This looks like a good product. But where can I get one?

This is a topic I mentioned back in January, but I thought we should mention it again, after being reminded of it when discussing the reproduction of data sheets last month. It also cropped up with a Google AdWords management client recently; the company had asked us to create an AdWords campaign which would send people to a landing page from where they could download a PDF brochure, but we noticed that the brochure was lacking something. So the topic I want to bring up again today is company literature with no details of the company.

This is a huge mistake, and is way more common than you might think. It can occur on everything from a data sheet from a large multinational, to a product brochure from a small local distributor, supplied initially by the manufacturer. Company literature floats around in isolation more frequently than ever before, especially as it’s so often printed off from a website.

In that case, it won’t have a salesman’s card clipped to it, or a sticker on the back with details of the distributor which supplied it. If a potential customer down the line is given the printout or emailed the document, in isolation, and they’re interested in the product, does it tell them who to contact? If it doesn’t, I can tell you now exactly what they’re going to do, and that’s to enter the model number into Google to find out who supplies it. The result might not be what you’d like them to see.

Adding a “cover sheet” to every PDF data sheet or brochure which doesn’t have supplier contact details is a straightforward job. Any competent graphic designer should be able to take a whole bunch of such documents and create a replacement PDF file for each with the cover sheet added. I know I mention this company often, but the small instrumentation specialist Control Integration Ltd shows how it can be done well. You should never have a PDF document on your website which doesn’t have your contact details – and preferably sales story – as an intrinsic part of it.

4 thoughts on “This looks like a good product. But where can I get one?”

  1. Great article. I would actually recommend putting the company contact info directly on every page in addition to or rather than adding an intro page/cover sheet. It will save ink and ensure that if just one page of a multi-page PDF data sheet is printed, the user will have all the contact info needed. This also helps if later someone wants to copy, email, or fax just one page.

  2. I agree that each page should have contact information. This is especially important for specified products in a global marketplace. A website address as a watermark in the margin is one method I have used. The wisdom of Solomon may not be adequate when fairly assigning credit for a specified sale. Often the destination “dealer” tried to to claim 100% credit, discounting of all the feed-stage selling and specification support to got the product specified.

    The coversheet is a good idea in addition to the watermark.

  3. I wanted to ask how can I tweak the underlying file name of a PDF so that it makes sense during download, or afterwards in say iBooks? I have hundreds of product brochures (no cover sheet yet) with perfectly sensible file names but in iBooks they become for example “XYZ-4HDsOE2.pdf” – which is meaningless to the reader (including me)

  4. There’s a “Title” attribute for PDF documents, just as with an HTML page. You can edit this with Adobe Acrobat (other PDF editors are available).

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