Sure, the letter is the most important element in any direct mail package. But don't forget the brochure. It's important too!
Whether you call it a brochure, circular, or flyer, make sure it's doing its job -- laying out all of the features and benefits of your product or service and giving the prospect compelling reasons to order IMMEDIATELY.
Here are nine ways to improve the pulling power of YOUR next brochure:
1. Keep the cover simple.
Forget about trying to do too much on the front cover. All you need on that surface is one clean, clear concept that positions the material that's about to follow. Stay away from the cliches that everybody else is cranking out. Please. No more "committed to service", "dedicated to meeting your needs", etc.
2. Tell the whole story.
The brochure's the place to do a total selling job. You simply can't do it in the letter. There just isn't room unless you're willing to go with a really long letter, and these days letters rarely exceed two page. The brochure is the place to explain the product in detail, overcome objections and ask for the sale.
3. Restate the offer.
Don't worry about being repetitious. You can't be certain which piece will be read first, no matter how everything is nested and comes out of the envelope. That's why you want to tell the whole story on each and every piece in the package, even on the Business Reply Card. (Readers often grab the BRC first because they figure they'll get to the punch line faster and not have to wade through your entire letter.)
4. Make certain your headline, subheadlines or snipe refers to the offer you're making.
Don't get cute. Just make your offer crystal clear and you'll laugh all the way to the bank. Presumably you're making a terrific offer that will benefit the prospect. Then don't hide it. Put it up where it will get noticed.
5. Don't forget the subheadlines.
They're a great way to break up copy and give the reader a chance to see where you're headed -- even if they don't want to read every single word of body copy. A subheadline can make an emphatic statement, ask a question and be as playful or serious as the situation requires.
6. Use a box for added impact.
Everything doesn't have to flow in long columns of type. It's often nice to drop some important information (like a Question & Answer section) into a one-point, fine-ruled box. It gives the piece some extra visual interest. Use a dropped-in box to highlight material. Maybe it's the perfect place to put your testimonials.
7. Make sure the brochure's "look" is a match for the target audience.
It's an obvious point, but one that is often overlooked. If you're selling a low-end drawing program to a casual computer user, your brochure will look different than if you're selling a high-priced diagnostic tool to an MIS manager. The important point: Each brochure must capture the personality of the product.
8. Use graphics the right way.
Make sure your photography shows the product to its best advantage. If you're selling software, don't settle for shots of the box or the screen. Instead, humanize your piece with some photos of people using the product.
9. Don't forget the "extras" that make brochures interesting.
Why not add testimonials, rave reviews, awards or a Questions & Answers section that deals with the prospects' concerns? Research proves that customers LOVE Q & A's and read them with a great deal of interest.
Don't forget that although your sales letter is the most important part of any direct mail package, your brochure is a close second. Don't rush it through production or settle for something as-is, just because it's sitting on your shelf. Do a solid, comprehensive job that really explains and sells your product and you'll DRAMATICALLY improve response rates.
Related: More tips for creating brochures that sell
Ivan Levison is an award-winning freelance direct response copywriter who creates direct mail sales letters, e-mails, and ads. For a free subscription to his informative monthly e-mail newsletter for marketers, visit http://www.levison.com