Industrial Brochures: Use This Check List for Professional Results

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 by Kerry O'Malley

Industrial Companies Still Need Brochures


As an industrial marketer, I find it much more intriguing to discuss the opportunities that exist for manufacturers in the world of social media or other forms of Internet marketing.  The fact still remains that this is NOT the way that the majority of industrial companies promote their products and services.  They usually have a website, but I would say (and this is a guess, mind you) that for at least 90% of small to mid-size industrial companies, this is where their Internet marketing ends. More traditional forms of marketing communications are still the primary methods used to deliver a company’s message in the industrial world, and there is nothing more traditional than the basic brochure.

For many manufacturers and industrial companies, their brochure and website are the only marketing tools they have.  With so much riding on one or two forms of communication to get your message across to a prospect, affective brochure design is essential.  It may be your only chance to make a favorable impression. An affective brochure doesn’t have to break the bank, but it does require the use of good design and writing principles, and most importantly, an understanding of what is important to your perfect prospective customer.

Spend a few minutes using the following check list to evaluate your current marketing literature.  If it doesn’t make the grade, it might be time to invest in a brochure that successfully communicates your company’s story and marketing messages.  Answer “yes” or “no” to each check point.

Check 1:  Does it look professionally developed?

There’s more than good design and writing that flag a brochure as professionally developed or simply thrown together by your executive assistant.  What about printing?  Was it professionally printed or did you print it on an office printer?  Is the paper a good quality and substantial weight?

Check 2:  Does it appeal to the needs of your target customers?

One of the top objectives for a brochure should be “get the reader to actually read the entire brochure.”  Yes, it may seem simplistic – but if the copy in your brochure only focuses on YOUR business and there is nothing that resonates with the reader, you’ll lose them quickly.  This same principal applies to just about every form of marketing communication, so it’s a good one to practice.  Make your business personal to your prospects.  Write about it so that they see how it relates to their pain, their needs, and THEIR business.

Check 3:  Is the brochure readable?

This involves several considerations.  Is the design pleasing to the eye?  Is the page easy to read, or is there so much text that it is intimidating?  Have you used charts, graphs, and pictures in such a way that your text is supported well with visuals?  Is your text as concise as possible?  Have you used bullet points where appropriate?  Does the text flow naturally from one thought or topic to the next?  Is the brochure written in the customers’ language?  It can contain technical jargon as long as the jargon is commonly understood by your perfect prospective customer.

Check 4:  Does the brochure contain the primary benefits of your product, or value propositions of your company?

Listing feature after feature, ad nauseum, is a sure fire way to get your brochure trashed.  Your prospects don’t really care about all those features; what they care about is how those features are going to save them money, enhance productivity, or make their job easier.  What’s in it for them?  Grab their attention by lacing the text with the benefits or value to them in purchasing your products or services.

Check 5:  Is there a single message or focus?

It’s difficult when a company has a large offering of products to focus on a single theme or message in a brochure, but it can be done.  Inexperienced writers will want to include as much information as possible in the copy of the brochure. More is not better in this case.  Using your brochure to close the sale by packing it with too many messages only confuses your reader and increases the chance that you lose them.  In this age of instant information delivery through the Internet, people are becoming less willing to trudge through copy to find a nugget of information that is relevant to them.  It is better to develop several brochures with clear, compelling messages than one that is all over the map.

Check 6:  Does it have a “call to action?”

This is Marketing 101 – and should be included in just about every form of marketing communication.  Your brochure should direct the customer to take a specific action such as a phone call for more information or to visit your website. Again, it seems so simplistic; but people really need to be told what action to take, whether you’re writing copy for a brochure, website, ad, or blog.  Make it easy for them by including a direct call to action.

OK, how many “yes” and how many “no” answers?  If you have 3 or more “no’s” I strongly encourage you to consider a makeover of your marketing literature.  Spend as much time investing in the development of your brochures as you do in other important aspects of your business.  Your brochure is your “face to the world.”  Make it one you can be proud of!

Author: Kerry O'Malley

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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