ask the expert | flyers, brochures, cards & other branded marketing materials

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i have recently received a number of questions related to purchasing & printing things like flyers & brochures as well as the value of other products branded with your logo. i asked our logo & design experts from ruby red designs & boutique by design to answer these questions, and added my own two cents as well. =)

how effective it is having your logo on team uniforms or on signage round a football oval on attracting business? do you recommend getting things like t-shirts with your logo on, biz logo decals on your car, handing out pens with your logo etc.... how effective are these types of branded items? any tips for deciding if you want to do something like this? 

I really, really think that this is something that needs to be brand specific in order to work. For example, around the football oval? Absolutely - if your business is related. 

My husband runs a brewery/pub - their logo is all over t-shirts, etc because people like to feel included or part of something - so the pub regulars proudly wear the logo t-shirts. Would this work for, say a hair bow business? Probably not. Would it work for my web design business? Nope.

However, I do have my logo and business decal on the back of my car. I get quite a few leads from it. I have people stop me in parking lots to ask for my card. This works for me - and is very cost effective. $50.00 for the decal and that's it. My friend is a childrens photographer and she also has her logo and contact info on her car - gets a ton of business.

I would suggest to really, really do research before spending a ton of money on branding items. Be sure they make sense! And I also think don't go for the "cheapy" stuff, if you’re gonna spend the money, spend it on something of value. I like to give my clients a branded flash drive with their files on it - then they can use it as extra storage or whatever, but it relates to my business - so it works.

Marketing of one’s brand can be very effective, but incredibly expensive when a plan is not in place. If you are purely speaking in terms of whether these elements are effective tools, then I would have to say that it really depends on the nature of the business doing the marketing. Visual branding requires planning and not all marketing tools are appropriate for all businesses.

For example: a branded car decal with phone number and web address would be perfect for a real estate agent dealing in a local target market. BUT a car decal would not benefit a business that only operates on a global platform - what would be the point of drumming up business locally?

So while marketing is incredibly important, I would consider having a plan, an understanding of your brand needs and establishing a marketing budget. Consulting an expert in the field is always the best bet to maximize your efforts.

i think the thing you need to ask yourself is this: who is your ideal client? where do they hang out? what do they need from you? what message do they need about your brand?

if your right people are not hanging out at the oval a sign posted there is not going to do you any good. if uniform-style logo tshirts for your representatives will send the right message about your business then that might be a reasonable expense. if you hand out pens with your logo to all of your customers and they just end up in the bottom of a desk drawer somewhere than that might not be a smart use of your budget.

there are a lot of choices when it comes to purchasing marketing materials, advertising in different venues, or putting your logo on a variety of products. put your marketing money where you are likely to attract the right people to your biz. a glossy flyer at the community centre vs a sign at the oval vs a canvas print at the coffee shop vs a decal on your car - not all of these are necessary or effective. it depends on your brand and your clients. 

do you have any tips or advice on what to include on a flyer or brochure? 

I would keep it short and simple. People can go to your website if they have a need for more detailed information. If brochures or flyers are too wordy, they won’t get read. Use large pictures or visual aids with minimal verbiage. And of course, make sure your logo and all your contact info is on there - easy to read.

Flyers have less than 30 seconds to impress your public. Keep the message simple, to the point and clear. Include easy contact info - I typically only include the web address, this keeps things easy to remember and all other contact info is normally found on the site.  The brand should be evident and product shots or other related graphics should be kept related to the purpose of the flyer. Remember less is more. Do not overwhelm your public with unnecessary text or imagery.

if you are gettingalot of flyers printed then you wanttomake them useful for as long as possible - because of that it is sometimes goodtoleave off prices in case you make changes, or don'tincludeany info or product that could change quickly. i leave my prices off and then just printaprice list out myselftoincludeas an insert or attachment - that way if i makeachange or discontinuea product my flyers are still valid.

when you are deciding what to include,focusonthe benefits of your product/service (not just the features)  - so think of how you can answer the question 'what's in it for me?' or 'sowhat?' that your customer may have. 

determine the purpose of yourflyer-whatis it you would want peopletodo after seeing it? - and then keep everything within that purpose. leave out the extra stuff that won't help you with that purpose.for me, my flyers tend to focus on a specific promotion or event, so ijust include the main info thatacustomer would needtohave. i want theflyertoentice peopletocall for more info or stop in for the event, that is my main purpose. so i leavealot of the extra details out, and keep it quite simple so as justtobe enticing but not overwhelming. but sometimes flyers are meanttocontainalot of detail - for instance if you are makingaflyershowcasing all of your products and the product descriptions etc.

any tips for the sizes or styles of flyers, brochures or catalogues that seem to be the most effective, attractive or popular. any new ideas you have seen that are eye-catching or stand out? 

