The Business Chat – Marketing Materials

My car is sitting outside, packed to the roof with my booth stuff, I’m off on the road again for another show. It’s the Signatures Christmas show. Yes I said that word, Christmas. It’s October. Yikes!!! As I pulled my booth together over the last few weeks I referred constantly to my handy checklist of booth materials. (I’ll be discussing this next week). On my checklist are all my promotional materials and packaging (which I count as promo stuff).

Promotional materials and packaging are incredibly important for keeping my business alive. They promote my brand, reinforce my message, and keep my business name alive in a customers mind. They communicate my story and my product to my customers, which is what marketing is all about.

Over the past few weeks (or has it been months?) I’ve written posts designed to kick start your marketing campaign so now you’ve got a good start on defining your product. You’re starting to think about your elevator speech and your tag line. You’re working on selling you as much as your work. Now you need to convey all this to the public. This is where marketing materials come into play.

The most important thing about marketing materials is that they are consistent, they must reflect you, your product and your marketing message. If your work is small, delicate and neutral in colouring then don’t use primary colours and a splashy font. Your promotional materials must not only reflect your business, they should reflect you. YOU are the product along with your jewellery. Make sure your materials reflect your creative energy and sincerity.

Marketing dollars are limited and so is your time. It’s important to think long and hard about each piece of collateral that you produce in order not only not to waste time and money, but to avoid sending the wrong message out to the public.

You may decide to design your own materials. You may hire a graphic designer. Or you could take a middle road and commission a basic “design template” that you can apply to each piece as needed. Whatever you decide ask yourself the following questions.

  • Does your audience know who you are? Tell the reader something about yourself that is expressed clearly through your work. Use graphics, type, paper or ink colours that reflect your lifestyle and artistic message.
  • In what sequence would you like your reader to see your message? A good design leads the eye across a page in the exact sequence you intended. Special folds, flaps and splashes of colour can help. Position the information so that they read what you want in the order you want. For online/social media materials, where do you want a customer to land and experience your site? How do you want them to navigate around?
  • What do you want to emphasize. Some things are more important than others. Make sure you know what you want to hit them over the head with and give it more weight. Use colours, large type to convey the key information to the reader.
  • Who is your audience? Designing a slick, sophisticated brochure may be appropriate to a high-end gallery but if you’re sending this to your customers in farming country you may lose some by looking too expensive or too sophisticated.
  • What is the purpose of the material? Know what you are trying to achieve. Is this piece for informational purposes only? Are you trying to get them to call you, visit your booth, or place an order? SAY what you want them to do.
  • Are all your promotional materials consistent in style? Stay with your graphic signature.
  • What is your budget? Promotional materials can get pricey. Know your limit and stay within it. Also know the quantities that you need. It may be a really great bargain for those 5,000 postcards, but if you only have 200 people on your mailing list, those people are going to see the same card 20 times before you run out.

Examples of traditional promotional materials are:

  • Business cards
  • Brochures
  • Post cards
  • Hang-tags
  • Gift cards
  • Story/bio cards

Examples of new/social media promotional materials are:

  • Web sites
  • Blogs
  • Facebook pages
  • Twitter

Sometimes you have to decide whether it’s worth it to print a piece of marketing materials. What is your R.O.I. (return on investment) for each piece that you produce? How many people are going to see this? With online materials and social media, your cost may not be in actual dollars but in time. Remember time is money. If you spend 40 hours setting up a web site that is 40 hours that you aren’t making jewelry or making money working for someone else. Prioritize your list.
And most importantly, once you have your marketing message, and your spiffy new marketing materials, USE THEM! In a micro business like ours, with a staff of one, if you don’t promote yourself who will?

Oh, and a bit of a rant to end off with. Everything you produce should include your name, the name of your company, and your contact information. Whether you include your business address is up to you. Contact information must include a business telephone number, and email. If they can’t find you they can’t give you money.
“mary smith designs” may be the name of your company, but it doesn’t tell what you do, are you designing earrings or landscaping? If your company name doesn’t tell what you do, include your tag line. If you haven’t worked that out yet, use a brief description of your work – for example “precious gems”, “bridal jewellery”. While not exactly titillating, at least it informs. Think of someone who’s never heard of you finding your business card or looking at your website. Do they know what you do? While it is obvious to you the number of websites I see where I have no clue what they do is astounding. Spell it out.

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