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Create A Winning Brochure For Your Wellness Business

OK, grab one of your current brochures.  Now, check it using this four-step process. Does it do what it’s designed to do?

1. Plan your brochure

Identify the target audience and what they care most about. Avoid the temptation to immediately start writing copy for your brochure.

First, determine which type of brochure you need.  Most brochures fit one of these categories:

Leave-behinds and take-aways Point of sale Selling aid Response to inquiry Direct mail

Purpose

You give these brochures to potential clients after you meet with them.

You put these brochures at a checkout counter, membership desk, locker room, or similar location.

An interactive tool you use during a meeting with potential client.

You send this brochure when people call and want information about a specific service or about your business.

You send this brochure along with a sales letter to potential clients.

Type of content

Full description of services and benefits.  Keep the content consistent with the focus of your typical sales meeting.

Instantly sparks curiosity when people glance at it.  Use a catchy headline and visual. 

Helps find a fit between what the client needs and what you offer; helps engage the potential client emotionally.

Since these prospects contacted you, they’re likelier to buy. Emphasize key benefits and  call to action to move to next step of buying process.

Accompanies a letter mailed to potential clients.  Can  supplement the letter with more detail about your services, more photos, etc.

Typical brochure

Brochure emphasizing features and benefits of your healthy living program.

Brochure describing a new family boot camp program with cover picture of five toddlers in fatigues.

Self-scoring test identifying ten daily habits which enhance health.

Brochure explaining features and benefits of your fitness center.

Letter and brochure promoting new power foods.

Typical calls to action

Call today to schedule health assessment OR join initial program by a certain date and receive additional benefits.

Download a free sample exercise videos from website now OR fill out card and leave at desk for more info.

Attend a free class this week for tips on raising your score OR Sign up for monthly newsletter of healthy eating advice.

Call now to join one of five regularly scheduled tours OR call to schedule an appointment.

Stop by after work for a free sample OR attend workshop on how to incorporate these foods into your recipes.

Next, identify your target audiences.  You may have one or you may have several.  If you have several, identify the reasons that each audience buys your wellness programs and services.  Which features and benefits matter most to each group you’ve identified?  Talk to current customers to confirm your thinking about what matters to them.  Don’t assume you know, even if you’ve spent years running your business.

(Quick refresher:  A feature is an objective and observable characteristic of your programs and services.  For example, a feature is “online food logs” for all of your clients.  Benefits explain why these features matter to clients.  The benefit of an online food log might be that it tells clients right away how many calories they’ve eaten so that they can adjust what they eat on the following day.  List your features, then ask yourself what the client gets from those things.  THAT’s the benefit.)

If the reasons, features and benefits vary from one group to another, you’ll need to create a brochure for each distinct audience.

Then, choose a unifying theme that captures your unique selling proposition.  This concept emphasizes what makes your business unique.  Good taglines often capture your unique concept.  All of your sales and marketing activities and materials directed towards a particular audience should be consistent.

What makes your wellness business unique?  It’s probably a combination of your products and services, your pricing approach, and your customer service approach.  Compare Equinox Fitness Clubs and 24 Hour Fitness.  They have roughly the same products and services – treadmills, personal training, and so on.  Equinox charges a premium price and offers exceptional service.  24 Hour charges a discount price and offers bare-bones service.

Finally, determine the best call for action based on the type of brochure you’re creating and where it logically fits in your sales process.  To identify your call to action, ask yourself this question: after someone reads your brochure, what’s the VERY NEXT thing you want them to do?

While it’s easy to say “That’s obvious…I want them to buy!”, that answer may not be realistic. For example, someone who calls and asks for a brochure will probably come back and want more information, a tour, or something else before they’re ready to take the plunge.  Think through the steps that most customers go through AFTER they get your brochure but BEFORE they make a commitment.  What do you want them to do once they get the brochure?  That’s the call to action.

Communicate your call to action clearly.  Don’t be subtle or hint at it.  It’s not pushy to tell potential clients what you want them to do next.

2. Write & design your brochure

Professional copywriters and designers are terrific resources if your budget includes them.  However, whether you’re creating your brochure in-house or farming it out, you need a strategy for deciding what to include.

Here’s your panel-by-panel strategy, using a standard tri-fold brochure with six panels as our example:

Panel 1 grabs the reader’s attention so that he or she wants to look inside.

80% of your potential clients won’t open a brochure unless the front panel has a major benefit or compelling reason on the cover.  The front of your brochure should include one or two of the following elements:

  • A headline offering a benefit
  • An instantly relevant picture or illustration
  • An intriguing headline that sparks curiosity
  • A captivating idea
  • An emotional appeal
  • Major selling point
  • A question that you offer answers to
  • A problem that you offer solutions to
  • An opportunity that you can help the reader capitalize on

Notice that your company name and logo are NOT on this list.  Yes, it’s perfectly OK to put your name and logo on the front of the brochure. BUT: that shouldn’t be the most prominent information, or the only information.  That’s because you need to start by getting the reader interested in knowing more about what you can do to help them.  Your company name and logo probably don’t answer that question.

