Marketing, designing graphics, logos, websites, video production – when you look at your competitors in business, how can they afford to have all this ‘stuff’ and you don’t? Surprise! Marketing does not have a set price. Yes, you can easily find generic templates for websites that are free or cheap. Yes, you can easily find stock images you could use for a logo, and of course you can always take pictures from your smartphone…. but are there ways to save money and still get great agency quality work and creative design? For sure!
Organization – This is the biggest way to save money – What you are looking for with that graphic you need to get made? What does ‘modern’ design mean to you? What do you like and dislike? Before you jump into any marketing project take some time to define what the project is, what you hope to accomplish from the project, and what kind of elements you want incorporated or avoided (and if you don’t do it before then you will have to do it during!) . The more organized the client is, the more efficient and cost effective a designer or content writer will be.
  • Quick Tips
  1. Make a Pinterest board for designs or elements you like
  2. Look at your business competitors – What works? What doesn’t?
  3. What do you not like about your current display? What do you like?
  4. What is the name of that font you love?
  5. Ask YOUR clients what encourages them to do business with you
Share – Share the what, who, how, when, where, and why about your business or project. What makes you different from your competitors? What is unique about your business? How long have you been in business? How do you serve your clients? What parts of the business do you want to grow? The more information you can share with a marketing group – the more likely the work will match your brand.
  • Quick Tips
  1. Write an Executive Summary
  2. Define your unique offering to clients
  3. What clients are you trying to get?
Communication – This falls on the marketing firm you are working with more, but you can help keep the project efficient on your end to. Did you follow up with that email yet? Is the project waiting on you or your team? Did you look at those pieces of creative yet? Small items such as a picture or a tagline can sideline an entire project if a decision isn’t made.
  • Quick Tips
  1. Schedule time to keep yourself briefed about the project
  2. Important- use email or a communication system to keep track of all of the notes
Schedule & Deadlines – The ad group should have internal deadlines they present to you and meet, but what about your deadlines? By holding yourself accountable to the project on your end it provides a mutual driving force to keep the project running smooth and efficient.
  • Quick Tips
  1. Set internal Deadlines for yourself
  2. Review the project schedule with your ad firm and put their notes in your calendar
Logistics – This can be a 30 second conversation or a 2 month conversation depending on the level of organization the project starts at with. These can be the accounts/passwords for Social Media, Domain Registrar, Website, your 5 email accounts, past marketing campaigns you have had, and on and on. These items are very easy to list off, but can quickly escalate into a headache if a previous employee or team member has your Twitter account set up to his personal email and now lives in Alaska! Save a lot of time before starting a project by keeping your marketing materials and account credentials in a known location.
  • Quick Tips
  1. Keep a list of Accounts/Passwords related to your business in a safe location (like a safe).
  2. Make data folders and keep items organized by what they are. For example Q3 2011 Posters or July 2012 Facebook Graphics.
Remember, there is no set price or standards for marketing efforts. Each agency is going to price their services differently. A professional marketing firm is going to push you to stay on budget, but the one thing no marketing firm can do is know exactly what you are thinking…. unless you say it.

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