Remember back in the early 2000s when articles started with “If your business has a website?” Then it evolved from speculation into judging. “If you’re in business, you must have a website.”
Now the assumption is that you not only have a website, you’re treating it like a significant piece of your operations. Today’s advice is that you need to revamp your website every couple of years. And for the record, it’s true.
But no matter how responsive you make your new website, no matter how good your SEO is, no matter how closely you track web design trends, there’s a danger lurking in your website redesign—one no one thinks to guard against. I’m talking about your brochure.
The brochure’s simplicity is downright seductive. It’s starts innocently enough. Someone says, “Let’s take some of the copy from the brochure and use it on the new website.” The logic of it seems reasonable, impossible to argue with, even. But a brochure and a website are completely different pieces and they have different purposes.
Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of thinking of your website as a digital brochure. That’s forfeiting the many advantages of a strategic, well thought out website.
Imagine for a moment, a brochure being able to do everything your website can do. It would:
- Have pages that could be re-printed and re-inserted in real time as you learn what works and what doesn’t.
- Lead people to the content they want and let them skip over the stuff they don’t instantly.
- Collect email addresses.
- Spit out resources like white papers, infographics, and tip sheets to position you as an expert and help generate leads.
- Have as many pages as you need at a given moment in time, and help people see the page they care about most first.
- Be able to present itself to people looking for your products or services (SEO).
- Tell you how many people were reading your brochure for the first time and how many had returned to it over and over again (Google Analytics).
Brochures, by their very nature, must be targeted. And that can be a really good thing. But it’s always going to offer the same experience every time. One tool, one experience. Your website on the other hand can offer a number of different experiences, and they don’t all start from the home page. One tool, many experiences.
So use your brochures and existing collateral to inform your website, but be willing to start from scratch if necessary.