In my blog series, I have been discussing the most important marketing materials any business owner needs, regardless of their product or service. First, one needs to recognize the importance of establishing a brand and then creating that brand through a professional logo design and business cards. In my previous blog, I began to discuss the difference between business cards and a brochure, which brings us to today’s discussion.
A Purpose for Everything
The purpose of business cards is simply to provide contact information. They should not have details about every product or service a company provides, all certifications and levels of experience, testimonials, and the owner’s bio. That is the purpose of a brochure – to provide insights and further information regarding your company’s background, experience, and products or services. It absolutely still needs to contain contact information, and it needs to be professionally designed to establish consistency with the company brand. The logo, use of colors/textures, the style of imagery, fonts, and writing style are all elements that make up a company’s brand. A brochure is one of the first pieces in which your prospective clients see these working together, so it needs to leave a positive, professional impression that will be consistent from printed materials to your online presence.
Let me address the most common question I receive regarding brochures: “Do I need one if I have a website?” The answer is YES! The question should not be if a company needs one or the other – businesses need both. Although we live in a predominantly digital world today, there are many instances where your audience is not immediately able to access your website. A website can further expand upon the information in a brochure and furthermore can truly fulfill your call to action – they can purchase your product, sign up for an event, request a quote for your services, etc. Your brochure is a tangible marketing piece you can put in their hands at a trade show or conference, a networking event, a fundraiser or festival you sponsored and have a booth, you can set out in a referral partner’s office/waiting room or you can insert into a pocket folder with other pertinent materials.
The most common brochure we create is a trifold. This is a letter-sized document folded into thirds, which creates four main areas for information – the front panel, back panel, fold-in panel, and the entire inside (which may be broken down further or can be used as one large panel). A typical company brochure provides a basic overview, however we have encouraged businesses with a large number of products or services to do a series of brochures (perhaps bifolds or double-sided rack cards) in order to have more copy space in which to provide further details on each product or service. You then have the flexibility to display or hand out all the pieces together, or tailor a presentation packet or handouts at an event with the brochure pertinent to your audience.
What goes in a brochure? (Note: Don’t worry if you don’t know what to say or how to say it – copywriting is a service Juice Marketing and Design provides!) An overview brochure may provide the company’s history and/or bio of the owner, information regarding education and experience (awards, certifications, memberships, etc.), testimonials, and a brief breakdown of products and services. One needs to consider the amount of space in a brochure and be cognizant of the use of photos/imagery as well. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words and it’s wiser to provide a brief description than be verbose. While we certainly create beautiful pieces with stock photography, the use of “real” photographs from your field are best. We recommend hiring a professional photographer to take headshots and/or group photos, as well as clear images of your products or work environment. If the use of a chart or infographic helps tell your story, we can design a clear, easy-to-read one that can be used in other marketing materials as well!
The Next Step
In today’s digital world, the brochure may be thought of as the next step beyond your business card in directing your potential customers and referral partners to your website. It goes beyond providing contact information, puts valuable information in a tangible form right into your audience’s hands, and can “sell you” in and of itself. But be sure to provide your website and even teasers for “more information” or ask them to “see our online specials” or “receive tips from our e-newsletter by signing up online!” These continue to direct your audience where you ultimately want them to go – your website, which is where most people today will make their decision about using you and your company. So you know what that means, right? Your website needs to be consistent with your company’s visual brand, be mobile compatible, have links to online reviews and social media, and be up to date! More about that in the next blog!