Do brochures still work in work in 2024?

Chances are, you have an old brochure sitting around the office that was designed years ago and most of the content is no longer relevant!

So, here’s the million-dollar question — is brochure design still an effective marketing tactic in today’s digital-first market?

Should you even bother with traditional marketing in a world dominated by digital? Is print still relevant?
You bet!

In fact, brochures are one of the single most effective and persuasive marketing tools on the planet.

Did you know that 95% of people become aware of a brand after picking up its brochure?
There’s a reason that nearly every Fortune 500 company strategically places brochures at various points of sale, they work!

Yet, many businesses end up frustrated when their brochure isn’t capturing leads.
Don’t blame the paper; blame the design.

Today, we’re going to break down exactly how to create a brochure design that will generate leads and help you capture critical prospects while improving your business’s overall networking capabilities.

Let’s dive in!

Understanding the Brochure

A brochure is an informative pamphlet or leaflet that’s used primarily as a marketing document to generate interest and capture leads. The information contained within the brochure will be objective-based. The versatility of brochures gives business the flexibility to get hyper-specific with campaign and customer needs.

Some brochures are used to inform customers of upcoming releases, while others can describe products and services in an effort to inform potential customers of benefits.

BrochuresCapability Statements and catalogues, all impart knowledge and cost-effectively engage prospects. After reading your brochure, customers should clearly understand what you offer, why it will benefit them, and why you are an authoritative subject matter expert.

Every brochure design or business document should answer the following questions:

During our many years of designing brochures, we’ve developed a winning brochure and capability statement formula and picked up a few tricks that we can share with you.

This is the same formula that led us to GOLD the Australian Catalogue Awards.

Let’s dive into some brochure design best practices that will help you create a lead-generating sales tool of your own.

Understand Your Audience

Before you even start planning your design, copy, or distribution method, you have to understand your audience. To do this, you need to see the world from their point of view and understand their pain points.

Step into the customer' shoes and think:

You don’t have to be a consumer analytic guru to nail this part.
The single most common mistake that we see businesses make when they’re writing brochures is making the brochure about THEIR business.

Don’t make the brochure about your business; make it about the CUSTOMER’ needs.

Your customers don’t care about how great your office is or how many awards you’ve won etc. The customer cares about how your solutions can help THEM achieve their goal.

Sure, you can throw in some supporting evidence (like our gold medal that we talked about earlier,) but the bulk of your content should focus on the customer’s needs, and how your product/service is the solution to those needs.

In fact, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than companies that aren’t, and 63% of CEOs are reshaping their organisation to focus on their customers.

If you have existing brochures (you probably do!) and you’re wondering why they aren’t working to generate sales — reread them.
Do they feel like they are catered towards the customers’ needs, or did you use that space to talk about your company?

Some statistics to think about:

56% of customers think that businesses need to understand their needs better.

51% of consumers believe that brands give them too much irrelevant content.

79% of customers want a brand to demonstrate that they care about the customer’s needs before they make a purchase.

Bet On Your Cover

Have you ever heard of that phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover?” That phrase has been a source of bad advice for centuries. Here’s the thing: you definitely judge a book by its cover, and so do your customers.

Brochure Design Covers

84% of marketing communications are visual

In fact, humans form a first impression in less than 50 milliseconds.

What are your customers going to be looking at for that first fraction of a second? Your brochure’s cover!

No amount of crystal-clear copy, impressive structuring, or killer distribution methods can make up for a poorly designed cover.

So, it’s critical that you bet big on cover design. In fact, it’s estimated that 84% of marketing communications are visual!

Your brochure cover should be high-quality and have fantastic resolution. That front cover photo is going to set the tone for your customer’s entire reading experience. We always recommend putting your biggest selling product on the front cover.

There’s a reason it’s popular — and seeing that product will get people to pick your brochure up.

Not only should you focus on an aesthetically pleasing cover, but you should also focus on a cover that delivers a customer-centric experience.

Remember, focus on your customer’ needs — not your company.

We see this mistake often. In fact, we made an entire post about this issue specifically!

For some reason, businesses like to splash the front cover with bold company logos or glossy pictures of their office building. Don’t do that!

Some businesses think that counts as “branding”; it doesn’t.

Branding is a subtle art that leverages customer-centricity — it’s not something you can shove in your customers’ faces.

Make sure that you use that cover space to immediately address your customer’s needs. After all, it’s going to be the first thing that they see, and it will determine how they immediately judge your brochure.

Your cover should motivate people to pick your brochure up and give it a look. Think of a strong, compelling headline or statements that will grab the reader’s attention immediately.

You want a statement that says “Look through this brochure and YOU will benefit!”

Remember, no matter your vertical, competition, or business type — focusing on the customer is a surefire way to generate leads. That process should start on your front cover.

Copy is Critical (9 Tips!)

Your brochure’s cover may be the look, but your text is the brains. Let’s go over 9 content tips that will help you craft the perfect set of words.

