Promotional material comes in various forms and can be an effective and inexpensive means of marketing your business.
Promotional tools include:
- Flyers and brochures
- Direct mail
- Business cards
- Customer testimonials
Using flyers and brochures
Flyers and brochures are an affordable and selective means of getting information to a selected audience. They offer you more flexibility in budgeting and greater selectivity in choosing prospects than other kinds of advertising.
As letterboxes are becoming more and more overcrowded with advertising material, you must make sure that yours has a “point of difference”. Plan your material carefully, paying particular attention to:
Make sure the flyer or brochure starts with straightforward, no-nonsense copy. Be specific and accurate. A clever, catchy phrase can help the customer remember your business, but a clumsy slogan will quickly deter them from doing business with you.
Layout is critical. Knowing that the reader’s eye follows the page from top to bottom, left to right, you can plan to catch the reader’s attention with pictures, charts, graphs or any number of visual “grabbers”. Subtle placement of subheads and captions can highlight the best features and benefits of your product/service.
If you can’t afford to hire a professional copywriter, be prepared for a few rewrites. The pamphlet you finished at midnight may not look quite so good the next morning.
Flyers can be an inexpensive and highly effective way to advertise. They are especially useful for announcing your grand opening, for periodic reminders of the services you offer and for advertising special sales.
A good printer can advise you on the quality of paper to use, overall appearance, size, cost and similar factors, but you should not depend on your printer to help with the sales message or the advertising copy.
Since you might use flyers partly because they are inexpensive, you need to make sure that they are distributed efficiently. Select reliable distributors and pay adequately for their work. Distributors who guarantee effective circulation operate in many cities. Look under Advertising – Direct Mail Services or Mail Contractors in your Yellow Pages.
While you want to maintain professionalism, don’t be afraid to make your brochures interesting and creative. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and consider what they might be interested in reading.
Brochures should be sent out as part of any direct mail campaign. They also work well as handouts. They should describe your business in detail. You want to catch the reader’s attention so make sure you keep it simple and don’t waffle. You can write the brochure content yourself or if you doubt your ability there are professionals available who can do it.
Create a mock-up of your brochure before having it printed and show it to friends, family or colleagues for feedback.
Be especially careful about the typeface you use. It should be easy to read and no smaller than 10-point.
It should take not much more than a minute for someone to scan your brochure; however, those 60-odd seconds should be packed with memorable information.
More and more businesses are taking advantage of direct marketing as a cost-effective way to promote their business and attract customers. It offers you more budget flexibility and greater selectivity when choosing consumers than many other kinds of marketing.
It involves sending selected people mail containing, for example, a brochure and letter, in order to advertise your business. When creating your direct marketing campaign consider the following:
- Make sure your direct marketing message is clear and concise. You will not be there to spell it out to the customer so your brochure and covering letter should speak for itself.
- Make sure your covering letter does not regurgitate what your brochure says. Take every opportunity to tell something different about your business. You have the opportunity to give the customer a message, make sure it is the right one. Encourage them to act on your information.
- Do not make any misleading or false statements, especially when it comes to any free offers or discounts you are offering. And make it clear what is involved for the customers to be eligible for a discount/free offer.
- Keep sentences short and avoid jargon.
- Always make sure you include a “call to action” in both your covering letter and brochure, such as “Buy now, before June 30th and save!!”
- Research has shown that people read the end of the letter first and if they like that, will then read the opening paragraph, so make sure your ending paragraph states your point and what you want the reader to do. Include a P.S. in your letter as that is always read too.
The best place to start when it comes to devising a direct marketing campaign is with Australia Post. Australia Post offers businesses a number of specialised services and discounts on direct marketing mail outs.
Australia Post also has a database of customers who have supplied their details voluntarily because they want to find out about new products and special offers. Australia Post can also help you streamline your delivery options and have direct marketing consultants on hand to help you.
Business cards and testimonials
Your business card will be one of the most effective and cost-efficient ways of promoting your business. Your business card will tell customers a great deal about your business. You are only limited by your own imagination when it comes to creating business cards.
More and more businesses are straying from the more traditional small, rectangle style card and are going for something a little more individual.
