Monday, March 31, 2008

Q. How do we create a professional-looking brochure—one that looks good, sounds good and impresses referrals?
A. Professional materials are more important than ever to HME companies, who must market themselves as a critical part of the healthcare continuum to referral sources, caregivers and, yes, patients.
First, let’s be clear about this: Professional graphic designers create quality marketing material. If you’ve got that expertise in-house, great. If not, you need to sub the project out. The last thing you want is marketing material that looks amateurish.
A designer will work closely with the company to develop a logo, look and text that reflect an HME company’s image and convey its message. It is possible, through careful copywriting, to create a piece that is appropriate for all of your target audiences.
Make sure your company name (and logo, if you have one) is prominent on the brochure cover. If you have a tagline (Serving XYZ County for 25 years, for example), use it. When it comes to choosing photos for a piece, always choose those that show people actually using the equipment, rather than a collage of naked product. HME allows people to live as independently as they can out in the world, and that is how it should be marketed.
If you have a mission statement, include it. If you are locally owned and community-based, include that. It helps the reader of your brochure if product categories are broken out, and products are bullet-pointed. Your target audiences are busy, worried and/or sick, so make it easy.
Always include: Your store’s address and a map showing how to get there; local and toll-free phone numbers; your Web site; hours of operation; and any special services offered. These help distinguish your business from its competitors. HME

Carolyn Cole is vice president-corporate communications for The VGM Group in Waterloo, Iowa. Reach her at or (319) 274-6509.