When it comes to employing a time-tested, power-packed marketing tool, you would be hard pressed to find one as efficient as the brochure.

A brochure in its simplest form is a representation of your brand. They are like mini sales people who travel along with your prospects, allowing them to take in your marketing message at their leisure. Think of every time they pull out your brochure, as if they’re stepping into one of your storefronts to browse around.

When designed correctly these powerhouses have the ability to not only attract your target market, but to educate them about your company, your current product, and your plans for future projects. A well designed brochure is capable of breaking down barriers and drawing out new leads and then delivering that new business right to your digital or physical doorstep.

So, what does it take to design a brochure that works?

1. Understand that, like your marketing message, each brochure needs to be targeted.

While you can put together a general brochure that lays out who you are and what you do, the key to standing out in a crowd is to find a way to relay that special thing that makes you different.

Instead of going with a generic or generally themed brochure, define each of the areas in your client’s lives that your products help to improve. Then, based on those benefits, you can purpose a separate brochure to target each of those micro-audiences specifically.

2. If you haven’t done so yet, define your brand.

From the colors and logos on your business cards and signs to the theme of your website, you must present a unified front in your message if you want your target clients to recognize you.

Use the attention capturing color scheme, the same images or image styles, and your unique logo to create consistency in your brochure message.

3. Know your competition and your budget going in.

Your brochure will doubtfully be the only one passing through your target customers’ hands. Know your competition, understand their brand positioning, and familiarize yourself with their marketing efforts.

The great thing about a brochure is that this cost-effective piece of marketing collateral, when produced well, can easily level the playing field and allow you to present your organization as equal to the competition in a way that you may not be able to achieve with more expensive mass media. Few small businesses can afford to produce a slick television ad, but everyone can find the budget to create a quality brochure.

Knowing your target audience and its general size is one of the key components in running a successful business. Not only does it allow you to project possible earnings, it allows you to determine just how many of your new brochures you’ll need to print. Also, don’t be afraid to test market your pieces by running several different versions of your brochure and going with the one that produces the best overall response.

4. Quality marketing produces quality leads, keep this in mind when developing your imagery.

Finally, you want to be sure that your marketing piece relays your message in a way that doesn’t turn off your audience. If you use unflattering, poor quality, or boring images in your piece, then you may negate all the hard work you’ve put into creating a lead generating brochure. This rule applies to the text you use as well.

If it’s in the budget, put a photographer or graphic designer to work creating the unique images you imagine will represent your message in the best possible light. If your budget only allows for stock photos or graphics, look for ones that don’t look or feel like they are stock. Seek out images with unique angles and clean effects that catch the eye.

The same thing goes with the text you use. You need to be able to speak through your brochure in a way that pinpoints your message and clearly communicates your call-to-action so your potential customer knows what step to take next, whether that’s to call you to schedule an appointment, visit your store to check out your sale, or visit your web site to download a demo.