Ivan Levison — Copywriter
Direct Mail, E-mail and Advertising Copywriting


Action Ideas For Better Direct Mail,
E-mail, Web Sites & Advertising

Published by
Ivan Levison, Direct Response Copywriter

September 2006 Volume: 21 Number: 9

Eight Ideas For Better Brochures

If you're going to produce a brochure to help market your product or service,
you'd better know what you're doing.

Unlike a humble flyer that doesn't cost very much and can easily be reprinted,
a full-blown brochure represents quite a little investment. Even if you're going
two- or three-color, you'll pay plenty after you're finished with photography, illustration,
type, printing, binding, and so on.

In order to help you get the most for your money, here are some practical brochure
tips and techniques that you can put to work next time around:

1. Keep the cover simple. Forget about trying to do too much on the front cover.
All you need on that surface is one clean, clear concept that positions the material
that's about to follow.

Stay away from the clichés that everybody else is cranking out. Please, no
more "committed to service," "dedicated to meeting your needs," etc.

2. Consider keeping the inside front cover empty.
It gives a brochure a nice, open look. White space never killed anybody.
You don't have to jam in a message every chance you get.

Besides, since the reader holds that easily-curved cover page at an angle
when reading, it's not the place to go into excruciating detail about your
product or service's many benefits.

If you DO keep the inside cover clean, the facing page (page 3) is a great
place to write some introductory, lead-in copy. It's the perfect spot to do a
welcoming message, or provide a brief overview of what lies ahead in the piece.

Keep the copy here short. No one reading your introduction wants to dive
into Moby Dick.

3. Deal in spreads, not individual pages. With a nice-sized piece you can
run your graphics across two pages and make use of the sweeping scale a
brochure spread provides.

Why organize your piece around individual pages when you've got visual
impact built into the medium? Again, don't be afraid of white space.
Your designer will love you!

4. Don't forget the subheadlines. They're a great way to break up copy
and give the reader a chance to see where you're headed should they not
want to read every single word of body copy.

A subheadline can make an emphatic statement, ask a question, or be
playful or dead serious as the situation requires.

5. You can use a box for added impact. Everything doesn't have to flow
in long columns of type. It often makes sense to drop some information into
a one-point fine-ruled box. It gives the piece some extra visual interest.

6. Don't forget the questions and answers. As I've mentioned in past issues,
a Q. & A. section is an excellent way to handle the questions that really trouble
the reader. It's a way to deal with their concerns or resistance points "head on.²

What's the right length for a Q. & A. section?

Here's the exception that proves the rule. One page is almost always enough.
Five to eight questions ought to do it nicely.

7. Don't forget to sum up. It's the old story . . .
"Tell 'em what you're gonna tell 'em, tell 'em, tell 'em that you've told 'em."

It is very important to summarize the points you've been trying to make.
Otherwise your brochure just sort of trails off, leaving the piece without a
sense of structure. You want to control your reader and score solid points.
A summary can drive your major points home.

8. Remember the call to action. Shocking to say, but many writers forget to
tell the reader what to do! Do you want people to call a sales center, schedule
an appointment, fill out and return a postage-paid business reply card, make
a phone call, or place an order?

Hey. You can't make them guess. You have to tell them and provide them
with motivating reasons that will get them moving. This is where you have to
(tastefully) apply direct selling techniques in a corporate identity environment.

How To Get In Touch

Ivan Levison
Direct Response Copywriting
14 Los Cerros Drive
Greenbrae, CA 94904

Phone: (415) 461-0672
Fax: (415) 461-7738
E-mail: ivan@levison.com
Web Site: http://www.levison.com

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