This is a blog post from the Marketing Maven and I must give Wendy every credit for it. Someitmes you find something that just speaks to you and cannot be improved upon. These are Wendy Maynard's ideas on Effective Marketing Materials.
EFFECTIVE MARKETING MATERIALS: FIRST IMPRESSIONS COUNT! BY WENDY MAYNARD, MARKETING MAVEN
A mistake that entrepreneurs and business owners make is trying to create their own marketing materials or to have an amateur - a friend, relative, or neighbor - design their materials. It may seem like you are saving money by doing your own logo, business card or website; however, the reality is that you are making a VERY costly mistake that can make your business more likely to fail.
By trying to create your marketing materials cheaply, you end up lookingâ€¦wellâ€¦cheap. Many business owners do not realize the high cost of this mistake. They do not understand that by having a logo, stationery, brochures, and other marketing materials that look unprofessional and poorly designed is creating a sub par impression in the minds of new prospects.
When you are in the building and growing phase of your business, you need everything you do to accelerate your success. Your logo and marketing materials are the first impression people get of your company - a professionally designed logo contributes to your success by enhancing your business visibility and credibility.
Your marketing tools should move your prospects closer to making a purchase. You cannot afford to look unprofessional and "thrown together" because you won't look like the expert you are, and you won't attract your dream customers. If a prospective customer views your materials as unprofessional or confusing, you will lose them to a competitor.
Here are specific reasons why unprofessional marketing hurts you:
1. Your business does not look reliable and trustworthy. Customers may assume your company is more likely to fail because you have not taken the time to create a stable branding presence. No matter what business you are in, people want to purchase services or products from a company that appears established and secure. They want to know that you will be there for them if they have a problem or need your products/services in the future. Well-established, sound businesses need to look that way.
2. You appear less capable. Larger, successful businesses would never conduct business without professional, custom-designed marketing materials. Using marketing materials designed from templates or by an amateur gives your company the appearance of being flighty and inexperienced. You are less likely to attract professional clients when your business doesn't appear professional. It may give people the impression that you don't care about quality and attention to detail.
3. You are less likely to stand out. By using homemade marketing materials, you not only make your business look confused but you also have a problem differentiating your company from your competitors. You don't have a solid branding strategy, your core-marketing message isn't being reinforced, and you aren't memorable.
People make decisions on where they make a purchase based on first impressions and imagery. Anything your company puts out in front of prospects and customers must be of the highest quality. If your logo, website, business cards, and brochures aren't well designed and professional, why would prospects think your services are any better?
Your appearance sells your company first!
Here are some specific tips to help you with the first impression you make through your marketing materials:
• Never hand out a homemade business card.
• Don't print out your own marketing materials.
• Go to a professional designer to create your marketing materials, especially your logo.
• Make sure all of your links on your website work. Avoid "under construction" and simply hide the pages that aren't completed yet.
• Add your website URL to all of your printed materials.
• Avoid clipart in your printed materials and never use jumping animals or rotating whirly-thingys on your website.
Remember, people make decisions on where they make purchases based on first impressions and imagery. Anything your company puts out in front of prospects and customers must be of the highest quality. If your logo, website, business cards, and brochure aren't well-designed and professional, why would prospects think your services are any better?
ACTION ITEM: Conduct an audit of your current marketing materials. What is your logo like? Your business card? Website? Brochure? Are there specific items that need to be designed, redesigned, or rewritten? If so, which ones? Keep in mind, your appearance sells your company first! Spending money to have your marketing materials professionally designed is in investment in the future of your company that will pay off 100-fold over time.
(c) 2006 Wendy Gray Maynard
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wendy Maynard, the Marketing Maven, publishes Maven Marketing Strategies, a weekly marketing strategy ezine for business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. If you're ready to skyrocket your sales, easily attract customers, and have more fun, get your FREE TIPS now at www.gomarketingmaven.com/ezine_3.html