How Google Inspired Me to Create Printed Marketing Collateral

This is part one of a 2-part article about how Google inspired me to create a piece of printed marketing collateral I use to drive traffic for my online business.

It all started around 4 years ago.  One day out of the blue, I received a small spiral-bound booklet in the mail from Google.  Here is what the booklet looks like:

Google tips

Imagine my surprise!  You see, I’ve always thought of Google as the quintessential electronic business.  Who would have thought that they’d print up little spiral bound booklets and mail them to small business owners like me?  But they did.

After getting over my shock at receiving snail mail from Google, I realized what a gem it was.  The booklet is called “Tweak Your Way to Profitability.”   The subtitle is “Tips for Boosting Your Income with AdSense.” The booklet is all about how to make more money on your website by running Google AdSense units.  It consists of 8 tips contained in the little booklet.

Several things intrigued me about this marketing piece – so much so, that over 4 years later I still have it.

(1) Information oriented. The first thing that caught my eye was that it contained helpful tips. I’m an information hound … a sucker for any marketing materials that are in the form of information. I don’t want sales pitches. I don’t want glitzy nothingness. But give me data or advice or information that’s creatively packaged — and I lap it up like a kitten at a bowl of milk.

For a B2B marketing piece, information-oriented items are powerful. I have a box filled with all manner of booklets, tip sheets, even bookmarks and business cards with tips printed on them.   But this has to be one of the more memorable examples I’ve ever received.

Here is one of the tips on the inside pages:

Google Tweak Your Way book - tip

Notice they used some simple clip art or line drawings.  Most important is the font and white space.  It’s simplicity itself.  And not hard to re-create on your own, or get a designer to help you with.

(2) It is oriented toward me. So many marketing materials are about the company that produces them.  I want to see something that tells me WIIFM — what’s in it for me.  This piece does.  It starts with the subtitle “boosting your income.”  Notice the word “your” in that subtitle.

It continues with the way each of the tips is phrased, to focus on the reader’s revenue generation.  Who isn’t intrigued with the idea of making more money in your business?

(3) It’s lumpy. This is the kind of thing John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing calls “lumpy mail.” It is something dimensional.  It consists of eleven sheets of heavy paper stock bound together with wire spiral binding.  It’s compact: 3 inches by 4.5 inches.

It is tactile. I can play around with it. Touch it. Feel it. Flip through the pages. It engages me.  It feels like it would be heresy to  throw something like this in the trash. (Heck, 4 years later and I still haven’t thrown it in the trash.)

(4) It’s colorful and playful. There’s something about that title phrase “Tweak your way to …” that makes it seem like learning — and placing ads — will be fun. Even the bright apple green color feels energetic.  They could have made this booklet serious sounding, but didn’t.  And that’s a big part of its appeal.  It’s fun!

(5) It has a call to action. At the bottom of each page is a short simple URL to go online.  And at the end of the booklet, there’s a call to action statement that invites you to go online:

Google Tweak book - call to action

Once you go online, you reach a microsite that contains each of the tips along with additional detailed information that wouldn’t fit on a single page.  The microsite contains numerous Web links to draw you deeper into the Google AdSense site.  Obviously the goal is to get you to increase the use of AdSense units on your sites, get you earning more, and thus make you more loyal.

And guess what?  Even years later, that microsite set up as a companion for the booklet is still live.

This booklet has stayed with me like few other marketing materials.  It even inspired me to create a spiral-bound booklet of my own, with tips.  I also created a microsite section of my website to draw people back to.  Think about how you might use something like this to market your business.

That Google booklet inspired me to develop a booklet of my own. However, my own booklet didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to —  I just didn’t execute it as well.

I wrote about my experiences, including my analysis of why the Google booklet was so effective — and what I would have done differently in creating my own booklet:  Lessons From Home Grown Marketing Collateral.

Anita Campbell Anita Campbell is the Founder, CEO and Publisher of Small Business Trends and has been following trends in small businesses since 2003. She is the owner of BizSugar, a social media site for small businesses.