Put it in writing
The importance of
By Tracy Schneider
GIVEN THE MANY and varied forms of
electronic communication, you may consider
printed marketing materials to be a thing of
the past. But nothing could be further from
the truth. ;ough you may spend a good portion of your marketing time online with
Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or even all three,
in the world at large a small business still
makes its mark with the printed word. Imagine
attending a business meeting, conference,
even a Tweetup (a meeting of people who use
Twitter), without a business card to hand out.
“You need marketing collateral that you
can leave behind,” explains Amanda Cooper,
a Costco member and principal of her own
public-relations and marketing ;rm in Victoria,
British Columbia. “You need materials that
convey your message, materials that represent
your business accurately and professionally.”
Here’s how to best take advantage of the
printing options available now.
Choose marketing materials you will
use. With business cards, letterhead and
envelopes at the ready, you can respond to
most any inquiry quickly and professionally.
A simple brochure or a one-page sell sheet
gives you the opportunity to
The Costco Connection
Costco Print & Copy Centers in nine locations
have great prices and fast delivery on quality
business stationery. Check the specialty
services grid, page 73, to determine if there
is a Print & Copy Center near you.
expound on your key messages, share contact
information and do it all in an easy-to-read,
graphically interesting way. Marketing specialists will tell you to purchase only the materials you know you will use, and today’s short
runs allow small businesses to purchase the
small quantities they o;en need. You may go
through 1,000 business cards in a year, but
only 250 pieces of letterhead and envelopes.
No need to waste dollars and paper on material that will go unused or become outdated.
Choose a layout that attracts attention. In print as in person, ;rst impressions
count. An attractive, eye-catching, professional look for your business will help build
your brand as you build your reputation.
Don’t stint on design. Graphic designers
know the hows and whys of choosing one
illustration, photograph or typeface over
another and how to pull them all together to
create a compelling marketing piece.
Fortunately, ;nding design services to ;t
your budget is easier than ever. In addition
to local, professional graphic designers and
aspiring design students, crowdsourcing sites
such as crowdSPRING (
com) and 99designs (
99designs.com) o;er a
whole new way to purchase design services.
“Crowdsourcing creative jobs has become
very popular,” notes Cooper. “It’s easy as well.
You post your design project, set your price
and then watch as designs are submitted from
around the world.”
Choose language that compels the
reader. Choosing the right words to promote
your business is as important as creating the
right graphics. If you’re writing a one-page sell
sheet, for example, you’ll want to think about
the key points that best highlight, di;erentiate
and promote your business. What sets you
apart from your peers? What makes you better
than the competition? Why do customers like
to work with you? If ;nding those words turns
out to be harder than it sounds, you’re not
alone. Try recording yourself explaining your
services to an imaginary prospect, then use
your spoken words to help write your copy.
;ough it may seem counterintuitive in
today’s increasingly paperless o;ce, printed
materials are still essential marketing tools.
;ey have a staying power not necessarily
found in electronic communication, where
information can be easily overlooked or
deleted. With business cards, brochures, sell
e only 250 pieces of letterhead and envelopes.
Look for a template that reflects your
company, not necessarily one that
pleases you personally. •Is your business conservative and
reliable? Innovative and cutting edge?
Identify your style and the traits you
want to project. •Symmetrical designs tend to be con-
servative. Asymmetrical designs are
less buttoned-down. If you do business
in the world of banking, accounting or
law, opt for symmetrical designs over
asymmetrical. •Colors have meaning. Blue conveys
strength and confidence. Red conveys
power. Find out the preferred colors in
your industry and choose similar hues. • You can’t go wrong with a simple
design. It won’t harm your image. But the
wrong design will send the wrong mes-
sage. Stay away, for example, from tem-
plates that are too sweet or cutesy.—TS
Choosing a template
BECAUSE OF BUDGET constraints, time
constraints or both, you may decide on a
template for some or all of your marketing
materials. Costco member Caroline de
Gruchy, CEO of C.R. Visuals, a graphic
and 3-D design firm in Kitchener, Ontario,
offers some helpful tips. •Separate yourself from your business.
ART COURTESY OF VERA PRINT
sheets and postcards, you can convey your
company’s message long a;er your ;rst introduction. ;at’s because, in print, ;rst impressions last. C
SEPTEMBER 2010 ;e Costco Connection 23
Seattle-based consultant Tracy Schneider
writes about small-business issues.