The brochure is one of the basic pieces of advertising and is part of any marketing mix for any business, large and small. While some corporations have taken the brochure to the extreme by creating "booklets" and calling them brochures, a single, double-sided folded paper form is still the most common brochure.

But how do you create the most effective brochure? It is easy enough to fiddle with Word templates and cheap graphics programs, but do these really create the best professional-looking brochure for your company?

Questions to Ask Before You Begin

Before ever beginning a new brochure you should ask yourself the following questions:

Who is the target audience?
This will help you determine the direction and scope of the brochure. Will it be read by other salespeople? Executives? Creative types? Techno-nerds? Stay-at-home parents wandering by a bulletin board?

Say for instance your target recipient is an IT professional to whom you are marketing your software. You will want to include more technical specifics and features of your product in your brochure. By contrast, a toy company may create a brochure with more bright, colorful images, and show the benefits of your product to moms and dads.

What is my brochure budget?
It is impossible to state an average price for a brochure. It really depends on what elements you wish to include, and who will help you create it. You can help gather budget data by contacting writers, graphic designers, printers, photographers, etc., and get estimates on how much they charge for their services.

How will the brochure be used?
Ask yourself what role the brochure will play in your business. Will it be a pickup at local community centers? Will it be mailed to your target customers? Will it be left to executives or managers after sales meetings? The answer to this questions is a must in order for you to create the format and design.

Elements of a Brochure

What should be included on your small business brochure? You have creative license to make your brochure match your company style and tone, but some of the most often used elements include:

  • Intro - A brief intro will help your reader know who you are and what to expect from the brochure. It will usually also determine whether a reader will read any further, so make it count!
  • Services/Products - This is important for your target reader to know exactly what they can get from your business.
  • Price List - If you have a set price list, listing your products and/or services along with their prices is one of the most helpful elements to make buying decisions.
  • Bio - Particularly if you are a service business, include a short bio of the owner. If you sell products and have been in business for years, a short bio and history of the company is customary.
  • Contact - Don't forget to tell your audience how to order your services/products. Include name, address, phone, fax, email, and web address.
  • Images - Will you use graphics, photographs, or other images? Consider this as an inclusion to aid in the brochure design and impact.

Writing and Developing the Brochure

Hire a Pro
We recommend using professionals whenever possible.

A professional copywriter has the experience and know-how to develop the most convincing, informative, and sales-influencing language.

A graphic designer can best be used to for the creative layout of your brochure.

A printing company will be the best resource to get your brochure from concept to reality using the best paper and ink.

A photographer may be desired if you want to include professional images of you product.

A design agency might be your answer to help coordinate all of the above.

If you create it yourself...
Saving money is what a small business is all about. If you do write your own brochure, be sure to be brief and concise, and use the common elements for influential sales copy. And if you do the layout and printing, avoid cutting corners. Don't go overboard with too many images, keeping in mind that it's easy to overuse clip art. And if you do print on your own printer, use the best possible ink and printer. A laser printer creates much better results than an ink-jet printer.