The Three Must-Have Marketing Pieces
Copyright © 2006 elf design, All Rights Reserved
Written by: Erin Ferree
You've designed your logo. Now you need to create some great
marketing pieces to promote your business. But what pieces to
create? There are so many options available that it can be
difficult to decide which pieces will be the strongest and best
way to publicize your business. No matter what that business is,
we recommend these pieces as a first step toward marketing it.
1. Business card
Making a great first impression often begins with your business
card. Your business card is typically the first of your marketing
materials that a new client will see. It should clearly tell your
client who you are and what you do at first glance.
A business card is a convenient way to introduce yourself at
networking events, and it's key to passing your contact
information along when you meet someone.
Important elements to include when designing your business card
1. Your contact information, including your business mailing
address. Including a mailing address greatly increases your
credibility and makes you look much more established! If you're
concerned about privacy, a Post Office box or mailbox is a great
way to go.
2. Your logo, as discussed in many of the other articles in our
* Strong secondary graphics and design elements, which we refer
to as your visual vocabulary.
* A list of your services, which is especially important if you
offer multiple services or if your business name doesn't
specifically make clear what you do. Be concise when creating
this list, so that all of the relevant information will fit on
the business card.
Combining these elements will result in a business card that does
more than just pass along your contact information - it will also
build your brand.
The best practices for using your business card include:
1. First of all, be sure that you carry your cards with you at
all times – keep a stack in your desk, your car, your briefcase
or purse, and your wallet. This will ensure that you always have
a card available when you meet someone who should have one!
2. Take your business cards with you to business meetings,
networking events, conferences, trade shows – everywhere you go
that's business related. And be sure to take some with you to
the gym, the grocery store – you never know where you'll meet a
3. Don't pass business cards out at random – wait until you've
made a connection with someone or until you've been asked for
it. Making a connection with a prospect will lead to a sale far
more often than just "dealing cards" to everyone you meet.
4. Include a copy of your card with correspondence or packages –
it automatically puts a "business spin" on all of the mail you
send out. It also provides a backup return address, in case the
envelope has been damaged or thrown away.
5. Give copies of your cards to business partners and other
possible sources of referral and business partners, so that they
can hand them out when they're telling people about your
services – it makes the referral more likely to produce results.
Having an online presence is a "must" if you want to be taken
seriously in today's business world. A website is also a great
marketing tool that can help you to find, educate, and prequalify
prospects and to cut down the time and energy involved in your
Important characteristics to consider when designing your website
1. Design elements that are related to your logo and brand
identity. The shapes of elements on your website and the color
scheme should be evocative of your brand identity. We refer to
these as your visual vocabulary.
2. Consistent, easy-to-use navigation systems that enable your
website visitors to find the information they need quickly.
3. Making the site and navigation expandable-easy to add on to,
so that your website can grow with your business.
4. Preparing the images properly for the web, to make them clear
5. Clean, easy-to-understand text content. Pretend you're
writing on a 10-year-old's level when you create your text, so
that rushed clients can
6. Coding the site using style sheets and templates so that
updating, revising, and expanding your site is as easy as
7. Cross-platform and cross-browser compatibility, so that
everyone will be able to access your site, regardless of the type
of computer they use.
8. A basic level of search engine optimization. ALT tags, title
tags, keyword-rich text coded in HTML, headlines, and META tags.
These will help to ensure that your site gets great rankings in
the search engines, so that people visiting Google and Yahoo can
find your site.
9. Easy-to-maintain, which will enable you or a web developer to
keep your site current with a minimum of effort.
10. A website promotion plan. Once your website is designed,
coded, and posted, it is important to market the site. There are
many ways to do that – ranging from exchanging links with other
sites, to in-depth Search Engine Optimization, to including your
web address in your email signature, to article writing. These
are just a few of the best strategies to promote your site – and,
to cover them fully we'll need to create more articles. Watch
for those here – our articles in August, October, and November
2005 will cover those topics.
3. Follow-up piece
A follow-up tool such as a post card, HTML newsletter, or note
card is essential to make sure that your services stay
"top-of-mind" with the people that you meet. It's said that a
prospect needs to hear from you seven times before they will make
a purchase. So it's important to create tools and a system to
enable you to followup with your prospects once you've made that
Steps to planning your follow-up method and system:
1. Determine how your customers prefer to receive information
from you. Communicating with them in the method of their choice
makes them more receptive to your messages and more likely to buy
from you. Consider whether your ideal clients are "computer
people" or whether they'd be more likely to respond to postal
2. Then, consider which media you're most comfortable using to
follow up. Do you have the technical skills to produce an HTML
newsletter or the budget to hire a specialist? And do you have
the time to create articles about your area of expertise? Do you
have the time to apply addresses and postage to post cards? Or do
you prefer giving the personalized touch of a note card, and can
you keep up with the time commitment of following up in that way?
Knowing your level of comfort and commitment, and understanding
the time required, will ensure that you can keep up with your
3. If the previous two considerations are in conflict, find a way
to make them congruous. For example, if you have the skills to
produce an HTML newsletter and your clients are "computer
people", but you don't have the time to write articles, you can
explore online article banks that offer free articles for you to
include in your newsletter, such as the one at
www.ideamarketers.com . If you don't have time to address
and apply postage to post cards, find a high school student who
will do it for you at a reasonable rate. Be creative!
4. Once you've determined the method of communication to use for
your follow-up piece, create a plan for how often you will
followup. For example, if you're doing a post card or
handwritten note, quarterly contacts might be enough. If you're
using an online newsletter, monthly or bimonthly issues are
probably best to really capture a client's attention – your
clients probably get a lot of email, and it takes regular contact
to stand out from the crowd.
5. Creating your follow-up tools. Finally, once you have planned
your follow-up system, it's time to move on to the design and
content of your tool: the postcard, newsletter, or note card.
Be sure that your follow-up tool:
1. Looks professional and uses elements of your visual
vocabulary, to reinforce your brand identity.
2. Contains content that is both valuable and accessible to your
audience. Be sure to give good, quality information in your
newsletter or post card, so that people will look forward to
receiving it. And write the newsletter with language on your
prospect's level – don't use technical jargon if you can avoid
it, and if you can't, define the technical terms so that your
audience can stay "on the same page" with you.
3. Includes a call to action on non-personalized items like the
post card and newsletter, and/or an offer such as a discount or
special article. These can also be helpful in handwritten
follow-up – giving the people that you're contacting a reason to
get back in touch with you.
4. Has some personalized information. A handwritten note card is
personalized by default. If you're using a post card or
newsletter as your follow-up tool, you can personalize it by
using stories from your life, news on your hobbies, or updates on
what you're doing, to make your newsletter more endearing to
your potential clients.
5. Offers your potential clients a way to get on and off of your
mailing list easily – you don't want to be sending mail or email
6. Is sent out regularly. In addition to letting prospects know
when to expect the follow-up, following-up regularly will also
show that you do things professionally and in a timely manner.
These three tools – your business card, website, and follow-up
tool – are the essentials for marketing a small business. Using
these marketing pieces in the ways described above will "get you
started off on the right foot" in your marketing efforts.
Erin Ferree, Founder and Lead Designer of elf design, is a
brand identity and marketing design strategist who creates big
visibility for small businesses. Erin helps her clients discover
their brand differentiators, then designs logos, business cards,
and other collateral materials and websites to reflect that
differentiation, as well as to increase credibility and
memorability. To learn more about defining your difference, check
out our eBook, Stand Out, at www.stand-out-branding.com .
For more information about elf design, please visit: Logo design