10 things your brochure should do

that customers respond to

For most businesses, a brochure is still their most fundamental new client tool. Despite websites and email, brochures (along with business cards) stay around the longest and generally have the best return on investment of any promotion.

That's why it's important to make your brochure as effective as possible. It must motivate people to act and then to buy.

Effectiveness depends on the design and the words. Most of your costs however are in print and distribution. So getting the best copywriting and design you can is a way of leveraging more results out of your fixed costs.

There are10 things your brochure should do, to maximise its impact.

1. Grab immediate attention and respect

From the mail pile to the bin, most brochures get two or three seconds. Yours must grab attention, so it gets a chance to deliver your message.

Shuffle your brochure with your daily mail.

At a glance, is yours the one that stands out? Does it make you feel proud?

Is your brochure a stand out?

2. Tell "What's in it for me?"

Customers don't care about you or your company – not until they realise you've got something they want and can't get elsewhere.

Then they become eager, loyal customers.

Does your headline tell, "What's in it for me?"

3. Stake your claim

How are you better than your competition? How will customers benefit if they choose you?

Explain your unique benefits, up front and in detail. Show you're passionate about what you do.

Did you tell how you're the best for customers?

4. Prove it

Just telling people that you're great won't work.

Why should they believe you? Prove your claims with facts, independent reports, genuine quotes from customers, absolute guarantees.

Does your brochure prove your claims?

5. Provide enough information

You've probably heard it said, "People won't read anything long". It's true that people will not read five words they are not interested in (and they are not interested in self-congratulatory waffle).

But research proves that buyers will read 1,000 words, 2,000 –€“ even 5,000 words about a product they are considering buying, if they're getting information that helps them decide.

These days, no-one has the time to inquire out of curiosity. They use information to narrow the field.

Have you presented enough solid information to help clients make a purchase decision?

6. Make an offer

If you send out a promotional item that does not include an offer, you are wasting your money.

Offers prompt action.

Have you made them the best offer they're likely to get?

7. Make it urgent

Everyone is busy. It's all most people can hope for, to get the urgent things done. So you have to make your offer urgent.

You can make it time limited, supply limited or exclusive. You can warn of a price rise or shortage.

Or show how action will save money, but hesitation will give competitors an edge.

Is your offer so urgent, they'll have to act?

8. Reduce decision uncertainty

Uncertainty is the final chasm between desire and purchase. Reduce uncertainty with a satisfaction guarantee, extended warranty, service plan or trial period, so it's easy for clients to slip into the purchase decision.

Have you shown how they can buy with absolute confidence?

9. Call them to action

To close the sale you must prompt people by telling them what to do. "Phone now to get delivery today." "Call in to one of our stores in..." "Email our customer service manager direct at..."

Does your brochure ask for their order?

10. Make it easy to respond

Offer several ways to respond, so it's easy – and the decision shifts from whether to respond, to how to respond.

Make your sales number a direct line that bypasses reception and call routing, to be answered immediately by a human being who can answer questions about the product.

Give a name (or two) for contact. People are more likely to call a person than an unknown.

Is a coupon appropriate, for return by mail or fax? Even today, many people prefer to write.

Have you offered a choice of responses?

Why be limited by a brochure that doesn't do it all?

About this article

This article was planned and written by me, Michael Woodhouse, at Glide.

I did it because I enjoy doing sales brochures and after more than a decade of writing them for others€“ I think I'm pretty good at it.

It's also because it pains me to see how much wasted paper our ever-chatty postie delivers to us each morning. He even complains about it.

It costs the same to print and deliver a feeble brochure as it does a powerful sales starter. Sure, it costs more to plan, write and design – but this investment in effectiveness earns you a better return on print and delivery costs, which are usually the biggest costs, over time.

If you want a more effective brochure, that people read and consider (just as you are reading and considering this), call me Michael Woodhouse direct on 0417 928 904 or email michael@glide.co.

Do it now, because every day you don't have an effective sales brochure is another day you'll miss sales – and potential new clients.

PS You might have noticed that word "plan": I start every brochure by looking at your business, your target market and your objectives. At Glide, our core business is marketing strategies. We're ahead of most brochure shops before we put a figurative pen to paper.