By Melinda Emerson, author, speaker and small business coach
Ever since color television was invented in 1953, color has been critical to telling a visual story. Whether you are a start-up or established business, spending the extra money on color images or color ink may seem out of the question when you are launching a marketing campaign. But using color could mean the difference between whether you’re marketing materials get read, or tossed into file zero—the trash. Putting it simply, color gets noticed. Printing in color can improve retention, productivity and generate significant financial returns. A recent Xerox Color Survey reported that 76% of respondents said they could find information faster when printed in color. So as you think about developing collateral materials for your small business -- think color.
Here are 5 ways color can improve your small business:
Create a color logo: There are five common principles of logo design. A logo must be simple and memorable which means it is easy to recognize. A logo must also be versatile & appropriate. This means it can be scaled to any size and it must be right for your type of business. You wouldn’t use an elegant font for a pizza joint. Good logos feature something unexpected or unique without being over the top. An effective logo should be timeless and stand the test of time. Always use at least two colors in a logo and hire a professional to assist you. Your company name in a stylized font is NOT a logo.
Colorful business cards: You want your business card to be memorable. Use at least two colors in your business cards. Even consider using a strong background color to stand out. My business cards for my company Quintessence Multimedia are red, and people always comment on their uniqueness. Invest in a quality paper stock as well. You want your attention to detail to be noticed. Do not order business cards that are free off of the internet. It’s printed on the back that they were free and that could hurt your credibility with the person you give them to.
Smiling Color Headshot: Anyone in business should have a professional headshot. This is a must have for all your social media profiles and could be used on your website and in your marketing materials. You need a friendly, smiling headshot because - remember you are selling yourself as much as your product or service. Investment should be around $300 - $500 to get one taken.
Color flyers: You should have a color one-sheet or two–sided flyer to promote your products and services. Consider glossy flyers, they always look more expensive and polished. Great flyers include a headline, which describes what you specialize in, your company logo, great color photos of you, your employees in action or your products. Also be sure to include at least a partial list of your offerings.
Color Direct Mailer: Have you ever received a black and white mailer from someone looking for business from you? What did you think about the business who sent it? Not much, right? Don’t make that mistake. Design a direct mail piece that represents you well. It should feature color pictures of your products or services being used or performed in action. Make sure it includes your color logo, complete contact information and a special offer as your call to action. For example, include a promotion of “10% off if you mention this flyer when placing an order.”
Want to take your materials to the next level? Engage a professional when designing your materials; it can make all the difference. Eight-seven percent of respondents in a recent Xerox survey said professional graphics used in marketing materials such a brochures was a key ingredient in the success of a product or service.
Your investment in quality marketing materials will speak for you when you are not around to sell yourself. Keep in mind; you don’t have to do this yourself there are resources available like, Openforum.com or your printer’s free templates for download. Xerox.com also offers great free resources.
- For flyers: http://www.office.xerox.com/small-business-templates/flyers/enus.html
- For business cards templates: http://www.office.xerox.com/small-business-templates/corporate-identity/acrobat/enus.html
- For direct mailer templates: http://www.office.xerox.com/small-business-templates/direct-mail-design/enus.html
Color is not that expensive anymore, so go for it. You want every advantage when you are trying to close a customer.
Do you have more great ways that you use color in your small business? Share them with Melinda at: http://succeedasyourownboss.com/04/2012/5-ways-color-can-improve-your-small-business/.
Melinda Emerson filed this content as a paid contributor to Xerox. The content is the author’s opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of Xerox.
Melinda F. Emerson, SmallBizLady, is America’s #1 small business expert. She is an author, speaker and small business coach whose areas of expertise include small business start-up, business development and social media marketing. As CEO of Quintessence Multimedia, Melinda develops audio, video and written content to help her Fortune 500 clients engage small business customers. She publishes a resource blog, www.succeedasyourownboss.com and hosts a weekly talk show on Twitter called #SmallBizChat for today’s entrepreneurs. She reaches 1.5 million small business owners each week on the internet. Forbes Magazine named Melinda Emerson #1 Woman for Entrepreneurs to follow on Twitter. Melinda has been featured on MSNBC, Fox News, NBC Nightly News and in The Washington Post, New York Times, Fortune, Essence and Black Enterprise. She is also the author of the bestselling book “Become Your Own Boss in 12 months; A Month-by-Month Guide to a Business That Works.”. Melinda is a graduate of Virginia Tech.