October 2, 2014

How to Get and Keep Customers with a Marketing Kit

What is a Marketing Kit and why do you need one?

Think of a marketing kit as a portfolio that showcases your company’s products or service.

A marketing kit is an enabler for attracting new customers, educating existing customers, forming new partnerships, educating suppliers, and informing media prospects. A good marketing kit is so powerful it stops and makes people think:

  • “Hey – there’s my problem and look, this company is perfect to solve it!”
  • This company is worth looking at.
  • This company would be a perfect fit for our upcoming feature on xxxx.

“Brainstorm” before creating ANY marketing materials.

Marketing layout templates Marketing materials, no matter how colorful or creative are completely USELESS if you aren’t focusing on what matters to your target audience.

So here are a few how-to’s that will not only get you started in the right direction in creating your marketing kit, but will give you ideas on what to put in your marketing kit to make potential customers choose YOUR PRODUCT or SERVICE.

  • Determine the target audience for your product or service. Take a few minutes to profile your audience. Don’t just profile them by industry. Profile them as people and profile their roles. Are they men, women or both? Are they engineers, sales managers, CFOs? Get very specific about who will be reading your materials and why.
  • Identify the business issue the product or service is addressing for your customer. Think about the top 3 to 5 frustrations or problems customers may have and how your product or service will solve their frustrations.
  • Draft messages and statements that “speak to” your audience. Remember to keep all of your writing focused in the audience. That means using lots of the words “you”, “you can”, “you will be able to”, etc. See if you can eliminate as many references to “I” or “we” as you can. Also, remember to use lots of verbs, action words and words that “do something.” Go here for a list of sales and marketing power words. Keep your message as simple as possible and focus on the customer benefits.

Sounds Great – What Should I put in my Marketing Kit?

Business identity kit I suggest building your marketing kit like you’d build a house. Start with some basic foundation pieces such as a flyer, brochure, newsletter, letterhead and business cards. These pieces are a great place to start, but whatever you do, please don’t stop there. Get creative.

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing makes the point that what your customers want is an “education.” He also says that “everybody’s got tri-folds and nobody uses them.” Then he gives a laundry list of options to include in your marketing kit. I’m going to take some of those options and throw in a few of my own along with my two-cents on what works best and why.

  • Pocket folder. This is really the foundation of your marketing kit. Think of it as a toolbox for all your marketing tools. If you’re thinking “too much money,” don’t. If you head over to your local office store such as Staples, you’ll find so many beautiful folder options; colors, cut outs, cool materials like colorful plastic folders, binders, and more. Add a classy label with your company name and contact information and you’ve made a great impression. Include a business card inserted in the pocket folder, too.
  • Product and Services List. Include a listing of the products and/or services you provide. What seems obvious to you, may not be obvious to your audience. So tell them clearly what you can do for them or provide to them.
  • Customer Testimonials. We all know that referrals are the best, most cost-effective and easiest forms of marketing there are. Include testimonials from some real-life satisfied customers. John Jantsch in his article suggests calling this page: “See what others have to say about us.” That makes good sense and will be compelling.
  • Case Studies. If you’re a consultant of any kind, case studies are an ideal way to explain to potential customers what kinds of problems you solve and the kinds of results they can expect. Same with technology providers and solution providers – case studies can demonstrate the benefits in terms your audience will understand.
  • Process Description. If you provide a service, or are a technology company, it’s a great idea to show your clients what your model or process looks like. Don’t just use words or boxes — get creative with graphics and pictures that evoke an emotional response from your audience, rather than just boring or dry text.

Beyond the Basics

But then, I’d challenge you to go beyond these items. Really think about what benefit you provide. What experience can customers have by working with you? If they come to you with problems and you solve them — think about including an interactive marketing piece in your marketing kit. It could be as simple as a checklist of important considerations. If you or your customers are puzzle fans, you can create a customized crossword puzzle that has clues and answers that feature the benefits you offer.

