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Seven Printed Items Every Business Needs

“If you have brochures or other business materials, hand them out liberally. Think of them as emissaries that will spread your message. Repetition reinforces name recognition, brand identity, and it builds confidence.” Jay Conrad Levinson / Guerrilla Publicity

In the past, all sales and marketing materials were printed. Later, the Internet added new ways to reach customers and prospects, and later still provided a way to interact with them, sometimes in real time. Over time, Internet-based marketing replaced some printed materials, enhanced others, and also provided new marketing tools. Despite the popularity and success of these new marketing techniques, there remain some basic printed items that all businesses need:

The corporate identity package consisting of: 1) business cards, 2) letterheads & envelopes, 3) note paper, 4) mailing labels,


Sales material consisting of:

5) a company brochure, 6) note pads, and 7) a direct mail piece.

The Corporate Identity Package

A basic corporate identity package – sometimes called a stationery system – is an efficient way to establish brand identity and to provide basic contact information to customers and prospects. A good identity system has several specific parts; the overall layout, the fonts, the color palette, and the paper; all work together to create the brand identity. Considering the importance of making a positive and lasting impression on customers and prospects, it is best to have the entire system – business cards, letterheads and envelopes, mailing labels, and note paper – professionally designed and printed.

When you hand a business card to someone, you are establishing a personal connection, which the recipient can recall later. You are also putting a face to a name – the corporate brand now has a live person attached to it. Even better, handing out business cards doesn’t require anything from the recipient except the willingness to accept the card.

A business card is actually a very economical form of advertising – if you give out five business cards every day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday, a purchase of 500 cards will last for almost four months. And it costs the same to print a professionally designed business card as an ordinary one.

Here is the essential information to include as part of any business card:

Business identification. This includes the business name and logo. If you want the primary connection of the customer or prospect to be with the company, then make this the most prominent feature and include business contact information such as address, general purpose telephone number, and web site URL.

Individual contact information. This includes the individual’s name and title, direct phone numbers (land line and mobile), direct e-mail address, and alternate physical address if the individual does not work at the business location. By convention, phone numbers are listed in the order of preference for contact (i.e., if you prefer to be contacted by cell phone, list that number first). By making the individual’s contact information the most prominent on the card, you’ll be making the primary connection with the individual rather than the company.

Optional information. If the card is not too crowded, or if it is a fold-over card, additional information such as business tag line, mission statement, photograph or other graphic element, and list of products and services can be included. The design of the other three elements of the corporate identity package, letterheads and envelopes, note paper, and note pads, should match the business card.

The purpose of letterheads and envelopes is to visually express the company’s identity and to make a good first impression. As with business cards, this is best achieved with professional design and printing. As desktop color inkjet printers have improved, it is tempting to forego printing a supply of letterheads and envelopes and instead to print as needed. While this strategy may seem easier than keeping an inventory of printed materials, it is likely more expensive. Figuring the cost of an inkjet color cartridge at $55 and a yield of 700 color pages, the per-sheet cost is about 8 cents before considering the cost of the paper itself. Whenever you need to send out something in either a large envelope or a package, you’ll need a mailing label. This is another opportunity to reinforce your branding by making sure the design matches the other elements of your corporate identity system and is often the recipient’s first impression of your business. It is important that it includes your logo and that the colors match the letterhead, etc. Note paper and/or note cards are many times preferable to using letterhead for writing short letters and thank you notes. They are more personal, especially if hand-written. By having them also match your other stationery items, they give your personal note a very professional appearance.

Sales and Marketing Materials The success of any business depends heavily on its sales and marketing effort. A company’s sales staff needs to have collateral material to augment and reinforce prospecting and face-to-face sales activities. The basic elements are a company brochure, a direct mail piece, and note pads.

• The company brochure introduces the company’s product or service and provides the distinctive features and benefits that distinguish it from the competition. It also provides background information about the company and includes the company contact information. Common elements are the date the company was founded; a listing of locations, names, photographs, and brief biographies of founders and key personnel; company contact information; the mission statement; and a brief corporate history.

• The direct mail marketing piece can take several forms; a post card, a self-mailer, or a traditional multi-page letter with response device. If designed properly, a newsletter can also be a direct mail marketing piece. Its purpose is to introduce something – the company to prospects, or products and services to both customers and prospects. It also serves as a reminder to customers of the relationship between the customer and the company. Direct mail marketing pieces should always include a call to action and create a sense of urgency.

Note pads are an advertising specialty give-away item that reinforce the company’s brand, while at the same time make your contact information easy to find. Branded notepads are a great item to give away at trade shows or to leave behind after a sales call.

Visually, all sales and marketing materials need to be consistent with the corporate identity. This means more than just using the company name and logo. Typography, copy writing style, and color palette should reinforce the corporate identity by conveying the same “look and feel”.

Just like the business stationery package, the sales and marketing materials need to be professionally designed and printed. This is especially true when the material is in the form of a folded brochure. To ensure that the brochure lies flat after folding, the width of the individual panels must be adjusted slightly. In addition, folding by machine produces a tighter fold with sharp creases.

See us for Design, Copywriting, and Printing Part of our professional expertise lies in our design and prepress department. To schedule an appointment to talk about your corporate identity or sales collateral material, call 781.337.0002 or email and schedule an appointment.

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