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How important to look proffesional from start?

Discussion in 'Offline Marketing' started by berserker, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. berserker

    berserker Registered Member

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    Just wanted peoples advice.

    To what extent should I go to look proffesional at the very beginning when available capital is low.

    i.e. printed buisness letter heads or not
    printed busines cards etc.

    in my mind think the following will be required.

    business card
    letter head
    brochure.

    all of a good quality

    Just wanted peoples advice if its worth doing from the start, or better off just getting letters out there. Then add the printed stuff once start to get a couple of clients.
     
  2. OnlineGodfather

    OnlineGodfather Senior Member

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    I think it depends what kind of business are you going to run? if you have business mainly online you can tell clients to check your website for info.
     
  3. berserker

    berserker Registered Member

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    The Plan is to Funnel, them through the website.

    But the client based is typically old school, so will need some offline methods to get them there.

    Its more a case of do Have to do it from the start or can I get away with waiting until I have generated the capital from sales
     
  4. likeskoolaid

    likeskoolaid Regular Member

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    first impressions are super important, the client usually gives you their money first of all before recieving anything so they have to trust you are completely professional in every way. that being said you don't need to go completely overboard just dress nice and do everything like a top marketer with utter confidence in yourself and services. they don't realy care about you or your professionalism as much as they care what you are able to do for them, just being professional eases their buying decision.
     
  5. biker

    biker Newbie

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    I think it's more important to sound professional than it is to necessarily look professional. What I mean is - clients are interested in what you can do for them. Persuade them that they absolutely must use your services if they want to survive and thrive or they'll lose out to their competition and may actually find that you're working for their competition (or whatever - you get the idea) and they won't care if you don't have a letterhead or a business card.

    There are ways to be absolutely professional without ever having a brochure or a card or a laptop - in fact many of these things are counterproductive. Go and TALK to your prospective clients. Don't talk AT them - ask loads of questions about THEIR business. Be a problem solver. Resist the temptation to talk about YOUR business - talk about how great it would be for them once they have overcome their problems and had more customers and what they could do with that extra income. Paint pictures for them and get them excited about the possibilities. By the time you've spent an hour together imagining the huge success they're going to have they'll not let you out the door until you've agreed to work with them. And not a brochure in site :).

    It's about attitude and trust.

    If you only take one thing away from this post (and sorry it's gone on a bit!) remember that people love to talk about themselves. And they love people who take an interest in them talking about themselves.

    Believe me, realise that and a whole new world opens up ;)

    Oh - and shoe-leather is cheap, so get out there and meet people!
     
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  6. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    I agree with everything previously said and would also add this.

    For the Business Cards, and Letterhead you can actually do that for pretty cheaply to start. MS Office and a decent printer and paper and you're set to start.

    You can get some fairly decent Business Card forms for your printer and just print them up 10 or 20 at a time. MS Publisher is really good for designing and printing your business cards. The printer stock is slightly more expensive per card but a much cheaper initial investment. When you first start going out to meet people, it's more important to have a business card to give them at all, than it is to have a super high quality business cards. Just print up however many you need for a day or two, and then when you start making some good money from the business you can go order some cards in bulk. Even though it's slightly more per card, that cost is offset a little when you consider how often people get 1000 cards printed and then something changes in the first month or so and they end up with half or 3/4 box of unused cards. I don't think I know any professionals that don't have at least two or three of those boxes of unused cards from various jobs and ventures they've had.

    Same thing applies to your letter head. MS Word is really easy to set up a template for your letterhead. Design the letterhead and then just select that template when your going to send any professional letters.

    As far as brochures, both Word and Publisher are good for that. You just need to be a little more selective on the paper you choose to use for your brochures. Definitely use a heavier stock and depending on the brochure you might want to go with a semigloss type paper.

    For the needs of an average business there isn't much you can't produce yourself from a regular PC and printer that is as good as you'll probably be selecting from a print shop. The long term cost will be cheaper to have it printed in bulk, but doing it yourself at the start will keep your initial costs down.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  7. wrangler

    wrangler Regular Member

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    Here's a tip: try spelling "professional" correctly, for a start.
    (I'm serious - spelling mistakes are an instant absolute fail, at least for me)
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  8. seanjohn

    seanjohn Regular Member

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    Get nothing printed.

