Some advice on brochures

Consider it carefully before going ahead with anything of the sort: do you really need a brochure at all? What are you trying to achieve? Are you just bored? Too lazy to get out there and deliver the message yourself? Too shy to do some hard-selling yourself?

Consider altenatives: would a simple letter not suffice? A 1-page information sheet? A flyer? What about email marketing? Some face-to-face meetings? Phone calls?

Consider the fate of the brochure: we tell clients not to start any work on the brochure itself until you have the envelopes ready, with address labels and stamps affixed. (We've seen one of the most expensive brochures ever produced in Ireland sitting in boxes in the corner of a client's office, unused.)

Consider your list of leads/recipients: make sure that you have them all in a well-organised database/spreadsheet, and most importantly that the address of each recipient is broken up into at least 3 fields - street, town/area & county/postcode. You'll also want the name of the right person in the company to send it to; no use using just the company name, and better to have the full name of the person than just their title/position in the company.

Consider follow-up: there's little or no point sending out a brochure unless you plan to follow up on it; how are you going to encourage the recipient on to the "next level" on to becoming a client. Don't make the brochure do all the work on its own; it's got to have a cover letter and a response mechanism. Some form of offer might be a good idea: reply to us by the end of the month and enter a draw for a holiday.

Consider the printing: how many brochures do you need printed and how much are they going to cost you? Do you have the budget for it?

Consider other costs: don't forget photography, graphic design, writing, envelopes, cover-letter printing, stamps, phone calls organising it, the time you spend on it yourself.

Consider the format: A4 is the old reliable, perfect for most informative communications. Other formats aim to overcome the predictability of A4, to grab attention with the unusual, but they can distract and detract from a simple message.

Consider the finish: plain is fine for many communications, but steer clear of straying into cheap. The effects that unusual paper and treatments can bring about are well worth considering, depending on what impression you want the recipients to take away. If you're asking them to spend significant sums of money, you ought to be seen to be spending significant amounts of money; if you are asking them to believe in your attention to detail, you ought to be exhibiting an attention to detail in the brochure.

Consider the content: sit down with blank paper and start sorting out what you want to get across, in what order. Eventually, staple a bunch of paper (say 4 sheets) and starting with the cover, see if you can figure out the best layout of the content.

Consider getting a writer involved: if you're not great yourself at writing, don't stress yourself struggling with it; get a professional in to help, and what you'll also get then is a fresh, outsider perspective on what you're trying to achieve, which might just give you the insights you need to prevent wasting a lot of money achieving nothing but wasting time!

Consider which graphic design service to engage:

Consider the truth of the saying: if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

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