AMiable Solution #382: Are Data Sheets Dated?
If you think data sheets have no place in your marketing strategy, think again.
Once considered strictly a tool for technology products, data sheets can be used in a variety of industries to promote a wide range of products or services, and they can be used in place of or in addition to other printed promotional material. In fact, Salesforce Canada, an online solution for customer relationship management, says that, “When they’re done right, datasheets are the best possible summary of what a product can do and provide just enough information to make a final buying decision.”
In other words, keep it simple, and keep it short. Your best bet is to limit your data sheet to one page, but you can get away with two if you need to include technical specifications (but relegate that to the back). Try to include
What the product/service is (in a paragraph or two) and how it works
Why it works—think testimonials or other proof points
What value your product/service provides for your reader
What sets your product/service apart from the competition, i.e. experience, support, pricing, etc.
Where readers can go for more information. Salesforce Canada suggests links to a video, a white paper, or another source of more in-depth information.
What to do next. This is your call-to-action.
Although data sheets are traditionally considered features-based documents, Jeffrey Dobkin, in his book, How to Market a Product for Under $500!, suggests sneaking in as many benefits as you can.
But that doesn’t mean it has to be text-heavy and clinical-looking. Design plays a key role here, too. To that end, your data sheet should include large images and other visual elements—charts, graphs, bullet points, boxes, pull quotes, etc.—that draw readers in and summarize the highlights of your product or service.
Data sheets can be handed to potential clients, displayed and distributed at trade shows and conferences (when you’re able again), added to sales folders, and emailed to interested prospects. They can also be used, as Dobkin suggests, in place of brochures when budgets are tight.
Even if you’ve never used data sheets before, now may be the right time for you to arm your team with these concise, easy-to-share sales tools.