If I had a pound for every marketing flyer or promo card I’ve been given that is packed with loads of information I’d be very rich.

When I meet small business owners, especially start ups they are often seduced by the low cost online options to create your own marketing flyers at a fraction of the cost of paying a graphic designer and printer.  The problem is that, whatever your expertise is, if it’s not marketing, you’re probably not going to understand how to structure effective marketing material.

Stuffing a small space with everything about your business is the fastest route to the recycling bin!  In fact, even a large space like a banner, isn’t an invitation to jam in as much as possible.  Big items are intended to be read from a distance so the font size needs to be correspondingly large – and too much information just gives the viewer information overload.

With marketing ‘less is more’ is the key to success!

There are a number of decisions you have to make along the way to designing a piece of marketing material – whether that’s a business card or a pop-up banner.  This is just a guide to help you make more informed decisions.

1: What’s the message?

Every item you create to promote your business, your products or services, must have a purpose.  If your first answer to the question is ‘to tell people about my business’, I’d advise you to think more deeply. 

A single strong message will get your marketing piece read where lists of products or services or paragraphs of text just don’t cut it.  Get focused!

2: Create a compelling headline

What will grab the attention of your readers?  It needs to be something that either intrigues, shocks or otherwise makes them WANT to read more of your message.  If the headline doesn’t work, they’ll never get to the rest of it.

3: Make your images work hard

You probably know that images give text life and energy, but there are good images and – er – images.  If you’ve ever looked at an image on someone’s flyer or website and wondered what it has to do with their business, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

If you’re in property a row of houses may seem obvious, but if you’re selling a training programme for property people an image of you in a room full of delegates would be more appropriate.  If you’re a masseur a pile of pebbles may be a soothing or tranquil image, but someone with hands massaging them is much more focused.

You may have to get creative, but avoid eye-candy images and go for the ones that help tell your story.

4: Colour me corporate

If you’re not a designer, the palette of hundreds of colours and shades can be very, very tempting.  If you have a brand, stick to those colours – maybe with some shades of the main colour.  If your brand is black and white, stick to it or choose a single spot colour and use only that in everything you produce.

5: Don’t forget your CTA

When you’ve said what you have to say don’t forget your call to action (CTA).  What do you want people to do when they’ve read your piece?  Tell them to do it and give them the information to do it.

If that sounds obvious you might be surprised at how many marketing flyers say ‘call us for more info’ and don’t have a phone number on them.  OK there may be a website address, but why make people work hard to take the action you want?

If you don’t want people to call (you may not have the ability to field a high number of calls), ask them to email or direct them to the website to download something useful and get them on your marketing list.

If this all seems like a lot to tackle then get a graphic designer to help you.  That’s what they’re experts at – but they will need you to do items 1, 2 and 5 – they can’t work in a vacuum.

Getting expert help will give you marketing material that tells people you’re a professional, rather than someone who is trying to do things on the cheap.  What’s more focused marketing gets results!