5 things you should never do with your marketing materials
Your marketing materials say more than you think about your business
In the ever-growing digital landscape, printed marketing materials can often become an afterthought. However, they’re an incredibly important part of your success. The right marketing materials don’t just tell customers what you do or what’s on the menu: they help to establish you as a reputable, trustworthy business that people will want to return to time and again.
You’ve put hard work into attracting potential customers with your website, social media and online advertising, so don’t fall at the final hurdle. Once customers have made the decision to visit you or to contact you, the chances are they will interact with some form of printed marketing material. The quality of your marketing materials reflects the quality of your business: they should be on brand, look great and give your customers all the information they need.
Examples of marketing materials include:
- Business cards
- Letterheads and envelopes
- Direct mail: postcards, flyers
- Promotional items: pens, t-shirts, keychains, bags
- Vehicle wraps
- Banners and signs
How many of our top 5 marketing material mistakes have you seen? And are you guilty of any of these yourself?
#1: Amending your marketing materials
In business, things change. And sometimes they can change alarmingly quickly. What you should never do is amend your marketing materials by hand: crossing out a menu item or writing in a new phone number is a big no-no. This sloppy approach can send a bad message to your customers—if the quality of your marketing materials isn’t good, the quality of your service might be bad too.
#2: Running out
You’re missing out on reaching countless potential customers if you don’t keep your printed materials well-stocked. If you’re all out when a passerby asks for a business card or a printed menu to take home, you run the risk of being forgotten and losing them to a competitor who has those things on hand.
#3: Mixing old and new branding
If you’ve recently rebranded, you may not have had time to redo all of your marketing materials yet. The bad news is that using different business names or logos across your marketing efforts can be confusing for customers: how do they know it’s the right place? They shouldn’t have to play detective to find out. Mixed messages can cause mixed signals—customers demand a consistent, reliable experience across all marketing channels to earn their loyalty.
#4: Showing inconsistent prices
If you’re telling different stories in different places, it can put people off. It’s essential that you make sure your prices for services are consistent across all of your marketing materials, as well as online. If it’s the first time a customer is visiting you, a disparity in prices can create a terrible first impression and cause a loss of trust even before the first sale.
#5: Using outdated marketing materials
People are busy, and when it comes to your business they will judge a book by its cover. If your marketing materials look tired and out of date, potential customers won’t be tempted to learn more—they’re much more likely to choose your competitor with the fresh, modern branding instead. When you’re happy using old marketing materials, you’re showing you don’t care about having the competitive edge.
Unfortunately, most of us have probably seen at least one of these marketing material mistakes in practice. The good news is there’s plenty you can do to avoid them in the future.
Many of these marketing material mishaps stem from not keeping things up to date. In business things can change fast, and the services you offer may also often change to keep up. So is it really worth the hassle and expense of keeping your marketing materials updated?
Our opinion: yes! Your marketing materials are an extension of your brand—and your brand is something you’ve worked hard to develop and nurture.
Consistency builds trust. You can go a long way to make customers feel confident about the services you offer by keeping things consistent across all of your marketing.
Cost vs. perception
Marketing budgets are often the first to suffer when businesses are looking to save money. This can be a big mistake—remember, your marketing is often the first thing that customers see.
There’s no reason to keep using out of date marketing materials: the expense of reprinting a menu is a lot less than the value of the potential customers you may lose by having outdated collateral. If you’re concerned about cost, ordering more copies of printed materials because it’s better value may be a false economy. When things change, you’ll be left with old materials that you can’t use, actually costing you more in the long run.
Our advice to keep your marketing materials fresh and up to date:
Review all of your marketing materials regularly. Have everyone in your team read through your collateral thoroughly to see if anything has changed. Ensure everything accurately reflects the products and services you offer, and make sure all contact information is up to date. Be sure to thoroughly proofread too—grammatical errors can be very off-putting to eagle-eyed customers.
Create a document of all the places, both online and offline, that you have your menu or services listed. That way, when things change you can update them everywhere all at once.
If your prices are subject to change regularly, consider printing a menu or brochure with no prices listed.
Monitor levels of your marketing materials: have a procedure in place to keep an eye on your supply of printed materials, and give yourself plenty of time to order more if stocks are running low.
If you’re rebranding, conduct a brand audit. Make a list of everywhere your branding needs to be updated, and set yourself a realistic time frame to have everything in place ready to launch. For consistency, only unveil it when all of your online and offline marketing materials are ready.
Create brand guidelines to help you and everyone who works with your brand. They should include rules for logo usage, approved fonts and core messaging, to ensure the same visuals and message are used throughout all of your marketing communications.
Need help with your marketing materials?
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