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The Theory of the Brochure

During the summer months my family and I do quite a bit a traveling. That's what gave me the idea for this article. What's the number one, most-read advertising medium on vacation? Yes, you're correct, it's the "Brochure"! Being an advertising fanatic in the purest sense and for the pure entertainment value, I started studying and comparing these Gems of the Advertising World. You can take the boy out of the marketing, but you can't take the marketing out of the boy.

The cover is everything!

Whether it's a magazine on the rack or the front of a box of cereal, the cover has a great deal to do with your conscience choice to look inside. The same holds true for your business brochure. It still shocks me to see how many business owners waster such a valuable piece of real estate as the front cover of their life's blood. But still I see so many that adorn them with nothing more than a fancy graphic, a company logo or the product name, hoping that someone will read their message. In today's competitive advertising world, that just doesn't cut it.

The most popular (successful) approach is to treat your brochure cover like the headline of your ad copy. It can present a strong sales message, enticing the reader to look inside. Although, the ability to use fancy graphics definitely adds to the promotional value of the brochure, the key is the same as any other advertisement. It's all in the "words" baby!

Another successful method is the "Once upon a time" approach. Meaning, use the cover with the first few "hard-hitting" lines of a story, with very graphic images of the message you are trying to get across. A real example I seen recently: The cover leads you in with an awful photo depicting a starving child, with only 6 words "You can help save a life". In this instance, many will open the brochure out of sorrow, guilt or disgust. But no matter why, something about the photo with those few simple words drew me to open the brochure and look inside.

Get it all in there!

When designing your brochure, you must know ahead of time all the pertinent information you need to include. Don't begin designing until you list all the facts that must be presented. I actually found a brochure for a petting zoo with no address. Great photo work, excellent ad copy, and no way to find it. I have to ask myself how much they flushed over this one. Well, here's a checklist of things not to forget when you design yours.

Did you include your "Email Address", "Website URL", "Credit Cards You Accept", "Phone & Fax Numbers", "Address & Location", "Days & Hours of Operation", "Business Name", "Logo or Trademark", "Guarantee", and "Copyrights & Disclaimers". These hardly cover all the items that should be on your list, but enough to make you think about what you could be missing.

Like a river, your copy should flow...

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