Creating marketing pieces is no easy task and having the right tools or the right resources makes a huge difference in the finished product.  As the owner of an on-line printing company, I do get the opportunity to see a lot of marketing, the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to printed marketing materials.  Trust me when I tell you, there is some really bad marketing out there.  What some small businesses owners are willing to put out as a representation of their business, is astonishing to me as a business owner and entrepreneur myself.

First things first….your marketing IS a representation of you, your business, your professionalism and your commitment to your business.  When you’re not using the right tools to create the marketing pieces meant to promote your business, you may be putting a message out to the public regarding your “brand” that is completely opposite of what you’re trying to communicate.

My best advice for having the right tools and resources in place is to hire a graphics designer to make sure your marketing is done properly and professionally.  I know that isn’t an option for every small business owner out there, but when you consider that you can hire a trained professional for about $75 an hour, isn’t it worth it?  Many designers are capable of getting your project done and print ready in an hour, depending on how specific you are with your ideas and instructions.  Your branding and your marketing should all be consistent, so when you do decide to take that step and work with a professional, have them create custom templates you can use over and over again by simply changing the messaging and not the graphics every time you go to print.  Having standard templates to work with is a real marketing budget saver and it’s good for branding when everything matches and is consistent.

I don’t want to call out any specific products out there (you know which ones they are), BUT creating marketing pieces with programs meant for picnics, kids party invitations, babysitting, bake sales, garage sales and neighborhood flyers is NOT professional and it looks like you created it yourself using one of “those” programs.   This is your career…your business….not a school bake sale!!!!

Graphics designers use graphics design programs like Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop to create meaningful marketing that’s eye catching, professional and meant for business use.  The learning curve on these programs is big and their capabilities even more grand when you know what you’re doing with them.  If purchasing an Adobe license for several hundred dollars isn’t in your budget and learning these types programs is something you don’t have time for, please refer back to my “best advice” and hire someone.  It’s worth it and I do take my own advice on these matters and have our graphics design team create our marketing pieces for PrinterBees….and I’m a graphics designer myself.  I just know that my design team is better equipped to design, because that’s what they do everyday.  I’m better equipped to do what I do, which is run a small business…which is what I will assume your best use of time is as well if you’re reading this.

Think paper quality doesn’t matter?  Think again, most people run their fingers along the edge of a business card to see if it’s perforated and to check the thickness of the card without even realizing they’ve done it.  Hand someone a nice, professionally printed business card on thick card stock and people take notice.  It’s the little things that make a big difference in public image and first impressions.  Your business card IS your first impression and it should be a good one, don’t skimp on printing when it comes to printed marketing materials, its way too obvious when printing is done “on the cheap”.

If your going to hand out flyers, have them printed by a printing company.  It usually costs less when you factor in the cost of paper, ink and time and it shows your take your business serious.  Color flyers cost less than .17 ea. to print when you print 1000.

There are many ways to cut corners and cut expenses, your marketing is your image, your image is a representation of your business.  Find ways to cut costs and corners that don’t include damaging your reputation by putting out marketing materials that leave a bad impression.  Visit PrinterBees.com for top quality marketing, top quality printing and the expertise in helping small business.