Brochures That Tell Your Customers What They Need to Know

Posted on Jan 8, 2010 by Kerry O'Malley

Marketects brochures that tell your customers what they need to know

Is it time to create a new brochure, or to update an existing one?  Maybe you’ve been putting it off because you’re not quite sure where to start or you’re not sure what you should include.  Follow this process, and I guarantee you’ll end up with a brochure that’s effective and professional looking.

Start by making lists. All successful brochures have certain content in common and you’ll need to begin gathering this information.

First, make a list of how your product (or service) benefits potential customers.

Second, match which features of the product compliment the benefits.

If you’re having a hard time distinguishing between features and benefits, think of it in this way: a feature is simply a factual description of one of the product’s characteristics; a benefit is a quantifiable positive result the customer receives from that specific feature.   For example:

Product: Cartridge Valve

Feature: All components housed in one assembly so that maintenance can beperformed without removing the valve from service

Benefit: Reduced maintenance costs

If it’s easier for you to list the features first and then match the benefits, do whatever works for you!  The number of features and benefits will vary greatly from product to product.  It will also be determined by the number of pages you want to end up with in your brochure.  Obviously, if your budget only allows for a small tri-fold, you will keep your descriptions as short and succinct as possible, and consolidate features and benefits when possible.

Next, outline any options associated with the product’s features. For example, if you sell different types of pumps, what are the distinct features and benefits of each one?

Last, think about the conversations you have with existing customers. What types of questions do they usually ask when you meet with them? Write these down along with an appropriate answer to include in the brochure.

You’ve got your lists together. Now it’s time to start writing. Follow these guidelines when putting your brochure into words:

1.  A strong introduction is a must. Draw in the reader and entice them with a strong opening statement for your brochure.

2.  After your introduction, draw attention to your product’s benefits and helpful features. Don’t hold back. Let the reader know how you can help and what problem you can solve.

3.Next, thinking back to your list of questions and answers, try and anticipate what other information potential customers may desire to know.

4.  Briefly describe your company. Create a small biographical paragraph which outlines your history and accomplishments. Include any awards or recognitions your company has received.  This portion of the text can be at the beginning or the end of the brochure.

AFTER your text is written, you will start to match pictures or other artwork like charts, graphs or illustrations to the text.  Whatever best supports or represents the text is what you want to include.  I’ve developed hundreds of brochures this way – and the opposite way, which is starting with pictures and THEN writing text.  Trust me, this way will give you the best end product.  This is where many companies fall short when developing a brochure without professional help.  If you have ten pictures you think “have” to be included, and start trying to write the text to support the pictures, you can end up with a lot of jazzy pictures that don’t really tell the story your customers need to hear.  (And again, the number of pictures you include will be dictated by the number of pages you want to end up with in the brochure.)

If you still find yourself staring at a blank page, remember, there are plenty of professionals trained for this type of work. Don’t pass up sales opportunities simply because the right text escapes you. When compared to the money lost by not having a brochure, the small initial investment in a professional writer is minimal.

Author: Kerry O'Malley

omalley@marketectsinc.com

Marketects was founded in 1999 by Kerry O’Malley, a proven marketing communications professional in international, manufacturing companies. Working on the “other side of the desk,” she hired ad agencies to manage her employers’ advertising and P/R programs. Frustrated over the lack of attention and level of enthusiasm she was looking for in the marketing agencies she worked with, Kerry realized that there was a definite need for a full-service marketing firm that specialized in working with industrial companies. She resolved that her clients would always receive the highest level of service possible and never feel like the last kid chosen for the team.

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