If you’re a small business owner without a killer marketing kit — shame on you!
Vow, this very moment, that you will carve out an hour to explore the sites we are going to go over today and get professional looking documents, forms and marketing materials — without busting your budget to shreds. With what I’m going to show you here today, there is absolutely no excuse not to look and present your best.
Recently we conducted a survey here at Small Business Trends and asked where you go to find templates to create marketing materials and business documents. In this article we’ll reveal the sources and what each source is best at.
The templates most small businesses use could be put into two major categories:
(1) business, financial and legal documents
(2) marketing collaterals, flyers, labels and other marketing aids
Business, Financial and Legal Documents
In the survey many of you mentioned Scribd, and Microsoft as sources you use for your business, financial and legal documents. One thing you need to know about these is that they are community sites.
That means that if you have a good template you can post it — or use templates that others have posted. You will find both free templates as well as some that you might have to pay to download. But the prices are certainly reasonable (many are under $5.00).
Docs.Google is another source that surfaced in the survey. The Google templates are partially templates created by Google, and partially contributed by other third party sites.
Marketing Collaterals, Flyers, Labels and Other Marketing
From the survey, your favorite sources for marketing materials and “designer” templates are: Stock Layouts, Vista Print, HP Small Business, HP Creative, and Avery.
Avery has good label and CD templates. The try to get into some other things, but you have to download software for them and that can be cumbersome. If your primary marketing tool is a CD in a case, Avery can’t be beat.
But if you’re using other marketing tools, you must check out the other sources. When you really need to have traditional brochures and business cards printed professionally, Vista Print is a good choice for price and overall value. If you want to look like a big company, it is better to spring for the premium business cards rather than the free designs.
If you want to create brochures, mailers, presentations, promotional items, or customized materials for a special customer or presentation, you must visit the HP sites. HP/Small Business has small-business related marketing tools. HP/Creative has more consumer-styled options. Surprise your customers with the unexpected and adapt a consumer template for business use.
Overall, the resources you can use for creating polished and professional marketing communications are as close as your computer and printer.
The one piece of advice every small business needs to take to heart is: be clear on what sets you apart. Then be sure that everything you put out is consistent with that message.
Great list, thanks for taking the time to put this together.
Thanks for sharing,
Hi Ivana, great list / rundown. Would love to get a lawyer’s take on the risk of using legal documents that you download from a general site.
Very helpful! Thank you!
Ivana, this is a very good list. I particularly like the table with info on how each site contains. I sorta agree with Anita about using legal docs without lawyer’s take. Not just that, you may not find a solution that fits YOU because you need stuff that YOU need – not someone else. Further to this, a killer marketing kit comes, in large part, from clarity in thinking – about what your customers need and your ability to articulate that in a way that your customers understand. These sites help you polish the look and feel of the documents. But they can make all the difference when KNOW what you communicate but don’t have the expertise to make it ‘glossy.’ Overall, I think this post is VERY useful. Thanks for the post!
Thanks for compiling the list Ivana. I did not know some of these existed and I agree with your last point as it will save a business confusing their customers.
Hi Ivana. Thank you for sharing this list. And I strongly agree with this: “be clear on what sets you apart. Then be sure that everything you put out is consistent with that message.”
A really helpfull list of tricks, thanks.
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The HP template site is a good find.
The only thing that sullies Vista Print in my mind is the shlocky business card designs. I’ve seen people hand those cards out and they scream “cheesy.” The ones I’ve seen are printed on thin stock and advertise Vista Print on them. People actually think they’re doing themselves a favor with them!
And maybe I’m all alone in this, but community sites are a waste of time. You wade through crap to get to anything good.
Thanks for this breakdown, Ivana. Helpful.
Indeed, thank you for taking the time to put this together, Ivana. And the template sources table is super. Breaks it all down and is easy to interpret. As far as the legal docs go, would probably be worth a little addtional time and effort to speak to an attorney and see just how valid they are. I guess that would also depend on the scope of whatever project you’re using them for too . . .
This table you have created is a very handy tool to have. At a quick glance you can see where you need to visit, for what resource you need. Very nice! I have used Avery label templates time and time again. I love how they make it so easy to match the label size number to the templates that are used for that size label. So quick and easy. No testing and tweeking needed.
Hi Walt – You get what you py for is what I always say – that’s why I recommend paying for the premier cards. I’ve used VistaPrint for flyers and loved the. My new fav fo business cards is http://www.moo.com. They now have regular business cards — but NO templates. You are on your own – I think. I am also not a big user of the heavy community sites – but I have to say that they can be a good source when you are just stumped or overwhelmed and want someplace to start.
I also want to say that there are many resouces out there and just like when you’re making any other purchase these template sources have their trade-offs. So, I would recommend taking the time to explore what’s out there and choosing something that fits your style. Don’t freel like you’re stuck with a single source.
This is really helpful. Thanks for putting this together Ivana!
Ivana, I can’t thank you enough for pulling this together. I was going to spend this weekend researching these very resources and you did it all for me. The table was perfect and the post in my bookmarks. I have to add that your blog is a must see for me every day. Thanks again.
– Bob Patterson
Hi Ivana, thank you very much for your great post again. Absolutely very useful. Thanks.
These are some of the best marketing resources I’ve seen. Thank you.
http://www.branddoozie.com has agency designed marketing templates including brochures, business cards, flyers, postcards and more. The supply all the tools to edit, customize and print your documents online so you don’t have to buy any expensive software. You can easily change colors, photos and copy online plus it give you an entire stock photo gallery if you don’t have any photos of your own.
Your final point I believe is the most important point –
“…everything you put out is consistent…”
The design is less important to the branding of the design.
You want the recipient to know, without looking for the name, where the material came from. Consistent color scheme, font, logo position, etc. are equally important as the creative.
Create My Business Plan
The way of using Table for the list info on how each site contains is very informative. I sorta agree with Anita about using legal docs without lawyer’s take.thanks..
Excellent list. You must also check out Go-To-Market Strategies at http://www.gtms-inc.com/salesandmarketingtemplates.htm. The sales and marketing templates and tools here are VERY reasonably priced and they have many FREE resources, too. I have used their templates in my group and have not been disappointed. They also have a great weekly enewsletter. I am a believer in sales and marketing integration. I have seen it work in my own company and this is the company’s main philosophy… it is worth the time to check them out if you haven’t already.
An excellent selection, indeed. I would just add one more site: http://www.next-to-free.com. They have almost free business templates, some of which are pretty unique. You might want to check them out.
If you haven’t check out Go-To-Market Strategies http://www.gtms-inc.com, you must do so. They offer EXCELLENT templates for both sales and marketing. Their templates would fall under Marketing Management Tools. I have used a few myself and found them to be spot-on for what I needed. They also offer a few templaltes and tools for free, so it is worth the visit to get these… check them out at:
I came to this site by looking on Yahoo. I have found it quite interesting. Thanks for writing about this. I will have to come back here again!
text message marketing
You should check out http://www.yeez.com to get Text Message Marketing templates!