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like your marketing collateral, part 2 (where we discuss how and what you’ve gotta do)

Here we go with Part 2…and if you missed the part 1 and don’t care to scroll down and read it. I’m talking about why you need to like your marketing collateral…and how to make sure that happens.

1. Content. Message. Words. Make sure that what your website, blog, ads, etc. say really reflect your personality, passion, mission, world view. If you know what you want to say, but have no idea how to say it or write it, hire a professional copywriter. This is a smart idea – a good marketing writer will make this easy and right.

2. Design. Look. First Impression. If you are into French Impressionism, your brochure shouldn’t look like something from the Ming Dynasty. If you are a CPA, your website shouldn’t look like a poet’s. Love the colors, love the flow, love the photos (even of yourself). Create materials that you are attracted to and pull people that will be intrigued by your work. Unless you are a graphic designer, hire someone to do this for you. Yes, it is obvious when you do it yourself on Microsoft Publisher. Believe me, once upon a time, I tried that myself.

3. Be Yourself. Be Unique. That said, it is important to look around. What other material do you like, what can’t you stand. And where are you in all of this. If you don’t know your style, define yourself in comparison to others. Then, take risks and put yourself into your marketing materials – the right people will respond.

4. Cohesive Branding. At one point, I switched my brand – piecemeal. And it wasn’t pretty. I loved my new site, but my brochure and business card didn’t match. Do it all at once. The reality of having everything match actually makes it all look better. Think about this. A room filled with mismatched colors, patterns, furniture and decades looks shabby, no matter how new or well-kept. But a room filled with only stainless steel and plaid looks streamlined, clean and spotless – no matter how ugly it is.

5. User-Friendly. Everyone should be able to read and understand your marketing materials. They should also be easy to use – the UI, or user interface, must be geared towards all people. Finally, each piece needs to work – no one should have to struggle or meet frustration while trying to learn about you and your business. Fact: user-friendly doesn’t mean dumb it down, it means user-friendly.

6. Less is More. This is for you and for your customers. For you: create only the materials you need, spend good money on a few stellar collateral pieces, or even just one…you can build more later. Don’t spend a lot of money on many, shoddy bells and whistles. For your customers: people are moving faster and faster, they want to get in and get out. Provide them with the goods right away. If they need more information, they will come and get it. Know that when they see your card or site, they are going to get exactly what they need.

7. Believe. This is essentially how I started this whole thing. When you believe in what you’re doing, in your self and in your work, it will come through in your marketing materials and the way you deliver them. You have final say. Do these materials reflect you accurately? Will you feel secure, even proud, to hand them out? When the answers are yes, go forth and disseminate.

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