Testimonials from satisfied customers will show how your business can do a better job than your competitor when it comes to customer satisfaction. You will obviously only be able to start to collect testimonials once you have opened your business.
Testimonials and statements from real people are powerful. Show their photo if you can. You may have to write down the testimonial for them yourself. Type the statement on blank paper and have them sign it, thereby giving you authority to use it. Use the most important sentence or phrase, plus the customer’s name. Use a series of them if you can.
Testimonials without photos are good too. Many businesses encourage prospects to call the people who have provided the testimonials, so they can vouch for the business in question. If you do this, make sure it is OK with the person who has provided the testimonial.
Telemarketing has become an increasingly effective way of promoting a business and selling a product or service. Telephone solicitations can generate considerable business and can also work well to promote your business.
It has become a powerful marketing tool for several reasons:
- It is as easy to hit a desired market with the telephone as with a targeted mailing list.
- You have the chance to “sell” your business’ benefits on a one-to-one basis.
- It is cost-effective.
Telemarketing/mailing lists can be purchased from list brokers. You will find a number of them in the Yellow Pages under “Advertising – Direct Mail Services”. Additionally, Australia Post produces a publication called the “List of Lists” which is a catalogue of available mailing lists and list brokers.
Remember to ask how many times the list has been sold in the previous six months and request the names and telephone numbers of previous buyers.
Trade shows and networking
Trade shows and expos are used for introducing new services and promoting your business to a specified target market. Your involvement in trade shows will depend on your business. They are also not as popular as they used to be.
However, they do provide a number of advantages to business owners including the ability to network and attract your target audience. The benefit of trade shows is that most people who attend will be specifically interested in what the stall holders have to offer.
Networking is a powerful and indispensable tool for marketing your business. The more you put into your networking efforts the more you will get out.
By exchanging information, ideas, contacts and business referrals, you increase your client and referral base. You will also find yourself privy to information about industry trends, trade associations and key people in particular industries.
Trade associations, chambers of commerce, trade fairs and business conferences offer networking opportunities. Join and become active in those groups that best fit your business goals or match your personal interests.
Sponsorships are often an overlooked avenue of marketing as it is perceived to be too expensive. However, sponsorship doesn’t have to be expensive and it doesn’t have to be done on a large scale.
It could be a matter of sponsoring the local cricket club or netball team or a local charity event. While you may not receive national exposure through such a sponsorship deal, you will get local exposure which may be more beneficial to your business.
You could even consider creating your own “sponsorship” event by starting an annual “ice-cream in the park” day or free sausage sizzle. Later you may consider sponsoring more major events if your marketing budget allows.
Word-of-mouth is extremely important and is also a very powerful promotional tool. Customers talking about you to friends, family and acquaintances have much more influence and credibility than any other kind of advertisement.
Remember: bad word-of-mouth travels and multiplies at least four times faster than good word-of-mouth, so make sure your customer service is spot on right from the start. Many small businesses have not only survived (without a huge advertising budget), but grown with good word-of-mouth working for them.
There is nothing like a freebie or give-away to catch the attention of a potential customer. So when starting your business use this powerful tool to promote yourself and to attract customers. Promotional teasers include things like:
- Coupons/Vouchers: Many businesses are using coupons and vouchers to attract customers. For example, they may offer them a two-for-one deal. Another example is working with a non-competitive business and offering coupons as part of a marketing partnership.
Coupons can be issued as part of your direct marketing efforts, a letterbox drop, handed to customers when they use your business or included in your advertising campaign and printed as cut-outs in magazines and newspapers.
- Frequency rewards: Rewarding customers when they spend more with you in an effort to obtain a discount is an easy way to entice customers back. A frequency reward program can work well.
- Competitions: They don’t have to be overly complicated. Giving away entitlements to discounts or gift certificates can be an incentive for customers to return. One of the simplest ways is to have customers put their dockets in a special barrel, along with their names and address written on the back as part of a draw.
- Samples: Giving away samples is an excellent way to get people to try and hopefully buy or use your products/service. When potential customers are getting something for nothing they will be more inclined to use your business.