Top 7 Reasons Why a Website is Better Than a Brochure
By Danae Cowart
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The Internet can be scary. Trying to get new customers through the Internet can be scarier. So you may be tempted to stick with old methods of advertising, such as mailing out printed material. But here are seven reasons why you should focus more on your company website than your brochure.
- A website costs less than a brochure
A standard size tri-fold brochure can cost $650 for the design and $396 for 500 copies--and those are discount prices! A website might cost a little more for the design, but you see huge savings in the lack of a "cost-per-person." If you have 5 or 500 or 5,000 website visitors, the cost is not going to change much, if at all. You'd have to pay several hundred dollars more to make your brochure available to 5,000 people.
- You can include more information
A standard brochure can only hold a certain amount of information. If the information you choose to provide is not exactly what a potential client wants to know about you, you're basically out of luck. You can tell them to call for more information, but that's a hassle for them, and there's a low chance of it actually happening. On a website, however, more information is always one mouse click away. "Want to see our clearance merchandise? Click here!"
"Want to read more customer testimonials? Click here!" "Want to see more details about this product? Click here!"
Asking a potential customer to click a link creates a much lower "barrier" than asking them to pick up the phone, dial your number, and hope that they won't have to wade through a long touch-tone menu. And lower barriers lead to more sales.
- A website is easier to update
You may know firsthand the frustration that comes when some detail you've included on your brochure--such as your area code or some standard pricing--changes, and you're stuck with boxes of brochures with wrong information. You basically have to throw away money. With a website, you never have that problem. The website format makes it very easy to change details like this at little to no cost.
- Brochures often go in the trash--for good reason
When you decide to mail out a brochure on a certain day, you are taking a gamble. You are hoping that the people who receive your information will actually be interested in it on the particular day they get it. A website, on the other hand, is always available for people to find when they are looking for it.
Here's an example. Mary recently started having some health problems, and she isn't able to keep up with her housework. She decides to look for a cleaning service. But the brochure you sent her in the mail last month is long forgotten. She didn't need your service at that time, and the brochure went in the trash. Mary looks for a local service online and is impressed with the testimonials and prices she finds on the website of Powers Clean-It-Up. They get her business.
- Having a website shows that you're "up-to-date"
Remember a few years back when a company that didn't have a fax machine was considered to be way behind the times? That's what's going on with websites now. The Internet is no longer "cutting-edge" or a tool for college kids and professional nerds. People from all demographics now use the Internet extensively for communication, shopping, news, entertainment, and education. If your company does not have a presence on the Internet, it makes you seem out of touch with modern society. And few businesses can get away with that.
- Brochures are only for reading, but a website is interactive
The thing that really makes the Internet great is interactivity. The only thing you can do with a brochure is read it--and perhaps wrap your gum in it--but people are still discovering new ways to interact with websites. You can have visitors fill out and send a survey. People can buy products or pay bills through your website. You can have video instructions on how to use your product, or an audio message from the company president welcoming visitors to the website. You can even capture a visitor's attention with quizzes and games, which will make them come back again and again.
- You can tell if your website is working, but where did your brochures end up?
Another amazing thing about the Internet is that you have the ability to analyze in small detail how well your website and online marketing efforts are working. You can get statistics on not only how many visitors your website gets, but also which page they see first, how many pages they visit after that, how long they look at each page, and how they found your website. You can run split A/B tests to see which of two layouts or headlines keeps people's attention longer. You can track your links to see how many times they are clicked.
But the brochures--how many people read your last one thoroughly? How many people looked over it briefly then let it get buried on their desk? How many brochures went in the trash before the recipient even read it? There's really no way to know. The best you can hope for is a good conversion rate. And if you want to try a different design, then you have the $1,000 or so design and printing cost to pay all over again.
So remember, when you're creating your marketing budget for the next year, put more money into your website, and less into printed mail-outs. Your bottom line will thank you.
Danae Cowart is the owner of Effective Websites. We want to help you take advantage of the Internet and "make your website your best salesman." To learn more, please visit http://www.effective-websites.com.
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Article Submitted On: November 25, 2006