Why does your business need a brochure? A cover letter to a potential client can present only a small fraction of information about your business. Potential clients are often swamped with business mail and a letter may be scanned for a couple of seconds then trashed. A face-to-face meeting is a great way to tell a potential client about your business or expertise, but sometimes it's not possible to get a meeting with just a phone call or introductory letter. Or, what if someone you've met weeks ago suddenly becomes interested in your service but can't match your name with your business card in their Rolodex?
A brochure will fulfill all of these business needs. Brochures are a great way to package a lot of information about yourself, your business and expertise into a format that is easily mailed or handed out at a business meeting or given to current clients to pass on to possible referrals.
Brochures range from a simple two-fold design using one sheet of 8-1/2 inch x 11 inch paper to an elaborate 9 x 12 inch pocket folder with 8 pages stitched in and insert sheets. Good brochure design involves not simply producing a flashy design, but a careful analysis of your target market, what level of sophistication is needed and consideration of your market niche in order to make a great first impression. And, last but certainly not least, your brochure should leave a potential client with something he or she is hesitant to throw away.
Today, in the age of E-Mail, multi-media presentations and the Internet, it's easy to assume that a web site can take the place of a printed brochure. Having a web site really can't replace the immediate visual impact of placing a brochure into a prospective client's hands.
If you've never created a brochure, start by collecting a number of brochures (including competitors') that represent a wide range of quality--from simple one and two-color on textured stock to slick 4-color glossy brochures.
By asking yourself what it is that makes a brochure attractive and effective to you, it will be easier to make a brochure for your own business which will convey the message and level of sophistication you require.
Next, you will need to create some basic brochure copy about your business. Even if you're not a professional writer, putting some thoughts and facts about what your business does on paper will help make more concrete what information your brochure needs to convey.
When writing copy ask yourself:
- Is my company an industry leader?
- Does my company have a market niche?
- What distinguishes my company from my competitor?
- Do we offer better value, service or selection of products?
- Do we have anything new or different to promote?
Questions to ask yourself:
- Who is your target audience?
- What message will get a potential client's attention?
- What kinds of brochures and what level of sophistication are typically crossing your client's desk?
- Does your product or service require photographs or illustrations to help convey your message?
- Will the brochure need to be a self-mailer?
Key information to include in your brochure:
- Mailing address.
- Phone number (and 800 number if you have one).
- Fax number.
- E-Mail address.
- Web Site address.
Be sure not to include in your brochure any information which is subject to changing in the next 12 months or so. Also, be wary of using a specific person's name as a contact person unless he or she is someone you know isn't going to leave in the next year. The same goes for printing photographs of people. There's no sense in spending several thousand dollars to create a brochure only to have it become out of date because someone leaves the company.