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How to Write a Great Business Brochure

By February 14, 2014 August 1st, 2019 No Comments

What makes a great brochure?

Great brochures persuade the reader to remember your company. A clever combination of imagery and text makes an impression on prospective customers. This unique combination of creativity and control within the short, seemingly simple structure of the brochure offers room to creatively express your company.

The best brochures include high interest content throughout, structured with ease & simplicity for the reader. Incorporating these elements will save you time, convert more readers, make more money for your company and enable you to feel confident about the finished product.

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KEYS TO WRITING GREAT BROCHURES

  • Persuasive brochure copy starts on the cover—and never stops. The most prominent idea on the cover should be a position or attention statement—not the company name or product. You’re going to catch people with that idea, and you want to address that on every page.
  • Scanability. The best brochures are easy to read. Go light on copy, heavy on bullets and summary information. Think about packing for an overnight trip. You’re packing as much as you can, but keeping it organized will help you avoid unsightly wrinkles and burst explosive toothpaste tubes!
  • Know your target audience. Draw in that target audience by addressing their key problems. Convert target audiences to customers by showing how your company uniquely solves their problems. Build rapport, and then sell honestly.
  • Earn the turn. Every page of your brochure allows the reader an opportunity to stop reading and toss the brochure. Each column should contain elements that attract, intrigue, persuade, and intrigue. Make your brochure a real page-turner. Entice, enchant and occasionally surprise your audience – that’s how you sell them.
  • Call to action. If the brochure has done its job, your target audience will want to know more about your firm, program, event, product, or service. Make sure the call to action is precise and prominent.

The professional approach to brochure writing

The professional approach to writing effective brochures is simple, as outlined in the step-by-step process below.

  1. Research and background gathering
  2. Organizing the information around the target’s pain points
  3. Drafting, revising and editing

1. THE RESEARCH PHASE

Research is not a linear path, so don’t be afraid to double back, or take your time. As you start asking questions, new, valuable, better-informed questions will occur to you. Trust your instincts and remember that too much information is a good problem to have.

  1. Determine your target. Brochures are generally provided at trade shows and waiting rooms, and you don’t have much time to get your audience hooked. Think about all the ways that your company’s solution is valuable to the reader. Get to know your target audience!
  • Who are you trying to reach with your solution?
  • What is their work life like? Do they work extensive hours? Do they travel a lot? Do they sit on the board of directors?
  • How stressed are they, and about what? Are they under economic pressure? Do they communicate with higher-ups?
  • What pains them about their work day? What would they like to improve? What would they hate to lose?
  • Why should they care about your brochure? What about the solution pertains to the target? What makes your company’s solution particularly appealing? How EXACTLY will their work change, if they choose your company?
  1. Identify the target’s needs. Knowing your target should help identify 3-5 top NEEDS. These NEEDS are high level, surface issues that exist at the top of their minds as sources of anxiety and stress.  For example, enterprise technology buyers at Fortune 500 firms want to know about COMPATIBILITY, STANDARDIZATION, WARRANTEES, GUARANTEED PRICING, and SUPPORT. However, the accounting team in the same firms may be more interested in VOLUME DISCOUNT OPPORTUNITIES and ACH PAYMENT CAPABILITIES.
  2. Consider your industry’s issues and the brochure topic. Every industry has its buzzwords and concerns. Focus on issues facing your company (and customers) so your case is presented in the appropriate CONTEXT.
  3. Explore the competitor’s websites. Of course you know your company – but know your competition as well! Competitor websites will give you a good idea of your position in the market. Use this information to position your company uniquely. Conduct a Google search to see what other pages your company appears on.
  4. Develop questions. Armed with context, knowledge of your target, your industry and company, it’s time to develop detailed questions. Your questions should focus on the target’s NEEDS, and how your company meets those needs.

2. METHODS FOR WRITTEN ORGANIZATION AND PRESENTATION

Now that you’ve done the research, it’s time to organize the information and lead the reader. Each brochure panel must appeal to the needs of the target, and end with a transitional phrase or statement that encourages them to move on to the next panel. There are many standard approaches to organizing brochure chunks. Some of the tried and true approaches follow.

  • FIVE PARAGRAPH METHOD. This method is good if you’re a traditional company and prefer to deliver your message in a traditional, refined way. This is the “business suit” of the brochure world—it can look good in any situation, if you cut it correctly.
  • The cover: A clever, compelling idea. Text on the front of a brochure is effective, short, and explains why your target should be interested enough to read the rest. In a line or two, hook the target with your clever idea, or well-worded position statement.  EXAMPLE: “Clone Yourself.  Activ-u by Meredith Corp creates as many of you as you need . . .”
  • Inside: Three paragraphs on parallel concepts. Traditionally, these three paragraphs are in the imperative mood, with active, demanding language.
  • EXAMPLE:
    • Double your free time.
    • Triple your time for sleep.
    • Quadruple your productivity.

