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No design skills? Here's your guide to designing a professional and effective leaflet

Posted by Peter Saunders on Monday, April 28, 2014

The success of your leaflet depends primarily on the design and the message. A successful leaflet must grab your potential customer's attention, create interest in what you are selling, and finally induce action by clearing indicating what the recipient must do next.

No design skills? Here's your guide to designing a professional and effective leaflet

The success of your leaflet depends primarily on the design and the message. A successful leaflet must grab your potential customer's attention, create interest in what you are selling, and finally induce action by clearing indicating what the recipient must do next.

Looking professional doesn't mean you need to spend a fortune creating your leaflet. If you want to keep costs down and create it yourself, the tips below will help you create something that looks good and generates a positive impression. If you don't have the time or inclination to create your own leaflet design, and you have some money to spend on it, you can hire a skilled graphic designer to handle it for you.

If you're designing your leaflet yourself, here are 6 tips to help you create a professional leaflet..

Step #1 - Focus on the benefits and avoid blocks of text

Unless you're a well known brand like Apple that people want to stop and read about, people initially won't care who you are. What they want to know is what you're offering and what they will get out of buying your product or service. What's in it for them? Why should they buy from you? What are the benefits? This is what you need to focus on in order to receive the best response to your leaflet. Make sure the benefits are communicated in an easy to read manner. Research has shown people are put off by large blocks of text, so avoid paragraphs explaining all about your product. The goal is to get their attention and generate interest so they seek out more information. Use short sentences or bullet points to indicate key benefits. If you absolutely have to include a large amount of text try to break it up; use headings, subheadings, graphics or coloured text or boxes to avoid the leaflet looking like an essay. Add all the additional information to your website or a brochure, then if people are interested and want to read more they know where to go or what to request.

Step #2 - Use imagery and by imagery I DO NOT mean clip art!

Creative imagery captures attention and creates interest in your leaflet. It also makes leaflets memorable. Creative, clever, funny and visually appealing leaflets also often get passed on to others, so there is more than one reason to invest in a good picture. Do yourself a favour and avoid the temptation of browing Microsoft's free clipart images, they are fine for children to use in a school project but not for a professional business! Also avoid searching through Google Images. The images on Google are often low resolution and the print quality will be extremely poor, which won't create a great impression. More importantly, Google images will probably be copyrighted. If you use a copyrighted image and the owner finds out, they may ask for a percentage of the earnings you have generated via the use of their image. If you refuse, they may take legal action.

Instead of clipart and Google Images, try using a stock photography site. There are may stock image sites on the web, my favourite is istockphoto. Istockphoto has millions of royalty free high resolution images searchable by keyword. So if your flyer is for a hair salon head on over to istock and search their hair related images. Once you've found one or more that you like, simply create an account, buy some credits and purchase the image. It will then automatically download to your computer and you can insert it into Word or whichever software you are using to create your leaflet.

Additional tip if you're using your own images..

The great thing about istockphoto is that all the images have been taken by professional photographers and vetted by istock so they are well lit and well edited. If you're planning to use your own product photos ensure they are also well lit. There is nothing worse than a badly lit photo on a well designed leaflet. Even on sites such as ebay I will often buy products that have well lit clear pictures over products that have dull gloomy photos, even if the clear lit photo products are more expensive. The clear, well presented picture makes me think the product is better quality and in better condition. It also helps me feel like I am getting the most for my money. All customers want to see what they are getting for their hard earned money, so make sure you show your products off to their full potential. If you don't have the budget for a professional photographer to take photographs for you then consider investing in an inexpensive photography light cube to help you achieve some great product photos.

If you're a Photoshop user there are some fantastic plugins available from topaz labs to help you improve under exposed photos and to enhance poorly lit photos.

Step #3 - Use 'Power Words'

Certain words are known for attracting people's attention. They include - free, bargain, bonus, discover, earn, easy, enjoy, exciting, exclusive, extra, fast, learn, money, mystery, new, profit, save, special, win. Use them.

Make sure you also check out my post called 12 powerful words and phrases to utilise in marketing

Step #4 Blank spaces are your friend. Resist the temptation to cram as much information into the space as possible.

You don't need to fill the whole leaflet with text or images. Sometimes less is more. Blank spaces make the leaflet appear easier on the eye which makes it easier for people to read.

Step #5 Include a call to action

Tell potential customers what to do next, but not in a passive way. "For more information, call us on..." is a passive call to action. It doesn't motivate. You need to motivate and be clear about how you want the person to proceed. Here are some examples:

  • Buy before 1st June 2014 by calling 0116 2403651 and receive a mystery gift (or a free gift).
  • Book online now at... and get 20% off. Offer ends 31st December 2014.
  • Buy now! 10% off for the first 100 customers. Visit our website at... and enter coupon code FIRST100.
  • SPECIAL OFFER - Call 0116 2403651 today and receive (insert offer).

Step #6 - Focus on capturing leads as well as sales

Not everyone that receives your leaflet will be looking to spend money immediately. Use your leaflet to capture leads that you can turn into paying customers at a later date. They key is finding a way to capture leads from those interested in your product/service. For example, let's say you run a carpet cleaning business. Some people will contact you as soon as your leaflet lands on their doormat but others will probably be thinking about having their carpet cleaned in a couple of months time. You could offer a free ebook with tips to remove wine stains, or maybe advice on dust mites and allergies. It could be anything related to your industry that will benefit potential customers. Whatever you're offering, make sure it's related to your industry and always offer it in exchange for an email address. Once you have an email address you can use newsletters to keep in touch with that potential customer so when they are ready for their carpet to be cleaned, they will remember you. You could even add a QR (Quick Response) code that links to a sign up page that then sends an immediate download of the ebook to the recipient. That way it's hassle free for both potential customers and you!

 


About the author

Peter Saunders is a multifacted graphic designer that has worked as a designer, printer and print finisher. All three jobs have given him an excellent understanding of everything involved in creating print marketing. At After Hours Creative, Peter splits his time between graphic design, getting his hands covered in ink, operating foil presses and taking naps on his adobe cushions (only when working late, he's not lazy!). Peter is the go-to guy for any artwork queries or anything related to print!

Peter Saunders is a multifacted graphic designer that has worked as a designer, printer and print finisher. All three jobs have given him an excellent understanding of everything involved in creating print marketing. At After Hours Creative, Peter splits his time between graphic design, getting his hands covered in ink, operating foil presses and taking naps on his adobe cushions (only when working late, he's not lazy!). Peter is the go-to guy for any artwork queries or anything related to print!

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