What’s one marketing collateral item that I should always have on hand for potential customers?
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Case Studies
Case studies are an easy, effective way to show that real people outside of your company have also put their faith in your product.
2. Creative (Not Boring) Business Cards
You are an entrepreneur! Your ideas are big, bright and bold! To hand someone a boring, one-sided black and white stock paper business card after a fantastic meeting is a lost opportunity. At ‘ZinePak, we have an eye-catching print pattern on one side and fun icons denoting our email, telephone and website. These small touches convey our brand and messaging long after we’ve left the meeting.
3. A 30-Second Pitch
It’s awkward to carry around brochures or case studies, and at some point, you will forget or run out of your business cards. Having your 30-second pitch down is the best possible marketing collateral you can have.
4. Memorable Business Cards
A business card is a first impression — a piece of collateral that you hope reminds somebody to contact you later. The problem is that people like you and me collect so many business cards that we forget who the people are, and it falls by the wayside. Make your business card stand out, spend some money on it and do something different. If people comment on your card, you’ve got their attention.
Postcards have been an effective way for me to introduce my brand and build relationships. They are a bit larger than business cards, but not overwhelmingly large, and they allow you to include facts about your brand, accolades, quotes, taglines and other content that you may not be able to include on a business card. They are also much more visual and eye-grabbing.
6. A Business Overview Document
I can’t tell you how many clients have asked for our “marketing deck” before, during and after meetings. Always have an up-to-date document ready to share. It should be simple, beautiful and tell prospects about what you can do for them in a few pages.
7. Stickers or Magnets
You’ve given your business card to so many people; add a little something else to that. Stickers and magnets are inexpensive and will be stuck somewhere your potential customers look every day: on the fridge, on their electronics or anywhere. Give it out to them, and they’ll put it somewhere. Use your cool logo or a phrase that’s associated with your business. Think creatively!
8. A Good Story
People often buy because of the person. Make sure you have a compelling reason for why you do what you do when you meet with a potential customer.
9. Product Samples
People can understand the concept of your product/business but not grasp the value or quality without seeing it in action. We’re a chocolate e-commerce company. It’s a product people are familiar with, but what better way to get potential customers to buy from us than to try the chocolate themselves? The concept is used by many services as well in the form of a free trial to demonstrate value.
10. Blog Links
I make a point of writing about a wide variety of topics that will interest my potential customers. Then, when I actually meet someone who is interested in my company, I can strike up a conversation and have a perfect follow-up in place: “I wrote a blog post about that topic recently. If you’ll give me your card, I’ll email you the link.”
It may sound crazy and old-school, but sometimes customers need to try you on for size. Whether you are product-based or service-based, it helps to have a coupon. I’m in the service-based industry, and my potential customers love the “one hour free” coupon. It gives them permission to call me or have lunch without worrying about watching the clock.