    Do small test batches with your printer at home until you get a winner. Winning as in getting more clients, not as in making your friends and family say, "Oh wow cool cards!".

    There's a saying, "By trying to speak to everyone, you will speak to no one."

    Your marketing material MUST spark curiosity. A business card with a logo and some cool looking gradients isn't going to do that.

    If you have no clients, you have to get out there and start building connections with local business people.
    Find out a common need, and THEN you can print large amounts of marketing material to appeal to those needs.

    If I started from scratch again, I'd have 2 things: A brochure that is text-heavy, but skimmable, with testimonials, and has an irresistible offer (!IMPORTANT!) and call-to-action. I'd also have a direct mail campaign that is the same.

    If you must list your services on your brochure, make sure it's on the last page, and use it as a reference only.
     
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    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  9. Rhazha

    Rhazha Junior Member

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    I think you need to follow the "natural" chronology of the business.
    In my opinion you need to focus first on your business cards. As GreyWolf said, print a few business at a time. You may along the way (short term) decide to change something on your Logo, or decided to include an extra service that at the time you can offer or even change phone # or URL address...it happens.

    What happens after they got your business cards? They will visit your website, am I right? So the website will be the second contact your prospects
    will have with your business. In many cases, THIS is the "make it or break it" for the business. A cheap looking website may give a bad impression,
    especially if you are going after high-end clients and professionals.

    There is unlimited resources (free) for you to build a nice looking and well organized website. Also, make sure that what you are offering is presented
    on your website. If you are offering mobile sites, you site need to have such function if they search you using their phones. It sounds logic, but it is many times overlooked.

    In case you are promoting Fan Page, it would be good if you had your own or at least, display other clients' design made by you.
    And of course, have the icons (social networking sites) where you have your company's page if Social Media is something you offer as well.

    It may sound a lot but it's not... you have access to all of this right here in the forum without spending a dime!

    I don't know the business you are in so I can't comment much about the need of brochures for your business. As I mentioned before, things can change... So I wouldn't make too many of them UNLESS you are thinking of mailing them. If not, carry with you a portfolio (few) that can be handed it out as requested by the prospects you are meeting.

    For the Letterhead, It follows the same principle. Print them as you go, unless direct mail is part of your business strategy.

    As Biker said, you do need regardless of anything else, know what you are talking about. Questions will come up and you need to know the answers
    (or sound like you know them).

    Now, all you need is tight them together. When you choose your Logo (if any), be sure to have it on your business cards as well
    (It will be on your Letterhead already).

    And last but not least, dress accordingly to what in your country (and costumes) represent to be and have a professional "look."

    Know Your Business + Business Cards + Website + Letterhead + Brochures = PROFESSIONAL:D

    Rhazha
     
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    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  10. berserker

    berserker Registered Member

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    Some great help there guys thanks so much for the advice


    Think i will be off the local stationary shop tomorrow to see what i can do with my printer.

    Had no issues on the sales pitch, seen first client and it was great. I know what you mean about getting them excited so that was ok. Website is nearly finished, just needs finishing touches and video tutorials etc.

    Rhazha thanks for the advice, it helped to clarify my thoughts.


    Thanks for the advice on printing myself Greywolf, i'm planning to start small on the sales front and TEST TEST TEST. So home printing at first will work ok.

    I do have a backdoor into my client base, which means I can get brochures sat on the owners desk / or under their noses. So brochure approach is the route i am going. Plan to do as biker said use the brochure to paint the picture of their success and then CALL TO ACTION to the site



    again thanks for taking the time to give me advice really appreciate it.
     
  11. Monrox

    Monrox Power Member

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    Well some are too cheap to not use the cards anyway so they keep handing them out with crossed out / written over corrections. There's little more disgusting than such things :)

    Anyway, such accessoires are not very important for big bosses, they judge professionalism on stuff like intelligence, experience and successful projects in the past. This is because anyone can have great brochures made. An exception is if you are a designer and are looking for work of course.

    BUT you will never reach the boss if your materials are not of good quality. Many get tens or more offers a day and usually delegate the initial sorting to their secretary or other assistants. And for the latter the first criterion is often the appearance. A manager will never get the one page CVs from Human Resources even though all he wants to know is highest lvl of education and previous achievements. Same with all single A4s offering business services.

    I'd say you need impeccable fluff every time you know you'll be going through filters and won't be reaching the decision maker directly.