How To Make An Effective Marketing Brochure

The popularity of the Internet may have eclipsed print media but there are some things an actual brochure can do better. Having a tangible brochure adds to the effectiveness of your sales and marketing campaign. In fact, the very cost of printing a brochure lends credibility to a company. There are situations like trade shows, store promotions and other personal selling opportunities, where a brochure is essential.

Brochures, especially full-colored ones, are very expensive and you must be certain to get your money’s worth. Here are some tips to make your brochure worth the price:
Clarify the main purpose of the brochure and its target market. Although a brochure may serve multiple purposes, it would be best to design it with its most important use in mind. With a clear view of your objective and target market, decide how much you can afford to budget for the project. An elite target market may need a higher quality paper. If you wish to target the mass market, then you may opt for higher volume of brochures with lesser quality of paper, which is generally the most expensive component of brochure-making.
Have quality pictures and/or illustrations ready. No matter how skilled the graphic artist, there is no way to make poor quality photographs enticing. Worse is that many simply try to pirate material from the Internet. Besides the copyright infringement issues, often the same pictures are copied by everyone, making your brochure look like cheap reproductions. Also make sure that the picture accurately shows the products you are selling.
Choose suitable paper. Using book paper may be less expensive but ink tends to spread easily since the material is more porous. This results in poor image sharpness and there is a tendency for the picture to become darker. If you wish to make the image of a higher quality, you should choose glossy paper since it is less porous. There are two kinds of glossy paper widely used in offset printing (this is the printing process normally used for making a large volume of material)—coated paper and matte paper. While coated paper is shinier, matte paper is the usual choice for a more sophisticated image. Note, too, that glossy paper is around twice as expensive as book paper. Another factor to consider is the thickness of the paper. Generally, there is no problem (except for image issues) if you will be printing on one side; but if you want to do back-to-back printing, the ink may pass through to the other side if the paper is too thin.
Have a graphic artist who has experience in putting out brochures and working with offset printers. There is a world of a difference between working in the RGB color model of monitors and the CMYK domain of offset printing. A beautifully designed brochure may turn into a dark mess full of weird characters if done by someone who is not an expert. Successfully converting the file from RGB to CMYK requires knowledge of the peculiarities of offset printing.
Know your fonts. It may surprise you to know that there are entire books dedicated to fonts. You may not be planning to be an expert on the topic but it is essential that you have knowledge of the most crucial aspects of font usage. The first thing to remember is that a font that looks good in the monitor may be a disaster in print. For example, fonts with thin strokes may be broken in the high speed offset printing process.
Select a beautiful finish. The making of the brochure does not end with its printing. Usually the final step is lamination. The most common types are plastic, matte and UV lamination. This is done to make the finish more shiny and to make the brochure last longer. While plastic and matte lamination cost much more than UV lamination, they provide more protection and look better, too.
Remember that you are selling a product and not trying to win an art contest. Make sure the copy is well-written and contains all the necessary details. Very often the copy is just an afterthought, playing second fiddle to striking graphic elements. This is the opposite of what should be, for it is the written content that must be supported by the graphic elements. Also, it must be grammatically correct and without spelling or typographical errors as this will reflect on the perception of the product. Finally, do not neglect a call to action as well as your contact information.
The brochure is one of the basic sales and marketing tools, especially for small- and medium-sized businesses. Yet it is quite expensive, too. Nevertheless, there are many situations where it is extremely helpful. Knowing how to make an effective brochure is still a very useful skill to learn.
*Originally published by the Manila Bulletin. D-6, Sunday, March 2, 2014. Written by Ruben Anlacan, Jr. (President, BusinessCoach, Inc.) All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or copied without express written permission of the copyright holders.