How to Write a Brochure
Time was when a printed brochure was THE only piece of marketing collateral that was needed in addition to business cards. Even today, brochures can be a key marketing tool for any business. However, print technologies and the Internet have dramatically redefined brochures and how they are used. Discussed here will be how to write a brochure for print and online.
Though there are exceptions, a brochure is usually a multi-page printed document providing details on a business' products and services. Information may include any, many or all of the following:
- Product or service description, often with detailed technical specifications.
- Photos or drawings of what is being offered.
- Benefits from purchasing.
- "Romance copy" which helps make an emotional connection with the reader/buyer. This would also include copy that relates to the organization's brand promise.
- Options available.
- Calls to action with contact information or instructions on how and where to purchase.
- Disclaimers, particularly for offers such as investments, insurance and health.
For online brochures, the same type of information is provided. Sometimes all of it may be located on one page or it may be linked across several web pages.
Writing a printed or online brochure begins with a plan that focuses on the end. What action is desired from those who read the brochure? Every aspect of the final piece must enable or encourage that action. Following the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) sales model (Wikipedia), which has been used since the early 20th century, can offer an easy road map for the writing process.
Writing a Headline (Attention)
Like any good article or press release, a brochure headline must grab the attention of the intended audience. A headline that communicates the primary benefit readers will receive from purchasing, in a way that connects with them emotionally, is typically the easiest and quickest way to make that initial connection. This is a tall order! Hiring a copywriting pro to get it right may be worth the investment.
Eyecatching photos or graphics can help make the brochure scream "Read Me!" The corporate logo should be included, but should usually not be the primary focus of the headline segment.
Sometimes a tremendous single testimonial or endorsement that embodies the emotional appeal and benefits in a unique way can make an excellent headline.
Example: The service offered is a staying at a resort in the Bahamas. Compare "XYZ Resort, Bahamas" with "Imagine Yourself Relaxing on Pristine White Sand Beaches." The first headline is literal, the second helps the reader put himself into the proposed offer right away.
Romance Copy and Testimonials (Interest and Desire)
If a brochure does not immediately appeal to both the hearts and the heads of readers, why would they want to continue reading or move closer to buying? So usually the first segments of the brochure are filled with "romance copy" which appeals to the emotional needs of those reading the piece. Stories or presenting scenarios to which readers can relate can be very effective.
Building on the stories and scenarios, testimonials from actual customers (with their written approval) or endorsements from trusted parties (thought leaders, quality awards such as those from Consumers Digest, etc.) can help reassure readers that they are making a good decision.
Photos can be very effective in conveying desired emotional states. Pictures showing people enjoying the product or service, or the positive results from purchasing it, are useful in drawing readers into the business' "story."
Surprisingly, this emotional connection is not just limited to B2C (business to consumer) offerings. B2B (business to business) offers must also provide an emotional component (achievement, relief, ease, etc.).
Example: Service offered is waste pickup service for small business. Not too much romance in waste! But presenting the offer as a way to increase customer satisfaction through a sweeter smelling environment, which can help increase repeat business, would appeal to small business owners who are worried about sales. Showing photos of happy customers (actual customers if their written permission and photo release is received) or those who look like them (using stock photography) helps reinforce the appeal.
Call to Action (Action)
Once the reader has been drawn into the offer emotionally, then (and only then) is it time to talk details. This is pretty straightforward. It make include photos, drawings, technical specifications, options available, disclaimers... any information that will help move the reader to take the desired action.
This segment tells readers how to buy here and buy now! Because a brochure may be a marketing tool that is used for months or years, promotional advertising offers are often not included, except for possibly an insert or flyer describing the promotion.
The call to action should be clear and concise, with explicit instructions on how to take the next step toward purchase. Don't leave it to chance. Ask for the sale!
Disclaimer: The author/publisher has used best efforts in preparation of this article. No representations or warranties for its contents, either expressed or implied, are offered or allowed and all parties disclaim any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for your particular purpose. The advice, strategies and recommendations presented herein may not be suitable for you, your situation or business. Consult with a professional adviser where and when appropriate. The author/publisher shall not be liable for any loss of profit or any other damages, including but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages. So by reading and using this information, you accept this risk.
© 2013 Heidi Thorne