There’s truly no better way to create that response than using colorful pictures. But let’s take that a step further. What if these pictures actually included the customer, or someone they knew, or even included YOU in a very real human way? What if these pictures were able to create an experience or remind them of what they could have if only they were to choose YOU?

PhotocubeFor instance, over at Tabblo I found some cool tools that you can use to create a marketing kit that will stand out from the competition – and literally stand-up for your customer.

If you’ve ever tried Flickr.com, to share and store your photos, you’ll notice that they’ve partnered up with several printing partners – including HP. For instance, you can create a photo cube, a book, or a poster using your own photos.

Using cool — and different — tools such as these in your marketing kit can help you stand out from the crowd — and communicate your marketing message to your customer in pictures and creative ways.

Special situations: trade shows and conferences

Keep in mind that you may need different collateral for your marketing kit depending on where you are using your marketing materials and why.

For instance, if you are exhibiting at a trade show, it will be prohibitively expensive to give out hundreds or thousands of your complete marketing kit. Very likely most of them will be wasted.

But consider a small piece such as a two-sided card with some information and a reference to your website. You might include a special offer for show attendees. Use it as hook for attendees to remember your company. You can keep the expense low but still make an impression.

Nuts and Bolts — Do it Yourself Printing

The HP Officejet Pro L7000 Series, a printer that lets you print great quality at low cost, right in your officeWhen your budget is small, I’m a big believer in printing your marketing kit in your office. With HP products you can do this – AND convey a professional impression. Some things to keep in mind when printing:

  • All colors will appear different on the computer screen compared to paper printing. Always view the document both in print and online before making your final choice.
  • When printing in house, be aware that using recycled ink or toner cartridges may result in color degradation. A printer like HP’s Officejet Pro will assure true color printing each time and keep your costs low, too. The reason I suggest that particular printer line is that it provides excellent quality along with a reasonable cost. It uses inkjet cartridges which keep the costs of ownership lower over time than a laser printer, but with quality results that appear comparable in many ways.
  • Investigate the wide range of paper choices available. Today you can get beautiful glossy brochure paper, glossy business card stock, and other materials that people will swear look professionally printed. Experiment for the right combination of good looks affordability. Says Brian Warner, North America Current Product Manager, Officejet Pro, “The HP Officejet Pro can handle them all, from heavy business card stock, to glossy brochure and photo papers, as well as plain paper.”
  • Always do a trial run and examine each item carefully to make sure the paper was properly inserted and not crooked; that the colors printed properly; and similar concerns. Adds Warner, “HP’s Officejet Pro series of printers have individual color cartridges, and the printer will automatically check each ink level before printing and warn you if you don’t have enough of one color to finish your print job. You can then either reduce the print run and/or replace the low cartridge before you print a lot of pages missing one color.”
  • Even if you are printing small quantities at a time in your office, always have a supply of materials pre-printed and ready to go. A supply of a dozen of your marketing kit materials is a good idea.

Go here to learn more about the HP Officejet Pro and how to use it print professional-looking materials every time.

Follow these guidelines and you are on your way to an outstanding marketing kit that helps you put your best foot forward.

It’s simple – it’s easy – and it will look like you spent a million instead of under $100.

NOTE: Many thanks to the representatives of HP, especially Brian Warner, who provided freely of their insights to this article.

22 Comments ▼

Ivana Taylor - Book Editor


Ivana Taylor Ivana Taylor is Book Editor for Small Business Trends and publisher of DIYMarketers , where she shares daily do-it-yourself marketing tips, and is the President of Third Force, Inc., a marketing firm that specializes in getting your ideal customer to choose you. Ivana is the book editor for Small Business Trends and co-author of the book "Excel for Marketing Managers."

22 Reactions

  1. Great suggestions! We are in the process of creating a new marketing kit for our Blue Chip concept, so this guide will be a good starting point for us.

  2. For most independent professionals and small businesses, a website can serve as the ONLY marketing tool if leveraged well.

