Creating effective brochures

Developing an effective sales brochure can help you to communicate your product or service benefits to your customers and as a result increase sales success rates.

Producing a brochure or piece of sales collateral is a fairly common business task; however in my experience many businesses struggle with this aspect of marketing. There are a number of reasons for this difficulty and they can vary case by case, including access to the right skills, limited budgets or the ability to convey technical messages.

When you develop your next brochure consider these 10 steps:

1) Benefit based headlines

Creating an effective headline is the first step to producing a successful brochure. The headline communicates “what’s in it for the customer” and should be engaging and describe the value or benefit your customer will receive from your product or service.

2) Sell the sizzle

When developing your sales message it’s always good to remember to:
Keep it simple – so it can be understood clearly
Keep it short – so it can be understood quickly
Stress the benefits – sell the ‘sizzle’, not the sausage

3) Customer focused

Define your benefit statements in terms of the customer. Remember it is about your customer not your business – Use “you” and not “I” or “we”.

4) A unique selling proposition (USP)

The USP is central to your brochure and to your sales communication strategy. The development of an effective USP gives you the ability to focus your messaging and sales pitch around what you are really good at. This process will help you distill the key sales messages in your brochure.

Your USP might be specific to your product or service, or an overarching aspect of your business, giving you a competitive advantage. Look for all aspects of your offer that makes your business unique or different. Ask yourself why the customer should buy from you and not your competitor. If you would like to know more about developing your businesses USP see our article on developing a unique selling proposition.

5) Fit for purpose

When developing your brochure bring your sales force into the design loop and involve the people that will use your brochure as they will often have key information. Giving your sales people some project ownership is a good idea and can make a real difference in sales tool adoption and use rates.

Those companies that produce effective sales brochures and collateral often use a user centric development process which means that the company’s customer experts (sales people) are involved right from the start of the development process.

6) Engaging and relevant content

When producing your brochure, remember that the primary goal is to communicate effectively and get your message across. This will allow your customers to make an educated buying decision.

Don’t get sidetracked by design and creative style. Ultimately your brochure contains text and it is this text that will convince your customer that what you offer is too good to miss. Imagery is of course important and supports you’re messaging, however using the right tone of voice and effective copy should be your focus.

Your ability to create effective brochures can be greatly improved with the knowledge of how we read and perceive typography and copy styles. We discuss how using different type styles and layouts can directly affect your success in our post on effective copy.

7) Endorsement

Endorsements or testimonials reduce the customer’s perceived risk and can provide them with confidence that your business is capable of delivering on your promise.

A strong customer endorsement is hard to beat when it comes to marketing or sales communication. You do however need to make sure that your testimonials are relevant to the product or service area and that they are up to date and well written.

Companies that make endorsement collection and utilisation a key part of their business processes tend to prosper.

8) Reduce the barriers

Barriers to customer purchase or action vary depending on your product or service type. Barriers can be created around high price/risk, geography, service levels, complexity or anything that gives the customer reason to take stock.

Reducing barriers or eliminating them can help to improve your sales conversion rates and this applies also to your brochure. Providing guarantees, free phone numbers and support services can help to smooth the customer decision process. You can include additional information on the inquiry process, purchase or business process to create greater customer confidence. Allow the customer to understand what is required of them and what the next step is likely to be.

9) Call to action

Remember that the sales brochure is not just a customer information resource; it can also be used as a tool to encourage customers to take action or make contact with you. Make sure that you have all the relevant contact information included and consider incentivising actions with a special deal or offer to motivate the customer.

10) Measuring success

Finally make sure that your brochure has some form of measurement or tracking system so you can measure its success. Use a specific phone number, email or mail address to measure response and conversion rates for a specific brochure. This strategy will allow you to gain a clearer idea of your return on investment.