You probably know a small business owner who has stacks of unused brochures lying around his or her office. If you asked why the brochures are here, that business owner might say:
- “I printed too many.” or
- “The content is out-of-date.” or
- “Now that I’ve had them for a while, I don’t like the color.” or
- “I found a typographical error after the brochures were printed.”
Each of these excuses are symptoms of Brochure Inertia. Brochure Inertia can be prevented if you carefully consider the following:
- Narrow your list, so your mailing tasks will be manageable.
- Where will you get the proper mailing list? How much will the mailing list cost?
- How many brochures and cover letters should you print? Always mail a brochure along with a cover letter unless you are printing a self-mailer.
- Who will write, design and print the brochure?
- How much will it cost for design, printing, and postage?
If you need help with writing and design, go online and search for ‘direct marketing’. You will find tips on how to write brochures. You will get a feeling of the range of fees and costs involved in printing and mailing a brochure.
My favorite adaptation of the brochure is what I call a capabilities sheet (some refer to it as a pitch sheet). These are printed on one side of a piece of paper only – I print mine on my color laser printer. I like them because I can change the copy to fit the specific needs of a client or referrer.
For example, I met with a lawyer in a mid-sized law firm to discuss conducting a client retention program. I had previously written a one-page capability sheet for another type of client. This particular client owned a company that provided continuing education programs for healthcare professionals. I wrote a capabilities sheet for this company to deliver a customer service training program for his twelve employees. It was easy for me to modify the existing capabilities sheet for the lawyers.
Three tips to think about when you sit down to write a capabilities sheet:
- Use bullets in the middle of the sheet.
- Don’t squeeze your phone number, email address, and website on the very bottom of the sheet.
- Next time you check your snail mail, see if there are any postcard styles that would work for your customers or referrers.
I once heard a marketing professional say the purpose of a brochure was to be put in a filing cabinet or desk drawer.
This pessimistic statement does have some merit. But let’s face it, you have to have something tangible to mail and give customers.