How to Write More Effective Brochures

Brochure projects are the vampires of marketing. All too often, they drain the blood out of our budgets without adding life to our sales. Post why? They're expensive. They're misused. And for people too lazy to think, they're the standard default when it's time to "do something" to help market a product or service.

Brochures are poor sales devices. (For that, look toward letters and other offer-centric vehicles.) But they do one thing really well that can help support the sale: when the product is not literally in front of the customer, it figuratively puts the product or service in the prospects' hands. The more vivid the illusion, the more effective the brochure. Here's how:

Tell a story: Paint a word- picture in which the reader the can imagine himself using the product / service to his advantage: "Within minutes, the whisper-quiet Split-All reduces tons of timber into convenient piles of lasting fireplace fuel. Simply elevate the rear axle of your truck, replace your tire with our patented SpinLock Connector, then … "

Bring out the features: I know you 've been told a million times to turn features into benefits. True enough. But you have extra leg room in the brochure. And you need concrete things to flesh out your picture. This is the right time and place to list your product / service features: "Comes complete with two safety chucks, a lifetime greaseless action bearing, three special blades for hard, soft and 'wet' woods, and a FREE 30-minute video that will have you cutting wood like a pro. "

Describe alternative uses: The more things your product / service can do or offer, the greater its value. The primary use of the Split-All, for example, would be chopping wood for fireplaces and stoves. But perhaps it could be a way for customers to make a little moonlighting money on the side – "Turn your cleared land into cash!" – Or to help them clear that land in the first place.

Use charts, graphs, illustrations and photos : As a professional writer, I'm loathe to admit it, but yes, sometimes a picture IS worth a thousand words. Be sure, however, that your captions tie your illustration back to the sales message: "In just one hour, the Split-All builds a stack of wood equal to two weeks of winter heating fuel."

Weave in the testimonials: Do not list them in a sidebar. Do not save them for the end. Use them as callouts throughout the body copy to reinforce your points across your entire sales story.

And for Pete's sake, have a call to action: It's not enough to be "informative." By the end of the brochure, make it absolutely crystal clear what customers need to do get your product and service. And be literal about it! Tell them to call and give them the number and business hours (or list your URL or direct them to a local dealer or tell them how to find a local dealer, etc.).