5 Ways to Promote Your Digital Catalog to Your Work-From-Home Clients

As the Coronavirus spread around the world, public-health experts encouraged people to engage in social distancing: The limiting of non-essential gatherings. And thanks to technology, many professionals found themselves working from home. 

With more of your clients now working remotely — whether temporary or the new norm —   consider leveraging some of your other channels to promote your digital catalog to them.

Here are 5 ways to promote your catalog to the world (or at least your audience):

  1. Connect it to your website: Linking to your digital catalog from your website is a simple, yet highly effective piece of your overall digital marketing strategy. Just make sure that it is easy for users to find, preferably at the top, bottom or side of your home page.

    Additionally, you may consider adding links to popular pages within your catalogs to send users more directly to what they’re looking for.
  1. Add hyperlinks to your outgoing emails: Adding links to your email campaign or newsletter helps to engage your audience and drive traffic to your site. Links should be easy to identify and clearly labeled. More people are going to click your links if you make them easy to see and interpret. This means thinking about how you word your links, what colors you use, where you place them, and what you link to.
Links should be easy to identify and clearly labeled.
  1. Add buzz through social media: Great content engages people, generates buzz for your business, and does all sorts of wonderfully positive things for our businesses. And a new digital catalog is a great excuse to post about it through your social media channels. 
  1. Tear Pages: This Dirxion feature allows your sales and service teams to select and create their own custom collections and presentations with the pages of your digital catalogs. It’s a great way to place personalized content into the hands of your team to promote.
  1. Invite Customers to Share Your Content: Dirxion catalogs typically include an enhanced sharing feature within the interface. Invite your customers to share their favorite pages or the whole catalog to individual contacts or their whole network.
Dirxion’s Share Feature

Getting your digital catalog in front of your customer at the right moment can help THEIR business and YOUR business; a double-win at a time of otherwise business uncertainty.

It’s Time for the B2B Catalog to Reclaim its Respectable Place Online

Digital experience expectations are higher than ever and increasingly growing each year, yet according to Episerver’s 2019 Digital Experience report, almost a third (30%) of B2B marketers admit they deliver a poor digital experience.

We are seeing B2B buyers getting younger. Three-quarters of millennials are involved in — or even running — the decision-making process for B2B purchases for their organizations. This translates to a much larger percentage of online purchases, and to buyers who expect these transactions to be as convenient and reliable as the rest of their digitally-enhanced lives.

B2B brands have been slow to adopt user experience design as an important part in their marketing strategy, despite statistics that indicate its importance. A study from Forrester found that brands that prioritize customer experience outperform those who don’t on both stock price growth and total returns.

While B2B websites, in need of  sometimes extensive rebuilds, are often neglected, more and more B2B businesses are emphasizing their online catalogs as an opportunity to advance the customer experience and place products closer to the buyer’s hands. 

As we highlighted in 5 Reasons to Ditch your PDF Catalog… Sorta, your digital catalog is one of the easiest areas to uplevel the digital experience for your audience.

Yesterday’s digital catalogs were cumbersome, largely meant to replicate the tactile experience of flipping through a physical catalog. Features like page-flipping sound effects and zooming in/out were designed to transpose the physical catalog onto the computer monitor, but seem somewhat archaic in today’s digital-first world.  

Today’s digital catalog focuses less on physical replication and more on functional interaction. Page speed, content navigation, shareability, and connection to e-commerce. These are key considerations meant to maximize the experience and minimize steps to user task completion. For example, e-commerce integration is often an enormous friction point for users of yesterday’s B2B online catalogs. Today’s online catalog allows the user to add products found in a catalog directly to a shopping cart without moving off the catalog.

Part of Dirxion’s mission as digital catalog developers and experience designers requires us to bridge the gap between user needs and business goals and to move digital catalog technology forward. By doing so successfully, we help elevate the digital catalog medium into a contemporary marketing and sales channel, one worthy of new attention.

By paying attention to the customer’s interaction with digital catalogs, B2B marketers can elevate their companies’ customer experience to improve customer retention, referrals and eventually the bottom line. Because where there’s a brand providing a good catalog experience for clients, sales are sure to follow.

For our customers – What Dirxion is doing during this pandemic

We thank everyone for their support through these challenging times. Dirxion’s top priority is to ensure the health and safety of our employees and business partners.

Like many companies, Dirxion has pivoted to working from home until further notice. Over the past few years, as a company, we have encouraged remote work and are well-equipped to make this transition. We are operating at full capacity and eager to help our community with its digital publishing projects.

Please be advised, many Dirxion employees will not be available through their office phones. If you need mobile contact information, feel free to ask account managers, production engineers and developers that you work with for this information. As always, you can reach everyone via email or text communications.

