The Avenue

How to Create Marketing Materials that Work

Once you have established which of your marketing messages is the strongest and you have implemented a lead tracking and management system, you can have a lot of fun creating marketing materials for your business. You can really get creative!

Your materials get distributed in the world to send out a particular message about your company and what you sell. They’re ambassadors for your business because they speak to your potential customers when you’re not there.

It’s easy to want to match your competition piece by piece, but when you’re trying to stretch your marketing budget, focus on the materials you actually need. Just because your competition has an eight-page, glossy color brochure doesn’t mean you need one to run a successful business. When one brochure has the ability to eat your entire budget for marketing materials, you have to prioritize what’s essential and what’s just a wish. You need to make sure you’re spending on the items that are going to bring in the most return on investment.

Make choices based on how your target audience prefers to receive information. Do they prefer paper newsletters, or electronic ones?

Create a list of your essential marketing materials then, below it, create a list of your “wish” marketing materials. You can use your “wish list” when you have a little extra budget, or are looking to create a “wow” piece. Use the list below as a guideline for creating your need and wish lists.

• Logo
• Business Cards
• Brochure
• Website
• Newsletter
• Catalog
• Advertisements
• Flyers
• Fridge Magnet
• Branded Swag (pens, mousepads, etc.)
• Employee Clothing
• Cloth Bags
• Product Labels
• Signage
• Email Signature
• Blog
• Letterhead and Envelopes
• Thank You Cards
• Notepads
• Seasonal Gifts
• Company Profile
• Internal Templates (Fax Cover, Memo Template, etc.)

Look for opportunities to improve and strengthen your existing marketing materials. Are you fighting for attention with a powerful headline?

You have about four seconds to grab the attention of your reader with your headline. If you do, you have a few more seconds to convince them to read your subhead. If you’re successful in doing that, you have a few more seconds to get them to read further.

Make sure your headlines:
• Offer to take away pain or give pleasure
• Hit your target market’s hot buttons
• Bring up emotion
• Are bold, dramatic, shocking or unbelievable
• Answer the questions: What’s in it for the customer? Why should the customer care?

Once you have their attention, shake up their confidence in what they’re doing now. Put their fears, concerns, desires and needs in black and white text in front of their eyes.

Now, build their confidence in your ability to solve your prospects’ problems and meet their needs. Tell them how:
• You’re different from and better than the competition
• You’re highly qualified
• You have documented results
• You have a high number of happy customers
• You get recognized from others in your field

Are you overcoming their objections before they’ve raised them?
It makes no difference what business you are in; there will always be objections to buying what you are selling. Most often the biggest objection is the price. You should confront these objections head-on by explaining why it’s worth paying your price. You need to put fears to rest before customers will be ready to buy.

Are you providing an element of risk reversal with a strong guarantee?
Stand behind what you’re claiming about the quality of your product or service, and offer a guarantee in your marketing materials. Typically, the strength and length of the guarantee indicate the quality of the product in most customer’s eyes, so create a strong one.

Are you showing them what other people have said about your product or service?
Use testimonials to speak to your credibility and merit. Let the testimonials show your potential clients how trustworthy you are, and how much benefit others have received from your product or service.

Are you giving them an easy way to contact you?
Make it easy for customers to be in touch with you, or get more information. Clearly display your phone number and website on everything you produce, and consider including a map of your location.

Are you giving them a reason to act now?
The last job your marketing piece has to do is motivate your viewer to take action. You need to make them want to call for more information, visit your website, or just come into your store. Invite them to take action on every page.
You can:
• Offer special “bonus” offers to quick responders
• Make a time-sensitive offer
• Tell them how rare your product is, or what limited quantity you have
• Offer limited-time added value

Are you telling them what your product or service will give them?
Customers buy benefits, not products or services.

Are you telling viewers the story of your product or service?
Detailed technical descriptions should be replaced with descriptions of how the customer may enjoy the benefit, and how they might feel.

Are you giving them a reason to keep your marketing piece?
Give your customers a reason to keep your business card, brochure, newsletter or direct-mail piece, refer to it, and pass it on to others to see. If you are selling hair care products, you can give your readers tips on how to combat split ends, frizz, unruly curls and heat damage. If you sell kitchen products, you can provide recipes that use your cookware or tools. Top 10 lists or tips for product caretaking and longevity are useful.

Clear and professional looking materials are absolutely essential. When it comes to the visual presentation of your marketing materials, you need to strike a balance. On one hand, you don’t want to spend all of your budget on design and production. On the other hand, you don’t want to send out materials that don’t look and feel professional.

Going back to our discussion on time management, check in with yourself and see if your time is best spent designing your brochures, ads, flyers and direct mail, or if you should hire other resources. (Did you know the Pulse designs flyers, brochures, posters, menus, banners, logos and other marketing materials for some of our advertisers? Contact us today for a quote on your marketing project at boropulse.com/contact.)

marketing-materials-magnifying-glass.png.htmlSome closing guidelines on designing your materials:
Consistency – Your materials need to be cohesive and look like they come from the same company. Be consistent in your color choices, font, headline styles and logo placement.

Simplicity – Keep your materials simple and easy to read.

Information Hierarchy – Think about the information that you need your customers to receive, and the information that is less important. Structure your page so that the most important messages jump off the page, and less pertinent details are at the bottom.

Color Choice – Colors give a visual message to your readers, and have many meanings including cultural connotations. Choose your business colors carefully, and stick to two or three.

White Space – Every piece needs enough white space to give viewers’ eyes a place to rest when taking in information. Don’t crowd your piece with text and copy.

Photo Choice – Put some thought into the photo you select, if you choose to include photos in your marketing materials. Details in the photo can unintentionally communicate messages about your business.

You will need to constantly be monitoring the success of each piece of marketing material and looking for opportunities to strengthen and improve it. Since you already have your lead tracking and management system in place, this is a matter of sitting down on a regular basis and reviewing the leads each piece generated, and how many turned into sales.

If you’re not sure about a new strategy, do a test run to a limited distribution area.

Simple, clear marketing materials deliver an easy-to-understand message to your target audience, and results.

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About the Author

Robert Ritch is a successful entrepreneur and business consultant, and has helped numerous small businesses increase their profits by assisting them in planning the steps they need to take and the order they need to take them, and in identifying and reaching their target market. Contact Robert at ceo@robertritch.com or at robertritch.com.

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