You want to create a new brochure for your company but you have no (or little) idea about where to start. This is blog’s for you! First, you’ll need a quote and before you can get that, you’ll have to give your ad agency or independent advertising person a little bit of information.

How do you figure out what brochure is right for you?

First, here are 3 basic “assumptions” about your brochure you should start out making:

1. Offset Vs. Inkjet: First your brochure should be printed at an OFFSET printer. FORGET printing your job on your inkjet because that just looks cheap. Also don’t waste your time (or money) with a quick printer like Kinko’s or Office Depot. While they’ve gotten better at creating decent looking temporary or mock-up brochures, IT IS ONLY VIABLE WHEN YOU NEED A VERY SMALL QUANTITY. If you need more than 30 pieces, use an offset printer.

2. 4 Color Vs. 2 or 3 Color: Next, in this day and age, a brochure should be printed in four-color printing as opposed to 2 or 3 colors. It’s actually MORE expensive to print 2 & 3 color jobs than it is to just print a 4 color job at a “discount printer” (I’ll explain what Discount Printing is in a future blog).

3. One Sided Vs. Two Sided: It’s also ridiculous to print a one-sided piece in an effort to save money. Anything less than a full color brochure printed on BOTH SIDES is just a waste of space & paper; and who wants to get a brochure with a back side that’s “white” anyway? It just leaves your potential client with a negative feeling like “These people don’t have anything more to say about their product!”. Considering the minimal incremental additional cost YOU MAY AS WELL JUST DO IT! If you need to save money, read my blog and do it some other way.

I realize I’m talking about the printing of your brochure and not the design or copywriting, (i.e., the two other elements you’ll need to figure out to get your brochure done for your company). However, you will need to know in advance how the piece is going to be printed, so the ad person (layout artist and copywriter or ad agency) knows what type of quote you’ll need.

Next, to quote your job we will need to determine what SIZE brochure you’ll need. To figure that out, you’ll need to think about the following:

• Your target market – How sophisticated is your potential customer? What kind of person will you be talking to? What kinds of things are they used to seeing? Will they think you are “rinky dinky” if you do a Trifold Brochure for example or is that your industry standard? How many different target markets do you need to “speak to”? Can you speak to all of your different markets at once or do they each require a slightly different sales pitch, and thus a different brochure?

• Competitive Marketing Materials – What type of brochure does your competition use and how can your brochure look BETTER when it sits next to theirs?

• How is the brochure going to be used – By sales people on a sales visit? To be mailed out to clients? To be part of a bigger sales package (which may need to sit next to and look good with existing pieces?) If so what size are those existing pieces? etc.

• What’s the goal or purpose of the brochure? – To make the sale or to get people to call you so YOU can make the sale? To get potential clients to your website? Or to create brand awareness?, etc.

• HOW MUCH do you have to say to reach that goal? – What do you need to say to make the sale? Or to get the person to call you? How much space will the copywriter need to write-up an intelligent sales pitch? (if you have a LOT that must be said or a particularly complex sales message, you may want to consider using a multi-part sales approach and have your brochure lead the potential client to your website, for example, where you can elaborate more on your sales information. NO one wants to read big huge blobs of text (unless you have something really juicy to say or are providing extremely crucial information).

• Quantity – how many brochures will you need? If you’re doing a mailing, how many “extras” would you like to have? If you are attending a trade show, how many do you generally need for similar events? How often do your products change (because if that’s frequently you don’t want to print a huge quantity that might eventually have to be tossed). Your advertising person or agency should be able to help you with this….if they have very little input on this subject you might want to find someone who can help you with all aspects of your advertising or marketing campaign.

• Budget – of course you have to consider what you’ve got to spend on your brochure….but it’s also hard to create a “budget” if you have no idea what you can get, for how much. So perhaps you should ask your ad person or agency to give you a few options at different price points?

• Comparative cost when considered next to other options – In other words, once you have the quote, consider the cost of one option compared to another. For example, how much would it cost if I need a folder + a few flyers vs. 11 x 17 single fold brochure or 25.5 x 11 brochure that can stand on its own (without a folder)? Is any incremental increase in cost WORTH it for some other reason, such as to make the customer think your company is “top notch” or sophisticated?

OK that’s it for today. Look for my blog about the different brochure SIZE options you will want to consider.