Effective Brochures Are Essential Tools
by Chad Rueffert


No matter what type of business you run, or what industry your business is in, creating a company brochure will help to improve your marketing efforts.  For some companies, especially in the manufacturing arena, a brochure is an essential selling tool, and often the only promotional marketing used to differentiate themselves from the competition. Retailers, on the other hand, may have other, more important marketing tools, but should not over look the effectiveness of a brochure for accomplishing certain communication tasks.

Why have a brochure?  For small and medium-sized businesses, the answer breaks down as follows:

 

Put Yourself in the Marketing Mode

Creating a company brochure is an excellent exercise in learning to sell and market.  As a business owner, writing and designing a brochure forces you to describe your products and services in a precise and straightforward manner.  It encourages you to think about your competitive advantages and how you want to position your company against the competition.  The words written in your company brochure will often become the basis for your sales pitch.

 

Create a Sense of Legitimacy

Especially when starting a new business, having a professionally designed and printed brochure gives a sense of commitment and permanency to the prospects who read it and helps to remove any nagging doubts about working with a newer company.  The same holds true for attracting employees and impressing vendors.

 

Support the Sales Process

Sales people do not operate in a vacuum, and will need additional tools beyond their personality to close a sale.  A company brochure acts as your sales person even when you’re not there.  Often, a sales person makes her presentation to a purchasing agent or  middle manager who must then justify their buying decision to a higher corporate authority.  In many of those cases, your sales literature is the only thing beyond your cost estimate that helps influence that person.  Yours should be as good or better than your competition’s.

 

Provide Additional Reasons to Buy

There are things you can say in your brochure that you would never bring up in an advertisement or even in a sales pitch, but which might influence a buying decision.  For example, a brochure may include a bio on corporate officers.  Knowing that your CEO graduated from the same college as the owner of your newest prospect might just clinch the sale.


Cross Sell and Up Sell

Your brochure will probably list all of the capabilities and experience of your company.  Current customers who read your brochure may find additional areas in which you can provide services or products to them.

 

Create an Image and Support Other Marketing Vehicles

Once you have gone through the process of creating a company brochure, you have simplified the process for designing using other marketing tools.  The copy, design and photography used in your brochure can be used for creating websites, advertisements and direct mail.  Designed properly, your brochure can be used as a direct mail piece.  Even if you don’t use the same elements, you’ll have begun defining your brand image and future marketing materials will be easier to create.

 

Creating a company brochure does not have to be a time-consuming and expensive project.  For small and start-up businesses, there are a variety of tools designed to help you create and print your own brochure.  Most office supply companies sell pre-printed and scored paper that can be run through your PC’s printer, folded and handed directly to a prospective customer at a cost of only a few cents a piece.  On the other hand, keep in mind that looks and professionalism count heavily with your customers. 


A poorly designed and written brochure will be a negative in the minds of your customers.  Typographical errors, misspellings, low quality paper or poor photography reflects on your business philosophy.  Better to have no brochure than a bad brochure.  The good news is that there are a variety of professional copywriters, designers and printers out there willing to help.  A full service advertising agency creating a four color brochure printed on high quality paper with custom or stock photography can still deliver a product for as little as a few thousand dollars.  If you’re not looking for quite that level of sophistication, freelance copywriters and graphic designers will work for anywhere from $35 to $75 per hour.


No matter whether you plan to do it yourself, use the services of a freelance marketing professional, or hire a full-service agency, I strongly suggest you prepare yourself ahead of time.  Begin saving samples of your competitor’s literature.  Collect examples of any printed materials that appeal to you and examine them to find out why.  Take a stab at writing the copy yourself and make a list of the key points you want covered in your brochure.  Talk to your sales staff and find out what questions they are most often asked.  Stop by the bookstore and pick up a book called The Perfect Sales Piece by Robert Bly.   You’ll find that the process of creating a company brochure can be both easy and enlightening and your sales and marketing process will be more effective.