Marketing materials are important to any business. However, as with anything, you want the right tools for the job. When you are running a blog as a business or simply providing virtual services, your business presence is mostly online. However, when you are selling a physical product, you’ll want to consider using some traditional marketing materials as well as online marketing.
There are a lot of different means of online marketing from social media to search engine optimization. We’ve discussed many of these methods in other articles on this blog already. They include social media marketing, online classifieds, and search engine marketing.
But beyond online marketing, you’ll want to think about different methods of traditional marketing that you can use as well when you start your ecommerce business. When you are selling an actual physical product to another person, you are building an offline connection with them. Even if they place their order offline, you will be delivering something they can touch and see to them. What are some of the things that you can do to encourage them to tell their friends about your product?
When my wife started planning her animal beanie cap business, she thought about some of the different ways that she could build her reputation offline.
In our case, we wanted to get business cards, flyers and banners as a start. We also had her logo and website address put onto the clothing label of the hats to build her brand. I thought that was a great idea and would recommend branding a product that way whenever possible.
This way, when someone sees our product in the wild and they are interested in it, they can simply see our store name and logo on the clothing label. Pretty neat, isn’t it?
Create Your Brand
One of the first things, if not the first thing you should do when starting your business is create a brand and logo for your business. Figure out what the name of your business and come up with a logo for your business.
The logo should be simple and memorable. While it should represent what you sell, that’s not absolutely necessary in all cases. Think Apple.
The reason I put this as a first priority is that you can place your logo on all your marketing materials.
If you have a good idea of what you want your logo to look like, you can outsource it’s creation. This process doesn’t have to be expensive. We were able to find someone to do a great logo for Hetty Hats on fiverr. It only cost us $5 to get it done.
Now, we had a logo and the name of the store, it was time to decide what kinds of marketing materials we needed and how to go about getting them created.
First off, we wanted business cards. Business cards are always good to have as a business. They give you the image of professionalism, while at the same time markets your business on a small card. Plus, there’s a familiarity to a business card. People know to expect to the basic information about your business on the card. Also, it’s easy to hand out to other people.
Signs, cards, and banners are also a good thing to have when you are selling a physical product. Generally, these are materials that you can post in visible places for people to see. It’s fairly traditional advertising. Even though you are running an ecommerce business, when you have a physical product, you don’t have to limit yourself to your online store. With a physical product, you can always take some inventory out to a local market or swap meet and set up your shop for a day. Your product ultimately is your best marketing tool. You want to make your product visible and then give your customers a way to spread the word.
Also, having a physical thank you card where you can leave a note to your customer to tell their friends about your business is a great way to build a social connection with your customers. It’s good to have something like that on hand that you can package along with your online orders.
How about things like bumper stickers? Something you can stick on your car when you are driving around town that people can see and then look you up later on when they get home.
Fortunately, there are a lot of resources for getting marketing materials printed.
In our case, we found some great deals online through Vistaprint. They have a deal to print free business cards, which was our first order. But after that, my wife went on to order post cards, an 8 foot vinyl banner, and some T-Shirts. (disclosure: That is an affiliate link. However, I joined their affiliate program after we used their services because I thought we got some great deals from them)
With some clever shopping of the deals on Vistaprint, she was able to get great deals on each of these items. Here was her break down:
- Business cards – Free
- Postcards – Free w/ purchase
- 8 foot vinyl banner – $20 (this was the purchase that included the free postcards)
- T-shirts with her logo – $4.74 each
You can see some of the marketing materials in action here:
This was a small fair where we set up a table as a first sales run of our animal beanie caps last week. Think of it as a pre-launch. We did well and were able to make use of the t-shirt and pass out a number of business cards. You can see the business cards on the bottom right of the table. The table was too small for us to put out the vinyl banner and we didn’t even put out the post cards, but you get the idea.
Vistaprint gave us a good deal on quite a lot of marketing materials as a start. We were able to put our logo and business name on everything for very reasonable prices. The company also has tons of other free items that’s worth checking out. I definitely recommend using them. Their site takes a bit of navigating to get the best deal. You may have to play around with the shopping cart, but in the end, you can find some really great deals on their site.
Using Your Marketing Materials
The biggest part of our marketing campaign is our physical product. This was an item that people can see and touch. When their kids are kept warm by our animal beanie caps and they just look so darn cute, the caps would advertise themselves. That was a big reason why we wanted to ensure that our brand was on the physical product. People can show others where we are by simply showing the clothing label. It has good potential for word of mouth recommendation.
Beyond that, since we would be making deliveries of the product, this is an opportunity to come into physical contact with people. I don’t mean stalking our customers to their house. I mean sending them a business card or note to let them know we appreciate their business and encouraging them to tell others. Again, it’s building on that relationship. Think of the different things you can include in your packaging materials. You could even get custom boxes, but we figured that probably wasn’t cost effective as a new business.
Finally, you want some things that can give you exposure when you are out and about town. There may be occasions that you take your physical product out and sell it offline. After all, you’ll get some exposure with every sale. At those times, you want some marketing materials to help you build your brand and attract attention. This is where you want things like signs, bumper stickers, banners and T-shirts.
It’s a good idea to have your marketing plan in place before you launch your business. Have the tools ready to use to advertise your ecommerce business. Plan out your online strategy as well as your offline strategy. In this case, since we are selling a physical product, we had to learn about some of the different offline ways that we could build our brand.