Essential Marketing Tools
Marketing tools are essential for promoting your business and for any small business they need not only to communicate your message effectively but to be cost effective too.
An easy way to keep costs down is to make your marketing tools yourself. Brochures can be easily made using Microsoft Publisher with their perforated templates. All you have to do is to add content and pictures – enough work in itself. The templates save you all the time and effort (and frustration) of getting the layout and page setup details just right.
An All-In-One printer/scanner/copier makes printing the brochures yourself very easy. It also makes updates very easy. This saves you the expense of getting a printer to print them up. Once you are completely happy with the brochure you can invest in having it printed in quantity on glossy paper etc.
I was fortunate enough to learn many publishing, design/layout and marketing skills both at uni and on the job when I worked in the city. But I also learnt through a lot through books and community college courses and highly recommend them as excellent ways to develop skills.
If you want to do your own marketing kits – brochures, business and reward cards, flyers and postcards, newsletters, press releases and websites – and develop the skills for this then invest in yourself and select a range of community college courses to get the base skills.
Courses could include:
* basic computer skills
* Microsoft Word, Publisher and Outlook
* Macromedia Dreamweaver (for websites) and Fireworks (for graphics and images)
* Copywriting for marketing content
* Desktop publishing and design for layout
* Marketing and Communications for Small Business
* Public Relations for Small Businesses
* Website Design and Usability
* e-Newsletters for Small Businesses
* Media and Journalism Studies – helps with PR
You could even or also read books about these topics to build your skill-sets. Also available online are many useful newsletters that help share skills and lessons learnt.
I know it sounds like a lot but if you want to have your own business you’re in it for a length of time, not just a year. You’re looking at 5 – 10 years and just like anything it requires its own collection of skills. Even if you have someone do the marketing and communications for you then you still need to have an understanding of it. This lets you know what you want and what is realistic.
When you are creating marketing tools you need to determine what needs to be communicated.
What is the purpose of the tool, eg. brochure?
Who is the audience?
When is it to be used?
How is the business to be presented?
What do you want the audience to think of your business?
What are the most important messages the audience needs to hear/learn about your business?
What will make the tool successful?
What contact details does it need to include – website, email, phone, mobile, fax?
What call to action does it need to have?
How often does it need to be used – weekly, monthly, each order/customer contact?
When making your marketing tools it is crucial to put the care and effort into going through these questions and exploring your needs and requirements. Write them down and work from there.
Ideally marketing tools should be the tactical components of your marketing strategy and marketing plan. They are what help you achieve your goals and targets – help you have a successful business.
So invest in yourself and your business, enjoy the learning and the developing. Create what you need and evolve your business.