Let’s say that you receive a letter from your financial advisor in the mail. You’ve been meaning to get your retirement planning underway, and the information provided is helpful, but their logo is illegible. It may work nicely as abstract art, but it’s unclear that your advisor has their business in order, and you are left wondering if this is the right place to trust with your financial future.
Granted, not every business has a designer on staff, but almost every business needs stationery. Knowing how to produce these assets can make the difference when it comes to converting potential customers.
Your brand has to be at least as credible as you are, or you are losing business.
Fortunately getting your brand up to speed is not as difficult as it might sound. Just as I go to a professional for financial advice, it is easier than ever to consult a professional designer who can quickly and inexpensively provide highly polished brand assets.
You may be able to add some easy wins to this year’s goals. Wins that contribute long term to your bottom line by better positioning your business as credible. Let’s assume you have a logo that was created by a professional designer. Make sure that your logo is clean and legible in the following locations:
- On your business card
- On your letterhead
- On your envelopes
- On labels
- On folders
If your logo looks blocky, blurry, or is small and hard to read in any of these locations, then it’s doing you a disservice.
Rather than thinking about your stationery as simply the paper you put in the printer tray, consider printed materials to be an investment in your brand by making the creation of professional stationery part of this year’s goals.
To be able to make positive impressions, your brand needs to remain consistent so I suggest having all of your stationery assets created together so that you can simply print as needed. A professional letterhead will help to convert potential clients and reassure those you are currently working with.
You can save money by creating a template for labels to print at the office or spend a bit extra for professionally printed envelopes. And if you work with large documents consider folders to make sure that your hard work is lovingly enshrined by your branding.
If you do a lot of handshaking in your business, however, professionally printed business cards are a must as printing your own cards is a guarantee of disappointment for you and your potential clients.
You don’t need to spend a fortune to stand out.
A good majority of all stationery you receive is truly unexceptional. As such, small changes can dramatically exceed expectations. Consider the options available for business cards, for example. Die cut, spot gloss, foil, colored edges, embossing, heavy card stock — any one of these can prevent your card or letter from going directly into a wallet (or the trash) and give your brand message time to sink in.
Considering the amount of communication that happens in digital form here in the 21st century, old fashion paper can take on a luxurious quality in its own right. Look for “heavyweight” or 20-24 lb paper for your office printer to give your message a literal sense of heft. Consider recycled papers or cotton for a subtle tactile difference that stands out from your competition.
Make your stationery work harder.
By including a QR code on your business card you can save customers the trouble of entering your contact information into their phones — and you the trouble of their forgetting to! A scannable code can also give customers instant access to your website, your storefront, Facebook feed, phone app, and lots more.
And if scanning a code is too much trouble, your cards can simply be tapped if they have a programmable NFC chip built in. Get your customers to keep your card handy by offering weekly discounts with a tap, or change your contact info to keep your card up to the minute up to date. Best of all, you can track use of your NFC cards to see how effective your networking has been.
Not everyone is QR savvy or has an NFC-compatible phone, but if you are in a high tech business or deal exclusively with tech-savvy millennials these options can help to convert customers and stay connected with clients.
Someday my prints will come.
You can find freelancers to help make all your stationery dreams come true on freelance marketplaces like upwork.com. Or, if you’d like help in consistently communicating your brand message, you can contact me directly. I’m happy to help you to look your best.