Buying a car is a very tactile, in-the-dealership experience. People do buy cars online, but the majority (67%) still prefer to make an in-person purchase. Until they figure out how to get that heady new car smell through the internet, this probably won’t change much. And you certainly can’t take your particular car for a test drive online, even with artificial intelligence.

Your marketing materials are no different. Although your online message is important—especially as a great resource for shoppers—your in-store and direct mail messaging is equally important since you can hold it in your hands. We’re talking about auto brochures. They’re tactile, portable and long lasting. They can also be posted on your site for easy viewing and distributing, and here’s how to make yours stand out:

1. Know Your Objective

What’s the purpose of this piece? Is it to move the buyer along the buyer journey continuum? Upsell them to an aspirational car that’s a step up from their current one? Add fries to that burger with accessories for their newly purchased car? Once you’ve determined the purpose, you can create a message and choose images with that in mind—and you’ll keep the piece focused.

Sometimes dealers try to do too much in one piece and the end result is just plain ineffective. You can create various brochures that address each objective so that you’re tailoring the message and more likely to drive home a sale.

2. Know Your Audience

Any marketing piece worth its salt will speak to your desired customers. By going under the hood and learning about the likes, dislikes, ages, gender, geography and buying behaviors of these different personas, you can speak directly to them. Quick customer surveys as well as in-person probing by your sales force can net you that critical information.

Car buying is extremely personal, so your message will be too. What features are important to what customers? Do they need to hear about the more technical specs of the car, or would they enjoy feeling the experience of their hands on the wheel through this brochure? Do you need to include accessories to round out the story and inspire them by conjuring up a complete lifestyle?

What’s more, if you can personalize the brochure, all the better. Consider making several for different buyer personas, and when you send them out, have their names printed on them (on the license plate if you can swing it!).

Auto Brochures | Ironmark, Annapolis Junction

3. Write Crisp Copy

Simple and succinct sells. As we read more and more online, we’re conditioned to read shorter copy, with lots of “breaks” for the eyes and skimmable text. For this reason, generous use of headlines, bullets, and short call-outs are always welcome. Vary your sentence length for a more interesting read. Like this.

Keep your customer first. Always begin with the WIIFT model (what’s in it for them). Communicating this way with your audience is much more effective than hitting them over the heads with the features of your car. For instance, try writing “Feel the difference in craftsmanship the moment you slide into the driver’s seat,” rather than “Our leather seats are hand-stitched.” Try to evoke an experience for the reader by showing them the feeling that feature evokes. It’s the benefit, but it’s one step beyond to the emotion that benefit conjures.

Related: How to Give Your Copywriting an Adrenaline Boost

4. Choose Beautiful Photos

Words alone won’t sell cars, but words coupled with images will. You know that car-buying is an emotional process. Since images quickly evoke emotions, they’re a powerful way to get a response. What’s that saying about a picture being worth a thousand words? And what’s more beautiful than gorgeous car shots and images? Strive for creativity and uniqueness here in order to stand out. Cars can be commodities, so to beat your competition, you’ll want to wow your prospects.

5. Keep the Layout Clean

Less is more here. Pay attention to fonts and colors and make sure that you’re not overusing either. It’s tempting to play with different fonts and font sizes, but the end goal is an easily readable, attractive piece.

6. Consider a Unique Shape

Have fun here.  There are a million ways to fold a brochure, so see what works best for the design and the car.

Related: Unique Print Folds You've Never Considered

7. Pick the Best Paper

People pay attention to the feel of brochures. For the ones you print, try to get the best paper that your budget allows. This conveys a sense of quality and says that you value your customers. Commensurately, if your message is being “green” and earth-focused, consider recycled paper and environmentally friendly inks. The paper itself is a marketing message to the consumer, so go with what fits your brand best.

8. Don’t Forget a Call to Action

You’ve hooked the consumer, now reel him in. Give him an offer with a phone number, website, email or other way to continue the buying process.

9. Keep it Relevant

The car-buying process can take months, and brochures are brilliant because they last forever, unlike online ads. Aside from providing important information to help a customer make his purchase, consider other helpful, non-time sensitive information so they’ll want to keep it around. Maybe include recommended road trips, or ideas of what to bring on a camping trip, etc.


As one component in a smart, creative advertising campaign, brochures can really pull their weight. At Ironmark, we can help you with any marketing materials, including smart, stunning brochures. Contact us today to catch more eyes, more attention—and most importantly, more drivers.

Written by Lynne Kingsley

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