How To Design A Brochure Cover that Converts Sales
May 16, 2019 | Posted by Joe Accurso

How To Design a Brochure Cover that Converts Sales

Crafting a compelling sales brochure cover is no longer an option for ambitious business owners - getting it right is a must when it comes to your cover. According to the Global Association of the Expo Industry, 95 percent of trade show attendees request brochures or other literature from exhibitors. And unfortunately, 65% of that literature is promptly discarded. The single most important way to prevent your brochure from landing in the rubbish bin is to design a brochure cover that attracts, educates, and motivates prospects. Below is a look at the top characteristics of a captivating brochure cover and the steps you can take to design a cover that converts. 

Why is the cover of your business brochure so important?

 
Before diving into the key features of a stellar brochure cover, it is helpful to understand exactly why a cover is so paramount. Today's sales landscape is more competitive than ever, highlighting the need to stand out in a vast sea of print advertisements. In the trade show industry alone, the number of global expos now exceeds 20,000. The top three reasons why the cover of your brochure is so important are:
 

1) A great cover attracts time-starved prospects

The world's largest trade shows such as  the Consumer Electronics Show have over 4,000 exhibitors, all of whom hope that visitors will take a brochure and ultimately invest in their products. Faced with time constraints and only two hands to carry literature, prospects often judge brochures by their covers, taking only those with covers that speak to them directly.
 

2) Covers are powerful

A cover often determines a brochure's future. Prospects will often base their decision to pick up your brochure on their reaction to the cover. Without an eye-catching brochure cover, prospects will be less likely to take your brochure and even less likely to open it later. A compelling cover, however, will quickly attract prospects and stimulate their curiosity to learn more about your products and services.  
 

3) Prospects make assumptions about the rest of your brochure

"If the cover seems to be nothing more than a catalogue photograph with block lettering, I bypass it." 
- Naomi Blackburn, The Author CEO
Business advice author Naomi Blackburn notes that unprofessional looking covers may cause prospects to "bypass" your brochure because they assume that the content behind your cover will be equally unimpressive. On the flip side, an attractive, high-quality cover can produce the opposite effect, causing your target audience to conclude that internal content will be stimulating and your products will be first-rate.
 

4) A great cover can stimulate sales

People often view the quality of your brochure cover as an indicator of the quality of product or service you will deliver. A, professional, well-designed brochure cover can convince a prospect to proceed with a purchase or request a product demo. Smashwords founder Mark Coker notes the significant correlation between great covers and great sales, noting the case of a writer whose sales jumped from five to six sales per day to over 700 per day simply by updating a cover image. 
 
 

What happens if you fail to produce a captivating brochure cover?

 
Failure to produce a stellar brochure cover increases the odds that your brochure will end up in the dreaded rubbish bin without even being opened. In addition to missing out on the ability to convert prospects, you suffer from:
 
  • Poor ROI: There is more to preparing a business brochure than meets the eye. In addition to printing costs, you must account for costs related to content creation, graphic design and distribution.
  • Lost sales: When your cover fails to impress and your brochure lands unread in the rubbish bin, you lose out on sales opportunities that you may have been able to close if your target audience was motivated to learn more about your business.
  • A tarnished reputation: An unprofessional looking brochure cover can negatively impact your industry reputation and prospects may assume that that the poorly produced brochure reflects your ability to deliver professional products or services. 

What are the top characteristics of a captivating sales brochure cover?

 
To avoid any pitfalls, make sure your business brochure possesses a collection of qualities that will make it irresistible to prospects. Generating a stimulating first impression is critical, outlining the need for marketers to peek inside the brains of prospects and design a cover that persuades, engages, and motivates. Here are our top five characteristics of a captivating sales brochure cover:
 
1) Persuasive: Your cover must convince prospects that reading further or investing in your products will provide a benefit or solve a problem they have.
2) Engaging: Designing a five-star cover provides a clear understanding of your target customers needs. You must relate to your prospects and pull them in from the outset.
3) Emotion-evoking: Using words such as save, new, and discover is an effective way to stimulate an emotive reaction from potential customers.
4) Informative: You might be contending with limited space, but it is important that your cover illustrates how your product will solve their problems or improve their life.
5) Organised: A well-planned layout with a single clear message and strategically selected images will delight your target audience.  Avoiding conflicting messages will ensure your message or offer is crystal clear.
Seven steps to create a brochure cover that increases your sales
A five-star brochure cover should feature more than the name of your business and a headline. It should appeal to the needs of your target audience while professionally conveying your mission and goals. Most importantly, it should create desire for your product or service. Your cover should motivate prospects to turn the page to read more about your products and, ultimately, request more information or place an order.
 