We wish you and your loved ones all the best.

1 Simple Hack to Test Your Digital Catalog’s SEO

Where do you go to hide a dead body?

Answer: Page 2 of Google search results.

By now, we all know that SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is critical to driving organic traffic to your website and bringing your website up in search engine page rank. 

However, have you thought about the importance of SEO for your online catalog? It’s not uncommon for brand or business owners to overlook their online catalog’s searchability.

Put your catalog to the SEO test

Use this easy hack to find out how well your online catalog is performing in today’s search results.

First, open an incognito browser tab. This is an important step. The private browsing mode allows you to browse online without using the existing cookies your browser typically stores to tailor or personalize the web content you see.

Now, head to Google and search your business name brand PLUS a specific product in your catalog. For example, “ACME” “Widget” or “Apple” “iPhone”. Using an incognito or private browser window will generate a true, uninfluenced reading of how your catalog comes up, or doesn’t, in a search.

Does your catalog bubble up to the surface?

Ideally, you should see your catalog appear in one of the first few organic positions of page 1 of your Google search. As you can see in the graph below, the first position will have the highest click-through rate (CTR), and each position after that has a lower CTR. Click rate for listings on page 2 and beyond tend to dry up to a trickle. In fact, according to Backlinko, only 0.78% of Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.

How close can you get to the product?

Once you locate your catalog in the search results (hopefully you do), click on it, then note where you are within the pages of your digital catalog. Did you land on a specific product page that contains the product you searched for or did you, instead, land on the front cover of the catalog? 

When your catalog is properly indexed, a “brand + product” search should bring your customer directly to the product page within the catalog that references the product.

If your digital catalog is not properly indexed or is in a format (like PDF) that doesn’t make for easy indexing, your customer may be sent to the front page of the catalog, but will then be required to search again for the product within the catalog pages; not an ideal customer experience.

If your online catalog today exists solely in PDF format, you’re already at an extreme SEO disadvantage.

As mentioned in our article: “5 Reasons to Ditch Your PDF Catalog… Sorta” (Dirxion, 2020), “PDFs are a great starting point when building out a catalog layout. In fact, we use our clients’ existing PDFs as a launchpad to build interactive, engaging and searchable online catalogs for them. But, in terms of SEO, PDFs aren’t easily crawled by spiders. So, a Google search on a product you promote in the pages of your online catalog PDF is likely not to return results that point directly to your catalog, or the catalog page where it exists.”

Note: keep in mind that Google’s algorithm is always changing and you are never guaranteed to maintain ranking position. It’s a good idea to perform this audit periodically throughout the year.

Alternatively, Dirxion’s HTML5-based catalogs pages can be crawled easily by search engines. The HTML5 markup has many great benefits that will help your catalog rank better than previous iterations or specifications — from helping with code validation to speeding up catalog page load times (a factor Google uses for its ranking algorithm). 

At Dirxion, our digital catalog software is updated regularly throughout the year to keep up with Google’s latest algorithm updates. Digital catalog SEO is a priority because we know this is a significant traffic (and ultimately, sales) driver for our clients. 

If you’d like a complimentary consultation to evaluate your catalog’s SEO, reach out to us here to set up a call.

5 Reasons to Ditch Your PDF Catalog… Sorta

People often ask how using Dirxion to publish a digital catalog is different from publishing a PDF. The answer is: Dirxion is beyond a PDF. 

PDFs are useful for some things, but it’s important to understand their limitations. 

Introduced in 1993, Adobe and the PDF (Portable Document Format) revolutionized the way we view and share documents. Today, the PDF is still a widely popular format for distributing read-only documents in a way that preserves the overall layout of the page. 

But is the PDF the best format to use for publishing your catalog online?

PDF is about displaying content. HTML5 is about interacting with content. Imagine window shopping versus stepping inside and holding a product. 

In this post, we evaluate the differences between a PDF catalog and a Dirxion catalog to help you determine if it’s time to upgrade your catalog.

What PDFs do well

PDFs continue to serve as a trusted, easy-to-create file type. Anything from spreadsheets to photo albums to scanned receipts can be saved in PDF format.

Conformity and Reliability: A PDF stores every detail and piece of formatting within the file itself, including spacing, pictures and fonts. This removes one of the largest obstacles to sharing documents, as most other types of files require the document recipients to already have the proper fonts installed and may lose formatting when they are opened in a different program. PDFs appear the same on any device that reads them, including Windows, Mac OS and mobile devices.

Lock-Down: Adobe Reader, the free program created by Adobe to open PDF documents, cannot edit the file. Reader allows users to fill out forms in PDFs, but they can’t change any existing text or formatting without help from a specialized application.

