1) Your logo. A professionally-designed logo is the first step in your brand-building process. It is vitally important that you take the time to find the right name for your business and carefully select brand colors, taglines and design concepts that speak to your target audience. First impressions are very important, and you should invest in giving yours as great an impact as possible.
2) Signage. Every bit as important as your logo. A high-quality, permanent sign tells your prospect that you are serious about your business and have made an investment to stay. Banners and other temporary signage suggest a lack of commitment and can communicate the idea that your business is unstable or volatile. Invest in a good, solid sign with enough lighting surrounding it.
3) Business cards. Yes, you can print them in house - but will handmade cards convey the right message to your prospects? Professionally designed and printed cards are one of the first investments you should make.
4) Your website. Many business owners make the mistake of assigning the development of their website to a family member who is “good with the computer.” Again, first impressions are very important, and the days of the phonebook are long gone. Most consumers nowadays do their research online. Like logos and signs, your website speaks volumes about your business. Nothing disappoints and frustrates a prospect more than landing on a website that lacks functionality and relevant information.
5) Graphic design. Advertisements designed in-house or by the publication they are running in can often look tacky, and don’t stand out from the competition. Why? Because they are frequently not designed with any particular campaign in mind, but rather to fill a spot – two very distinct purposes. Before you place an advertisement, be sure to sit down with a professional and take the time to determine its purpose. You’ll notice a huge difference on the impact it will make on your return on investment.
Yes, all of these professional marketing components will cost you money. However, they will give your brand a much more solid presence in the market and a greater chance of growth. Of course, you may very well have a friend or a family member who can perform these tasks for you in exchange for homemade cookies – but be warned: Sometimes saving a penny can cost you a dollar. Good luck!
Cíntia Miranda is the president of Pulse Marketing Agency. Learn more about her work at www.pulsemarketingagency.com.