My Rant on Using Large PDF Brochures for Online Marketing

By Tad Miller | Mar 20, 2007
More Articles by Tad

PDF (Portable Document Format) is a file format that captures all the elements of a printed document as an electronic document that you can view or print. It has it’s place, but that place is not in online marketing.

I’m seeing a lot of companies put their full color brochures, that their marketing departments worked so hard on, online and relying on them to sell their product and services. WHY!? This isn’t the show room floor or a trade show (even if it were, just look at the nearest trash can in those places to see how effective all that fancy full color printing is).

First of all PDF Brochures take forever to download. No one wants to sit waiting for a 13 page brochure to download. Give me the same elements and pretty pictures on the pages of your web site (Be brief and DON’T MAKE ME SCROLL DOWN) and give them to me at the speed of a mouse click.

Second, I don’t want to spend my time scrolling a PDF brochure, when it finally downloads, to find what I’m looking for. The internet generation doesn’t have the patience (or attention span) to sift through all the smiling multicultural faces of people enjoying your product or service to find the snippet of text burried in your brochure that they really want to see.

Just give me the information I’m looking for about your product or service on a single web page, with links to all the extra ancillary stuff. I only need one smiling happy face picture showing me how great your product or service is per page.

Give me a nice link, that clearly says it’s a PDF brochure, as an option to print out for my boss or significant other (who’s living in the stone age and can’t seem to manage the Internet) so I can share your beautiful brochure with them.

Don’t make your brochure the main source of information about your product on your website. If your PDF brochure is ranked above the other pages of your website for your most important keywords seek professional help to remedy this.

If you are actually paying money to advertise online (PPC) and the main source of information that potential customers have about your product is your PDF brochure…My friend you are throwing your money away and it is not coming back.

The good folks at Marketing Sherpa tell us that 50% of searchers will abandon your PPC landing page in the first 8 seconds if they don’t see what they are looking for. If you are deficient on your landing page and relying on searchers to go to your 12 page PDF brochure to learn more and find what they are looking for you are going to lose the rest of the searchers to abandoment.

PDF brochures are the Supplement to your online marketing, not the basis of it. End of Rant…

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