Daan Reijnders

Here at Foleon, we drink our own champagne. And lots of it!

by Daan Reijnders

A post about how we use our own platform might not be something you would immediately expect on our blog. However, since the early days, we’ve been the single most prolific producer of digital publications — we have more than 100 publications live today. 

Digital publications are embedded at the heart of our communications. And since we’re firm believers that it’s okay to show off, we might as well do so a little, right?

We provide the ultimate tool for companies to create interactive and compelling content. And since marketing communications is a central aspect of our business, we are, in a way, our own ideal customer

As a result, we create a lot of content, applied throughout all stages of the customer journey. And we use Foleon publications a lot. 

In this post, you’ll learn about our concept of the “third big channel” and see how we successfully integrate interactive web publications into our own marketing mix to expand our reach and strengthen our messaging. 

 

What is the “third big channel”?

Every modern company has a website. It’s the place where visitors who are actively looking for you can find general information about your company and its offerings. 

The third big marketing channel

On top of that, nearly every organization does email marketing. It’s a great, proactive way to reach people who aren’t actively looking for you with a compelling message that urges them to take action.

But there are dozens of types of content that don’t really fit as part of your website, yet deserve more than just an email. Think of things like:

  • Annual reports
  • White papers
  • Sales brochures
  • Seasonal product catalogs

Most companies put these valuable assets — many of which took tremendous effort to produce — into a PDF or other static document so users can either download them from a website, or receive them as an attachment in their email. 

But we’re all familiar with the shortcomings of PDFs. They’re not mobile-friendly. They can’t be measured in any way. You lose control of them once they’re downloaded — meaning version control becomes an issue. They don’t allow for media or interactivity. 

In short, PDFs don’t do justice to these important content assets.

And that’s where the idea of the “third big channel” comes in. Rather than adding a PDF to the “downloads” section of your website or attaching a file to an email, you create a dedicated space for each important asset, with its own unique URL, and put something spectacular there.

Instead of attaching your brochure to an email, for example, you send people the dedicated link to your always up-to-date, always accessible, perfectly responsive, interactive sales brochure.

Giving each piece of sales and marketing collateral a space of its own makes for a more professional and impactful experience than sending an attachment. 

 

So how do we use this third channel? 

We have lots of sales and marketing assets that we use on a daily basis. And which tool would suit us better than our own platform? 

When we first created Foleon, it was with only online magazines in mind. But since then, the variety for which our customers use us has grown exponentially. Nowadays, for every sales or marketing communications project that we work on, we consider creating a Foleon.

Various types of online publications

 

In the awareness stage, we have eBooks and whitepapers to generate leads. In the consideration stage, we have an extensive collection of brochures to educate prospective clients. 

For the decision stage, we create presentations, proposals, and pitch decks in Foleon for every vertical we target. When a prospective client has a high degree of interest, we even create example publications tailored with their company branding.

For activation and adoption, we have a support manual, a services catalog in which we offer various design and onboarding options, and numerous other publications that help clients get the most of our platform.

With retention in mind, our quarterly news update (built in Foleon) contains inspiring and educative information to help clients to stay up to date, and our roadmap keeps clients informed about what releases are expected in the weeks and months to come. 

We even use Foleon for job vacancies and internal communications

Below, we'll show you some of the most important Foleons we use in our day-to-day communications, zooming in on why we chose to create digital publications for each.

 

Created with Foleon, by Foleon (the highlights)

1. White papers and eBooks

White papers and eBooks are the ultimate tool for content marketing and lead generation because they allow you to exchange your expertise for your target readers’ personal information — a win-win situation. 

white-paper-marketing

Why we create white papers and eBooks with Foleon

Foleon turns white paper creation into an efficient process. We can create, gate, and publish a piece of content in less than a day.

But the most valuable aspect of creating white papers with Foleon is the ability to gate them with our Facebook or LinkedIn integrations. It requires less effort for readers to click “login with Facebook” than it does to fill out a form. And we get more accurate and complete data from their social profile when they do so.

In addition, if someone shares the eBook or white paper with their network, the recipients will also encounter the lead generation form because it’s built into the publication itself. That’s something you can’t achieve with a PDF on a standard landing page!

Finally, once readers access our white papers, we can plant retargeting pixels and continue to engage them with relevant content long after they leave.

2. Product brochures

The term brochure is derived from brocher, which is French for stitching. This implies a dated method of stitching or stapling pieces of paper together. Despite being old-fashioned, most companies still use brochures to relay product information. We do too, albeit with a more modern take.

Websites are designed to provide information to a broad audience. Brochures, on the other hand, can be tailored to different use cases and customer groups. The brochures we create for government organizations, for example, highlight different features than the ones we create for tech companies. And we have a whole arsenal of them!

Digital product brochure

Why we create product brochures with Foleon

Using templates, Foleon allows us to quickly create brochures tailored to each target group. We can duplicate a publication we’ve created in the past and personalize it for a new audience, or modify it for a new use case. Replacing content in a template is simple and saves us loads of time. 

Our analytics and HubSpot integrations allow us to monitor the success of our brochures in aggregate, as well as see which specific contacts engaged with them most. And the ability to include videos and rich media facilitates a far greater impact than French stitchery. 

Finally, the massive costs we save on printing and the paper we save are icing on the cake!

3. Proposals and pitch decks

Our sales team closes lots of deals. Occasionally, we visit clients on site, which requires a proposal or pitch deck that shows our tool’s value. We include relevant case studies, publication examples, a concise summary, a solution to our prospects’ pain points, and information on how they can fulfill their needs with our platform.

