Websites are funny things. Depending on how someone reaches your site, i.e. the landing page they enter the site by and depending on their browsing device, each website visitor's experience will be different. User journies are something you have limited control over. The user interface/menu system design typically enables the visitor to jump around from one page or content piece to the next in the order that most suits them; it is not a linear narrative.
An e-brochure will give you something that you can email a prospect or provide them with a link to download that has a clear beginning, middle and end. You control that journey from start to finish and can create much more of a narrative or story that sells your business, product or service. With a website, this is much harder to do.
When you couple with this the ability to include rich media – hyperlinks that jump to content or pages in the document, animated graphics, video, even audio – you can see how different and powerful a piece of communication this can be.
As with anything of this nature, I would always recommend speaking to a professional creative agency such as TFA to do it for you; if the budget allows. Professional marketing agencies will have skills and resources you don't have; design, copywriting, photography, videography and the various skills needed to make a document such as this have that 'wow' factor.
If you need to create one on your own, there are various ways to develop it and various ways to 'publish' it. You can start with several programs, including, at the more accessible end, MS Word and MS Powerpoint, to more professional and creative tools such as Adobe Indesign and Affinity Publisher.
These applications enable you to create multi-page documents and then save them in an e-format such as a Powerpoint or an interactive PDF. You can even look at cloud-based tools like Canva or Prezi, but these will require your recipients to go online and have a reasonably good Internet bandwidth to view them rather than giving you an offline document that you can send out. Similarly, tools like ISSUU enable you to publish a PDF to your website like an interactive flick-book, but these must be viewed on the web.
Previously, I went through how you can create your brand story, so referring back to this might help you. It is essential that you plan out the structure of your brochure first and, like any good story, it has a clear, memorable and straightforward beginning, middle and end. Lastly, ensure the e-brochure ends with the customer knowing what they need to do next.
Take advantage of the benefits the digital format gives you. Above all else, you want it to be a rich, visual experience and to tailor this for users who will likely be using tablets or large screens to look at it.
When planning out the content of your e-brochure, consider how you can include things that will communicate the key selling points of your business better than 2-3 paragraphs of text could – we don't want the user to have to read too much. You can include large photographs showing off a particular aspect of what you do, short video clips or even clever things like animated infographics, charts and graphs that pop up right before their eyes. Be creative and be innovative in the way you present information and aim for something that feels creative and intuitive (rewarding for the user).
How will you be sending the e-brochure out? Ideally, if you can attach a secure document to an email, people are far more likely to take a look as it is right in front of them. Emailing it can be seen as less 'secure' than a download link if they have not heard from you before. You may want to consider a link to either download it or go to a web page where they can view it online. Think of the pros and cons for your audience(s) before making this decision.
If you want a standalone document, you will need this to be an optimised PDF or 10MB or less. Having a smaller file size ensures all mailboxes can receive it, as there are limits on file sizes over email. When exporting a document to PDF, there are several options for optimising it to reduce the file size, and you will want to find the right balance of file size versus image/media quality.
Go for quality and keep it under that 10MB limit.
If your document is bigger than 10MB, you can host the file on your website with a download link or use tools such as WeTransfer to do the same. When creating content that has been authored online with tools such as Canva or Prezi, they will host the online on their sites, so you will have to provide a link to it.
I would recommend a final document of around ten pages and keeping it to A4 size (Letter for US equivalent), so it can be printed off and kept. I think the A4 landscape format is the best as it means you can work with similar dimensions ratios to screens and tablets turned on their side.
Put some time into creating an excellent e-brochure for your business, and you will impress your target customers. Maybe even consider getting a few printed up to send in the post to those extra-special customers you want to entice. These days, brochures are a rarity, so it can be particularly nice to receive one!
If you need a creative agency to understand your business and bring to life your vision in the form of an e-brochure, get in touch with us at TFA. Also, explore our past work to see what we have done for other businesses like you!