The marketing material you use in your business can make or break your business. In some cases it’s the first impression a potential customer or client will have of you and it will either make them feel confident in using your services or turn them away and seek out your competitors.
I see it time and again with companies approaching us for a revamp of their logo, websites, brochures, flyers etc. Often they’ve had it done quickly when starting up with very little thought about it, in some cases just going for the cheapest and seemingly easiest option and letting the printers / magazines / sign companies they’ve approached do the design work or even worse have knocked up something themselves or using online templates. At the time it may feel like it is another box ticked but then 12 months down the line realise they need a better image.
I’ve put together a few questions that I hope will help any new start up business or indeed any business that is looking to update or change their image.
#1 Who do I approach?
Have a nosey around, search online for marketing & design in your area, what does their website look like?
Ask for recommendations from other business colleagues and associates.
If you see something you like the look of, can you find out who did it (this is easy as most web companies put a credit on the bottom of a website, and often there is a reference on the back of printed material).
Go and have a look at their website. Does it look professional, it might not be your cup of tea and wouldn’t work for your business but what does it say about them, does it look creative? Is their attention to detail good? There’s nothing worse than going on websites and seeing empty areas and bad navigation.
Usually you will find a link to the type of work they’ve done (work or portfolio) have a good look because you will be trusting them with your image for your company.
#2 What budget do I have?
It’s no good approaching a massive agency if you’ve only got a small budget, be realistic. You will just waste their time and yours. Take it slowly could be the best solution, once you’ve found the people you want to do your work be honest with them, maybe have the logo done, then the stationary, then maybe the brochure and spread it over a few months, giving them time to get to know your business can’t be a bad thing.
It is also very useful to let them know what your budget is. Some people don’t want to divulge this as they feel it is giving the agency license to quote more, but if your budget is small then it is better to have this conversation early than be faced with recommendations that are way out of your league.
Knowing your budget is also useful as a good agency will be able to tailor their recommendation to your budget and your objectives which in the long run will provide you with more cost effective marketing.
#3 What are my competitors doing?
Before your first meeting have a look at what your competitors are doing. What is working for them (usually things that are repeated can be a good indicator that it is working)?
If you want a logo have a think about what type of logo you like (they don’t have to be in the same sector as you). But don’t forget you may not be the same as your target audience so make sure you are mindful of who you are wanting your logo to appeal to.
Don’t be afraid to let the designer know of any colour likes and dislikes. A good designer won’t be swayed by your choices if they are wrong, for example you wouldn’t use dark and dingy colours if you were selling holidays to the sun, but the more information on the table can only help.
#4 What are my timescales?
When you have found who you want to work with, be honest about when would you like the work finished and work backwards to see if this is realistic. You need to allow time for initial meeting, quotes to be done and print prices to be gathered, research, concepts/design, approval from you, amends, checking and approval to final sign off then to printers which depending on job usually takes 5 days plus.
Ask for a schedule from your agency or designer but do make sure you can allocate enough of your time to the process. If you are having something quite extensive done such as a website or large brochure, make sure you allocate time for choosing designs, providing content information and proofreading.
#5 Do I need to be friends with my designer?
In most cases we do business with people we like, we build relationships with the people we work with. I’m not saying you need to have family get-togethers, but mutual respect and being able to relax with who you are talking to helps get the best out of each other, resulting in better work.
Hopefully you will have found this useful, I guess I’m basically saying do your homework at the beginning and get it right first time could save you money in the long run, getting it done cheaply isn’t the best policy and in most cases you get what you pay for.
If you want help with your marketing and design give us a call but first take a look at our portfolio