Once you’ve put together your company’s brand definition and expressed that through a logo, you’ll need to get some marketing materials out to give your clients more of a platform to learn about your business. The most basic marketing toolkit for a small business consists of:
- A stationery set, with a business card, letterhead (which may be either printed or digitally based through Microsoft Word) and a mailing label or envelope to dress up your mailed communications.
- An email footer graphic so that you can brand your business emails
- A follow up marketing piece such as a postcard or HTML newsletter, so that as you build your client and prospect bases you can keep in touch with them later on
Making Your Materials Look Consistent
Having materials that look consistent is a key element to putting out marketing pieces that grab people’s interest instead of getting noticed for all the wrong reasons. Consistent materials look more coherent to the client, convince them that you’ve thought through your offerings, and help show them that you have quality services to offer.
These first few marketing pieces are especially important to your business’s brand because they will begin to build the foundation of your business’s look, which is also called your Visual Vocabulary. Your Visual Vocabulary is the team of other visual elements that make up your marketing materials—backgrounds, color palettes, textures, font choices, graphical elements, photos, etc. All of these elements act together with your logo like a superhero works with his sidekicks to save the day. Or, in this case, the logo works with your Visual Vocabulary to create a strong, instantly recognizable brand.
Your Visual Vocabulary elements will appear across all of your marketing pieces, and on your website as well. They may even coordinate with your product packaging.
Beyond the Basics
From there, the possibilities of creating print or emailable marketing materials are practically endless. Some small businesses go down the road of creating every possible type of marketing piece because they think that they need to have it to look legitimate—a brochure, PowerPoint template, capabilities folder presentation, flyer template, sales sheet, white paper… the list can go on and on. It’s easy to get so caught up in making materials that you just make more than you really need (costing lots of extra writing and design time and print money).
Create Marketing Pieces You’ll Actually Use
The other awful thing that a small business can do with their marketing materials is to design a piece without having a plan to distribute it to clients or prospects. When you print a marketing piece, you’ll print a relatively large quantity—getting 500 or 1000 trifold brochures is not uncommon. But what do you do after you get the shipment from the printer? If that piece sits in a dusty corner of your office, just taking up space, until eventually you give up and recycle it without ever having given the piece to a client.
The next thing that I do with the small businesses I work with is that I help them to really evaluate exactly what type of information they need to give their clients to best promote their products and services, and how they want to actually do their marketing (via mailings, emails, live at networking events or trade shows, through referral contacts or partnerships, etc.) These two factors will shape both the types of marketing materials that need to be designed, and will direct the distribution of those pieces as well so that your marketing can be out there in the world, being effective, instead of gathering dust.
So, if you’re interested in more than just a basic set of materials, I can help you create a strategy for choosing and designing the right marketing materials to speak to your target clients.