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How to design brochures, a few helpful tips.

How can you make your brochures more effective? How do you write copy that gets your brochures and flyers read and customers to respond?

Use these 11 copywriting and design tips to create and improve your the sales literature you provide customers.

If you're planning to create a brochure to drum up sales or to announce a new product or service, you're probably wondering what you can do to ensure a good response. After all, when you add up all the costs for developing the brochure or flyer - writing, photography, graphic design, and printing, plus the time you or your staff spend on associated chores- a simple business-envelope-sized brochure can cost 60 cents a piece or more, even if you use a low-cost online printing service to print the flier.

1. Understand Your Customer. 

Before you spend any time planning a brochure, make sure you understand your customer. Why would they want to buy your product? What can you do for them? What is the most important problem your product or service can solve for them? If you don't know the answers to questions like these, ask. Talk to your salespeople. Talk to customers. Use their answers to help decide which benefits to play up in your brochure or flyer.

2. Don't Forget AIDA.

No, that's not your favorite aunt. AIDA is an acronym for:

To be effective, your brochure needs to get attention, get the prospect interested enough to read further, raise their desire for the product or service, and get them to take a specific action such as buy now, call and make an appointment, go to your web site.

3. Don't Put a Picture of Your Building on the Cover of the Brochure. 

Sure, you're proud of the building and the way the company has grown. But your customers really don't care how proud you are of your company, or how big your building is. The only thing they care about is whether or not your product or service meets their wants. Don't waffle! Remeber the golden rule: one clear message. Don't waste the space you should use to sell your products and convince customers to buy now.

4. Sell, Don't Tell.

The truth is, your customers and prospects aren't really interested in your company or products at all. All they are interested in is themselves and/or their own businesses. To get their attention, your brochure needs to focus on the benefits they will enjoy by making a purchase from you. How will it improve their life?

Think about it. How many people buy a smartphone because they want to carry a phone around with them all day, or for that matter because they actually plan to use it primarily as a phone? They buy them to stay connected to people and events, to share information with written words, pictures, to find answers to questions in a hurry, and sometimes, just to show others that they have the latest cool tech device.  All of which is why companies that manufacture smartphones and the service provider that make it possible to use the smartphones, focus on the fun people derive from taking photos, sharing, collaborating, and getting a big data allowance each month.

5. Use Headlines and Graphics Your Audience Care About.

The average reader takes less than 7 seconds to glance at a brochure or flyer and decide whether or not to read it. If your headline or graphics on the cover of your brochure are boring or irrelevant, few recipients will bother opening it.

For instance, a photo of people watching a presenter writing on a flip chart above a headline that reads, "Matching People and Strategy," is likely to get a brochure pitched into the recycle bin. But, a photo showing a businessperson giving a thumbs up sign to small group of associates and a headline that reads, "Train Your Team To Land Big Sales," is likely to get attention.

6. Use Benefits Oriented Headlines Inside Your Brochure.

Once you've got the brochure recipient to open the brochure, the next thing they'll do is skim the headlines inside the brochure. Use these inside headlines to hold their attention, and move them through the copy and through AIDA.

7. Use Bullet Points to Focus on Key Benefits of Your Service. 

Consumers and business people alike are pressed for time and have many ads vying for their attention. So they tend to skim quickly through copy. Feature-rich bullet points will help keep them focused on what you offer and lead them towards the action you want them to take next.

8. Tell Them What To Do Next.

After you interest the reader in what you sell, you have to take the next step: tell them what they need to do to acquire it. Don't just assume they'll look for your phone number and call or visit your website.

If you don't tell them what action to take, they wont do anything or they may take the wrong choice - calling another merchant or service provider instead of you.

9. Give Them Reason to Act Now.

If you don't urge the reader to act now, and don't give them a reason to do so, your efforts in getting attention, building interest and desire will be wasted.

The customer will move on to the next thing that catches their attention and forget all about you. Some of the more common offers to get customers to buy now are special discounts that are only valid before a specific date, a free gift for purchases before a specific date, and rebates for purchase by a specific date. Others that don't involve discounts or giveaways are reminders to buy now because the quantities are limited (if they really are), or because prices will be increasing, etc.

10. Make it Easy to Respond.

Be sure your business name, phone number and website URL are easily found in the brochure. Add your FaceBook or Google+ business page, if you have someone who watches those regularly, too. A QR code that takes people either to your product page or to a page to sign-up for your newsletter is yet another option to consider. 

11. Make it Risk Free.

Once you've built up the desire to have what you sell, you could still lose the sale if the customer has any concerns about purchasing because they don't know who you are or how good the product really is. To ease the customer's fear, include a money-back guarantee.

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