Optometric Management Tip # 88   -   Wednesday, September 24, 2003
Your Practice Brochure

If you don't have a brochure describing your practice, or if yours is not presenting the image you want, here are some tips on developing a new one.

Who should do it?

Your choices are: you, a member of your staff, a print shop, or a graphic designer. But regardless of who lays out the words, graphics and pictures, the text of the brochure has to come from the doctor/owner. You may be able (and wise) to get some help with writing style and grammar, but no one else can really know what you want to say in your brochure. It's not that hard to come up with the content - more below on that.

Cost is certainly a factor as you decide whether to make this a do-it-yourself project or farm it out to professionals. Desktop publishing computer programs can actually make the homemade job look just as good as a professional one. And it must look great because you're projecting an image of your practice, so it must be professional and high quality. Time is another factor. If you have a tech-savvy staff member, you may want to write the copy and delegate the design and layout.

Depending on the quantity of brochures you will need, you can either print them yourself from your computer (laser printers are fast and offer perfect print quality) - or you can take your finished product to a printer. Many printers will print from a computer disk, but check with them first. You may want to purchase a folding machine if you print the brochures yourself - they are handy for lots of other mailing projects in the office, too.

Design Options

Unless your needs are unusual, keep in mind that a letter size sheet of paper can be folded twice to make a 3-panel brochure - which really gives 6 sections front and back. Legal size paper becomes a 4-panel brochure (8 sections). You may use 4-color printing - which is costly if done by a print shop - but it looks great because photos are in full color. Or you may use 3, 2 or 1 color printing. A little color can be introduced economically if you use colored paper with black print. I'd keep the paper color professional, like cream or light gray, and use a heavy stock. You don't have to use photos, but they do add lots of interest and break up all words, which can be boring. Be wary of standard PC clip art -- everyone has seen it and it shouts homemade.

Collect brochures from optometric colleagues, and from other physicians and businesses in your area, to gather ideas for your brochure.

The Content

Content is easier than you think if you just sit down and write a rough draft. You can proofread it later, and then have others do the same. Start with the topic headings - you have either 6 or 8 panels, which makes 6 or 8 topics. As the brochure opens, consider the order of the topics. Here are some possible panels: What to do with it

You'll find many uses for brochures once you have them; it's an invaluable marketing aid. One immediate use is to have your receptionist hand one to all patients with their receipt as they leave the office. These are often kept for years, and they will encourage referrals of friends. Brochures are also great for referral sources (or potential ones you want to encourage), as well as for talks on eye care, civic projects, health fairs, and to give to office visitors and business suppliers. Don't forget to keep a stack in the reception room.

Best wishes for continued success,

Neil B. Gailmard, OD, MBA, FAAO
Chief Optometric Editor, Optometric Management