Are you ready to make the most of opportunities when they land or do you find yourself scrambling to pull together the marketing assets you need? Whether it’s a media opportunity, partnership, speaking gig, sponsorship or any other chance to promote your business, if you don’t have the right tools ready to go, you just might miss out.
A properly stocked marketing toolbox lets you respond to opportunities straight away, and reduces the amount of time you spend trying to create information or images from scratch. By setting aside time now, you are doing your future self a favour. With the right tools at the ready, responding to requests can be as simple as attaching a file or two to an email.
Like any tradies’ toolkit, there are basic tools that are relevant to every business, and specific equipment relating to your business, industry or the opportunity.
Let’s look at the basics that every business needs.
THE BASIC TOOLS IN YOUR MARKETING TOOLBOX
Every business needs your logo in a variety of formats and resolutions. Ideally your graphic designer or the creator of your logo will give you a full suite of file types when they hand over your logo. If they haven’t, it’s worth asking for them so you have them ready to go. You might not be able to open every file type (some, like .eps, .png or .ai are used with specific software) but by having them available you can respond to requests with the right type of files.
File types you should have include:
Also make sure you have high resolution (large size) images available. If your logo file is tiny, it might appear distorted or of poor quality when used in a design format. Or worse still, your logo might not be included if it’s the incorrect size. It’s always easier to make a large file size smaller than try to make a small file size work.
Professional Photos that Reflect Your Brand
You need to have a range of at least 8 – 10 (if not more) high quality, professional photos that really reflect your brand and portray your business in the best possible light. Amateur or poorly lit photos appear unprofessional. I definitely recommend investing in high quality photos for use across your online presence (website, social media, online directories) as well as in advertising or other opportunities.
If you have several images available, select 8 – 10 that really represent your business and save them to their own folder where they’re easy to access.
On a similar theme to the professional business photos, it is so important to have professional high quality headshots or profile pictures of yourself or your key team members – especially if you are your brand. Poorly lit selfies, party shots or photos you’ve grabbed from your personal photo albums probably don’t portray you in the most professional light. While it is an investment, it is a worthwhile one to get a series of photos taken for use across your social media and websites as well as to have ready in your Marketing Toolbox.
When I say professional, however, I don’t mean boring or stuffy. Work with an experienced photographer to capture your personality and your brand in an appealing setting. This doesn’t necessarily mean dressed in a suit and standing with your hands clasped in front of a white wall. Think about your target audience, and capture photos that would help them to get to know, like and trust you.
I also recommend having a few different photos from the same photo shoot if possible, so that they can be used in different settings and across different social media profiles. That way you don’t have to use the same photo in every setting, but they’re still easily recognisable by your audience.
Business owners can often be asked to provide a short bio for use in a variety of settings. These can include:
- Speakers bio for events and workshops
- Profiles on business forums, associations or directories
- Bios on guest blogs or articles you provide for other businesses.
- Award applications.
Craft a personal bio in a range of lengths – i.e. 50, 100 and 250 words – outlining your background, experience, skills and a bit about you personally. Include links to your social media profiles so people can stay in touch.
As with your own profile, it’s also valuable to have a description of your business in a range of lengths. I recommend 50 word, 100 word and 250 words to fulfil a range of requests. Include your business’ social media profiles.
If you have a range of resources on your website, consider creating a Useful Resources List of your most popular blog posts or articles. Create a list of story ideas or topics on which you can offer an expert viewpoint. This will help media assess whether you are the right person for an interview or story and might help you stand out from a number of options.
Image / Advertising Templates
Have a graphic designer create a series of advertising templates and social media image templates that you can adapt for specific occasions. Whether it’s an advertisement in the program of an event you’ve sponsored, or a link on a partner’s website, having professional images available saves you time and money when the request comes through.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR DESIGNERS AND SERVICE PROVIDERS
Having your marketing toolbox organised and ready to go also makes it easier and more efficient to work with designers, web developers and other service providers who may be helping you in your business. Each of the resources above is helpful for these partners, and there are a few extras that can help you create clear, valuable briefs.
Documenting and keeping your business history up-to-date makes it easy to brief suppliers or new team members.
Brand Guidelines or Style Guide.
Not every business has one, but a Brand Style Guide is a valuable document when working with outsourced team members such as VAs, graphic designers and web designers. Also called a Brand DNA or Brand Guidelines, this document captures the essence of your brand: your values, personality, tone of voice as well as the competitive landscape and your unique selling proposition. It also outlines how your visual brand can be shown with usage guidelines.
Once again, some time invested now to create this Guide means less time and better results when working with suppliers in the future.
ORGANISING YOUR MARKETING TOOLBOX
Once you have the marketing resources ready, it’s important to have them organised in such a way that they’re easy to access and to share. Create a Marketing Toolbox folder within Dropbox with all of the items included. You might have a few different versions such as a detailed Toolbox for your designers and contractors, and a more selective version for media and partners.
When an opportunity arises, you can share a link to this folder for easy access.
ACTION: Download the Marketing Toolbox Checklist and see where the gaps are in your own Marketing Toolbox. Set aside some time to create these resources now (or with the help of a marketing professional) so that you’re ready to act when opportunities arise.