Do you have a great idea for a product or service? Chances are, you’ve thought about starting a company to develop and provide it to the marketplace. And, in order to do that (unless you’re independently wealthy), you probably need to attract some investment to get off the ground.
Numerous articles expound on what things you need before seeking angel investors (put together a board of advisors, analyze your market, write a business plan). But you also are going to need some marketing materials that show you are a professional and explain what you do.
Yes, you don’t have much to spend on marketing, but a little bit spent the right way will put you in good position to influence potential investors and potential customers.
Here are four things you need to have for your initial marketing:
1. A logo.
Start-up companies usually take one of two approaches to getting a logo:
- One of the principals comes up with something “that will work for now” using Microsoft Paint or Photoshop Elements, a trendy font and some clip art. The problem is – it looks like someone did it in 5 minutes on the computer and doesn’t show a professional approach to your company.
- The company goes to the “get a logo designed by someone overseas for $50” websites and gets a generic logo that looks like thousands of other companies out there (and may have been stolen from one). Also, by the time you get the logo in the digital formats you need, you’ll probably spend a lot more than the minimum.
What’s the right way to get a logo? Hire a professional graphic designer. To minimize the time you spend using the designer’s services (and keep it cost-effective), first put together a page with logos you like the look of. If you have some basic branding ideas, make sure you list them out – but your designer may advise against a particular color scheme or approach based on his or her expertise, so keep an open mind and work together on creating this most important corner stone of your business identity.
Use a cheesy, quick logo and you’ll pay for that, both in perception and in getting everything you’ve put that logo on (cards, brochure, clothing, sign, vehicles) reprinted or recreated once you realize that it is badly done.
2. Business cards.
These can be simple – the logo and your contact information. They should be printed on good quality card stock, not on the flimsy paper you put in your printer and run off yourself. Having the designer who made your logo put these together shouldn’t cost too much more and can pay off in looking professional.
3. Basic website.
This is another thing you can probably put together yourself, but like the logo, you’re probably going to either come up with something that looks like a high school student did it for a class project and/or end up spending more for a web service than you would if you hired a professional local designer to work directly with you and come up with a site that reflects your branding.
Your site doesn’t need to be elaborate. At this point, you’re not looking for great search engine optimization – you need a site that can be expanded, that doesn’t do anything to get it banned from Google and other search engines, and that looks good for investors.
Start with a few pages: Home, About Us, About our Product or Service, Resources, Contact Us. You will want this in a content management system of some sort – WordPress is a good start and is very commonly used, so you can find others to work on it if your original designer parts ways with you. The CMS allows you to make changes, add pages and have some flexibility with the site until it’s time to completely redesign a year or so down the road.
4. Good photos.
It’s true that “a photo is worth a thousand words.” Make sure you have great product or service photos. These can be used on your website, in your printed materials and in presentations that you make to investors. Grainy, dark images will not help you communicate your value to either investors or customers.
Need help with any of these materials for your start-up? Contact Visual People today for a price quote so you can start budgeting for these essential marketing components.