Your brochure may be the first thing you put into a prospective client's hands, but remember that it is only one part of an entire marketing program. Your marketing strategy is also supported by things like an informative website and knowledgeable staff that can answer questions and follow through on any inquiries.
Even if you only conduct business online, there may be times when you want to be able to give someone a printed brochure. If you are attending trade shows or making sales calls, people will expect you to have a professional brochure.
Gathering required information
It is important to be prepared before you contact printing or graphic design suppliers. Some of the information you can bring to a designer/printer includes:
- A description of your products and/or services
- A definition of your target markets and your target customers
- An outline of the benefits you are offering, the problems you solve
- Proof of the capabilities of your business and its products or services, such as: years of experience, number of satisfied customers, testimonials or references
- What you expect the brochure to accomplish: to introduce your business and its products/services, to bring in orders or to serve as a reminder
- Any existing branding materials, including your business card and websites (to ensure a consistent brand experience)
Decide what you want to say and who you want to say it to:
- Be direct, as if actually speaking with a potential client
- Talk about their needs, not about yourself
- Do not try to say too much at once or the message might get lost: be focused
- Prepare contact information that should be included on the brochure
- Find examples of brochures from other companies that you like
Working with a supplier
Once you have gathered the required information, you will need to work with suppliers to design and print your brochure.
- Select your supplier(s): You will usually need two suppliers - a creative design firm and a printer. Meet with them to discuss your objectives, needs and budget. Make sure they understand your requirements. Often the creative design firm can recommend a printer or may be able to include printing costs in their quote and deal with the printer on your behalf.
- Discuss ideas with your supplier: Share all of the information that you gathered with the creative design firm. You may also want to incorporate your own creative ideas for the design.
- Consider which shapes, images, colours and materials you think will best represent your business.
- Think about how your brochure will be used by your client. You can decrease the chance of it getting thrown away by including a calendar, recipe or tips relevant to your business.
- Talk about techniques that will motivate people to open the brochure. Do not just cover the front page with a business logo: sell potential customers on the value your business offers.
- Listen to ideas from your suppliers (they are the experts) and answer your supplier's questions.
- Review proofs: Your supplier should prepare a proof of the brochure for you to review. Some suppliers will do a few different concepts for you to choose from (depending on what was agreed to in your contract). When you review the proof, check everything very carefully. Is all of the required information included? Is everything spelled correctly? Is the contact information correct? Do not take anything for granted - having hundreds of brochures printed only to discover an error in your phone number can be a very costly mistake.
Once your brochure has been printed and delivered, make sure that you put it to good use for your business.
- Get the brochure in people's hands: There are many brochures that are carefully designed and printed, but never used. If you are not sure how you will use your brochure, you might want to wait to have one designed.
- Develop a distribution strategy: Take brochures with you on sales calls and to trade shows. Consider doing a mail-out to prospective customers. Host an event at your location and make brochures available to those who visit.
- Follow up: A single promotional activity rarely results in a contract, order or sale, so be prepared to follow up with activities like personal visits, telephone calls and more mailings.