Understanding Marketing Collateral for Small BusinessesWhat is marketing collateral, why is it important, and how do you create it?

We live in an age of near-endless choice for consumers, which means that businesses need to work harder than ever to attract and retain customers. Marketing is a key part of those efforts, especially for small businesses, who may not have the budget to outsource marketing or hire dedicated employees to promote them.

Understanding marketing now falls under the remits of managers and getting to grips with marketing collateral is a fundamental part of the job. In this article, we’ll cover what marketing collateral is, why it’s important, and how you can create effective marketing collateral for your small business.

Marketing collateral is everywhere

Marketing collateral is anything that a business uses to provide their customers with information about their products. With today’s technological advancements, it includes far more than brochures on a desk or informational ads in newspapers that might have been seen several decades ago.

Marketing collateral can now come in the form of emails that share new products with customers; or blog posts informing the reader of the newest restaurants in town. It can be reviews left from previous customers or clients that provide confidence to future ones. It can be video tutorials that a company produces on YouTube.

Common marketing collateral in business to business sales is the sales presentation, or a product catalogue. A company’s mission statement can be collateral, informing potential customers what that company believes in, and what their intentions are in the market.

A business’s entire website is marketing collateral for that business, and it is crucial that it makes the best impression.

Marketing collateral is everywhere, and it’s only a matter of deciding on a strategy that will work for your business and products.

Marketing collateral attracts and retains customers

Marketing collateral brings in new customers and reminds existing customers to return to a business. It can help answer questions on products, and when it is well designed, it can leave a lasting impression on anyone who notices it.

Marketing collateral is critical because it may be all a customer might remember about that company. It’s been shown that when people claimed to mistrust a website, 94% of the reasons given for mistrusting it were related to the design, and only 6% related to actual website content.

Your business’s marketing collateral could be the difference between a customer choosing your product and the product of a competitor.

Create effective marketing material that sells your brand to your audience

In the previous articles, we have discussed finding brand identity, targeting ideal buyers, and assessing the competition. By building on these concepts, we can create effective marketing collateral.

First, assess brand identity. What are the products or services the business provides? A business that has a store front and a retail setting might create sales displays with attractive products, branding, and informational brochures. A company that wants to expand their reach and has a strong digital presence might pay an influencer on social media to review and recommend their products. 

If the business is sticking to a strict budget, email marketing and social influence have been shown to provide the best value for money, measured as return on investment or ROI.

Marketing collateral should be personalized to the business, so that it is instantly recognizable to customers. Keep in mind your brand’s desired aesthetics, tone of voice, and positioning to create marketing material that represents you well.

If you have spent time studying the competition, and are knowledgeable about their products and services, doing a comparison sheet between your products and theirs might be good marketing collateral for your business.

Next, ensure that the collateral you are creating for your business is visually appealing, easy to understand, and memorable. As mentioned before, the appearance could be all that customers remember. Hiring experts to design flyers, brochures, or web pages can often pay for itself, given the impact their skills can have. If the initial costs for these are outside of the budget, content can be designed in-house and can be shared with coworkers or select customers to get feedback on the appearance.

Finally, remember your ideal buyer personas when choosing a strategy for marketing collateral. Does your business’s ideal buyer spend significant time on social media or reading blogs, or are they more likely to visit shops and see displays and posters in windows? Maybe the ideal buyer still appreciates getting something in the mail, exclusively for them. They could prefer more technical forms of marketing collateral, and want to have access to product fact sheets. It is important to remember your core customer base, even when trying to bring in new ones.

Overall, marketing collateral is a very broad topic that includes a huge variety of products that can attract customers to a business. The opportunities to create it are nearly endless, but remember to focus on quality over quantity and create collateral that showcases your brand and appeals to your target market.

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