Copywriting Tips for Sales-generating Brochures

by Karon Thackston

Brochures have held an important place in marketing plans for longer than most of us can remember. There is no doubt that they have the ability to generate sales and increase revenues. Why then do so many of them fail?

There are several aspects of copywriting for brochures that amateur writers don't consider. It's those things that make or break the success of your efforts.

For the sake of generalization, let's think about creating a six-panel brochure. (Also called a tri-fold brochure among other things.) This is created from an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper that is then folded twice. There are three panels on the front and three on the backside of the original sheet.

The Cover

As if it wasn't obvious, the cover is the most important panel in your brochure. Both the images and words need to grab the reader's attention and pull him or her in. It has to be compelling enough to (a) strike an emotional chord, (b) make the customer want to pick up the brochure, and (c) make the reader want to know what's inside.

So, why then do so many people simply put their company name and a picture of their building (or something equally as boring) on this - the most important of all panels?

I generally leave the writing of the cover as the last element in my brochure-writing project. Once I've finished the rest of the copy, I read back over it at a leisurely pace. Then I stop to think. If I were asked to summarize the information in this brochure in 10 seconds, what would I say? If I had to name the single biggest benefit the customer will receive from this information, what would it be?

Those are excellent ways to generate covers for brochures. A few examples are below. These are brochures that I've seen around town that made me reach for them and want to know what was inside.

"Plastic kitchen set. Dollhouse. Dollhouse furniture. Pink tricycle. $427.66. Your checking account balance. . . $302.86. Get what you need when you need it." This was for a cash advance service. This particular brochure was printed before the Christmas holidays so it had special appeal to lots of people.

"Over 3,000 babies died last year alone due to improper safety seat installations. Be SURE your child is safe!" Obviously, this was for a child safety seat inspection checkup.

These make an emotional appeal, get the readers' attention, and make them want to know more.

Inside Panel Headlines

These are just as important to the process as the cover headline. Capture the true value of the information in each section and provide it to the reader within the headline.

Information Panels

For most brochures, making a sale on the spot is not the objective. Driving traffic to a phone center or Web site is. Therefore provide the most impressive product/service information on the inside panels in order to help accomplish this goal.

In addition to the information about your products/services, incorporate calls-to-action like:

"Call today for full details."
"Visit our Web site to see the complete color selection."
"Customer service specialists are waiting for your call."

Once you understand the goals of your brochure, incorporate compelling headlines, and include a cover section that generates interest, you are more likely to see success from your brochure.

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