How to create a brochure for your business

There is an art to creating effective brochures. The primary questions you should be asking are:

  1. Who is the brochure for?
  2. What do you want people to do with the brochure?
  3. What are the top 3 takeaways that the reader should understand (ideally, don’t pick more than three)?

There are generally 2 types of brochures you would create:

  1. Business Introduction brochures – These are general information about your business like services/products provided, contact information, and the team providing the product/service
  2. Specific Product/Service offering – These are special information brochures that offer information about a specific product or service

If you aren’t sure what to include in your brochure, here is a starting point:

  1. Complete contact info (website, email, phone, social URL’s, hours of information, name of salesperson if there is one)
  2. Point form list of the product/services provided. Use sub-categories where necessary.
  3. Two to three leading questions that address the client’s primary concerns that your business solves
  4. A short “about” section. Keep this at a minimum!!  Readers don’t really care about you. The care about solving their problems.

Other points to think about:

  1. Stay away from long personal stories. This isn’t about you. It’s about problems you can solve for the reader. Focus on solutions that you can offer, and leave the long personal about stories out.  Keep the “about” section very short.. less than 500 words.. and preferably point form. You don’t need to go into a long personal diatribe, because your reader will understand your story through the products/services/branding that you offer.
  2. If you are using any professional templates.. make sure you do a printout of the brochure (any printer, even black/white will do) so that you can see how large the text is. The text should be approximately the same size as what you might see in your local newspaper.
  3. Keep the heading font sizes consistent. Less is more. The brochure isn’t a YouTube branding video, it’s a vehicle for information.
  4. Use pictures sparingly. Only use photos if they enhance the information presented. If the brochure isn’t negatively impacted by removing a photo, remove it.
  5. Point form is always better. People rarely want to read through paragraphs of text. Point form as much as possible, but without sacrificing information quality or integrity.
  6. Put your very best content in your brochure. Even if it’s something you might only offer later through VIP or Subscription.  Something worth noting about movie trailers: producers put the very best actions scenes in the trailer. They don’t hold back – except for surprise endings and stars.
  7. Get someone to review the brochure and give you honest feedback.
  8. I will say it again – PRINT it out.. it doesn’t matter what kind of printer you use, color or black and white.. as long as it approximates the final size. Once your brochure goes to a printer, it’s too late. If the final colors are important, ask your contractor to send you a “print ready” PDF file. Take that PDF file to any print shop and get a color sampling done. It might not be exactly like the final run, but it will be close.
  9. Get the brochure pre-folded if possible. Most print shops will do a tri-fold as standard practice but often have to send the job away for special brochure layouts.
  10. Focus on content BEFORE layout. Your content is the primary mover, so make sure you have the content that you want to include in the brochure. Choose your layout/design based on the content that you MUST have.
  11. Design doesn’t matter nearly as much as you think. The only page that really needs to catch people’s attention is the first fold that they see.
  12. In a tri-fold layout there are 6 panels in total. Three on the inside, and three on the outside. On the inside, the typical layout is Questions, Offerings, Offerings. And then on the back is Questions/Offerings/About, Contact, Front Page. You can switch the layouts around as you like, but I do urge you to keep the last two panels on the outside as Contact and Front page.
  13. Keep the contact information on the middle outside panel of a tri-fold brochure. That way when the brochure is folded, the reader can simply flip your brochure around and get in touch with you.
  14. The brochure needs to provide “just enough” to get the reader to take action  – visit your web site, contact you, send an email, buy something, etc, so WOW them if you can. Don’t wow them with your personal story, wow them by enlightening them about something important that they might not know. Or wow them with a fantastic product/service that solves a problem for them. Also see point 6 above regarding movie trailers. Movie trailers provide “just enough” to make you go see the movie.
  15. If you are doing a very large print run, and you are working with a new print shop, purchase a few small batches to ensure quality before making the big run happen. If the print shop doesn’t do proof samples (a final digital print that approximates the color), I would be concerned
  16. Google “full bleed” printing. I’m not going to repeat what someone else could describe better.

