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“Do you have something you can leave with me?”

Inwardly you cringe when those words hit your ears.

You smile at your prospect trying to cover up your embarrassment without giving away your embarrassment at not having anything beyond your business card to give her. Your mind races to come up with an adequate excuse while you look at the office ceiling tiles clenching your teeth to stall for some thinking time.

(“They’re still at the printers.”  Weak! Or, “Everything you need to know is on our website.” Wimp out! Or, “Oooo! I left them at the office.” Bald face lie! Or, “My dog ate it.” Yeah, right!)

No excuse will do. So you walk out of her office with a handshake and a feeling you already lost the account just because you didn’t have collateral to support your presentation.

The Brochure Conundrum

If you’re unprepared at the end of a meeting with a prospective client to leave something behind, these few words of request are received with a fair amount of mortification. (Ack! I haven’t gotten a brochure done yet!)

Sure, a website is the online equivalent to a paper brochure! But if you’ve garnered a face-to-face appointment and not closed the deal at the end of it, the lack of a hard copy handout is highly deflating on all sides.

Sending a prospect back to your website is likely a step in reverse – not forward. You’re asking her to do more work to get the answers she needs. Yet many of my clients have been in business for months and months or years and not created any collateral. Often lack of collateral is due to not knowing where to begin with the project. It can feel intimidating.

Now that you know you need to have a brochure for your business to flourish, how big should it be? What should you put on the front or on the inside? And in what order should information appear?

A printed brochure:

  • Demonstrates your company is more than just an idea. It’s proof you exist!
  • Conveys the essence of your business through the quality of its visual elements and the well-targeted copy writing.
  • Shows prospective customers what audience you are addressing: A high quality paper and print job demonstrates you are reaching out to the luxury market; cheap copy paper and a poor Xerox job says your offering targets price-centric customers.

Creating a Brochure 101

Instead of continuing on for another 1000 words about ‘Brochure Development Best Practices,’ I’d rather show you my brochure creation process in this case study video below. I’m not one for frequent horn tooting, but I’ll make an exception because I’m so thrilled with how wonderfully Chris Templeton of Influence Internet put together this spotlight case study. (So I’m mainly tooting the horn for his work.)

This case study spotlight highlights the brochure creation process for a recent client of mine, Ironwood Landcrafters. If you don’t see the YouTube video below, you can either see it here (along with several other Spotlight videos created by Chris), or this full screen version in Dropbox. (If you view it in Dropbox, note the tabbed menu for the video’s different sections, shown by rolling your mouse over the bulleted list icon in the lower right of your screen

[next to the speaker icon]. The menu displays along the left side of the screen, and you can jump around to different sections of the video by clicking on a menu item.)

This full length case study on brochure creation is 8 minutes. I’ll be posting it to my website soon (using my own YouTube channel), but I wanted to give you an advance peek. Furthermore, Chris and I (okay, mainly Chris) will be editing it down to a simple 2:00 – 2:30 minute version to post to my Home page.

Advantages of a Business Spotlight Video

The advantage of creating a piece of this size for your business is multifold. First, we already know that adding video to your website can dramatically increase your results in search engine ranking (SERP). So if you want to be found and hired by a larger percentage of your target market, video can make a big difference in your results.

Second, case studies, like testimonials, advance your credibility to prospects at a far more rapid pace than nearly any other sales tool. It’s the next best thing to a personal referral.

Third, most of us think of video being too expensive to produce. But Chris’ spotlights use no live action film, dramatically reducing that cost and time investment. (It’s a lot like a Ken Burns’ documentary with lots of camera pans of still photos.) You’ve no expense for cameras, lights, sets, audio equipment or (best of all) no makeup and hairdo futzing!

Chris does a terrific job of interviewing you and recording your answers in a natural style. There’s no need to write a script or practice your lines. Once recorded, Chris performs his magic with audio and video editing to create the finished spotlight.

Best of all, with each piece between six and ten minutes, you have more than enough material to edit several separate individual short spotlights, banner ads or commercials to use throughout your site or YouTube channel. Target each one to a specific segmented audience you wish to reach.

I have a lot more I could tell you about what ended up ‘on the cutting room floor’ of this case study. But I think it’s best to let you judge for yourself. Let me know if you have any questions about brochure creation that I didn’t address in it. Or leave a comment about what you liked best (or least) in the piece.

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