  1. Make your brochure personal: Here’s a great tip when it comes to presenting content — pretend like your talking to your customer. Picture your ideal customer in your head, and then write the content directly towards them. You’ll end up creating content that’s direct, conversational, and, ultimately, hyper-targeted. Speaking directly to your customer persona will make your content 100x more customer-centric.
  2. Add value: Try to create content that’s valuable to the customer. We’ve seen mortgage brokers include interest calculators and alcohol companies include fun quizzes. Anything that gives the customer value outside of your pitch is a surefire way to get customers to take your brochure home. In fact, 79% of customers keep brochures and leaflets that give them value.
  3. Drop the jargon: This is absolutely critical. Do not include industry jargon. We see this problem a lot in smaller niche businesses. They feel the need to “show off” their industry expertise by including industry-specific jargon. Here’s the thing — you shouldn’t assume that all of your customers are familiar with industry jargon. You don’t need to prove that your a subject matter expert, your products/services will prove that. Your brochure should be clear and concise, and you don’t want to risk confusion around verbiage.
  4. Remember the benefits: The bulk of your copy should be about the benefits that your product offers. Don’t put too much fluff in your copy, especially if that fluff isn’t about benefits. Customers don’t care about your company’s history, especially if they’re new prospects. They want the juicy details. Remember, you want to inform them about how is your service is going to solve THEIR problems.
  5. Testimonials work!: 90% of customers are influenced by positive reviews. Testimonials may seem “old-school” or “braggy.” But, they WORK. Believe it or not, customers find testimonials as more authentic and less biased than any other form of marketing.
  6. Use logical sequencing: Brochures aren’t as “laid back” as blog posts. You need to thoroughly plot out your brochure’s structure. Not only should a brochure flow in a way that’s easy-to-consume, but your brochure is going to have visuals that may require your content to be structured in a specific manner.
  7. Research your voice: Every brochure is a little different, and every company is a little different. Your brochure should reflect that. Tone of voice is one of the most obvious ways to brand your content. Do you want to be conversational, straightforward, silly, or serious? Choose the option that bests reflects your brand.
  8. Kill your darlings: Stephen King always said “kill your darlings” and he’s right! Make your copy as concise as possible. Again, you’re not writing a blog post. Your brochure has limited room to make a sale. Use it wisely.
  9. Font matters: The font that you choose is a huge part of your brochures presentation. Remember, people make judgments in 50 milliseconds. When they see your font, they are going to make a judgment call immediately. Make your font beautiful, compact, and easy to read.

Leverage Images

While your cover is the first place that you’re customers will look, the images contained within your brochure will give customers value while naturally breaking up your text.

Did you know that 51% of marketers prioritise visual content! Your images need to be high-quality. We always recommend including glossy product photos in your brochure, which may mean that you need to have some custom photos taken. These images will set the tone for your content, and trust us when we say that your customers will notice. Research and eye-tracking studies show that customers spend more time looking at highly relevant, high-res images than written content when they’re paired together.

Think those images are going to distract your customers from your content? Think again.

People only remember 10% of written content 3 days later. Guess what? If you put an image next to that written content, they remember 65% of your content 3 days later!

Want a quick lean budget life hack? Licensed images treated with a filter can give you a professional and consistent custom look without the cost of a photo shoot.

Images are a huge part of brochure marketing, and they play a massive role in generating leads. So, we always recommend working with an agency that’s good at both design and sales if you work with one.

Note: We ALWAYS recommend that you get your copy approved BEFORE your images are created. It will save you from spending your brochure budget on Pandaol. Copy can dictate your image placement, but images dictating copy is much (much) more difficult to work with.

Convert With a Crystal-Clear CTA

Why are you spending resources and time to create a compelling brochure with glossy images and engaging copy? To score leads! Leaving out your call-to-action (CTA) is like buying a car and forgetting the tires.

Your CTA is your hook, and making sure that your CTA is crystal-clear and engaging is crucial.

Here is our 4 step process to creating a killer CTA.

  1. Provoke emotion: You want to use copy that elicits emotion in your reader. So, if we were to make a CTA for our agency, and we wanted to provoke some emotion, we may use: “Some agencies care about YOUR ROI, and some agencies care about THEIR ROI. Ready to see what happens when an agency puts YOU first? Contact us! See the difference!” Exclamation points and enthusiasm can go a long way.
  2. End in a solution: Why should your customer contact you? Let them know! Let’s see that in action. “Contact us today to growth hack your marketing strategy!” Why should you contact us? We’ll growth hack your marketing strategy!
  3. Provide multiple contact options: Give the customer some options. Include a phone number, email, or any other form of contact. People love options.
  4. Make it about your customer!: Make your CTA about what benefits your customers are getting, not about you. It’s not “contact the best agency in the world,” it’s “contact us to boost YOUR ROI!”

Note: You should include multiple smaller CTAs throughout the brochure.

Know Your Distribution Method

How are you getting that amazing brochure out there? Are you sending it to customers via postal? Are they used as a leave behind for your sales reps? Planning on dropping it on a rack in your front office? Maybe all of the above?

You need to know how you're distributing your brochure.

Why? Well, how your brochure is distributed will determine your overall creation strategy. Does it need to be smaller and lighter to save on shipping costs? Does it need to be bright and vivid to catch attention on a table filled with other brochures? You need to know!

Unsure which distribution method you want to use? Here are a few popular methods.

  • Put the brochure inside of product package orders.
  • Place brochures on a display rack at reception.
  • Bring brochures to conferences
  • Put the brochures in major shopping centres or business centres.

Really, the distribution methods are up to you. But ultimately, they will have an impact on your design.

Final Thoughts

Here’s what you need to know. Brochures can be lead generating machines that act as a significant boon to your business. But, you have to put some thought into creating them.

Your brochure design should speak to your customers. It should address their pain points and act as an advocate for their problems. You want to be the solution to those problems. Start with a striking cover, lead with your highest-selling product, guide them through the journey of your solution with well-crafted copy, and gently rest them on your striking, emotion-provoking, and solution-selling call-to-action.

That’s how you make a killer brochure!

If you want to create a brochure that will turn your pipeline into a waterslide, our team of Brochure Specialists are here to help


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