Don't let anybody tell you that the internet is the only way to spend your marketing budget. Direct mail marketing spending in 2018 was 42.4 billion dollars in the United States. Printed material still has a big part to play in your marketing plans.
Branding is the key to your business's success. Use this guide to pick the branding materials you'll need.
Know Your Market
Whatever aspect of your marketing plan you are working on, the first principle is to know your market. Deciding how to use branded materials is entirely dependent on who your customer is. A strategy that has the customer at its center is more likely to get a return on investment.
It's easy to be seduced by attractive and flashy branded material ideas. Remember that it's not about the materials. It's about the customer.
Even if the materials appeal to you, you have to ask yourself whether you are representative of your customer profile. Something that appeals to you, with your intimate knowledge of your business and products or services may not appeal to a customer who has never heard of or has no interest in your business. Start by getting to understand your customer and what interests and motivates them.
Appeal to Your Customer
Choose branded marketing materials that appeal to your customer. If your market is broad-based then perhaps something that everybody relates to is fine. If it's a narrow specialist market then consider something that appeals to them.
A corporate business market might respond well to a formal stylish business card but not to a comic one. A family orientated product might work well with a fun and colorful letterhead but less well with an art-house design no matter how classy.
Set a Budget
Be clear what you want to invest in this aspect of marketing your brand. Set a budget that you can afford and stick to it. Try to identify the benefits you get from your investment and what difference it makes to your business.
What's Your Brand?
Your brand is your logo but it's more than that. It's also your business's identity in a broader sense too. It includes your values and what your business stands for.
Make sure that when communicating your brand, you are consistent and coherent. It doesn't work to claim green values and then not to use recycled card or paper. It is confusing to have a brand that is about quality and then have poor quality in your printed materials.
Choosing a Printer
Choosing a printing or branded materials supplier is crucial if you hope to successfully market your business. Seek out a supplier who can deliver the material you want. Make sure they can deliver consistent and reliable service, so your brand is supported by partnering with them.
Consider the advantages of using a printer that has in-house graphic design capability. The integrated service can help with communication, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.
The range of materials you could pick is very wide but there are some key items that make sense if you are starting from scratch. Prioritize these and you will get a bigger and quicker return on your investment and effort. The law of diminishing returns begins to kick in with more marginal marketing materials.
A corporate identity package is an essential kit for establishing your business identity with customers. It includes letterheads, business cards, envelopes, and general brochures. They key here is to maintain a consistent brand across all elements of the package.
In the case of your identity package, it's important not to just have a logo repeated across all the elements of the package. You should also have a consistent theme, font, colors, and the look and feel should be repeated too. It's the repetition of all these aspects that re-enforces the customer's recognition of the brand and of your business.
Any print-based mail can be an excellent way of maintaining your brand. Follow through the identity package into direct mail. This puts your brand in the customers home, office or even into their hands.
A direct mail campaign can consist of flyers, cards or even brochures. Even a simple letter with a branded letterhead can be an effective and personal direct mail option.
Don't expect high levels of response from a direct mail campaign. The impact can be slow burning with returns over the long term as the drip feed communication establishes your identity and presence in the market.
If your business is retail then you'll understand the need to reflect your brand in point-of-sale displays. If you supply retailers, consider providing point-of-sale printed materials to establish and support your brand in the retailer's store. Provide printed cutouts that can be assembled in-store to form shelf displays or stand-alone displays.
If you ever attend exhibitions or conferences where you can have a stand, consider branded materials to support your communication. Banners are an effective way of quickly establishing your brand identity and getting a message across too. Use them to announce a new product or service or a promotional offer.
The range of items that you can have your logo printed on and give away is huge. Clothing, pens, bags and key rings are some of the most common. Evaluate the options by considering the life span of the typical corporate gift.
How long will your logo or brand message be visible to a potential customer? Are your customers really going to wear a cap with your corporate logo on it? How long will they keep the bag you thoughtfully provide with your product literature in?
A calendar is a useful and long-lived vehicle for carrying a corporate logo, message and importantly your contact details. It's likely to have a life of about a year. That's pretty good for such a small investment.
Branding Materials for Your Business
Being recognized is the first aim of your branding materials. This gives you a chance to be remembered when your potential customer is thinking about buying a product or service. The ultimate achievement is to be their first thought.
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