Resources:

  1. Upwork.com – find a contractor here that has experience with Photoshop, Illustrator, and perhaps even brochure work.
  2. Graphicriver.net – this is a great resource for brochure templates and ideas. Buy a template here and then hire a contractor on upwork.com to complete the job.
  3. In Vancouver, JukeBoxPrint. I love their quality and options and the price isn’t bad.
  4. In a pinch, VistaPrint is just as good
  5. In your local city, visit Yelp or Google Reviews and look for the top rated printers. Once you find the top 3 printers, visit their Facebook page and web site (they all have) and see what users are saying. Make sure whatever printer you use will have a large Facebook following.

Do you need professional help with brochure design and content? Get in touch!

Just launched arstudio.ca!

Just launched http://arstudio.ca for Autumn Rose Beauty Studio by Sonia Kanda! Sonia is a multi-talented Makeup and Hair artist and also offers Skin care services at her home studio in Surrey. Check out the web site at http://arstudio.ca! Visit Sonia’s page Autumn Rose Beauty Studio – Professional Hair, Makeup, and Skin Services

Tips and Tricks on Business building

15+ years building web sites and having the big picture, long-view on Internet, here are some truths I know and use daily helping clients:

1. Don’t launch anything online, not even Youtube or Facebook, until you fully OWN a domain name and have a web site. Having a website lets you point visitors somewhere so you can make them do something: buy, contact, signup, read, watch, join, discuss, etc.
2. Never let your web designer register your domain name. That includes me. In fact, I specifically tell my clients to register themselves.
3. Register your domain and web hosting with separate companies.
4. Use a CMS like WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal, unless you are building something super-custom, in which case, get some professional guidance.
5. Most business web sites with fairly standard content needs won’t cost more than 5k. That includes a blog. If you have some area of the site that needs some fancy functionality, it might cost more.
6. Use Google Analytics and Google Webmaster from day 1
7. If you are building an online shop, use Shopify or Magento (both are CMS’s), or one of the many similar variants. WordPress should be a tertiary choice for an online store.
8. Page layout and design is all about eyeball management. YOU decide what you want visitors to do. That’s page layout 101.
9. Responsive design is necessary. 40% on average are visiting from mobile and tablet
10. The site should be tested in multiple browsers before launch.
11. Content (text, pics, video, audio) is still king.
12. Each page should satisfy left and right brainers. Some like pics and bullets, some like the long read.
13. If your web designer can’t change the color of something on the page, hire a new web designer. Everything on a page can be changed. Everything. Really.
14. If your web designer doesn’t give you a back-end management tool to change/update your content, hire a new designer. No discussion. In 1996 I had to do the updates for clients, but today, the tools exist for clients to do the changes themselves. I still have clients that ask me to do the updates, but the tool is there for them anytime.
15. Adobe Flash is circa 2000 and should be used very sparingly – if at all. HTML5, Jquery, and cool CSS makes most things great and is SEO friendly.
16. If your web designer says he will get you x number inbound links for cash, hire a new designer and then Google “black hat vs white hat”
17. Register your domain name for at least 2 years. Google considers domain age in SEO ranking.
I probably missed about 100 others, but there you go.

The simple stuff matters in Marketing

It’s amazing that some companies just don’t get Marketing. They are me-focused and not customer-focused. I just registered SaveAWhiteboard.com. Can you imagine that nobody in the digital whiteboard space actually thought of this? How many searches are made each month for “Save a Whiteboard”? Will find out soon.

Business cards for Sana Nurani

Business card design is probably the most challenging design medium to create in. You have to put essential information in a pleasing format but are tightly constrained by the tiny 3.5″ x 2″. If it’s done right, it’s a wonderful branding tool. The golden rule of good design: remove whatever doesn’t add to the design plays a crucial role in this format. Business card design is a delicate balance of design vs information. Sometimes, design wins out but I think with business cards, information clarity and readability are more important.

TIP: The MOST important trick to remember: PRINT out the design before you send the final document to press so that you can adjust the final font choice and sizes. I like JukeBoxPrint.com but there are many good print shops out there.

Everyone, say hello to Sana Nurani, a Hair & Makeup Artist in Vancouver if you need makeup, hair, and beauty expertise for an upcoming event. Like her page as well, Makeup in Session. Site launching soon!

#businesscarddesign #graphicdesign #gfx #businesscards #minimalism #jukeboxprint