9 Steps to creating effective marketing materials for your small business

It’s getting crowded out there in the world of business, and the need to stand out and make the right impression from the start is bigger than ever. When setting up a business,  strategic positioning, targeted small business marketing and professional branding are no longer an optional extra – they are essential for success.

Marketing materials are key to helping you reach your intended audience, and ultimately to helping you build a loyal customer base and make some money. Marketing materials can be everything from a website, advertising and social media to business stationery, brochures and merchandise – they are all there to help tell your story.

So here are the nine key steps to making sure you have effective marketing materials for your small business:

1. Figure out which materials you need

It can be tempting when choosing marketing materials to get carried away and slap your logo onto everything you can get your hands on. Take a moment, reel in the excitement and think carefully about which materials you really need. A nice shiny pen with your logo on it can look great, but if you run a fruit and veg business it’s not entirely relevant.

2. Collect inspiration

Next, get your magpie hat on and start collecting everything that catches your eye. Business cards, brochures, merchandise, the lot. If you like it, pick it up and use it to inform your own marketing material designs. Setting up a Pinterest board is also a great idea if you want to create a virtual scrapbook of inspiration.

3. Nail your logo

No matter what type of business you run, a poor quality logo will impact negatively on your success; guaranteed. Even if you know your way round a piece of design software, doing this part yourself if you’re not a professional designer rarely works out for the best. Let a professional help create a top quality logo and your small business marketing materials will look all the better for it.

4. Compile your information

Your materials need to provide the right information to be effective, so get everything you need ready to go.  The type of information you will most likely need to get started includes:

  • Business name
  • Your freshly designed logo
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Website URL
  • Business address (if you have one)

5. Scope out your target audience

Now you’re ready to design your materials, but first you need to make sure they will appeal to your target audience. Spend as much time as possible building a typical customer profile, including age, gender, values and interests. Once you know these, you can ensure your materials will draw the right kind of attention and engage your audience. For example, if your target audience is professional business people, your materials may need to use a refined, formal and high-end style of design to appeal to this market.

6. Consider what you want to achieve

The beauty of marketing materials is that they come in all forms, shapes and sizes, so you can tailor each one to a different purpose. A business card is useful for giving basic information and to generate new leads, while a brochure has lots of space for storytelling and product showcasing. By selecting a varied range of marketing touch points you can achieve a great deal with relative ease, so consider each one carefully.

7. Create a scannable layout

People have very short attention spans these days, so your information needs to be scannable and easy to digest. To achieve this, you need to create a layout with bold headers, good quality graphics and short, bitesize paragraphs. Don’t be too wordy or try to cram too much in.

8. Grab attention with good copy

It doesn’t matter how pretty your designs are, if your copy is bad then your small business marketing campaign will stall. Customer touch points such as your website, brochures, presentations and adverts are your opportunities to really tell your story, so make sure you craft clear, engaging copy that showcases your personality and professionalism.

9. Keep it consistent

With all these marketing materials and touch points to keep track of, it can be easy to lose focus and stray off course with some of them. However, to avoid confusing your customers and diluting your brand message, you must ensure you keep your small business branding consistent across everything. This includes colour schemes, layouts, tone of voice and the quality of your graphics and paper stock. Keeping everything consistent will keep your brand strong and trustworthy in the eyes of your target market.

If you follow these basic rules when creating your small business marketing campaign you can’t go far wrong. And, if you’re reading this and wondering how on earth you’re going to do it all, that’s what people like us are here for. Our marketing communications and small business branding experts here at (hug) can help you design every single element of your marketing campaign and make sure you make a cracking first impression as a business. Just give us a call on 0207 382 6207 and we’ll get started.