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5 Tips for Professional Marketing Materials

Ensure that your "literature" grows alongside your company with these insider tips.
November 10, 2005
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/80978

Editor's note: This article was excerpted from Successful Sales & Marketing. Buy it today!

Every company needs "literature," printed pieces that do a careful and well-thought-out job of presenting its products and services: catalogs, newsletters, product sheets and brochures, letterhead, presentation folders, specification sheets, case histories or application sheets, special event brochures, annual reports, manuals, technical bulletins, posters, product insert sheets, labeling, recruitment materials and so on.

With the increased availability of powerful desktop publishing systems and software, many companies decide to meet these needs internally.

Resist this impulse. Your homegrown materials will betray their off-the-cuff origin to most of the people who read them. Appearance is reality in marketing, and you have to look as professional as you are.

Here are some tips in dealing with the literature needs you'll face as your company expands and grows:

  1. Keep the look clean and simple. Don't overload the reader visually. Use a graphic grid to align the different elements in an orderly fashion.
  2. Use heads and subheads to lead the reader. When the reader turns the page, where will he or she look? Use heads and subheads to provide scanning points to keep the reader moving along.
  3. Avoid too much type. Pages filled with writing are not appealing to the reader. Break up the copy with photos, illustrations, cartoons, charts and so on.
  4. Use white space. Avoid a crowded look, despite the temptation to make use of every inch of paper you are paying for. White space serves as a visual frame for the rest of the content on the page.
  5. Stay with standard formats unless you have a good reason not to. All of us have grown accustomed to the standard 8-1/2" x 11" format for print materials. Even our filing systems are made for things that size. If you go with an unusual size, your pieces may not lend themselves to being filed easily for reference.
  6. Put a caption with each photo. We all want to know what we are looking at. And a caption gives you the chance not just to identify your product but to remind the reader of the benefit.
  7. Use charts and graphs rather than tables. A brochure is a visual document. Use graphics to boost visual interest and make numbers meaningful.