The Better Business Brochure

No matter what industry you’re in, having a well designed brochure that highlights your products, your services, and your purpose is crucial in reaching your audience offline. As many as “21% of Americans have never visited a website, sent an email, or used a search engine,” says Lorraine Thompson at MarketCopywriter Blog. “Many more use the Internet infrequently. For these consumers, online browsing requires dusting off and booting a PC and conjuring correct search terms.”

Simply knowing the positive potential of a brochure doesn’t mean you’re going to produce an effective brochure. In fact, 99% of brochures created by small business are not effective. Why is this? How can you make sure your brochure is a powerful marketing tool?

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Here we outline 12 do’s and don’ts for the better business brochure:

The Better Business Brochure Must DO’s

Think Strategically. Your brochure should have a specific purpose, whether that’s: Informational, Supplemental, Point of Sale, Direct Mail, or Sales Support. Before you begin designing your brochure ask yourself, how do we want people to use the brochure? What do we want them to DO after they read it? What do we want them to REMEMBER?

Focus your message. Pushing too many messages is the surest way to communicate none. Choose instead to target the purpose of your brochure one just one, maybe two, messages. The message should be enough to entice the reader to acquire more information.

Identify Your Target Audience. Determine who your brochure is for. Knowing your audience will help you set the tone and style that will appeal to them. as the article from Top Design Mag instructs, you want to “use an appropriate language for the target audience and give them exactly what they want to know. If for example the brochure is dedicated to children, [it] is not recommended to use a very complicated vocabulary or a trivial font. Try to send the message through images and colors.”

Write a Significant Headline. Your headline should grab the readers attention and drive your point home. “On average, five times as many people will read your headline as will read your body copy,” says Andrew Pritchard of Inspire Consulting. “Therefore your headline had better say something meaningful.” Even if the reader only reads your headline, they still get the idea of what you are communicating.

Provide Valuable Contact Info. A brochure provides the opportunity for more information than a business card, it gives you the option to provide additional contacts other than than your phone number and email address—as Sarah Jacobsson Purewal suggests at PC World, “Instead of including only your usual social media handles for Twitter and Facebook, for instance, consider adding a link to your Yelp page.”

Always Include a Call to Action. Your call to action should make it easy and alluring for the reader to fulfill your goals for them—whether that means calling to set up an appointment, visiting your website, placing an order, or subscribing to your newsletter. As Melissa Croweis says at, “Don’t assume your audience will be moved to contact you or purchase your product or services after they read your well-crafted brochure.” The call to action is the extra push that, for many readers, makes the difference between simply reading your brochure and acting upon it.

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The Better Business Brochure Must DON’Ts

DON’T Be Hard to Follow. The KISS principle reminds us that less is more. Help potential clients see what’s important by structuring your information in a clean, organized layout that doesn’t overdo images, graphics, text or detail. Poor layouts and overdone designs can make your brochure hard to read and information hard to prioritize. Through balanced components, you can help clarify your message and communicate better to readers.

DON’T use too many different fonts. Stick to one or two fonts—three at most—in order to keep your content clear. And when selecting those fonts, look for options that are simple: the kind that feel easy on the eyes, that don’t make it hard to make out letters and aren’t so quirky or creative that they would distract the reader. Cluttering your brochure with too many fonts will muddy your message.

DON’T Be Too Wordy. Here’s the truth: nobody’s going to read huge chunks of text in a brochure. Wordiness not only is hard on the eyes—it’s hard on the short attention spans and fast-moving lifestyles of today’s consumers. Simplify your content to be concise and easy to understand so that readers can grasp your message quickly.