If your business brochure is boring, self-serving, wordy or outdated, it’s ugly. Even if all your competitors use boring, self-serving, wordy, ugly or outdated brochures, think of the attention your business would draw with one that is truly different.

Here are three questions to ask yourself (or some trusted friends) that will start you down the path to unearthing a pretty great brochure.

Is it easy to read?

  • Your title counts more than anything else. Make it short and direct.
  • The “short” directive applies to sentences too.
  • Give your readers a break. Don’t make them jump right into a block of text. Make your goal: all paragraphs three sentences or less.
  • Make the format interesting. Vary paragraph position. Break up sections of text. Work your words around graphics.
  • Use color and different fonts. Not too “busy” though. Don’t distract from your message.
  • List features and benefits in bullet points. Ideas get lost in paragraphs.
  • Eliminate unnecessary words. Use “facts” instead of “factual information”.
  • Do not use the Times New Roman font. Too many readers will think “I’m not here for a newspaper”.

Are you being direct?

  • Get to the benefits right away. Eliminate all irrelevant information.
  • Only one idea in each paragraph.
  • Use action words. “Call us today.” not “We would love it if you would contact us with an order when you have a minute.”
  • Focus on your customer and what you can do for them. Unless you’re writing your “About Us” section, leave “we” and “I” out of it.
  • Make your message compact. People both learn and remember only so much information at one time.

Do you appeal to emotions?

  • Tell a story. Stories are easier to remember than lists of benefits. We love to share stories with others, even if our intent isn’t to sell. This is a big instigator of the most coveted form of advertising: word of mouth.
  • Almost 100% of the time, we make decisions based on feelings. Focus on giving your readers a reason to want what you need. “I have to have that.” is your goal.
  • List benefits (bullet points please). Make a connection between something people care about and what you can do for them. Describe how you can help them solve their problems.
  • Let people know you and your company care about them and their business. Address common questions before they have to ask them.
  • Be interesting. People like to be entertained. Even skeptics and a neutral audience will pay attention to something they enjoy reading.
  • “Buy stuff from us!” is not an appeal to emotions. The more you shout this, the more people will ignore you. If you’re obnoxious enough about it, they’ll run the other way every time they see you coming. They’ll tell their friends about you too (Word of mouth can work against you.).

More is not better. Cramming as much information as you can into a double-sided brochure will rarely create an interested audience.  Don’t put them in an information coma. Provide just enough information to create curiosity. Create a knowledge gap between you and them. They might just start asking you all the questions.

Do you have any recommendations to share? We’d love to hear your stories of how your sales materials make a difference in your business.