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Think Outside the Mailbox With Email Brochures

From <a href="" target="_blank"><span style="text-decoration: underline;"><span style="color: #800080;">THESTREET.COM:</span></span></a> No need for printed brochures anymore? Try e-brochures.

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If your company has ever printed a brochure, you know the time and cost involved -- as well as the potential waste. I've seen many businesses spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a brochure, only to have boxes of them cluttering their closets years later. If this sounds familiar, you'll certainly appreciate the many benefits of e-brochures.

An e-brochure is pretty much what it sounds like -- a brochure that can be distributed, delivered and viewed via the Internet. Like printed brochures, e-brochures feature photos, graphics, copy and your logo. However unlike printed brochures, e-brochures can be sent as email attachments, incorporated on a Web site or burned onto a self-playing CD. There's no question that e-brochures represent a new and highly cost-effective way of branding.

While traditional, printed brochures remain the industry standard, and many customers still expect them, e-brochures are quickly gaining popularity due to these unique selling points:

Cost effectiveness: No more guessing numbers for your print run, then winding up with too few or too many brochures. The cost of an e-brochure is fixed, whether you send out one or 1 million of them. Fees are based on the number of pages and any extra "bells and whistles" like video or audio. What's more, digital distribution means you omit postage costs.

Interactivity: This can greatly boost the overall impact of your message by engaging your audience. Viewers can turn the interactive pages, view video or listen to audio with a simple click of their mouse. Better yet, they can immediately place orders or request more information by clicking on embedded links.

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Customization options: E-brochures let you to target your messages to specific audiences, increasing the likelihood they'll buy from you. Such market segmentation is much harder with printed collateral.

Easy to update and edit: You can quickly and efficiently customize your message, target your market and adapt to changes in the marketplace without reprinting a single page. Nor do you need to reprint your brochure if your offerings or price points change. Updating your e-brochure "template" is a simple and affordable editing job.

Unlimited distribution: The ability to email your brochure means you can immediately and affordably respond to requests for information from anyone at any time. In fact you can instantly send your brochure to prospects around the globe and create a viral effect -- one potential customer can forward it to other potential customers, who in turn can forward it to more customers and so on, at no cost to you.

Access to additional information: Your audience can quickly browse through content, zoom in on items and print pages, all from the convenience of their home or office. You can also include a homepage link for customers who want to learn more about your business.

Tracking: With traditional printed materials, it is extremely difficult to track your ROI. Not so with e-brochures. You can track how many times your e-brochure is downloaded as well as how many orders you received from its distribution.

Environmentally friendly: Obviously, no trees are involved in the creation of an e-brochure. You won't need any storage boxes to house extra brochures, either.

Makes your company look smart and innovative: Having an e-brochure gives the distinct impression that you're ahead of the curve and well-positioned for the future. Customers like to do business with savvy companies that literally think outside the box.