One of the most important considerations in creating your version of a successful business is having a brand that reflects the high quality services you provide.
Just because you have a small business, doesn’t mean your brand should look “homemade”. Everything you do from participating in social networks, to your website and how you show up at networking events should reflect a polished professional image. There is NO second chance for a first impression.
Therefore, you’ll want to give careful attention to your marketing materials and what they’re saying about you. No matter what it is: your website, email newsletter, headshot, social media profiles, etc., your marketing materials should be first class. They speak to your audience even when you aren’t there or long after you’ve met. What are your marketing materials saying about you and the services you provide?
Understandably, we all start somewhere and perhaps the first version of your business card was printed from your computer. Or your website was built using some ‘website overnight’ software. Now that you’ve been in business for a while are these materials really up to par? Does your marketing collateral match your business and where you are now? And more importantly does it reflect where you want to be? If these don’t match, it’s time for an upgrade.
Make sure your marketing reflects all the hard work you’ve done to build your business! They are an extension of you and the services you offer – make sure you position yourself as a solution provider that your clients can trust and want to work with. You want to show them that you are invested in your business and committed to delivering high-quality results for them.
Here are a few guidelines for creating high quality marketing materials:
- Website – Hands down, this is your most important piece of marketing real estate. This is usually your potential clients’ first (and could be their last impression) of you – so make sure it is the right impression. My favorite platform for building a website is WordPress. There have been entire books written on the many benefits of WordPress, but a few of the top reasons you should consider using this software for your site are:
- The interface is very user-friendly and allows even not-so-tech-savvy folks to maintain their own website with ease.
- There are countless theme options available and most are highly customizable so you can modify them to match your brand.
- Most WordPress themes are feature rich, meaning they are optimized right “out of the box” to attract new prospects and integrate with your other online marketing strategies.
You can expect to spend a few hundred to a couple of thousand dollars to get your site up and running, depending on the type of design and level of customization you choose. Choose to work with a web designer who is well-versed in working with WordPress and has a design style that matches your brand.
Your website needs to reflect what’s unique about your business and the services you offer. The site should be easy to navigate, have clear copy that speaks to the reader and MUST have a professional headshot. People want to know who they’re working with and why they should work with you. Don’t leave them guessing. Make sure you include a fr*ee giveaway that focuses on a specific problem your audience is trying to solve, that they can download in exchange for their name and email address. And include as many results focused testimonials as possible.
- Business cards – This is your first chance to make a great impression. Your business card is not just about your contact information, but should also include some details about the services you provide. Use the back of the card for your tag line, “Yes, that’s me!” questions or detail the problems you solve and include a call to action. Remember, some potential clients will decide whether or not to consider working with you based on your business card. Maximize your opportunity to create a great impression and position yourself as the expert that you are. Last but not least, ALWAYS include a mailing address, phone number, email address and website information. Giving your potential clients multiple ways to contact you will increase the possibility of them making the first connection. It has to be easy and convenient for them to take that step toward working with you.
- Note cards – One of the keys to your follow-up system! You should use note cards to send thank you notes, follow-up with new prospects after networking and to keep in touch with past and present clients. Note cards should be printed on high quality cardstock, no less than 80 lb. weight that matches your business card. Make sure you include your customized logo and full contact details; so that your brand is on all correspondence your contact receives. Remember, receiving a handwritten note in the mail is rare these days; you can really make a great impression on your clients, colleagues and potential new clients by making this a priority. Sending notes on a regular basis ensures you stay on top of their mind. This shows you care about them in a personal way which is the basis of a great relationship.
Creating high quality marketing materials requires some forethought and planning. But the time and effort you invest into upgrading your brand will be well worth it. You’ve worked hard to build your business and get where you’re at now, continue to build your business with quality marketing collateral. This will speak volumes about you and the services you provide.
Your Action Plan For This Week:
- Review your marketing materials and honestly assess whether they reflect the high-quality services you offer. Brainstorm what message you want your marketing materials to convey and be sure to include this in the revised version.
- Ask a trusted advisor or colleague for their honest opinion. Feel free to contact me for recommendations at Info@SmartSimpleMarketing.com.
- Consider asking current clients what they liked about your materials that made them want to work with you.
- If you have a client you have been trying to work with, ask them for their honest opinion – maybe there’s something that you can change in your marketing materials to help them see you are the best solution provider for them.
- Commit to a specific date for upgrading your market pieces. Get ready to start 2011 off on the right foot!
What updates do you plan to make to your materials? Do tell by posting your comments here on the blog!