10 Common Mistakes And Pitfalls Made on Brochures

‐ October 24, 2013

In this day of the Internet, a well-designed brochure is a good tool to help you sell more products and services. Customers use the Internet and find you but want more information. There is also something about holding a piece of paper in one’s hands that makes a product or service more real.

Brochures Mistakes and Pitfalls

Brochures fall into two broad categories – those that introduce a new product or service to a likely customer and those that turn an already interested customer into a buyer.

A well-designed and professionally printed brochure can generate thousands in sales for your company. There are common pitfalls you should avoid when designing a brochure. If you want to get the most out of your brochure you have to avoid the following errors. If you make one or more of these errors your brochure will be ineffective and will be a waste of your time and money.

Pitfall #1: Trying to include everything you do in one brochure.
Including a laundry list of everything you do is a mistake. When you try to interest everyone, you end up interesting no one. Realize that most businesses have at least two or three types of customers they service. If you must put more than one or two products on a brochure, use products and services in the brochure that are suitable to one type of customer you service. Products and services featured should compliment one another.

Pitfall #2: A brochure designed with no purpose.
What are you trying to accomplish with the brochure? Sounds simple but a brochure designed with no purpose or goal in mind is worth little and generally does not produce a result.

What do you want to be the end result of someone reading your brochure? Do you want them to call and buy? Do you want the brochure to create more interest so they have to call you to get more questions answered. Do you want to simply educate them on the product? Is the goal to build trust in your company?

Pitfall #3: Brochure designed with no end use in mind.
To be successful, a brochure needs to be designed with a use in mind. How will it be used, as a self-mailer, as a tool for your sales people, something to educate prospects about your service or something simply to list out all the options available to the customer.

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Pitfall #4: Designed with no insight on the target market for the brochure.
This pitfall is a close cousin to pitfall #1. You have to know your end user. What problem will your product of service solve for them? How do customers use the product? What questions do customers commonly have? People buy benefits so make sure your brochure promotes benefits of your products to the customer. The brochure has to be designed and with these questions as a guide.

Pitfall #5: Thinking that you are an expert on graphic design and can design an effective brochure.
Some people can do it but unfortunately most cannot. With the advent of desktop publishing, many people, in an effort to save a few bucks, set one’s hand to graphic design. Sometimes it works, most of the time not so much. Businesses end up losing more on lost sales from an ineffective design.

The money a professional graphic artist charges usually pays for itself. There is a specific technology to graphic design. For example, using color to highlight and sell the product. The correct font to make the message pop. The correct font spacing and leading can make the message readable and easily understood. The use of backgrounds, borders to ad aesthetics and appeal. And we have not even touched on how to use photos and clip art to tell the message. As you can see, there is a lot to graphic design and I have only touched on a small part of the technology. You are an expert in your business. If you want a promotional product ie. brochure that looks good and produces results you should hire a graphic designer.

Pitfall 6# No photos or the inclusion of photos for the sake of having photos.
A photograph or clip art graphic should help tell the story you are trying to tell. Sometimes the correct photo can tell the entire story with little or no written copy. How many photos and where they are used depends greatly on message and the purpose of the brochure.

Pitfall #7 No validation of message.
The use of customer testimonials can increase the effectiveness of a brochure by 75%. This is one of the most overlooked tools in marketing arsenal. You have to ask for them and collect testimonials on a regular basis.

Pitfall #8 Not using the brochures once you have them.
Full color brochures that are professionally designed and printed that sit on the shelf are a total waste. You cannot be conservative with your promotional materials. Get them in circulation. Invent ways and means of getting them into customer hands. You can include them in the delivery of products, mail them as self-mailing brochures and pass them out at a trade show or to people walking on the street if it fits your target customer profile.

Pitfall #9 Brochures are part of your solution to get customers.
A full color brochure should be part of you marketing plan not the entire plan. Your plan should include a mix of media from direct mail, radio, TV to post cards. Everything should tie together and support the main objective which is to get customers in the door and buying.

Pitfall #10 Not having a call to action.
Sounds simple but I am surprised how often a call to action is not included in the brochure. What do you want them to do? Call for more information? Go to your website? Come by the store? Include every possible way to get in touch with you, your website, phone number, email address and your physical address. Also one of the new tools available to you is the use of a QR code. A QR code can be scanned by a smart phone to take the customer to your home page or to a web video.

6 Bonus Pitfalls to Avoid with Your Brochure

  1. Being concerned with the looks, but forgetting the sales objective.
  2. Giving the printer poor artwork, but expecting excellent results.
  3. Forgetting to emphasize the unique selling proposition of your business.
  4. Omitting (or hiding) prices if they are critical to the reader’s decision-making.
  5. Printing too many brochures with details that date too quickly.
  6. Forgetting to monitor the response (as with any other type of advertising).

I hope this information helps you. If you would like a brochure designed and printed for your business please give us a call. We have professional graphic designers on staff to design a brochure that will look great and be effective in generating sales for your business. We have offset full-color printing and full color digital presses that will make you look like a fortune 500 company. To get started just give us a call at 727-536-4173.

Mark Hale

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Printing And Design

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