 

Follow these 7 steps for a sure fire way to boost your sales.

 
 

1) Thoroughly understand your audience

Your design efforts will prove to be in vain if you fail to consider your target audience persona. In addition to having a strong working knowledge of their pain points, you should also consider their wants, desires and needs, to ensure your cover resonates with potential prospects.
 

2) Keep AIDA in mind at all times

"AIDA is an acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action. To be effective, your sales brochure needs to get attention, get the prospect interested enough to read further, raise their desire for the product or service, and get them to take a specific action such as buy now, call and make an appointment, visit your website, or return a post card."
Janet Attard, Founder and CEO of Business Know-How
Keeping these four simple letters in mind throughout the cover design process is one of the best ways to boost your conversion rate. According to the AIDA acronym, brochures lead to conversions or "Action" by grabbing prospects' "Attention" and stimulating their "Interest" and "Desire" to invest in your products or services. 
 

3) Do not lose sight of your objectives

Harvard Business Review's Graham Kenny defines an objective as, "Something you're trying to achieve - a marker of the success of the organisation." Business objectives are measurable results you hope your business will attain within a clearly defined time period. Whether you attempt to design your brochure cover on your own or decide to seek the expertise of a design expert, make sure your cover will help you reach the goals you established for customers and investors. 
 

4) Use imagery to convey your message

A high quality image is worth a hundred words - especially in the business brochure arena. Imagery can help bring your brochure cover to life while giving prospects a good idea of your company's key products or services. Avoid using unrealistic and out of date stock photos or worst still amateur photos you have taken with your mobile phone. 
 

5) Make your cover unique

A bold, innovative design will help your brochure stand out from your competitors. You can achieve a unique design in a multitude of ways. Choosing a unconventional shape, vivid colour schemes or textured paper can help to make sure that your cover captures attention!
 

6) Remember that it is a brochure cover, not a book

"One of the most common blunders business owners make with regards to headlines is peppering them with their company's information. While basic details about the business are needed, they shouldn't be highlighted as the headline of the brochure."
- Igor Ovsyannykov, Owner of Inspirationfeed
When designing a cover, it can sometimes be tempting to try to include too much information. This can cause your cover to look cluttered and can make information hard to read or decipher. A minimalist design is always recommended over a cluttered one. Also, if your brochures will be placed in a literature rack, make sure that the top third of your brochure is especially eye-catching, as the literature rack may prevent prospects from seeing your entire cover.
 

7) Seek feedback before finalising your cover

Seeking feedback on your cover design before you finalise it will help ensure that your cover will resonate with your target audience. Share your design with three or four customers who you can trust to give you an objective review. If possible, encourage them to review your cover with the following questions in mind:
 
  • "Does the cover have a clear, concise message?"
  • "Based on your response to the proposed cover, how likely would you be to want to open the brochure to learn more about our business?"
  • "Does the cover create a memorable and motivating first impression?"
  • "Does the cover look look professional?"
  • "Is the content on the cover easy to see and digest?"
 

What is the single best path to a stellar sales brochure cover?

A captivating cover is key to an effective sales brochure. However, not all businesses have the time or resources to follow all of the steps outlined. Fortunately, you can achieve a cutting-edge brochure cover by seeking the expertise of an award-winning design team. For nearly 30 years, Emedia Creative has created five-star sales brochures for hundreds of clients. We will actively listen to your challenges and get to know your business. Our marketing experts will then craft a memorable brochure with a cover that connects with your prospects' wants and needs with compelling communication and a clear call to action. 
 
Contact us today to arrange a complimentary consultation with a brochure expert to help you create an effective sales driver for your business.
Joe Accurso
Joe Accurso

Driven by creativity and numbers, Joe has a unique ability to provide creative services that not only look good but also achieve sales growth for clients. Partnering with business owners and Marketing Managers for the last 27 years’, Joe has been on a quest to test, measure and learn to create constant and never-ending improvement.