I have personally found that for my business, I use bookmarks - high quality thick textured paper. Great design.  Useful and big enough to contain a good amount of information. I put them on cork boards at coffee shops, book stores, etc. They work better than a flyer (for me) and get taken. I get tons of compliments - I get lots of business from it - and when people call they remark how they found my bookmark and loved the design so wanted to chat about how I can help them.

Other new ideas I have seen are the mini cards - half of business card size. The tri-fold brochure is also a great way to market - they can be handed out, put in a stand for others to grab, and mailed. Great bang for your buck as they are useful in multiple ways. I design alot of these for clients.

Magnets are also great - if your business is one that is a recurring service (housecleaning, child care, lawn care, taxes, etc) it keeps your name and number handy.

i personally always notice marketing materials that stand out a little. some that have stood out to me lately are round or square business cards, half a standard tri-fold flyer, funky bookmarks or postcards.

try to imagine what your customers would most likely show or share to others. with my photography biz i know my clients love to show off or pass out their pictures. so i make thank you cards or blank greeting cards using a favourite image from their session, with my logo and details on the back, that they can pass on to their friends. i also make mini cards, again with an image of their child on the front, and my email address on the back, that parents can pass out as ‘mums details cards’ or use as wallet size photos.

get creative with your brand and your business. can your swing tags also be business cards that your customers pass on? can your brochure also be a ‘wish list’ that your customer will hold on to? can you use a photograph with your details on the back instead of a business card or a flyer?

anything you would recommend avoiding or not investing in? how do you get the most bang for your buck when you invest in getting brochures, flyers and other marketing materials printed? 

Budget typically dictates execution. If you print a standard size, your printers are typically set up to accommodate, which results in less time and therefore less cost. Also if you design a layout with no bleeds – where your design does not run to the very edge of the page and instead has a white clear border, you will also save costs.

I would highly recommend setting a budget first and then working with a printer to meet your needs. Its really easy to get carried away with all of the amazing printing options available. More printing options always results in a heart stopping final bill.

be sure whatever you are getting professionally printed will be timeless & useful for a long period of time (getting large quantities printed is generally only a bit more that getting smaller quantities.)

find a local digital printer to do small runs of things like a price list, or a one-time-only promotion – they will still look nice but be less expensive than a glossy brochure.

mix up professionally printed high quality materials with some handmade touches to save money or make your items stand out (eg creating matching envelopes or folders to go with your brochures/catalogues).

get quality stickers printed instead of flyers or other items that could go out of date, that way you can add your stickers to whatever items you need to use for a particular situation.

how do you find a good printer for flyers, brochures/catalogues or other marketing items?

As far as finding a printer - Just contact your local press. Not sure about Australia, but in the US we have Kinkos, Minuetman Press, and a few others. For things like bookmarks and stickers, I would use a lab.

Ask around, word of mouth and referrals are the best way to go. Once you find someone you like, stick with them. Relationships will result in quality products and often discounted prices.

in Australia i have found that there are not as many options for getting marketing materials printed, particularly if you are on a budget, or are looking for something unique or different.  for me the solution has been finding local printers that are willing to work with me so that i can create some stand out marketing materials.

one option is to do a search for local digital printer – go in to meet with the owners, see samples of the product quality and discuss prices. for me it is as important to work with someone kind and helpful as is the quality. offset printers tend to be more expensive then digital printers and require a larger minimum order, though they do have amazing quality. shop around and see what suits your budget and needs.

the other option is to search for companies (local or overseas) where you can order cards, flyers etc online. again, you need to shop around and do comparisons on quality and cost. some budget options definitely have budget results! one online company i love is, their prices are very reasonable even if you need to get items sent from the US or the UK. have a look at their inspiration gallery – sure to give you some new ideas for marketing your biz!

do you have examples or ideas for creative marketing materials that stand out? i would love to do an 'inspiration' post full of great examples. email a photo or example to, i will link to your business in my post!

further reading:

  • tips for creating flyers & brochures:  here & here
  • inspiration for marketing materials that stand out: here & here & here