer and a response mechanism on every page of the brochure, so that it:
- cannot be missed
- is emphasised to persuade the customer to take action
Writing Style For A Winning Sales Brochure
7 – Make it personal
Write the brochure in first person and in a tone of voice and style that talks directly to your ideal customer. For example, addressing the reader as ‘you.’
This personal approach, writing in a direct ‘I’m-talking-only-to-you’ style will not only help to catch the readers attention, build a connection and keep them interested, but also it will help increase the emotional response from the customer influencing them to take action.
8 – Address your reader’s needs
When writing marketing copy to attract your ideal audience, it is so important to remember to keep the focus on the reader and not on yourself or your business.
Your brochure should begin and end with how your product or service will help and benefit the customer.
“Brochure copy should begin with your customer, not your product. That is, it should make the person reading your brochure feel that his or her key problems are understood before moving on to discuss the solution. Build rapport first, then sell. That’s true on a sales call, and it’s probably doubly true in print, where you don’t have the advantage of meeting face-to-face.” – Karoaka
Before you get into the nitty-gritty of your brochure explaining all the great things you offer, you should entice your customer’s trust by answering questions and overcoming potential objections that the reader may have.
9 – Keep your content focused
Again, I want to reiterate how important it is to stay focused on your customers’ needs. Your goal is to keep earning your reader’s attention. Therefore you must cater your content purely to the type of reader you are hoping to attract with your brochure.
Think about where your readers are on the customer sales journey. For example, if your brochure is to generate leads, then it is most likely the reader will not know much about your company. Therefore give a brief blurb on the history of your company and why you are different and better than the competition.
However, if your brochure is aimed at closing sales to readers who are already aware of your company, and who may have previously engaged with the company, then they will already know about your company’s history. Therefore there is no need to bore them with information they already know. This will only potentially lead to the reader putting down the brochure, rather than continuing on to the next section.
Try to be concise and accurate. The text should be written in short sentences with positive language and active voice.
Additionally, you should think about the lifestyle of your ideal audience. Then portray this with imagery that they can relate to, demonstrating how your product or service will benefit your customer’s life. Back this up by explaining why current customers, with a similar profile, are satisfied.
10 – Create an atmosphere
Use creative copy that sets the scene to allow your reader to imagine the product or service in their life.
Since a brochure format can often set a strict limit to the amount of printed information you can include, you must choose carefully among the facts, pictures, and other data you want to insert.
“The biggest and most-common mistake made when writing a brochure, is focusing on information instead of persuasion.” – Karaoka
Therefore you should avoid too much factual information, and instead try to generate an emotional response from the reader. After all, they do not need to know or understand the mechanics or functions of how your product or service works at this point, they just need to gain an interest in learning more about it benefits their life.
“A brochure about a wood-burning stove does not need to go into the ins and outs of how the stove works. Tell your reader about rainswept winter evenings and snowbound afternoons. Let your words show them how warm and snug and they’ll be when they purchase one of your stoves.”
Considerations To Help You Stand Out From The Crowd
11 – Extra special information
If you take the time to include really helpful information within your sales brochure, then the reader may feel encouraged to keep hold of it for future reference, or even better, pass it on to friends, families and work colleagues offering you additional word-of-mouth advertising.
The following examples will help to creatively inspire you to think about the types of useful information that you can include:
- If you are selling paint, you can provide hints on colour schemes, painting how-to information, tips from the pros, or other information.
- If you are selling skin care products, you can give your readers tips on how to combat pimples, dry skin, fine lines, and wrinkles.
12 – Shape
The shape of the brochure can really make it stand out to the reader. There are plenty of folding types and layouts when it comes to brochures. These can include:
- Tall and slim
- Containing inserts
- The list goes on!
For example, if you are selling:
- Sandwiches – design a brochure in the shape of a sandwich.
- Tour packages – why not make your brochure look like a plane, or a suitcase plastered with stickers?
- Season tickets to a football match – design it in the shape of a football.
Use your imagination to come up with an original, eye-catching piece. The only limitation is your imagination, and, of course, your budget.
“A recent mailing by CSi, a company that conducts customer satisfaction surveys for automobile insurance firms and repair shops, got a 15 percent response rate with a brochure delivered in a 32-ounce squeeze sport water bottle. The headline read, ‘Thirsty for more repair orders?’” – Direct Magazine
13 – Colour
Do not print a black and white brochure because it is cheaper. Only choose this option if it genuinely goes with your theme. A black and white design can be a significant feature of your brand or corporate identity, but if you refuse to use colours to save money, it may make your company look amateur.
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Sales brochures can be a great tool to generate interest in your product or service without you being there. They essentially act as a salesperson.
However, the best marketing practices when creating and designing the copy and style, is to make sure it stays straight to the point and focused on generating an emotional response from the reader.
Cut out the dull boring facts, and instead include creative copywriting, testimonials and lifestyle images to demonstrate how the product or service can fit perfectly within your reader’s life.
If you need help with creating a sales brochure, Samantha Marketing can help. You can hire me per project or for individual tasks such as creating creative copy, helping to create a marketing plan, the list goes on. Get in touch today to see how I can help you.
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