  3. I meant to say ONLY Marketing Tool Kit = )

  4. Hi Shama,

    Thanks so much for being on my radio show yesterday — I really enjoyed having you. I thought you had a lot of good advice about Facebook. :)

    The one thing I will say is that even if you do a lot of your marketing online, most businesses still need something tangible to give people.

    Not everyone you will be approaching is as attuned to the Web as those of us who live it all day long.

    That point was driven home to me when I first started a consulting business after leaving the corporate world. I went to visit a high-powered lawyer from my corporate days — a real mover and shaker — to touch base and seek referrals. He asked me “do you have a brochure or a folder or something you can leave with me?”

    I was so proud of my brand-new $5,000 website that I said naively, “No, I’ve got a website — everything is on there.”

    He gave me a dose of “tough business love” — he stared at me and said, “The minute you walk out my door I’m likely to forget what your business is all about because I have 5 people like you coming through my office every month. I want to help you, but you have a lot of competition out there. Unless you leave something physical as a reminder, you’re off the radar screen.”

    I learned my lesson! The next day I got busy on marketing materials.

    Now that I’m on the other side of the table, with lots of people who want to network with me and look to me for referrals, I understand where he was coming from. That’s true even though I do so much online today.

    Just a war story from the trenches ….

    Best,
    Anita

  5. I would have to agree with you Anita. I am always shocked at the number of consumers who are still without internet service or who just aren’t internet savvy yet. Some prefer the “old fashioned” phone orders or catalog purchases instead of internet. Keep all your options open and have a variety of marketing tools available.

    Ivana has provided everyone with a great article to learn from. Thank you for keeping us informed.

  6. What’s really exciting about the tools that HP provides is that it has opened my mind to so much more than the standard business card or flyer. Initially, I thought that just small businesses would use these tools. But I can see how much larger companies can encourage their employees to create additional matrials that enhance their corporate image and message.

  7. Anita,

    I wrote the following comment on your post, Last Call to Get Your Marketing Secrets In:

    Join a social network, e.g. Toastmasters and practice to do your pitch when the time is right Engage in in different types of storytelling and give your customers a keepsake / memento stuff in order to spread the good word around to other potential customers.

  8. We have found producing and giving away a demo about our product has been effective. It stands out from the usual brochures and can be tailored for our potential customers.

  9. Susun,

    What a great idea. Being able to visually show them what your company can do for them is a big bonus.

    I am a big believer in freebies. I send a free sample and business card with every order I ship.

  10. Hi Amanda – I just jumped onto your web site and I love that you send samples – espcially if they are something new or something you want to promote. I’m also assuming you send some kind of product “catalog-y” type thing. I’m not sure if you do this or not, but one thing I recommend to my clients is that they create a community of customers. I find that my clients who are like you have a very enthusiastic and loyal customer base – that just LOVES them and their products. What they do is build that relationship with newsletters, and product of the month clubs and memberships. So many wonderful ideas out there – especially with small businesses like yours with great products and loyal customers. Rock on!

  11. Amanda,
    You are right about freebies and you sending samples and business card is such an easy way to cross sell your products with each order.

  12. Ivana Taylor & Susan Oakes:

    Great input. I am curious to know more about your services in the marketing field.

    All the Best,

    Martin Lindeskog – American in Spirit.
    Gothenburg, Sweden.

  13. Ivana,

    Yes, I do find that I have repeat customers who are so excited about my products that they email me to see when I will have anything new. The first week of each month, I offer a new “scent of the month” and a special sale offer. My loyal customers on my newsletter email list get first notice of these sales and new scents or products.

    Susan,

    I think small samples are so important especially for my business. I always make sure I am sending a scent that is different from what they ordered. That way I can try to turn them on to different scents and hope for a reorder.

  14. Hi Martin,

    My business partner and I developed and now sell marketing software for small businesses to market their products or services and increase their marketing knowledge as they use the software.

    Regards,
    Susan

  15. Susan,

    Thanks for your reply. Do you mainly sell your products to the Australian market?

  16. Martin,

    We sell worldwide and have customers in the USA.

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