As you think about the text for this panel, focus on your customers and what they want.  Do not focus on your business and what you want to sell.  Think in terms of your customer’s problems and opportunities.  Your goal is to immediately establish rapport.  If you’re successful at creating rapport, your potential customer’s reaction will be “Hmmm…interesting…this sounds like it might be for me”…and they’ll keep reading.

Consider breaking your headline or other text across Panel 1 and Panels 2 through 4 so that the reader has to open the brochure to see the complete headline.

Panels 2, 3, and 4 are the equivalent of a full-page ad.

Your purpose here is to introduce the problems you solve for your clients, provide information about how you do it, and describe the benefits that they can expect.  You’ll also want to include an appropriate call to action.  Your copy should reflect the key information you identified in the planning stage: your customers’ problems, the features of your programs and services, and the benefits they’ll receive when they choose to do business with you.  Notice we used the word “key”.  Focus on the most important messages.  Don’t throw every good idea you’ve got into a single brochure!

Don’t “bury the benefits” that your service and programs offer potential customers.  Readers skim headlines, sub-headings and captions before they read the rest of the copy.  So make sure that your headlines, sub-headings and picture captions spell out the payoff that motivates your prospects.

Remember that great marketing materials aren’t first and foremost about your business.  They communicate how your business helps clients.  Far too many businesses create marketing materials that essentially say “We’re great, so you should do business with us.”

Each major section of your brochure should make sense independent of the other sections.  You can’t assume prospects will read each panel in order.

Integrate your marketing efforts.  For example, if you have a newsletter or website, mention it in your brochure.  Make sure that the unifying theme stretches across all of your sales and marketing material, so that your brochure tells a consistent story.

Some quick tips:

  • If you love to write or design, that’s a red flag.  You may well have a tendency to stuff far too much information into your brochure.  And people who really love to draw or design often devote their energy to creative graphics while shortchanging the content. No doubt pictures add interest, but only the right words sell.
  • Spread your content across the three interior panels.  You don’t need to divide everything evenly into three columns just because you’re printing on trifold paper.  It’s perfectly OK – in fact, it’s preferable – to spread your headlines, sub-headings, text, photos, and illustrations across Panels 2, 3, and 4.
  • Most business writing is impersonal and as dry as dust.  If you sell to consumers, your goal is to achieve the same comfortable, relaxed tone you’d use if you were writing a note to a friend or chatting with someone over coffee.  Remember, health and wellness is the most human and personal topic of all.  So keep it personal.  Make it clear that your business is full of real people who really care about customers and making their lives better.
  • Avoid “filler” clip art and trite stock graphics.  We hope never to see another photo of a disembodied woman’s arm doing a bicep curl.  Consider professional – but casual and approachable – pictures of real customers and staff doing things that evoke interest and curiosity from potential clients.

Panel 5 addresses potential sales objections.

Sales objections are the worries and anxieties that keep potential customers from making a buying decision.  For example, they may worry that you’re not qualified to deal with their health concerns.  They may doubt that your weight management program will work for them.  They may worry about making a six-month commitment because they’ve heard rumors of layoffs at work.  Or they may have misinformation that makes them less likely to buy – for example, maybe they’ve heard that people with back problems shouldn’t exercise.

Think back over the questions and anxieties that your potential customers usually have during the sales process.  Identify the best way to address those concerns in your brochure.

Should you include a response to every concern or anxiety a customer might have?  No.  Include only those responses which alleviate the concerns that might keep prospects from responding to the call to action in this brochure.

“Proof statements” can address many of these concerns.  A proof statement is factual information that proves you can live up to your promises.  Examples include client testimonials, abbreviated case studies, customer references, before/after pictures, endorsements, and success metrics.  Frequently-asked questions and “Top Ten Lists” of myths and misunderstandings can also address potential objections.  And very short biographical notes can explain your staff’s credentials and experience, if that’s a concern.

Panel 6 contains your final call to action.

Spell out WHAT you want your prospective client to do next.  Tell them exactly HOW to do it.  And tell them to do it now.  Include your company name, contact info and logo here, but don’t waste this page on a corporate history or other non-critical information.   We’ve provided some typical calls to action in the chart above.

3. Test and print your brochure

Have a small test batch of brochures printed up inexpensively.  Use them for a couple of weeks with potential customers.  Run them past current and previous customers, your employees and their friends and family members, and key referral sources and suppliers.  Collect all proposed changes and gather data on what’s working and what’s not with potential customers.  Make appropriate changes and test another batch for a couple of weeks if you made dramatic revisions.

Once you’ve got a version you feel reasonably confident about, have it professionally printed.  We suggest printing no more than a four-month supply of each version during the first year of any new brochure.  We find that most businesses want to make changes after just a few months.

4. Continuously evaluate and improve your brochure

Throughout the year, continuously jot down notes about what’s most effective about your brochure and what could be improved.  Constantly compare what you’re hearing from potential and current clients to what your brochure says.  Look for patterns of feedback, recurring themes, or comments that come up repeatedly.  Revise your brochure accordingly.

During the first year you use a new brochure, it’s not unusual to make three major revisions.  After the first year or two, expect to make annual revisions.  If you go for more than a year without any changes, you’re probably missing opportunities to make this important marketing investment even more valuable.

Use these tips to make your investment in this key marketing tool pay off.