The advent of technology has provided a myriad ways for small businesses to reach existing and potential customers. No longer are companies forced to rely on tried-and-true methods of advertising such as newspaper or magazines ads or radio and TV commercials. In today’s global economy, web sites are considered mandatory. Related to web sites is another way of reaching potential or current customers: the digital brochure.
According to Tom Murzenski, Chief Technologist with Impel Digital, two types of digital brochures exist. One is an online version of a traditional paper brochure featuring a fixed layout. Digital effects, such as a page-turning graphic and sounds can make a digital brochure appear very similar to a paper one. The other kind is a “brochure site, which is typically a small site that has little or no interactivity, such as e-commerce or calculators,” he says.
Kristin Ingram, CEO of Ingram Digital Media, Inc., says another type of digital brochure exists. “Business owners see it as a replacement for the paper brochures they would hand out.”
She says her clients use them in different ways. They include:
On their web site for SEO purposes
As an email to clients
As a link in an email so readers seeking additional information can click on it
Ingram says she discourages clients from utilizing digital brochures for SEO purposes because the information is static. She isn’t a fan of using a digital brochure in an email to clients, either. “If used in an email, it’s like a fact sheet. It’s like a sendable version of your website and I’m a big believer in just sending people to your web site,” she says.
Pros and cons
Digital brochures are not SEO-ready, so Ingram just isn’t a fan.
Still, Murzenski maintains “they are a great way to get your message out in the online world.” However, he cautions, publishing a digital brochure does not mean anyone will see or read it, let alone be converted from a reader to a buyer.
“Having something online is the first step, but just as important is having a plan for promoting it on social media and in the search engines. Many people are disappointed when they put effort into creation but don’t get the results they were expecting because they don’t have a marketing plan in place,” says Murzenski.
While she isn’t a proponent of digital brochures, Ingram says they aren’t worthless, either. “They are a one page document to send someone so they don’t have peruse an entire web site,” she says.
Another positive is how inexpensive digital brochures can be when a business owners are technologically-savvy. “The costs come in when you have to hire a graphic designer or copywriter,” she says.
Tami Kamin Meyer is an Ohio attorney and writer who tweets as @girlwithapen.