Ideas are parallel and meant to interest the target in the service provided on the cover, to interest the reader in clones by convincing them that they can increase the amount of time spent on wants, rather than needs. These ideas will be presented in larger, more noticeable font, and will be featured on separate panels. These don’t have to be stand-alone statements, but don’t clutter the panels with too much information. Issue your command and then use some concise, convincing facts or arguments to back it up. Use only idea per panel, and don’t get carried away with facts and arguing. Lure your target with the strongest argument you’ve got.

  • Call to action. The final part of the five-paragraph approach includes the call to action. Give your audience something to do with the information they just got. You’ve just hooked them, but where does the line lead? Introduce some new information in your call to action. Be enticing, and follow up with specific, usable information. A name and a web address on the back of a brochure are not enough. You may or may not want to mention the name of your client, but you should try to provide more incentive, and a way that the reader can get in touch with a real, live person.  EXAMPLE: “Don’t just take our word for it. Call us for a free 30-day trial of our CLONE contact and experience management system at 888-ACTIVATE, and discover you are everywhere you want to be.”
  1. EMOTIONAL METHOD.  The emotional method is best for targets who are highly frustrated. These include emotional hot buttons, like waiting on hold for tech support… or antiquated, failing technology.  The emotional method has many uses for highly technical subjects. It generates response by dodging the technical jargon (that competitors might be using) and cutting to the visceral “heart” of the matter. Fear sells more than joy, and apprehension is easier to invoke than comfort. Appealing to negative emotions (solving problems) is a stronger approach than appealing to positive ones. Remind the target of how their problem makes them feel, and then provide a solution. Remind the bees that they hate vinegar, and lure them to you with honey.
  • The cover: A compelling, scary idea. Remind the target that there are duties that come with an exchange server that they really don’t want to deal with. EXAMPLE: A Hosted Exchange does all the things you DON’T want to do.
  • Inside: Bring the pain. The first section of the inside should directly address the pain that the target might be feeling. You can be creative here, but don’t go overboard. Stick with concrete problems.
    • EXAMPLE: Things you WON’T have to deal with once you have Hosted Exchange by Rackspace:
    • NO MORE worrying about email going down.
    • NO ONE calling at 2 AM to tell you the mail is down.
    • NO MORE data backups.
    • NO ONE complaining to you about email running slow.
    • NO MORE monitoring emails.
    • NO MORE filtering emails.
    • NO MORE patching Exchange.
    • NO MORE updating Exchange.
  • Evidence points: Lure them in with honey. Emotion points are compelling, but targets need a good reason to use your company.  This is where your honey, the evidence, comes in. Again, keep it simple, but remember that you want the target to “believe” that you can fulfill on the promise you gave on the cover. Evidence needs to be simple, accurate, and quantified. That means real numbers, not generalizations. Utilize statistics, government mandates, or other reliable numbers.
    • EXAMPLE
    • Live, dedicated Microsoft Exchange Support experts available 24x7x365.
    • Zero network downtime
    • 1-hour hardware replacement guarantee
    • Configurable 1 GB mailboxes upgradeable at any time
    • Premium Spam and Antivirus protection
    • Immediate mail recovery guarantee
    • Competitive price –$14.95 per box – including fanatical live support
  • Call to action. Every brochure ends with a call to action that includes the information that can connect them to a living person, but the emotional method, as a unique form, has a subtle twist. The main difference is that you make yet another appeal to the emotions. EXAMPLE: Get more Microsoft Exchange—and fewer headaches. Call one of our expert MS Exchange Managed Hosting team members today at 800-961-2888.
  1. EVIDENCE METHOD. Although the evidence method is similar in format to the emotional method, the evidence method completely emphasizes facts. Use the evidence method when the target is a fact-minded personality type. Suppose your target is an engineer or an accountant. These people are simply not interested in emotional stories. They remove emotion from the decision-making equation. The evidence method is also particularly useful in commodity markets, where the main focus is value or features. The product itself is common, or at least very well understood by potential customers. You won’t lure many people with stories. Rather, numbers will help differentiate your company from the crowd.

