Marketing Collateral for Small Business Owners
Is the phrase “marketing collateral” new to you? It's a set of materials (physical or digital) that gives you the tools you need to market your business. Sometimes you'll hear business owners call this their “marketing materials” or a media or press kit. Media and press kits are not quite the same, though – they are a part of your marketing collateral but not all of it. Marketing collateral is all the materials you use to promote you, your business and your products. Having these materials ready to go means having a toolkit that you can draw from no matter what type of marketing or advertising you plan to use for your business.
When I'm asked “what is marketing collateral” I say that it's what you use to build your business, and to strengthen your brand identity. It provides you backup materials and if it's designed well, it enhances anything you do to gain visibility for your brand. So you might have, for example, a handout when you are speaking. That handout is a piece of marketing collateral. You might have a “text me” tool set up so that your audience can text a specific number and automatically get added to your e-mail list. That tool is a piece of your marketing collateral.Insider tip: Make sure that your marketing collateral pieces talk about the results customers get when working with you. Click To Tweet
Examples of marketing collateral
You can be as creative as you want to be with your collateral. Here are some common types.
- Written Content: books, pamphlets, flyers, website copy
- Products and packaging (design, brand colors, labeling, font)
- Communications such as email, blog posts and newsletters
- Stationery and stickers
- Videos, webinars, livesteam videos, speaking gigs
Additionally, you can use snippets of any media attention you receive as pieces of your marketing collateral.
Your goal is to solidify the image (branding) of your business to prospects and customers, and to make sure that your messaging is succinct and understandable. Consistency is key. You want to project a consistent look and feel. You also want to create a certain emotional response from your prospects, so create pieces that call to emotions. If you do these two things, you will have a good toolkit at your fingertips no matter what type of marketing opportunity comes your way. Think of it this way – your collateral helps you build your know, like, and trust factor with prospects and existing customers.
How do you get marketing collateral?
Sometimes you will have these materials at your finger tips.
- If your business is part of a direct marketing company you will be provided with marketing collateral that is already professionally designed and branded. You add your own contact information to it, and you're done.
- If your business is a franchise then your franchise agreement provides you with marketing collateral that's right out of the box – you'll have to add your local information and you're good to go.
If you are a solo business owner it's your responsibility to plan out and produce your marketing collateral before you need it. Don't be the business owner who is racing around at midnight the night before a speech, trying to put together a handout for your audience. That's not thinking and working like a CEO. Create a short list of what you'll need in your toolbox and create those or hire someone to help you create them.
You might need some graphics design help and some copywriting help if you feel like you're not skilled. But before you hire someone make sure you have these 4 things settled.
- Decide on your brand's colors. Do this first before you think about a logo (you might not need one anyway), your website design, or any packaging if you're selling a physical product.
- Clarify your messaging for maximum impact. (You can work with me for a single session and we'll maximize your messaging.)
- Decide what pieces of collateral make sense for you based on what your marketing and advertising activities are going to be in the next 6 to 12 months.
- If you need to use a tagline, get that settled and use it consistently across all your materials.
What are some good practices for developing marketing collateral?
- Make sure that your messaging is clear and consistent in all your marketing materials.
- Do the same – consistent messaging – on all the marketing channels you use (social media, live video, speaking, etc.).
- Be interactive, with the goal of engaging your prospects and customers.
- Keep in mind that today's customers are doing their own searching for information. They aren't waiting for you to push information out to them. So decide which ways you want to gain visibility and establish a presence on those channels.
- Your website is one piece of your marketing collateral, so make an effort to engage people on it, as well.
- Create as many potential touch points as you can so that you are providing information about your business and the benefits of working with you when prospects need it, and where they are looking for it.
Consider using content marketing to build your brand
Content marketing is a strategy that is complimentary to your marketing collateral. When you use a content marketing strategy, you create a pre-planned calendar and regularly publish articles, blog posts, videos or other content that helps your target market. If you build a content calendar and do this consistently over time, content marketing can be a very effective way to gain exposure and position yourself as an expert.
Related article: How to Build Your List Using Content Marketing
You can search my blog to find many articles about content marketing, but before you do that, it's a good CEO practice to have all your marketing collateral completed first.
Keeping your marketing collateral organized
Create a folder on your hard drive and keep all your digital pieces (and the digital content for your physical collateral) in one place. Make sure to back this up in the cloud or on a back-up hard drive. These are assets you've paid with time and money to create, so keep them safe.
If you have physical materials keep a folder handy that you can quickly grab as you go to speak or network. You can keep this in your car, but be sure to refresh it when you get back to your workspace so that it's ready to go the time you need it.
CEO Calendar Tip: Schedule right now a half hour every six months to pull out all your marketing collateral and review it. You'll probably need to make small changes over time, and eventually you might find that you'll want to rebrand for a fresh look.
Marketing collateral boosts your confidence
When you have your marketing collateral toolkit ready, you can easily respond to opportunities immediately. If you get a call from a media outlet, you're ready. If you're standing in for another speaker last minute, you're ready. If your web designer needs a graphic for a new page, you've got it. This saves you time, frustration and money. And, it boosts your confidence! No matter what comes your way you're able to provide marketing pieces that are professional, timely, and clear. Sometimes being able to respond quickly to an opportunity seals the deal.
You can get more information about creating your business and avoiding frustration and overwhelm in my downloadable workbook.
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Time limited opportunity
If you are an entrepreneur looking for an authentic way to create a marketing plan that is centered around your strengths and aligned with your values, check out my friend Sarah Santacroce's 5 Day Gentle Market Intensive, which begins on January 13th. (That's my own affiliate link, however her event is free to attend.) You might find that what you learn from Sarah impacts your marketing collateral.
There you have it – what is marketing collateral – enough to get you started. Think like the CEO you are, and get your toolkit ready to go.