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Tips for Creating Effective Marketing Collateral

Just like a good suit and shiny shoes convey a positive image in the business world, so do impeccable marketing pieces. You cannot be sloppy when it comes to presenting your business to the public.

Your collateral material can be elaborate or simple.  Whether a prospective customer is perusing a full-color brochures or just a single printed business card, the first impression will be made then and there. You never get a second chance to make a first impression!

Since this is often the first impression that consumers have with a brand, making a positive impact is important. Your business is judged instantly by the quality of the materials that you present to potential customers.

Developing a branding plan early on will help you as you move forward, starting with your business logo. Your logo is the centerpiece of the branding table you set, and all other related business collateral should keep the logo, theme and message consistent.

As you design your marketing collateral and develop an execution plan for your campaign, keep these three tips in mind:

  1. What is the Objective?

Just as every campaign has an objective, so does each individual piece of marketing collateral. By identifying your goal at the start, you can design the ideal collateral around this concept. This will help ensure that consistency is maintained and the calls to action are clear.

Start by asking yourself questions such as:

  • “Why am I creating this piece?”
  • “How will this help my brand?”
  • “How will this be distributed to potential customers?”
  • “Will the piece differentiate me from the competition?”

Other considerations:

  • Is this piece for first-time buyers or existing customers?
  • Who is the intended target demographic?
  • What the purpose is (for example, generating a lead versus pushing to close a sale)?
  • Does the piece convey the right message…why customers should choose your business over others?

By paying attention to these details, you are likely to have a much better result.

  1. What is the Message?

Once you’ve answered the “Why am I creating this piece?” question you have a much better understanding of what to say. Every piece of marketing collateral should have a clear message that conveys a certain meaning to customers. By extension, you also need to organize your message in a way that makes sense to the recipient.

In this step of the process, the use of imagery, text and other assets is critical. The perfect collateral will capture the attention of prospects and encourage them to read the entire message. Interesting images can draw recipients’ eyes to specific calls-to-action and reinforces the brand’s personality. Conversely, poorly arranged content will cause consumers to pass over content without so much as a second glance.

  1. Consider the Layout

Once the right assets are chosen, they must be arranged them in the appropriate layout. This is where consistency comes into play. For example, if the company is nurturing leads with a specific layout in an email campaign, it helps if sale people use a similar format. Consistent layouts and templates can go a long way instilling brand confidence, particularly with first-time customers.

While content is important, so too is visual appeal. The right assets, graphics and text can are the first step – businesses must also arrange them in an appealing way. The goal is to encourage customers to move from one call-to-action to the next, and consistency goes a long way in helping brands do just that.

As you create relevant marketing collateral, it is important to establish objectives, maintain the message and choose the appropriate layout. This will help you convert more leads and improve your company’s bottom line.

And finally, just like the well-fitting suit, none of this works if you have a red stain on your shirt collar. Engage a professional resource to design & produce your printed material to ensure, like your business, it is flawless!

 

By Donna Powell, CHARLESTONWEBBUILDER.COM

 

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PaperLESS?

Remember the “Paperless office?”

This term first became popular during the years I was trying to feed children by selling copy machines! These were not welcome words to us self-proclaimed “copier rats.” But after hours at a local watering hole, we cheerfully dismissed these doom-sayers.

And as I continued to purchase more file cabinets to store my precious papers, it sure looked like paperless was in the same realm as eternal youth: a nice thought, but…

Don’t believe me? Look around your office. Who do you love more your printer or your office chair. Well, you can sit on a cardboard box, but try and copy that 40-page document by hand, right?

So should the paperless office be a goal, anyway? Maybe not so much.

Think about it:

– Every day, everyday over 1 billion photocopies are produced (Source: Forrester Research)
-There are over 4-trillion paper documents in the US and growing annually by 22% (Source; Coopers & Lybrand)
-Paper usage is growing by 25% in the average office (Source: Gartner)

Why is this? you may ask.

  • Efficiency: Well, that old concept we use to hawk: efficiency. Need to find it quickly. Sadly, electronic filing is not as useful as we had hoped and keeping a paper backup still seems essential for document retrieval. While the concept of effective systems is the dream, reality shows we are not yet there.
  • Collateral and Marketing materials: can you really go to a trade show armed with a smart phone, urging people to glance at your screen while your competitor’s hand out professional printed resources? Not yet, my friend. Not yet.
  • Comfort level resides in paper. Don’t believe me? Can youy hang an electronic version of your diploma. Does anything feel nicer in the hand than a nicely stamped PAID IN FULL document?

And last, but far from least- let’s hear it for a hand-addressed birthday card over an auto-reminder from a Facebook friend. I rest my case.

So let us reflect on the joys and benefits of the hybrid world we live in now. Paper may not be King of the Office, but it retains its royal ranking. In fact, we propose September 5th as “Take Your Favorite Printer to Lunch Day!”

Article by Donna Powell, Charleston Webweaver
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