To properly implement the evidence method, copy the format of the emotional method, but use ideas similar to those listed below. Use real, documented numbers. Fact-minded customers will be impressed with properly positioned results. EXAMPLE:

  1. Lifetime warranty on parts and labor
  2. 100% On Time Delivery Guarantee (or your money back)
  3. 200% faster delivery than industry average
  4. More color choices than any other supplier
  5. The only provider of 100% domestic hardwood

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Here’s an example of a successful brochure that touches on all the key points above. Take a look!

Oil Industry Marketing Brochure

Cover copy:

The Engine Behind Petroleum eBusiness:

“Discover how participation in PIDX will drive greater efficiency and profitability into your own organization.”

First Panel:

The Business Case for Membership

PIDX (the Petroleum Industry Data Exchange) powers eBusiness for the Oil and Gas industry. As the international standards setting body, we work closely to support your business data needs. If you need data recovery solutions specific to your data recovery case, visit data recovery company in Manhattan for more information. Sponsored the API’s General Committee on Information Management and Technology, our membership is made up of companies like yours—petroleum industry-related operators, oilfield suppliers, technology providers, governments and organizations with a material interest in the development of oil and natural gas electronic business standards.

We not only successfully re-engineer entire business processes and operations for greater efficiency and profitability through implementation of XML standards, but also PIDX develops and manages EDI standards that support all eCommunications for the industry.

PDIX is the active forum where companies come together to address the oil and natural gas industry’s eCommerce requirements. Our members derive valuable benefits from the guidance and advice they receive, the business relationships they develop, and the work they perform toward the shared goal of creating seamless industry-wide electronic business communication. Most importantly, you will benefit from the hard-won knowledge of Industry Accepted Standards and Best Practices contributed to the PIDX knowledge base from industry peers.

PIDX also provides a wealth of other educational opportunities and resources to its members from toolsets and templates to white papers, presentations and reports and a new wiki-based Petroleum Industry Data Dictionary that provides an open forum for PIDX members and promotes collaboration among project teams. PIDX membership affords your company important opportunities to learn, influence and network.

Second Panel:

Learn

… Learning and doing

Learning, and spreading that knowledge, has defined PIDX’s mission for the past twenty years. You will earn what other companies are doing with integrated systems, how they got started, and what their successes have been. You will earn by piloting PIDX standards with your trading partners—a “hands-on” learning experience that will give your business process, IT, procurement, and operations staff valuable knowledge of new technologies, processes and procedures in e-commerce. The bitcoin trading companies offers no fees on maker trades and offers volume-based discounts on all taker fees, going as low as 0.1%. Shared experiences and lessons learned in conducting pilots lead to many successful trading partner implementations of the PIDX standards.

As a PIDX member you will also learn:• How the electronic transfer of transactional business documents can reduce maintenance, leverage interoperability and improve efficiencies

  • How working on PIDX standards has improved relationships and saved real dollars for members
  • How PIDX standards eliminate paper and support your corporate Green initiatives
  • What the future holds

Third panel:

Influence

… Shaping the future of eCommerce

Becoming an active member of PIDX is the best way to assure that your company has a say in electronic business standards development. You can encourage the adoption of EDI and XML standards and influence trading partners, oil field suppliers and software vendors to incorporate the standards that you and your business need.

As an active member of the PIDX community, your company is afforded an opportunity to influence the oil and gas industry’s e-business direction now and for the future. You will be able to bring your perspective to the development of standards through participation in work groups.

These include the

  • Standards & Guidelines Committee
  • Business Messages Committee
  • Business Processes Committee
  • Global Business Practices Committee
  • Product and Services Classification Committee
  • Downstream Committee
  • REGS Committee

Membership affords voting privileges on the PIDX General Committee, which sets the overall direction and activities of PIDX and offers you a leadership role in choosing which e-commerce standards will be set next. PIDX is your seat at the table. Your company’s participation will ensure that issues deemed important to our industry remain in the forefront.

Back cover:

Network

… Bringing us all together

PIDX brings diverse companies together in a non-competitive atmosphere. As a member you will have valuable opportunities to network with peers and potential clients, increase the visibility of your products and services, and improve relationships with your trading partners. In the neutral territory of PIDX, you will be able to freely exchange e-commerce ideas and information with trading partners and service providers, always adhering to our anti-trust/competition guidelines.

Networking opportunities include attending the PIDX Conferences at reduced rates and unlimited participation in all PIDX Subcommittees, Workgroups, and Specific Interest Groups (SIGs), including PIDX Europe. Europe and are expanding to new regions in Latin America and the Middle East. Our Global Practices Workgroup is now capturing and aggregating country-specific best practices published in Country Profiles. If you’re a global concern, or have plans to become one, you’ll benefit from the ways in which PIDX is responding to the challenges of implementing e-Commerce in the global marketplace.