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All the chatter these days is about your business’ online performance and online strategy. Which is not really good news when it comes to marketing strategy, because as soon as everybody is talking about it and doing it, the channel becomes more competitive, more crowded and more expensive.

The same thing happened with brochures. 10 years ago, having a company brochure design was not enough. It had to be a big, expensive brochure in order to stand above the crowd. But with everybody moving to online channels the rules have changed and the brochure is back as an affordable, effective and efficient marketing tool.

So if you are looking at how to reach and convert new customers, here are 5 big reasons why it might be worth bringing your company brochure back.

1. Online is getting more expensive, brochures are getting cheaper.

As online competition hots up so does the cost. Websites can no longer perform on Google without continuous search-engine optimisation work or online advertising campaigns. It is no longer good enough to post to social media two or three times a week, it needs to be everyday, across a range of different social media. Competitors are buying up ‘likes’ on Facebook, and paying people to tweet on their behalf. All to compete for an audience which is getting more and more bombarded with online messages.

Meanwhile, creating a company brochure is getting cheaper. Advances in print technology and increased competition from a shrinking design and print market has pushed down the price.  With less brochures in the world, it is no longer necessary to stand out with something large and expensive. A simple 4 or 8 page introduction to the company is usually enough to drive leads to the website or the phone.

And I know that mail costs have increased, but posting a brochure is still comparable with paying for a single click through to your website with Google adwords.

2. Competition for attention is greatly reduced.

At work, I like receiving the post. And I don’t think that I am the only one.

Most of us now spend the day sorting through piles of e-mails, online requests and printed bits of paper. The e-mail inbox is no longer a private space and anyone appears to be able to target it. This is why promotional e-mail campaigns rarely score above 20%-30% open rate.

However, with dwindling amounts of post coming in, when something interesting lands on my desk, it always gets my attention.

3. It builds trust in a way that online can’t

People have a natural scepticism of online businesses – especially when it comes to service provision. Winning over trust can therefore be a key barrier to getting a sale. Brochures are a great way to bridge this gap in trust with potential customers.

It may only be card and paper, but as soon as a customer has something physical from you in their hands their perceptions of your business changes. They no longer view you as a virtual entity which may be here one day, and gone the next. They see you as a real business in a real location with real people there to help them.

4. It shows products in a way that online can’t

When we buy something online there is always that percentage of doubt about how it will look and perform when it arrives. This is a tolerable risk with small purchases, but increase the cost and customers become more reluctant to purchase based on web pictures alone.

Appreciating true colour and physicality on screen is difficult due to individual screen colour settings, screen quality (72dpi) and size, and the backlighting effect of flatscreen monitors. Printed material on the other hand, allows you to control these variables and show your products to customers the way they truly are.

5. It can work both off-line and on-line.

Websites may only work online, but brochures can be effective in both online and offline channels. Any printed brochure can be easy converted for viewing online – either as a PDF download or as an animated online brochure.

But if you have a website, what’s the point of an online brochure? Well the demands of search engine optimisation on websites means the continuous generation of new content – articles, tweets, blogs, latest news, and links taking visitors off in different directions. This content can make a website unwieldy, distract from the core information, and reduce the control you have over how customers will read and consume the information.

An online brochure, on the other hand, is a highly controlled marketing space with both a clear beginning and end. It allows you to control the order of information a reader receives and also the key points they take. It features no other distractions and doesn’t allow your customer to meander off in any direction they fancy. It can also be easily printed, and taken to show the wife, or boss, or both.

Convinced enough to bring your company back?

So as everything you loved about online marketing is slowly being lost, everything bad about the company brochure is disappearing. Next time you total up the rising hours and money spent on social media, website development and search engine optimisation just to stay even with companies half as good as you – perhaps it is worth thinking about a different way get back that competitive advantage.

If you need help, Add Design are the online graphic design company who specialise in cost-effective brochure design and print as well as online brochure design for businesses in London, Essex, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and across the UK.

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