Safe and Secure: PDF increases the security and confidentiality of the entire document by using applications such as watermarks, passwords or digital signatures.

Copy/Paste: Native PDFs are flexible in that you can copy information, such as text, and paste it elsewhere.

Indexable: PDF files that contain good content and are available on websites can be made visible in search engines. 

What PDFs don’t do well

PDFs make it easier for people to distribute documents without the need to print them. But it doesn’t come without its drawbacks.

File size: While it’s possible to convert just about any file into a PDF without sacrificing quality, something the size of a catalog cannot be easily sent through email without bogging down servers and filling work email inboxes.

Single URL (bad for SEO): A catalog PDF can contain hundreds of pages, but even a single lengthy yet content-rich PDF file will be equal to one URL in the eyes of the search engine. So, while a search engine result might display a PDF catalog, the user would have to start at the front page and work their way to the page where they thought that product exists. 

Dirxion’s HTML5-based catalogs are developed to be crawled and indexed, page-by-page, by search engines. An HTML5 search result would take the user to the most relevant page of an HTML5-based catalog where that product exists without forcing the user to start at the beginning of the catalog.

Absence of any Tracking Mechanism: In the general sense, tracking stats like open rate cannot be applied to PDF files. Downloads of that PDF from your website can be tracked through programs like Google Analytics. But you won’t learn anything about your reader’s interest and purchasing behavior, how they move around within your PDF once downloaded.

Enter Dirxion.

Where PDFs lag, Dirxion picks up the slack, taking the best of the PDF and making it a richer online experience.

Unlike browsable PDFs or even digital flipbooks, which lack interactive capabilities and responsiveness, Dirxion transforms your existing PDF files to an HTML5-based online publication that has the look and feel of a real, page-turning publication along with some additional features that aren’t available with a stand-alone PDF catalog.

Using HTML5 (Hyper Text Markup Language) technology, your digital catalog will work in all modern browsers and devices, regardless of screen size. 

HTML5 enables Dirxion to enhance the user and/or shopping experience. Components can be added to an HTML5 catalog to better promote the items on the page to encourage purchasing. HTML5 catalogs can house functionality like video, audio, and button rollover functionality, making the user interaction a favorable experience.

With Dirxion, you can even publish your catalog in the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores to reach a broader audience and push notifications to your customers.

If you’re still unsure why your PDF catalog is no longer getting noticed, here are five ways Dirxion improves digital catalogs beyond a PDF:

Dirxion’s Bookshelf feature
  1. Easy content navigation: Many of our clients have product catalogs that are hundreds, even thousands, of pages long each.

    Dirxion’s catalog software uses three features to improve content navigation within each catalog as well as the complete library:

    Bookshelf: Present your content marketing in a multi-publication interface equipped with advanced search features like language filters and cross-publication search.

    Tear Pages: Enable sales and marketing teams to select and create their own custom collections and presentations with your print pages.

    Product search: Use our robust search feature to search for something specific, either within the catalog or within the entire bookshelf.
Brandon Mitchener from Dirxion touches on accessibility and ADA compliance.
  1. Accessibility: Making a digital catalog that is accessible to everyone, including those with disabilities, is important and more visible than ever. Not all digital catalog solutions get this part right, so it’s important to evaluate this carefully to avoid a lawsuit.

    Dirxion adheres to W3C and WCAG recommendations, while many in the industry are slow to adapt, favoring complacency over compliance. In fact, many catalog solutions on the market today still do not pass ADA requirements.
  1. Search engine visibility: With a fully-digital catalog solution, your content can be easily searched by Google and found by your customers. Customize keywords, extract the text of the PDF, and adapt page titles to maximize search engine visibility.

    Dirxion’s HTML5-based catalogs are developed to be crawled and indexed, page-by-page, by search engines. An HTML5 search result would take the user to the most relevant page of an HTML5-based catalog where that product exists without forcing the user to start at the beginning of the catalog.

    Although the publication is hosted outside your website, data shows that off-site SEO-related factors likely carry more than 50% of the ranking factor weight. And the backlinks found in your Dirxion-hosted publication pointing back to your website are healthy for your site’s SEO.
  1. Easier to share: Integrate your digital catalog directly into your website, blog or email campaign or easily share your catalog on social media to boost reach.
  1. Deep analytics tracking: PDFs lack the ability to collect data about your users and you won’t be able to measure specific actions like click rates or read-time. But each Dirxion online catalog is supported with Google Analytics, and customers can provide tracking codes from their own analytics platforms to compile transparent and comprehensive results. This tells an ROI and conversion story that won’t let you down.

As you can see, your PDF catalog is the starting point to creating a digital catalog that provides an amazing experience for your customers and delivers profitable ROI.

Dirxion Contact Us