While online is a vital and cost-effective platform for a start-up, you shouldn’t underestimate the power and overall value of print. One marketing method is unlikely to reach all your potential customers, and one method may not be enough to call these potential targets to action.
Networking events give you the chance to get advice from other business owners or talk to your potential clientele. Remember that networking is about relationships and not selling. Offer your business card if it is asked for, don’t just get rid of as many as possible without making connections with a person in the room. If you’ve decided what you want to do and how you want to position your business, but haven’t got around to printing some business cards, now is the time to do it. Business cards are a highly important tool in any networking situation.
Once you have found someone who takes an interest in your product or business, and there is the possibility of a business relationship or even a potential new customer, you need to ensure that contact knows who you are and how to contact you – and leaves with your business card as a reminder.
When creating a business card make sure that it is not too cluttered. Your business name or business logo, your name and how to contact you, are the only things that belong on this card.
Brochures and portfolios
Depending on the nature of your business, a brochure or portfolio can be very useful. Both brochures and portfolios provide a chance to enforce what your business does, how it is different from the competition and why people should choose to work with you.
Brochures are generally associated with product-based businesses. If you are selling homemade jewellery, then a brochure can can give you authority and raise your credentials. And combined with other marketing methods, brochures can provide an important visual attraction to your business. For example, a stall at a local fair is an opportunity to raise awareness of your business as well as a sales opportunity.
Portfolios are traditionally display tools for photographers, interior designers and other visual service providers. But they can be more. Creating monthly or quarterly photo books under a theme such as your local area or architecture can help you to build up a fan base, for instance.
But don’t forget. The quality of the print affects how your work is perceived.
When you’re making a special offer, a great deal, or a seasonal offer, flyers – combined with social media – can be a very cost-effective marketing communication tool that calls people directly to action. Flyers can be left in lots of places: the nearest public library, tourist information or a neighbouring business, for instance.
While traditional media and new media communication tools are often used for customer acquisition, they offer great possibilities for customer retention. Keeping existing customers up to date with e-mails and notifications (used sparingly), then sending vouchers for upcoming deals, is a good way of retaining customers. So, too is offering them something for free.
You might invest in printing a planner for your loyal customers and giving it to them as a thank you. Print on demand makes this an easy option. You could build in a customer acquisition element. If your customers recommend a friend then they could receive the planner as a gift.
Print never really lost its value or power in marketing. It just gets overlooked from time to time. It is still an essential marketing communication tool, and if start-ups play it smart by combining cost-effective online and print options, they can not only get ahead of their competitors but communicate with a wider range of their target audience.
Sarah Oxley is a marketing professional and alumnus of the Leeds University Business School working on behalf of Blurb, creative publishers for photo books, brand books, and business portfolios.