Does my business need a digital brochure and what are my options?
Does my business need a digital brochure and what are my options?
A digital brochure is a chance to create something exciting, engaging and very creative. If you get one shot at influencing a prospect, this is the way to do it. It’s a real chance to ‘wow’ your prospect and a way to help your business stand out.
Digital brochures are convenient summaries of a service or product that replicate the experience of a traditional brochure without the print. As an online publication, they can exploit a variety of advanced media features to help deliver a compelling marketing message. If required, they are printable too.
To answer the main question, one can ask another question: “If a potential customer has expressed interest in your company’s product or service and wants a quick overview that they can look at later, what is your response?”
In the past, encounters with a prospective customer may have involved a glossy brochure. Today though, sensitivities around printed materials and the environment run high, and so you might point the person to your website. Why might that not be an optimal response, though?
Your website is more than a brochure
Small companies with a limited presence and product offering, such as those starting, may very well use their website as a brochure. This is because it will likely have a small footprint, and a visitor will quickly get the answer they need.
All websites, regardless of age and size, should work this way, but in practice, they will most likely have a larger range of products, services and specific benefits associated with them. This requires the visitor to navigate around a more complex site to get to where they need to go to get the answers they need.
So, can’t a landing page on a website be a product brochure and then share the link to that page?
Yes, you could. However, a product or service landing page should be there to serve several objectives.
- The first is to provide an overview of the product or service and its value and benefits.
- The second is to be informative and authoritative around the subject related to the product or service.
- The third and most important is to move the visitor to action, so they become a prospect and the real selling can begin.
It’s important to note that the second objective is critical for search optimised websites. As such, it can present more information than a visitor who needs a quick ‘sales’ summary, would likely need. This is fine for somebody who finds the page through a Google search, as expectations are likely to be different, but not so good if you want to convey a limited set of sales messages quickly to somebody who may have already encountered your company. Furthermore, a web page isn’t easily printable, for those who do want a printed version at hand.
One of the most exciting aspects of running a website is the flexibility it enables you as a marketeer. You don’t have to make do. You have the opportunity to create unique experiences for your audience and the campaigns that target elements within it. This is where custom digital brochures stand out brightly.
What is a digital brochure
You can check out our view and approach to digital broachers here (link to digital brochure landing page). But in summary: A digital brochure is a short-form description of a product or service concerning a specific set of problems it seeks to solve, along with the benefits and value it brings in doing so. It should also offer a printable version.
A digital brochure makes use of a variety of digital media. For instance, it can incorporate video, animations as well as more usual imagery.
Use of video
Video, used wisely, can effectively communicate key aspects of an offering more engagingly and interestingly. This is one of the reasons why YouTube is so popular and is the world’s second-biggest search engine. People search for solutions to everything – from how to survive a plane crash to how to fix a leaking tap, all because the video experience is more engaging.
As a final thought on video use; a digital brochure could be an entire interactive video!
Use of animations
Animations are a powerful tool to leverage in online brochures. They are put to particularly good use in helping to explain more complex ideas or product implementations. Highly engaging in nature, they can help draw the reader through a sequence that leads them to a final closing proposition. The sequence acts as a sales checklist, ensuring the prospect is given the information they need to be able to say “yes!” at the end.
Use of presentations
Just like animations, an embedded presentation can walk the prospect through a series of slides that convey the information needed to convince the prospect that your solution solves their problem. Presentations can be a more deliberate and systematic way of communicating an idea or explaining a solution.
With current technology, more dynamic online presentation is possible, one that has a more tactile feel to it through a ‘flip-book’ approach. Presentations can be user-driven too, meaning that they can have interactive elements that lead the reader through the presentation on a path more representative of their needs, simply by posing questions.
Use of Augmented Reality (AR)
AR is most relevant to information consumed through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It allows the user to interact with the environment around them.
In the case of a digital brochure, it could be used to bring elements of the brochure to life. AR can recognise objects. When presented with a recognisable object, it can overlay more information. This would typically be a video or an animation related to the object.
How is a digital brochure presented?
A digital brochure usually resides on a website so that it can be instantly accessible anywhere. However, it’s probably better to consider the digital brochure as a ‘digital asset’, meaning that it is portable.
On a website, the brochure may reside in a downloads folder accessible through the site’s main navigation menu. It can also be highlighted or featured as a downloadable asset in the flow of the text on a related web page.
In some scenarios, the brochure could be used as an inducement in return for an email address, i.e. sent to a recipient upon request.
Physical PR packs are still highly relevant today. Trade shows are one example, but information packs are still requested and used by many companies as a way to educate potential suitors and the media at large. Digital brochures are an essential part of these and can be incorporated with the literature, collateral, imagery, etc. on a thumb drive.
Printed media is still a viable communication method and some people still like to be able to hold a printed brochure. As such, a digital brochure should have a printable version. This version would ensure that the main messages and information are communicated without the multi-media aspects of the main brochure, but still in a highly visual and engaging manner.
The main benefits of a digital brochure
It should be reasonably evident by now that a digital brochure forms a unique part of your communications strategy. Unique, in that it stands apart from your website while still being an essential asset within it.
The main benefits of investing in a digital brochure are as follows:
- They are quick to produce and deliver.
- They offer a higher level of engagement than their printed counterparts.
- Every product or service can have one, without incurring the cost of print
- They are easy to use in email and other PR campaigns
- They are relatively cheap and easy to update or change.
- They are highly adaptable, meaning digital assets within the brochure, such as videos, illustrations, animations, etc., can be interchanged to match a specific client situation.
- They can easily be customised towards a particular client pitch and branding if needed.
- Transferable and printable, in short, multi-functional.
So, does your business need a digital brochure?
We hope this article has helped you to understand the “in’s and outs” of digital brochures and why just using your website as a brochure probably isn’t the best idea, especially as your business begins to grow.
They are a great way to communicate as parts of your product or service to a specific audience succinctly and help drive them to a close. So why wouldn’t you want to use them?
For any help of guidance on digital brochures for your business, why not give one of our team a call to discuss your needs.
WHERE CAN WE TAKE YOUR DIGITAL BROCHURES?
If you think our creative agency will be a good fit for your next project, please contact us or call our studio on 01932 850122 to speak to one of our experienced designers.