Think you need a collateral brochure for your business? Think again. Truth is, good collateral is a mixed blessing.
A thoughtful, well-produced brochure enhances company image, supports your sales cycle, generates leads, drives traffic and boosts referrals. That means better business.
But is that always a good thing?
Consider it for a minute: Booming business means more work—a lot more work—for you and your staff.
The dark side of effective marketing
Let’s face it, enthusiastic customers can be a pain in the neck. Once people are genuinely excited about you and your product, the floodgates open for your company. Everyone from IT to marketing has to work a whole lot harder.
Who needs the hassle?
Why not KISS—Keep It Simple Stupid—with a bad brochure? A piece of puffery that makes your company look incompetent and reflects poorly on you. A brochure guaranteed to land in the trash—and leave you and your business in peace.
Like to write this kind of useless self-promotion? Here’s how.
10 tips for writing trash-worthy collateral
For a guaranteed gawdawful brochure…
- Put your building on the brochure cover. The cover of your collateral is prime real estate. It’s here that you hook readers’ attention with a strong, relevant, benefit-conveying image. So don’t use one. Instead, speed your brochure’s journey from mail stack to landfill with a lame visual. A photo of your company building or warehouse is perfect. Or try that tried-and-true soporific: the multi-culti office worker stock photo.
- Use lackluster headlines and subheads. Another surefire reader repellant? Sucky headlines. Try “Customized Financial Planning Solutions,” “Strategy, Service, People,” “Working Together.” Better yet, use no headline—just Your Company Name in big, beautiful 20 pt. white, reverse font.
- Let them know what’s important: you. Nothing makes customers’ eyes glaze faster than self-serving hoopla. Assure your brochure goes directly to the garbage with grandstanding that proclaims you the “Leading Tri-State BMW Dealership” or “World Class Financial Services.” Whenever possible, skip the word “you” and “your” and instead substitute “we,” “us,” “our” and “Your Company Name.” Pack copy with hyped descriptions of product features—and exclude relevant benefits to customers.
- Jargon and hype: use them. Weave at least 10 of the following vacuous words into your copy: “world-class,” “innovate,” “cutting edge,” “game changing,” “actionable,” “brand DNA,” “best-of-breed,” “leading,” “premier,” “dynamic,” “next generation,” “robust,” “extraordinary,” “ground breaking,” “unprecedented,” “unparalleled,” “paradigm shift,” “leverage,” “viral,” “buzz-worthy,” “scalable,” “solution-driven,” “user-friendly.” Get creative and combine phrases: “user-friendly solutions,” “scalable, cutting-edge brand DNA,” etc.
- Ignore your customer’s sales cycle. Effective marketing speaks relevantly to customers—with an understanding of their place on the sales-trust continuum: On one end you’ll find prospects that don’t recognize you or your brand, on the other, old and faithful repeat customers. The surest way to undermine conversion? Use aggressive sales tactics on prospects with whom you have no relationship. Nothing discredits your company and sows mistrust faster. Woot!
- Keep it generic. A great brochure targets customers and speaks in a warm, conversational voice to their pain points and core desires. Don’t make this mistake! Instead strive to create a generalized message. When writing a healthcare brochure, for instance, go ahead and target patients and physicians. Or create a Slim Jim that speaks to repeat customers and prospects that don’t know you from Adam. Or a booklet for both B2B and B2C customers. Collateral that offers everything to everyone—and delivers nothing!
- Ditch the call to action. To convert prospects to customers, you need to ask them to take action. You won’t get them to buy—or call, donate, sign-up, or come to your store, restaurant, fundraiser or website—unless you use a compelling and specific call to action. So don’t. Simply leave out any and all copy that asks anyone to do anything.
- Think Brobdingnagian. Today’s harried, distracted customer often skims, rather than reads, your brochure. But you can make skimming impossible by using big—or to my point, “voluminous,” “ponderous,” or “prodigious” words. Avoid simple, clear language and short, strong words. Substitute multisyllabic words and complex constructions. You’ll further confound and confuse readers with run-on sentences—20+ words are ideal—and long, dense paragraphs that act like a wall to STOP READERS BEFORE THEY START.
- Make it exhaustive—and exhausting. If you pay attention to #3, above, you have plenty to write about: Your company, your products, your features, and your unprecedented, unparalleled success. Having trouble fitting all that self-promotional hooey into a wee Slim Jim? Forget cuts and edits. Just reduce font size to an unreadable 7 pt.
- Ditch the contact info. You make it easy for customers to find you when you include full contact information on your brochure. Don’t go there. Make sure your website, phone number and brick-and-mortar address appear nowhere on the collateral. If they really need to find you, let ‘em use Google.
What? You still want to create an effective, conversion-driving brochure?
Okay. You know well-written collateral can boost business—and make extra work for you and your staff. But you still want to create a useful, customer-focused brochure? Okay, knock yourself out: Download The Brochure Bible, my free, 44-page eBook—and your step-by-step guide to creating killer collateral.
The Brochure Bible…
- Helps you identify your brochure’s place in your sales cycle.
- Gives you practical tips on brochure design, copy structure and formatting.
- Provides persuasion pointers that help you get inside your customer’s head and heart.
- Delineates how-tos that make content creation easy.
Get it now, you masochist.