7 Secrets of the Wow Factor Brochure:

By Les Kollegian, Creative Director

Tips Small Business Owners Can Use to Lower Costs and Maximize Visibility
Les Kollegian
If you are a small-to medium-sized business, you’re probably hoping to get your business on everyone’s radar with traditional marketing techniques. But what if you lack the funds of a Fortune 500 marketing budget? You’re already marketing your company on the Web and through print collateral like business cards and direct mail postcards. Now, how do you create a brochure with the “wow factor” of your larger competitors? A brochure that makes your customers sit up and take
notice? Here are seven secrets you can leverage to your company’s advantage:

1. People don’t read. Get your point across…FAST!
Okay. So I know you are reading this now, but that’s because I got your attention with a catchy headline. If I give too much information in the text, I will lose your interest. You will stop reading long before my “call to action,” requesting you learn more about me online. Now I’ve lost the opportunity to convert you to a new customer. People are low on time. Deliver your point with minimal text. And keeping it minimal also saves you the money of having to print more pages.

2. Effective design is important.
Remember that old saying, “Kids, don’t try this at home!”? Well, it also applies to you. If your business is not a graphic design firm, do NOT try to design your own brochure. Graphic design professionals are aware of how specific markets react to certain layouts, based on psychographic and demographic research. Effective design is what gets reader attention, keeps it, and most importantly keeps your brochure out of the trash.

3. Odd-sized pieces grab attention.
The 8.5″x11″ tri-fold is essentially worthless. Yes, it’s inexpensive to make and print. But is it an effective way to get your prospective clients attention? No. We all get way too many brochures in the mail and they get lost in the shuffle. An odd-sized brochure differentiates your business from the rest at first glance. If you are not going to mail them, I have had much success with square brochures, usually 6″x 6″. If considering a direct mail campaign with a brochure, make sure you keep postal regulations in mind. It should be wider than it is tall. 4.5″x11.5″ is a great size to stand out from the pack.

4. Sometimes, 4-color is actually cheaper.
Before digital printing was available and offset was a must, we used to design with minimum ink colors to save money running through the press. The more ink, the more the cost. Today there are plenty of printing companies that do 4-color work by “gang” running them with other projects. This means that your brochure is being run on the same large sheet as other brochures, folders, etc. Bottom line…who cares? At the end of the day, you save money by sharing the paper. A company I have successfully used to print inexpensive brochures and other collateral is http://www.zooprinting.com.

5. Thicker IS better.
Ever get a flimsy business card and just think how cheap it feels? How does it make you feel about the company distributing it? The same goes for your brochure. When you receive something with
substance, it feels more important. You’re more likely to keep it or take it more seriously.

6. Don’t waste paper…Low runs can still be cost effective.
Many of my customers want to print large runs because they save money on a per-piece price. While this is true, it doesn’t matter if you end up throwing away unused brochures. Usually it is best to create a low run and get feedback from your prospective clients. Once you feel the brochure is effective and will stand the test of time, now it’s time to do a larger run.

7. Use stock photography…There’s no need for that expensive photo shoot.

Okay…some people may say that stock photos are over-used and that they are not as effective as a photo shoot. This may be true. However, photo shoots can be extremely expensive and unnecessary unless you need to show a specific product. There are now stock photo sites where new images are being uploaded by semi-professional and professional photographers daily. High-res images can be purchased for under $10 on sites like http://www.istockphoto.com and