These days, it’s all too common to have a company’s entire collateral wrapped up in the digital world while having minimal traces of promotional collateral to give to clients. Basic items like business cards and mailing pieces will be here a while longer until they finally fade away completely, but when was the last time you actually kept any of those pieces? (If you really liked the company or person you networked with, this might not be the case.) Your trashcan probably acted as a makeshift secretary before they even made it to your desk. If those items were printed on cheap materials, lacking in the design department, then their fate is pretty much sealed.
If you contrast that with pieces that have been designed well, printed on great materials, and can stand on their own, you can tell right away from the experience of opening them up and looking at them that the business had you in mind. If you were to put a shining promotional piece next to a mediocre one, there’s one thing you’ll notice off the bat that makes these two different – care. In order to show your to-be clients that you care about them and want their business, you need to prove it not by just having an excellent first impression and likable personality, but also by anything you give them. Promotional materials that help market your brand and business are usually the only thing they have to take with them after a meet in a trade show, office visit, etc., so making them awesome and memorable will make that great first impression stay with them as well.
Here are some recommended guidelines on how to make awesome promotional materials:
Budget, but don’t go low-end
Always pick out the best materials you can afford for your items to be printed on, built with, etc. For example, for printed items, premium papers with nice textures can take your piece much further than one that was printed without. A good strategy here would be to make a high quantity of business cards, since these would be your lower-cost items, while making lower quantities of items such as mailers, folders, brochures, etc. By doing this, you can augment which items go to people you feel very confident about, or to those who you can tell are tire kicking or shopping around.
Design with purpose
It doesn’t matter if you’re handling your design through freelance or in-house. Have your designer thoroughly research packaging and promotional goods before they get to work. If you find a piece that you really like, find out why. Why do you like it? Is it design? Is it the material? Is it the writing? Really sit down and analyze it, take notes, and pass them on to your designer. This will help you and the designer get on the same page on what goals will need to be accomplished to make an awesome piece.
Think about the experience
If you are making a kit, try and think about what order you want the pieces to be viewed. Interaction with client and piece is absolute key here. You want to tell a story not through just words, but by layering the “steps” to how these pieces are to be viewed. An awesome example would be checking out the way Apple engineers its packaging to be engaging to the end-user. It’s a bit like a three-course dinner.
Be careful with writing!
If you’re giving out items like brochures, booklets, or mailers, don’t be pushy with trying to get the customer to do business with you. Be friendly, warm, and don’t badmouth your competition or anything, really. A client is sold on good character rather than someone who obviously seems to be after their money, and your tone and word choices can really reflect either notion.
…and there you have it! These guidelines aren’t really as difficult to adhere to as they may appear, and can be valuable for helping build your reputation and company image.