At one time, businesses used brochures as one of their main marketing techniques. When social networking and social media marketing came into the picture, printing brochures started to be considered an extra expense that just wasn’t necessary. After all, there isn’t a printing expense when you market online? Right? Small businesses continue to wonder if brochures are even worth printing anymore. Have we really become a paperless society?
Not completely. Small businesses usually have a small budget, and a fairly inexpensive way to market your business to new customers is by creating a brochure that can be strategically placed, handed out at conferences or at meetings. Brochures provide valuable and quick information about your company, the product or service you provide and how to go about getting it. People sometimes forget to check online or can't remember the website. Brochures are kept in your pocket or wherever you placed it.
Small businesses can use brochures is so many ways. For instance, if you print out a brochure, a person may take it home or back to their business, and set it on their counter. Just like a billboard, the brochure immediately grabs the attention of anyone who can see it. Having something in print still conveys credibility and trust.
There are steps that you need to follow in creating a successful brochure.
People still like to hold paper in their hands that provide information. We are a technically-oriented society but still trust traditional ways of getting information. Also, our population consists of older Americans who rely on print for information. Brochures can still attract new customers – old and young -- on a reasonable budget. Plus, you can always upload the brochure onto your website.
When it comes to traditional marketing collateral like brochures, flyers, and other print materials, who should you let write them? You have several options.
A lot of people try that, but let me tell you why it could be a big mistake. You know your business. Maybe too much. How difficult is it to take a step back and view it from the outside? For most business owners, it's difficult. Writing your own brochure could mean that you tell too much, don't tell enough, or miss opportunities to highlight the benefits of your product or service rather than the features. Let the professionals do what they do best.
A better alternative to doing it yourself is to hire a ghostwriter. Many ghostwriters are very good at writing copy. That's why they're ghostwriters. But not all of them are graphic artists so while they may write a great brochure, who's going to design it? You'll still have to hire a graphic designer to design the brochure.
A marketing firm will handle the process of creating your marketing collateral from the start. A good marketing company already has relationships with graphic designers and ghostwriters and can oversee the process from beginning to end, picking the right person for each piece of your collateral. And it can often be done less expensively than managing the process yourself.
For all that we hear about online marketing - and I agree that it is becoming more and more essential every day - there is still a place for traditional marketing and high class print design.
Print design - what is it?
If you've ever used or have seen brochures, flyers, business cards, billboards, newsprint ads, etc., then you've seen print design in action. Someone had to design those marketing materials. Logos, which you use for your print marketing collateral as well as your online marketing materials, are usually created by a graphic design expert. Most graphic designers built their skills on print design projects and then later applied them to online marketing strategies.
The best marketing today is an effective integrated strategy involving online marketing tactics alongside print design and traditional marketing methods. That includes, but is not limited to, having a website, a set of business cards, brochures, letterhead and envelopes, online display ads and pay-per-click advertising, a newsletter (maybe a print edition as well as an e-mail edition), and more. When you incorporate print design into your overall marketing strategy, you are saying to the world, "I still operate in the real world; I'm as brick and mortar as you are."
When planning your next marketing strategy, don't leave out print design.
In our last blog post we talked a little bit about the ROI of web design. I'd like to elaborate on that a little bit in today's post.
Again, we'll compare a brochure with a website. If you print out 1,000 brochures at a fixed cost of $500, your unit per cost is $2.00. A single brochure that earns you more than that can be said to have earned you a positive ROI, but you know that you are not going to make money on every single brochure. Most recipients are going to toss it away.
Industry standard is a 1%-2% response rate. Let's say you experience a low response rate of only 1%. That's 10 people who call you based on receiving your direct mail brochure. Now let's say you close 50% of those sales and an average sale for your business is $200. You've earned yourself $1,000, or a 100% ROI on your investment. That's not bad.
The difficulty in judging the effectiveness of print marketing is that sometimes you don't realize a sale for a long time. If you send out your brochures today, what is a reasonable time period for receiving a response from that brochure? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? It really depends on your business.
How Web Design ROI Is Different
Judging web design ROI is different. As mentioned two days ago, your website has an unlimited distribution. That means you can't put a "per unit" cost on it. Not per se.
If that website cost you $500 to produce and you get 1,000 visits per month to that site every month for 10 years, you can break down your "per unit" cost for the time period, but that doesn't really help you in terms of determining the overall ROI of your website. In truth, you can't get a realistic number the same way you can with a print brochure.
It is best to judge your ROI for web design in terms of time increments. For instance, we'll look at traffic numbers for one month. If you got 1,000 visitors to your site this month and your site has been active for 10 months, divide the cost of your site ($500) by the number of months it has been active (10). Your cost per month is $50. Now, you could try to figure the cost per visitor for this month, but don't bother. Instead, count your conversions.
A conversion is the number of people who bought something. Let's say you sold something to 1% of your site visitors (that's 10 sales). If your average sale is $200, then you've earned $1,000 for your business this month. Is that your ROI?
In a word, no. Your ROI is the total return you've received over and above your total expense. You spent $500. Anything over and above that is your ROI. If you earn $1,000 per month on your website every month for its life, then your ROI is that total minus the $500 you spent. Remember, you're looking at the total life of your website. Your "per unit" cost is likely going to be so small you can't measure it.