When you first start a business, there are a lot of details to be taken care of, and one of the more important is marketing. You might have the best business in the world, but if nobody knows about it, you’re not going to succeed. These days, a large portion of all marketing takes place online, but you do need printed marketing materials as well.
Business cards are a must, and I also had 3-folded brochures, postcards and flyers for my business. I used Illustrator to create mine, but there are easy ways to get great-looking materials without having to get a degree in graphic design, or even hire a designer (although I would recommend hiring someone to design your logo and help with branding).
Many companies offer customizable business cards online, and all you have to do is add your company name, logo (if you have one) and contact info. When I first started my animal massage business, I used VistaPrint for my materials. They have card designs specifically for pet/animal professionals, as well as other products such as car door magnets, sticky notes, pens etc., and their prices are very low.
My favorite place for business cards, however, is MOO. I absolutely love their cards; they are printed on nice, heavy stock with square or round corners, full color on both sides, and you can put a different image on every single card in a pack if you want. The turnaround is super fast, and in spite of being very high quality, they are really affordable. The opening image in this post is of my photo business cards from MOO, and everyone I give them to comments on how nice they are. You can upload your own design or photo(s), or use one of their templates. They also have postcards and stickers.
Zazzle is another good option; here you can also create cards from scratch, or customize one of their templates. It’s really easy, and there are lots of designs to choose from. You get to choose between several different paper types and whether you want square or round corners.
I made the card to the right from a template called “Veterinary practice appointment and business card”
and the one below from the template “Photo frame photography Photographer Business Card”
I created my 3-fold brochure because I couldn’t fit everything I wanted to say on anything smaller. And it turned out to be a great marketing tool. I went to all pet-related businesses (and a few “human massage” and chiropractic places as well) in my area and asked if I could display my brochures, and most said yes. I bought very inexpensive plastic display stands and left a stack of brochures in each place (I also stapled my business card on the inside of the brochure, just in case). I designed the brochures myself and had them printed at VistaPrint, but they also have pre-designed templates that you just fill in with your logo and text online.
Zazzle have tri-fold templates as well, but I’m not as impressed with them as I am with their other products.
I used my postcards to send to people, to leave behind at different places, and as part of my display at events. I put information about my business on the front and usually a special offer on the back (“get 10% off a massage when you mention this postcard”, for example). If you want to keep track of where your marketing efforts are paying off, it’s a good idea to put some sort of serial number on the cards and ask people for it when they book the massage. As an example, let’s say you put a number like DDC001, 002, etc. on all the cards you leave with a dog daycare center and PS001, 002 etc. on the ones you leave at a pet store. 2 weeks later, 5 people with a DDC number have booked massages for their pets, but only 1 with a PS number. This means the daycare center is a good place to continue, or even increase, your marketing efforts since it’s obviously paying off.
MOO has great quality postcards as well, made from the same stock as the business cards and are printed in full color on both sides. Upload your own design or customize a pre-made template (but their animal-themed options are pretty limited).
Zazzle also have postcards, lots with animal images, which can be customized with your own message both on the front and back.
One way I marketed my business was to do special events, at local businesses (such as an alternative health store, a pet store, and a self-service dog wash). A week ahead of the event, I would leave a sheet in the store where people could sign up for “trial massages” – shorter massages so that their pet could try a massage and they could see how it works. I printed up flyers and put in the shop’s window, and in other places as well. I used Illustrator and printed them myself, but you can certainly use word or publisher as well, and get them printed elsewhere.
MOO recently added flyers to their product line. They come in 1/2 page, 1/3 page and square sizes and are printed full color on both sides.
Zazzle also has customizable flyers, and you can order prints of your design right on the site. They have a lot to choose from, and it’s easy to work with. I just made the one below in under 5 minutes from this Horse Show flyer.
These are just some ideas for marketing materials, and I am sure you can think of many other creative ways to get the word out about your business. We’d love to hear what you are doing – please share your ideas with us!