Presentation is Everything - part III (Promotional Material)
By: Lyndsey Shaffer
Your promotional and marketing materials are your greatest ally. They are your representative when you are not present and your cheat notes when you can't seem to find the right words to say. Make a conscious effort to create promotional materials that you can be proud of. Many small business owners create business cards, flyers and brochures out of necessity. It is true that these items will help solidify the promotional efforts, but they must not be put together in haste. When promotional materials are created without proper forethought you end up with business cards with old phone numbers and email addresses crossed out in ink. Or, old prices on a rate card scratched out.
Promotional materials can be costly and it is understandable to want to salvage what you can if you've undergone changes to you company. However there are certain times when it is best to throw them out and start over.
How do I know if it is time to bite the bullet and throw away my old promo material?
1. If any of your contact information is out of date, create new promo materials. No matter how nice you previous material was, the moment you cross it out in ink you've tarnished your material.
2. If your prices have increased, get rid of any items that display inaccurate pricing. Whether it is a brochure, flyer or rate sheet, never write a higher price over a lower one. Never!
3. If a policy or condition of your service has changed and you can no longer fulfill service obligations under those terms, get rid of those promotional materials. The moment you give someone something in writing that outlines what you will and will not do, you will be held to it. It is your obligation as a business owner to honor what is says on your promotional materials (pending there is no expiration date).
How do I avoid costly mistakes with promotional material?
1. Keep your contact information consistent. Avoid changing your website address, email address or phone number. Establish all of that information with care and do it right the first time. If you must change any of this information, make arrangements to have inquiries sent to an old address or phone number forwarded to your new address of phone number. When it is time to reprint materials, update the information then.
2. If you are still establishing your business, avoid placing rates or pricing on promotional material. Inevitably, you will need to make some adjustments in your pricing. It is perfectly acceptable for you to place a notation under your services that reads "call for current rates".
3. Ensure that you place an expiration date on all promotions and sales. Don't open yourself up to liability or risk loosing money because of a previous statement you have made on your promotional material that is no longer valid.
Making a conscious effort to carefully put together your promotional materials will save you time, money and help you to maintain a positive professional image for your company and yourself.
Lyndsey Shaffer is the co- founder of the Onyx Six - Women of Color Business Network www.onyxsix.com. Onyx Six is a business development network committed to creating a supportive and influential community of minority women entrepreneurs and professionals. Contact Lyndsey Shaffer by email at email@example.com.