How to get your successful leaflets to look good

The misfortune of the single leaflet (or postcard) campaign is that there is limited space for what you have to say. By choosing only one shot at your potential customer market, you will have to cram in a lot of information into a relatively small space to get the full message across.

The initial reaction, after scanning the grey mass in front of them, is that readers will look for a way out: get rid. Even if all the marketing criteria are met: headline, sub-headline, bullet points, call to action, special offer, contact details, the fact that they are virtually sitting on top of each other defeats their objective.

When laying out your leaflet, the first thing to consider is your margins; wide borders navigate the eye towards a focal point: the message inside. Adequate white space provides sufficient elbow room to allow the leaflet to breathe, so each marketing element has a chance to succeed.

Next, consider which kind of picture you are going to have. Background images can backfire: one particular advert had a relevant picture behind all its text, but it was so complex you couldn’t make out what it was trying to say. Presented by itself it would have been easier to understand its message, therefore providing a more effective contribution.

Another problem with a complex background is that it detracts from the words in front of it. Messages are not easily understood if they have to compete with their surroundings. Clean, clear backgrounds, preferably white or pale in colour, combined with a darker colour for the words, will have far more impact for quick recognition and readability than the reverse.

Pictures should be relevant, and not just a smiling tele-operator who looks good. It’s easy to get a picture off the net that will do, but then it may be so popular that everybody uses it, thus reducing your impact. A good quality, well produced photograph is vital, with excellent focus and presentation within its own frame; a home produced job with camera shake or low resolution taken from a mobile phone will not cut to the chase.

And finally how the leaflet is prepared for the printer will make or break a good campaign. Customers respond to quality, and an obvious product of the office ink-jet will certainly not provide the impression you are looking for. Neither will a leaflet whose pictures are not converted to the printers’ resolution, as failure to do so will result in flat, 2D, uninteresting images that also suggest low quality.

Also the kind of paper or card used will make a difference: good quality with a clean finish will easily sway the customer to read, absorb, understand and therefore take action – ultimately resulting in a sale.