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Designing Brochures That Sell
When designed well, brochures can act as consummate salespeople that sit in the lobbies of doctors’ offices, in the homes of your patients, and any other place you choose. Most practices have brochures simply because so many people expect them. The degree to which those brochures actually help the provider varies widely. Here are some tips for designing brochures that sell.
Throw them off a bridge: If your brochures are sitting in a box in your office, they have a better chance of working for you if you throw them off an overpass. Do not hoard your marketing materials. Every time you order a quantity of marketing materials (i.e. brochures, desk calendars, promotional magnets), immediately make a schedule and a game plan for distributing them. If you have an old stock of marketing materials in your office now, now is the time to make a strategy and schedule for distributing them. Anything is better than letting them grow old in boxes. Consider stocking the brochure racks at local physician offices, pharmacies, DME stores, and other high traffic areas. Set them out at your own offices and give them to new patients.
Of course, willingness to distribute brochures effectively will depend partly on the cost per unit of the brochures compared to the potential return on investment. Top quality brochures designed by Brazzell Marketing Agency cost only 14 cents each (including BMA design fees, print brokering costs, printing costs, and shipping). Future printings of the same design will cost closer to 8 cents each. (Check our low cost print store for current printing prices.) At this low cost, a home health agency with typical profit margins could distribute 5,000 brochures, get only two extra patients, and still see a profitable return on investment.
Medium sends the first message: The instant that a consumer encounters your advertising, the consumer starts drawing conclusions about your business based on the looks of your advertising. Understanding this human tendency, some administrators become reluctant to use their brochures when the brochures do not look “right” for the business. Do not settle for designs or printing that will later discourage you from using your marketing pieces or that will reflect poorly on your business.
Consider your target audience: If you want a brochure that will motivate referral sources to send patients, design a brochure specifically for that purpose. If you recruit high numbers of employees, consider a brochure dedicated to recruitment. Patient oriented brochures will not work well when you try to use them to recruit referral sources or employees.
Use photos, graphics, and artwork: The best brochures achieve an emotional appeal. Photos of smiling or compassionate faces effectively elicit positive emotional responses. Many very attractive brochures use artwork instead of photos. This approach works best when you have multiple pieces of artwork all of the same style (i.e. all line art done in the same way, all watercolor art, or all pencil sketches). Full-color printing usually helps create brochures that are more impressive.
Be concise: Avoid generating sentences just to fill the space of a three-fold brochure. When the information required does not fill all 6 panels of a typical brochure, consider different printing options such as rack cards and/or consider using design elements to fill the space without creating unnecessary verbiage.
Write the way you would speak to your target audience face to face: If your brochure sounds like a Medicare manual, it will not motivate patients. This is the first line of a home health brochure: “When the patient’s physician sends an initial order, the Director of Nursing assigns to the patient a primary RN who is responsible for supervising care, assessing progress, corresponding with the physician, and discharge planning.” Potential patients might respond better if the first line were, “At Southern Home Health, you will have your own registered nurse, and you will know her by first name. She will coordinate care with your doctor and make sure that every aspect of your homecare goes well.” Medicare manuals commonly use a phrase that will absolutely backfire in patient oriented marketing pieces. When writing to patients for marketing purposes, NEVER call them “the patient.” The phrase strikes patients as impersonal and off putting.
Describe Your Business: In addition to knowing what services are being provided, people like to know who is taking care of them. When it helps your sales purpose, consider answering these questions about your business: Who owns it? How big is it? How old is it? Where is it? Revealing this information connotes that your are proud of your business and gives the potential patient a greater sense of security.