Do staffing companies NEED a brochure?
Seems like an obvious question, doesn't it? After all, nearly every staffing company has some sort of brochure, so they must be beneficial...right?
Well, too often the answer is "no." Most brochures aren't worth much more than the paper they're printed on. They do little to educate prospects, build credibility or advance sales efforts.
And when poorly designed, a brochure can actually do more to kill a sale than close one.
It's not a brochure that you need.
In fact, no business needs a brochure. What you really need is to sell something. And you need tools that help your sales people to be as effective as they can be.
So, can a brochure help you close more sales?
And if so, how?
Don't think brochure. Think sales strategy.
It all starts with a plan.
Your brochure (or any sales collateral) should be an integral part of your sales and marketing process. Before starting a brochure project, ask yourself these questions:
Why are we creating a brochure?
- To educate people
- To close deals
- To build trust and credibility
- To generate sales leads
- As a vehicle for presenting a proposal
- To cross-sell services
What will the brochure promote?
- Your company as a whole
- A specific product or service (or range of products or services)
- An event
- The people in your organization
- A concept, such as strategic workforce planning
How will the brochure be used?
- In direct mail campaigns
- As a follow-up to a meeting (If so, will delivery be by mail, email or in person?)
- As a drop-off or leave behind
- As a sales aid during an appointment
- As a download from your website
- As content you share on social media
Create the right content strategy.
A brochure is not about you. It's not about your services, your capabilities or your talented team. It's about your clients. Their challenges. Their needs. And how your services (and your company) are the best answers to a question they are asking.
Sometimes a brochure is promotional, illustrating a problem you can solve and the value you offer. Other times, it's educational, highlighting an issue or opportunity and the impact on your clients.
Your content strategy should be determined by the purpose of your brochure. If you are introducing your staffing services, then the content must demonstrate your positioning, key differentiators, and most importantly, the unique value you offer to your target client.
For a promotional brochure, you'll want to include proof points to show why you are different / better than the competition. This may include:
- Short case studies
- Performance metrics (fill percentage, time to fill, fall-off rate, etc.)
- Customer satisfaction scores
- Niche industry or technical expertise
- Bios of key team members
If your brochure is educational, then your content strategy has to focus on teaching your audience something new or providing a solution to a problem. The most effective brochures teach concepts that illustrate the value of using staffing services.
Here are a few topic ideas for educational content that could be used quite effectively to open the doors with a prospect:
- How to improve hiring by becoming a Best Place to Work
- Understanding strategic staffing
- Workforce planning essentials
- 5 ways to improve employee retention
- Secrets to getting better ROI from your staffing investment
The secret to great educational content is that it addresses a timely, relevant challenge your clients are facing while illustrating the value of staffing services as one of the solutions to the challenge.
And when it comes to content, always, always, always write from the reader's perspective. Why would someone be interested in reading your brochure? What's in it for them? What problem are you helping them to solve? Why is it in the reader's best interest to work with you instead of the competition?
Consider your delivery options.
A brochure does not mean a printed piece of paper. Depending on your content, and how you plan to integrate the information into your sales process, you might choose one or more delivery vehicles.
Printed pieces tend to make the greatest impact, and they have lasting value. When you select the right paper and printing methods, a printed brochure can be a highly effective way to tell a story and build credibility for your organization.
With print you have almost unlimited options for shape, size, paper and finishing options. Some of the most common formatting options include single-page flyers (sell sheets), bi-folds, tri-folds, gate-folds, Z-folds, roll-folds, booklets and pocket folders.
There are also different methods of printing that are appropriate for different situations. For short-runs (usually less than 1,000 copies), digital printing is very cost-effective. For the highest quality, offset printing is best. And for educational articles or last-minute handouts, in-office laser and ink jet printing can be fine.
If most of your delivery is by email or a download from your website, design a PDF brochure or eBook. The beauty of a PDF is that it can be universally viewed on any device and there is no limitation on the size or length of the document. That stated, many people will print your PDF, so you want to design your materials so they will look good when printed.
PowerPoint (or other presentation software)
If you are presenting your content in person, a well-designed PowerPoint can have tremendous impact by adding strong visuals to compliment a verbally told story. Because PowerPoints are easy to edit, they are also ideal for proposals and highly customized presentations.
Animated content on your website
Sometimes the best way to tell a story is with a slideshow, video or other animated presentation. While you might argue that this is not a "brochure," it is a way you can deliver content as part of your sales process in a highly engaging way. If you want to see an example, check out how we present our history of Innovations on our own website.
Consider multiple versions
You may find that it's cost-effective to create more than one version of your brochure. For example, you may want a detailed corporate capabilities overview that can be used as a follow-up to a meeting, while creating a smaller and less expensive "teaser" for direct mail or a trade show handout.
You may also find it beneficial to create more than one version of your brochure copy. For example, if you sell to more than one industry or if you want to create special emphasis on different products.
Don't Cheap Out.
You're better off with no brochure than one that is poorly done. Your brochure is a selling document, make sure it portrays you the way you want to be seen. If you're not comfortable with your writing skills, invest in a professional copywriter or a marketing firm that specializes in your industry-we know of one that can help! :-)
Be sure to take advantage of the talents of a professional graphic designer. While you can do amazing things with tools you have in your office, nothing replaces the value of a talented designer.
And if you are going to invest in print, make an investment that fits your brand and the goals of the piece. For example, if you're creating a promotional brochure and you want to stand out, select a size for your brochure that's big enough to stand out. Or consider a shape like a square or a die cut rather than a standard rectangle. And pick a paper that has a high-quality feel.
However, quality doesn't have to be expensive. Consider these ideas to help control the budget:
- If most of your delivery will be by email, create a PDF version of your brochure; then print in small quantities using the capabilities of a short-run commercial printer.
- Two-color printing can be as (and sometimes more) dramatic than four colors.
- Provide clear direction to your copywriter and graphic designer, including examples of other materials you like.
- Look at the cost per piece as well as the total cost. Sometimes printing more is more cost-effective than limiting the budget.
- Use remnant space wisely (the leftover area on the press sheet that normally gets tossed in the garbage). Sometimes you can get one or more additional marketing pieces at no extra cost.
- Plan multiple versions up front.
So, do staffing companies need a brochure?
Need? Probably not. But if you want to make your sales process as effective as it can be, analyze your sales process and figure out where the right brochure (and other collateral) would help you capture attention, open doors with prospects and elevate your sales conversations.
When implemented strategically, brochures can become an essential sales tool!