As your mom told you: "never show up empty-handed". This goes for marketing as well (to some extent). Learn about 6 basic marketing materials that you should invest in.
Marketing materials are the items you use to be remembered by your customers; you want them to know your name and what it is you do exactly. This could be the elaborate folder that holds the secrets to your company's every service or the little stress ball that carries only your logo. They come in different forms and sizes and can be well thought up or as simple as you want them to be. Marketing materials are looked upon differently by many but one thing is certain: if you have a company, you're going to need them.
To help you set up shop we've lined up the basics that you want to start with:
Concise customer-centered information that should answer questions like:
What's the challenge?
What's the solution?
What's your added value?
Try to keep these three magic aspects in the information you want to share with new prospects or with customers with whom you'd like to increase your business and you should be ok.
You can apply this process on different levels and that way you'll end up with different kinds of folders.
Let's say your company solves various problems, delivers products or advises broadly in a certain industry, then try to appeal to the general public with a "Company brochure". This should include information about your company (also mission/vision, structure), the challenges that your company focuses on and the main services you provide to face them.
Keep in mind that if you want it printed and hand it out to a lot of people this will be costly. Which is why I highly recommend creating a smaller A5 booklet version of this as well. For this you need to extract only essential information you want to share from your official brochure. This can actually be a hard task because it'll force you to decide what the most important info is and what you'll need to leave out. But once it's done it should be real helpful for large events, so get started on your "Company brochure A5".
On a more detailed level, where you dive into specific problems you might consider to develop so called "Product sheets". You can share these when there is a specific request and you're certain this is the service they're interested in. For these kind of sheets a double sided A4 should do.
I've written a blog for any of these items so just click the names if you'd like to learn how to develop one.
2. Office supplies
Pens and pencils, erasers, highlighters, permanent markers (thick and thin), scissors, paper clips, binder, staplers, tape, notebooks, envelopes, and stationary: go crazy!
Obviously, you don't need to get these all at once but as part of your company branding you might want to get at least the most common ones like pens and notebooks. In it's most basic form you can just slap on your logo and company colours on any basic item you'll find at a copy-shop or online promostore.
If you're feeling creative though, try to distinguish yourself from the crowd here. Sometimes that little 'extra finishing touch' will do just that.
You'll often see the previously mentioned office supplies as give aways at conferences, which is ok. It's an efficient way of being able to give something away which you're most lkely using yourself anyway.
BUT! Don't underestimate the fun gimmicks that match your branding or convey the message that you're trying to pass on. These gimmicks are something that you want to put some thought into; so preferably no stress balls (unless you're advertising for stress relief products or services), powerbanks, or keychains.
Besides actual materials you can also consider creating content especially for the theme of the conference that you're going to, like a whitepaper or report. As they say: content is king and nothing shows you're an expert in your field like sharing valuable knowledge.
Another favorite of mine is the lottery! You'll need something big or really fancy to attract people like a bike (which I've done myself and is a huge succes every time) or send them on a holiday for all you care. Although you might not call them give-aways anymore give you loads of possibiltiy for follow-up and subscriptions to your emailing list / newsletter.
4. Business cards
Open door, yes.
Just keep in mind though, this little mini advertising billboard is your first impression. And first impressions can make a big difference. A fun example of the importance of business cards from the classic movie: American Psycho.
I don't believe you need to go all overboard on your creative side here, especially if you're not into that kind of thing. If you want to, the possibilities are endless but what I've seen so far is that most companies adapt a a pretty standard business card.
If you're going to do it yourself, just make to have determined these branding aspects you'll probably want to use first:
It would be a shame to have to re-print all your business cards every time you change something.
If you're going to hire a professional designer, make sure he understands your business so you can get the most out of it.
As for the content be sure to put on all the basic contact data like youtr name, company name, job title, phone number, email address. If you like you can also note any social media you might be on or a short slogan/mission to clarify what it is you do.
Just like your business card is your first visual impression when you're busy networking, your website is your digital business card.
We're not going to get into the details too much in this blog but main aspects to consider are
easy navigation throught the website to make sure clients don't leave because they can't find what they're looking for
use of call-to-actions because you want to get into contact with website visitors
Search Engine Optimization to make sure you get (the right) visitors
content to get the right message out there
mobile responsiveness so everyone can enjoy your website on their phone as well
An important choice to make for your website is:
Will it simply be a digital business card?
Will you use it to actively increase the audience you have?
If it's the latter then you want consider starting a blog in your area of expertise but we'll come back to that in a later blog!
6. Exhibition wall
If you're planning on exhibiting at conferences then you're gonna need one of these. Depending on the money you're willing the sky is the limit; or in this case the conference center ceiling.
The exhibition wall is something that can really benefit your image if you make it stand out by making use of high-quality images though. The other side of the coin is the exhibition wall that is just very plain and unable to have an added value.
Because it's usually a big investment you should definitely think twice about what it's going to look like and remember that it doesn't end with just a big beautiful wall. The best-visited booths are usually those that offer something fun as an extra with the benefit that people will spend a little extra time in front of your wall. And you can count on it that during that time they will surely read whatever message it is you're trying to get out there.