You’ve just finished the branding process. You have a spiffy new brand identity, a visual style for your brand to move forward with, and all of the tools in your brand guidelines to move forward. Now, it’s time to turn those ideas into something tangible that will best represent your business, AKA marketing collateral. And when there are so many different options to choose from, it’s hard to wade through them all to decide which are the best fit for your business. In this article, we’re diving into some best practices and modern approaches behind the most effective and versatile forms of marketing collateral, including business cards, social media, websites and more.
Before we dive in, we want to note that what’s even more important than knowing what types of material you want to produce, is knowing the purpose and desired outcomes you’re hoping to achieve. Once you’ve nailed those down, you will be better equipped to choose the right collateral for your marketing strategy.
Interested? Let’s get into it!
If you want to connect with someone in the professional world or get an individual’s contact information, a simple LinkedIn or instagram profile search seems sufficient these days, right? But what if you want to add a personal touch?
The purpose of a great business card transcends simply exchanging contact information. Rather,it is the physical representation of your company. It displays your brand identity, your degree of professionalism, and can be used in certain circumstances to promote your brand. And of all the ways to connect with prospects, clients and fellow business owners, business cards are the most personal approach to doing so.
Looking for an easy way to revamp and modernize this classic concept? Make your cards unique! Consider adding a high end printing technique to your cards, such as foil, edge painting or embossing. We’ve even seen some companies print metal or elastic cards to enhance the experience and understanding of who their brand is. These simple switches will impress your prospects, making an outstanding, professional and personable first impression.
Though well-intentioned, some marketing efforts can tend to lack the necessary personal touch and authenticity your prospects oftentimes need to see. This is why case studies are a powerful marketing tool. When you take time to tell a story, to explain the pain points of your clients, the goals you set to help them, the method you took to best serve them, and the results of the project all in one place, other prospects will have a chance to see how you work and the ways you serve your clients, ultimately allowing them to better envision themselves creating a fruitful partnership working with you.
Case studies often appear printed out as one-pagers or brochures, but if you’re looking for a way to enhance this experience, try creating a space for these to live digitally on your website or on your blog. This will drive traffic to your website, boost your SEO, and create a solid framework for brand awareness and credibility, not to mention it’s nearly no upfront cost to you. Make sure you create a balance of text and visual aspects in these digital versions to keep your reader engaged!
Using social media is a phenomenal way to promote your brand, engage with your audience and connect with new prospects. The biggest question you can ask when it comes to social media is this: On what platform is your target audience spending their time? If you’re a B2B company, maybe LinkedIn is a great way to develop those professional relationships. If you’re in retail or have a visual product to display like us, Instagram is a great place to showcase those. Knowing where your target audience likes to spend their time ensures that the content you create will get in front of the right eyes and add value to the lives and businesses of those individuals.
Using social media as a marketing tactic is pretty modern in itself, but there’s always a way to take things a step further. Utilize Instagram Stories or IGTV to share a video about something you’re working on, thinking about, or to simply connect with your audience. Post on LinkedIn about unique lessons you’re learning or cool strides your company is making towards growth and development. You can even use Twitter to pitch unique thoughts or quotes that could create curiosity in your readers, ultimately leading them to explore your company further. If you’re not quite sure which platforms to use, explore a few different ones to see where you get the most engagement, and limit yourself to 2-3 platforms where you feel you can have the most impact!
A great website is the holy grail in the marketing world – you’ve already peaked someone’s interest enough to bring them to your website, and now you have the chance to turn visitors into prospects! First, you’ll want to note who your primary site visitors are, and then tailor your design style, copy, photography/graphics, and overall messaging around your products and services to appeal to those people specifically. So, how do we do that?
First, consider the one or two primary action steps you want your visitors to take when landing on your website; do you want them to watch a demo, make a purchase, send you a message? Whatever that may be, guide them to the action step(s) beginning with the first thing they see on your site, and make the process as easy and straightforward as possible. As a tip, try allocating part of your website to sharing your story; this can be an incredibly effective way to create brand awareness and allow your audience to connect with you on a deeper level, which ultimately makes those next steps and purchasing decisions easier and more comfortable for them.
Lastly, use your site to showcase your expertise and authority in your industry. When you land on my homepage, the first thing you will see is this sentence: “The expertise of an agency, the vision of an art director, and the empathy of an entrepreneur…all underneath one knit beanie.” In this one easy-to-read line, I’m communicating to visitors my experience in my industry and commitment to my clients in a powerful and effective way, ultimately assuring them that they can rely on and trust me with any of their design needs.
When considering ways to modernize your website, consider the interactivity of the site and how others will engage with it, not just how it looks or what it reads. Websites are meant to be interactive, and things like custom cursors, interactive tables and charts, or dynamic scrolling can add huge value to your site. Consider using custom photography or illustrations to ensure your website doesn’t look like anyone else’s. It’s not always about cramming more content into your site, but about telling your story accurately and concisely…while still appealing to the SEO bots. Think about utilizing whitespace on your site to help keep your audience focused on exactly you want them to without overwhelming them.
Last but not least, aesthetically pleasing and on-brand letterhead is a phenomenal way to enhance brand awareness and showcase your professionalism. It creates a cohesive and recognizable visual look for your brand that appears on all outward-facing corporate materials coming from your company – whether the actual letterhead, envelopes, invoices, or something else! The ultimate goal is to allow your readers to instantly know who the correspondence is coming from just by seeing your identity on the page.
To take a more modern approach to letterhead, consider creating a Google Docs/Google Suite template in addition to or in place of your printed letterhead. This adds the same value and purpose to the collateral, just in a more digital and accessible way for your team.
If you’re still stuck on where to turn to enhance your marketing efforts, consider asking around in your network to see what has worked for others, and what has left things to be desired. And as you know, we’re always here for any questions you have. We’d love to help you bring your brand to life tangibly!