Your marketing materials, which include everything from your logo, business card, Web site, brochure, fliers — essentially everything visual that has your name on it — speak volumes about you. Yup, even in this multi-tasking, warp-speed world, first impressions still count.
Here, then, is my simple rule-of-thumb for how your marketing materials should look: create them to the level that reflects how much you’re asking clients to invest in you.
You’ll be glad you talked to yourself
If you ask and answer the right questions about what to do before you start producing your materials, you’ll save time, money and grief. The result: you’ll have a repeatable framework for creating winning marketing materials that get you noticed every time — and help win you the client.
The following ideas are from a comprehensive check-list I’ve created. If you’d like the full check list for free — which you can use as a template for planning and developing all your marketing materials — just email me.
Key elements to keep in mind
Think through the following elements before you start creating your marketing piece, again during development to be sure you’re on track, and periodically once your promotions are “out there,” to assess effectiveness. If you’ve already got marketing materials, use the checklist to see how they measure up.
Know as much as you can about your target prospects, such as what they value, how they buy, and why they really buy. Customize your message for different target markets, because one size doesn’t fit all. This principle also applies to your Web site.
Identity — “Look And Feel”
How do you want your prospects to perceive you? Formal or informal, trendy or conservative? Is this identity consistent with your values? Example: if your business personality is whimsical, create materials with a look and feel that bring on a smile. Be sure that your written messages, graphics and type faces are consistent across all print pieces and your Web site.
Messages (what’s in a word?)
You’ll be most effective when you demonstrate how clients are better off from doing business with you (your value). Clearly and succinctly tell people exactly what you do and the services you offer (features). Show one thing that differentiates you. Example: we all say that we provide quality customer service, but how many of us promise to return phone calls within 2 hours?
Gather testimonials from your happy clients. Edit into pithy, results-focused quotes. Please, don’t use statements that have only quote marks and no name attached. Nameless quotes lose all credibility, because they look like they could have been made-up.
Marketing/promotion pieces to produce
Examples that you can produce:
Logo, letterhead/business card system, service brochure, speaker brochure, product brochure, postcard/s, new office announcement, sales letters, promotional items (“ad specialties” such as logo pens and tee-shirts), Web site, table-top promotions, fliers, banners, signs. The list is endless.
The money question
Establish a budget. Costs generally will depend on these four items:
1) Who will write and edit? 2) Who will design? 3) Who will print? 4) Who will oversee and manage the entire process?
Some key design guidelines
Layout – Make it “clean.” That is, not cluttered and easy on the eye. Do the most important points visually stand out?
Headline — Create a powerful, compelling headline that visually, and with words, draws the reader in.
Colors — Be sure they properly represent you (see “Look and Feel” above)? Do they work with the message? Are they appropriate for the target market? Are they your established business colors?
If you are not a designer by training, hire one. It will be a worthwhile investment. Homegrown materials that you create yourself look, well, homegrown. If it hurts you to write, hire a writer. A professional writer will take your ideas and massage them into words and concepts that flow and show you at your best.
The result will be rich-looking, effective marketing materials that get you noticed, convey your value, and win you the client.
Roberta Guise works with experts, small business owners and professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen their marketing edge. She also enables successful women to become thought leaders in their field of expertise. A small business marketing consultant and speaker, she is the founder of San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. If you'd like to know how to apply these concepts to your situation, call for a free 1/2 hour consultation. 415-979-0611. www.guisemarketing.com