There’s a saying in regards to promotional material ‘Content is king’. Unfortunately in the development of company brochures, content is often sacrificed for looks.
As many people discover in courting, ‘looks ain’t everything’ and so it goes for brochures. They’ve ‘gotta’ have substance.
Whilst the overall look of a publication is important, in many instances it’s apparent that far more time, effort and expense has gone into appearance rather than on what it is supposed to be communicating.
Just as the combination of headline and photograph is vitally important to attracting the interest of readers to newspapers and magazines, so what’s on the front page of a brochure is also important to getting people interested it it.
There’s little point in going to the bother and expense of creating a great brochure if your audience looks at the front – finds it uninteresting and then discards it.
Simply having your company name on the front – even if it’s in glorious techni-colour on the classiest looking paper, is seriously tame these days when there’s so much stuff around, clamoring to win people’s attention.
You have to motivate your reader to look inside and the company name just isn’t sufficient.
The company name needs to be on the front – but the primary focus of the front page should relate to the benefit of the service or the solution to the problem that the client will receive.
With respect to the content inside, sometimes you don’t need a lot of text –photos and captions will suffice if it is well thought out. The key to remember is that you cannot assume people will catch on – plenty of explanation is better than insufficient.
The key thing about text is not to overload it with technical jargon. Features of products or services need to be mentioned, but they need to be related to benefits.
A key aspect to consider with all of your promotional material is uniformity of appearance. Your brochures and all promotional material, unless you’re creating something for a totally separate target audience should incorporate a similar look and colour scheme.
If it’s a corporate brochure – give it substance… The weight, texture and overall feel are tangible aspects so paper quality is important.
Benefits are vital
One of the most common omissions of brochures and also catalogues, is that they invariably have heaps of product or service features without benefits.
Features are merely objective facts about a product (or the company behind it). In three-dimensional products, features include size, shape, weight, construction, colour options and more.
They’re a yawn because they’re about the product; not about the prospect, however, despite being a yawn every product benefit has its roots in a product feature.
identifying and fully understanding each feature is essential to identifying all the benefits your product provides.
A feature is not worth having unless it offers a benefit – and it’s dangerous to simply assume that the reader will automatically link the benefit to the feature itemised.
Sure, spelling out very obvious ones may be unnecessary but it is important to remember that prospective customers are interested in what the product or service can do for them – from eliminating hassles to improving their business to making life easier.
Benefits are like bunny rabbits: If you think about them, – give them a little time and they multiply – each benefit or combination of benefits producing one, two, three or more new benefits you never thought about before.
The secret to good content is to identify the key benefits a product provides – and then to look at each benefit and ask, “What does it do for the prospect?
A good exercise is to ask the why of many features to derive the benefit – and from the benefit a ‘dimensionalised benefit’ can be developed.
Feature: Made of stainless steel.
Why: Never wears out or rusts –looks good.
Benefit: The last drill bit you’ll ever buy.
Dimensionalized Benefit: You can save up to $75 a year in broken drill bits … hours of unnecessary trips to the hardware store … and hundreds of dollars in lost income!
Or in our hypothetical promotion for a dentist, your list might look like this:
Feature: A TV in every exam room.
Why: More comfortable for the patient and time passes more quickly.
Benefit: Your appointment is over before you know it!
Dimensionalized benefit: Great for fidgety kids: The time zips by. In fact, just last week, littlie Jimmy asked if he could stay longer.
The benefit drawn from a feature offered by an investment newsletter might go like this …
Feature: Daily e-zine included with subscription to monthly newsletter.
Why: Stocks move fast; opportunities could be lost without constant updates.
Benefit: You’ll never get caught wondering what to do when major events break!
Dimensionalize: You’ll lock in your profits when the market sags and go for even greater profit potential by getting into each up-move on the ground floor.
Or, if you’re writing for a book on health, your list might look something like this …
Feature: Specific prescription for each age group on each supplement recommended.
Why: To eliminate reader confusion.
Dimensionalize: You’ll always know precisely what you should be taking … how much you should be taking … and even when to take it.