Why we create proposals and pitch decks with Foleon

We create proposals and pitch decks with Foleon primary because they look so much better as web publications than as PowerPoints or Keynotes. Password protection provides another level of security when sharing them with prospects. And we can also update the decks whenever we want — even after sending them. 

If sensitive content ever needs to be taken down, we can simply unpublish the deck instead of trying to undo emails and track down files that have already been shared (pretty much impossible). The ability to integrate our proposals with HubSpot also lets us see whether customers have read the publication and update relevant properties in our CRM.

4. Presentations

Presentations are similar to pitch decks and proposals, but also include product presentations at trade shows or thought leadership presentations at conferences.

Why we create presentations with Foleon

Our tool is great for creating presentations that are easy to share. We’re often asked to share our presentation with event hosts before the day of an event for logistical purposes. Using Foleon, we can simply share a URL and avoid the hassle of worrying about attachments.

Foleon content marketing meetup presentation

PowerPoint and Keynote require their own applications, so if our host venue only has PC computers, they would be unable to open Keynotes. Every computer has a browser, however, which means they can always open a Foleon.

Finally, Foleon presentations are responsive, and don’t care about aspect ratios! Audiences sitting in the back who may be unable to see the presentation screen can pull up the content on their mobile devices and follow along. The publication will always look great on any device.

5. Event communications

We host events throughout the year. Events like customer events, on-site learning sessions, meetups, and conferences.

We create digital publications to promote events ahead of time and provide an opportunity for people to register using Eventbrite or another embedded third-party tool. We also send attendees a program manual that helps them come prepared.

Interactive event publication

Why we create event communications with Foleon

There’s no better tool to handle the chaos and last minute changes that come with event planning. A vendor may drop out, or a speaker might have a delayed flight. With Foleon, we can communicate those updates after our publications have been published and distributed! 

The ability to update our publications after they go live makes Foleon our go-to tool for event communications. We also update our event publications with post-event recaps to ensure everyone gets the key takeaways and stays engaged even after the event is over.

6. Support manuals

All good technology needs a thorough support manual to accompany it. Foleon is no exception. But instead of a printed handbook or collection of web articles, our support manual is built with — you guessed it — Foleon!

Why we create support manuals with Foleon

Foleon allows us to make edits and updates to our support manual any time. Companies that use print or PDF must publish new manuals as features change making version control a big issue. Their users must always ensure they’re using the most up-to-date manual.

Our users always see the most recent information when we launch new features or update existing ones. Our manual is never out of date. We also leverage our tool’s embed feature to add instructional videos, which our users find very helpful. Lastly, our manual is easy to share, bookmark, and even shows up in search results.

7. Bi-monthly news updates and our Year in Review

Our bi-monthly news update is always tailored to a specific theme, but also covers recurring topics such as product updates, tips on using our editor, and more inspirational content like examples, success stories, and blog posts. It also allows readers to submit feedback for product improvements and register for webinars.

Foleon summer news update

Why we create newsletters with Foleon

Most companies just use email for their newsletters. But email has major limitations. The space for content is minimal (many email clients clip long emails), it doesn’t support video, and formatting emails to look consistent across devices is a headache.

Creating newsletters and annual reports with Foleon allows for much more substance and a greater variety of engaging content. We can inform and entertain at the same time with video and other forms of interactivity. The feedback we get on both our bi-monthly news update and our Year in Review is overwhelmingly positive. 

Importantly, our analytics dashboard provides us with extensive insight into what portions of our new updates readers find most valuable. We then use this to improve each subsequent edition so our audience keeps growing and existing subscribers get more of what they want.

8. Job vacancies and onboarding documents

Rather than posting typical, text-heavy job listings, we use Foleon to create digital publications for every job vacancy. The positive feedback we get from applicants is incredible, and in some cases, the unique format of our vacancies has even been the reason some have come to work for us.

foleon-job-vacancy

And we make an effort to continue the experience even after a new employee has signed. Instead of overwhelming new colleagues with piles of paperwork, we start their journey with a beautiful digital publication detailing rules around sick days, vacation days, working hours, and other practical matters.

Why we create vacancies and onboarding docs with Foleon

HR-related information isn’t always fun. But packaging it into a more presentable and easily digestible format can do wonders. Our research shows that readers spend 47% longer engaging with a Foleon than with traditional collateral — regardless of the topic.

More importantly, using Foleon allows us to update information quickly. Labor laws and rules can change, and we believe our manual should also reflect the most up to date information. We need frequent access to our publications to update them, and our tool’s single sign-on (SSO) feature helps us easily access the publication without having to sign in repeatedly.

 

Conclusion

As you can see, the ways to use Foleon are extensive and we’re still coming up with new use cases. The adoption of a “third channel” has changed the way we (and our many clients) do marketing, both to our benefit and that of our readers. 

Foleon’s unique way of giving important assets a space of their own, along with its ability to facilitate fast-paced, high-quality content creation, and its super visual format make it an ideal platform for the many and varied types of content that don’t quite fit on our website. 

If you’d like to see how other companies use Foleon, take a look at our huge selection of curated customer examples, or check out some of our success stories to see how our clients are succeeding with the platform. 

Daan Reijnders
Daan Reijnders is the co-founder and CEO of Foleon, a content management platform that amassed 1000+ clients all over the world in under 3 years. He's a digital marketing veteran with years of experience in managing both SaaS companies and creative agencies.



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