The business stationery we have and how it helps our growth!
First up, welcome to our brand-new blog – here I’ll be sharing tips and tricks for small business owners, along with helpful articles on how to increase your business reach and sales. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran in business or deciding whether to take the leap and start your own business, there’ll be something for you. We’ll also be including a few articles on wedding and events, as we begin to expand our business!
Now, let’s get down to it.
In regard to business stationery, there are three distinct types of business owners in my experience. There are those who know what stationery they want; they may even have a design already or at least a solid idea of the kind of thing they want. Next up, there are those who think they don’t need any business stationery because of what they do and how they operate, perhaps they’re an online business and so they don’t feel they have a need for it. Finally, we have those who think they might want business stationery, but there is something putting them off. That can be a number of things, for many it’s the cost, and for others it’s the logistics of sorting out what they need, what they want it to convey and how they want it to look.
Those who know what they want
Great, you know what items of stationery you want! Whilst it’s great to be confident about what items you want or how you want them to look, it’s still important to listen to an expert, they may have another option that will suit your business more. When you’re engaging with a designer and printer, make sure to talk to them about who your target market is, they’ll be able to help you with generating designs that appeal to those people, as well as creating the right sort of items for their lifestyle.
Example – You ask for business cards with your business address, phone number and email address on, to give out at an event. Your target market is 18–30-year-olds, and you want them to sign up for your programme/service via your website. If you have the conversation with your designer, they might be able to suggest a more effective way of getting people onto your sign-up form. What about a business card with a QR code on that takes them directly to that sign up page? All of a sudden, you’re putting people exactly where we need them to be, and your sign-up rates start to rise!
Those who think they don’t need business stationery
Firstly, you may be right, you know your business best. But it’s always worthwhile having a conversation with a designer to see what might work for your business. Online businesses still have opportunities to interact with people in person and can still have a need for physical stationery items. A lot of our work is online, but I’d be lost without my physical content planner, I have it at the side of me when I’m working, note down ideas and plans, and use to it to map out our monthly social media and website posts – this helps me to see the bigger picture, looking at how things link together and the message we are conveying to our followers, customers and potential customers.
We use a number of different types of stationery when we package up orders too, and this helps to add a professional finish to a parcel. If you send anything out to your customers or clients, then think about the following: branded stickers, information cards, tags, thank you notes. All of these can be used to finish off the look of your parcel. Attractive parcels are more likely to make it on to your customers social media feeds, if those viewers can’t see your business name and branding, then you aren’t allowing them to become potential customers!
Those who think they need business stationery, but something is holding them back
For starters, you need to determine what it is that’s putting you off. This will help you have the right conversations moving forwards rather than remaining stuck. If it’s the cost, think about the potential reach and increase in sales you’ll get. It is technically a form of advertising, and you should be accounting for it within your costings. Start off with a small amount, perhaps one sheet of stickers and a handful of business cards or thank you cards. You can look to build on this as you progress and start to build your customer/client base.
If you are unsure about paper stationery, if it’s perhaps something you feel is going to get thrown away etc, then think about something that may have more life, maybe think about some promotional products you can use to start with, perhaps an item of clothing, a phone case or a tote bag with your information on may be more effective for your business, and this is something you’ll continue to use over and over again. If you’re a service-based business rather than selling a physical product, and you work with clients over a period of time, for example as a coach, why not look into T-shirts or other items that you can send to your clients (you can include the cost of this within the fee they pay to you, or offer it is an optional extra), items such as mugs, t-shirts, keyrings, hoodies, and tote bags, that they will wear or use around other people who could be your potential clients. This is a great method that we’ve experienced a lot of online fitness coaches using lately and they all do it differently. A branded t-shirt sent out at the onboarding stage, a hoodie that can be bought as an extra, a special themed hoodie that’s only offered as incentive once a certain goal is reached. There are so many different options, and it’s all about finding what works best for your business!
What do we use and how?
We have a range of different items that we use ourselves to help grow our audience and gain new potential customers. I’ll talk through them and explain how and when we use them, and how they help us to grow our business.
Stickers – We use a range of stickers on our parcels and also on paper bags at events. We have various sizes of logo stickers, and I always put one of these on the front of a parcel/envelope. We also have stickers that say ‘your order is here’, which we sometimes put on parcels too. We then have a range of ‘information’ stickers, which are applied to the relevant product, these include recyclable material, clothing sizes and care labels, which help to inform customers if a product needs to be washed using a certain cycle or to say if something is dishwasher safe etc. We also have price stickers which we use on items at events.
Business Cards – Our business cards are double-sided, and we have three different versions. Our ‘generic’ ones have our social media, email and website on the front along with our logo, and then a motivational business quote on the back. Then we also each have our own ‘personal’ business card, which has our name and photo on, with contact details and then the business information on the other side, these are great for giving out at networking events when we want to add a more personal touch. We give business cards to family and friends who may recommend us to people they know, and we often get contacted by potential customers who say ‘Someone gave me your card and I’m looking for…’ so we know that this is an effective way that our business reaches new people.
Thank-you Cards – I always add one of these in with orders, they have our contact/social information on the front, and on the back, they have a link to leave us a review along with a space for a personal note, I like adding this in as I believe it helps to build a positive relationship with customers and it allows me to show my gratitude for their order. We’ve had customers order these for information/care cards too, such as bakers with cake allergens and storage instructions.
Leaflets – We use leaflets to share more about what we are able to offer, we add these into orders from new customers that have come through Etsy or our website, where they may not be aware of everything we offer. We also have them available at any events we do and often give them to people who are interested in learning more.
Price Lists – These are used primarily at events that we attend, they’re great for handing to potential customers who are interested in products, but who want to go away and think about what they need exactly.
We then have a variety of different promotional products that we use:
Travel Mug – Michael drinks a lot of coffee, and often takes one with him to the gym, out in the car and to work when he goes into the office. A branded travel mug is a great way of showing people your logo and perhaps a short snippet of information about your business, it’s often a conversation starter that we use to direct people to our website or to start a discussion about their printing requirements.
Pens – We have branded pens, that we again give out at networking events, and I always keep one in my bag, and in the car, as you never know when a pen will come in handy! Pens are something that people will keep and use, even subconsciously they’ll start to recognise your brand and when they need what you offer, it’s your business they’ll think of first.
Keyrings – These can be particularly useful in certain industries, where you might share your keys with someone, or someone might see them and read the keyring. Again, they can be useful to give as a ‘freebie’ to people, they might put their shed keys on it, but again they’re subconsciously recognising your brand each time they pick the keys up, and they will then think of your business first when they need what you offer.
Tote Bags – I love our tote bag, I always take it when we walk to the shop for something. It’s a great way of showcasing our business in a really useful way! Branded tote bags make great freebies or incentives depending on your industry and customer base. If you’re an artist, your customers may not want a physical print to go on their wall, but they might love the thought of having a piece of your art on a tote bag, you can add your business name and logo subtly and whilst you’re selling a product to your customers, they are then also advertising for you!
And finally, we have our branded clothing that we wear when we are out and about, as well as at events.
Hoodies – I have a zip up hoodie, and two overhead hoodies, one that has logos on and the other one says ‘Looking for branded clothing, speak to me!’ and has our social media handles on it. I tend to wear this one at events where people are a bit more open to the idea of approaching and talking to a stranger. I wear my hoodies everywhere, walking the dog, shopping, you name it. We’ve had several customers contact us via social media, from seeing one of us wearing our brand and searching for us!
T-shirts and Polos – We both have t-shirts and Polos that we wear when we’re working in the office, at events or out delivery orders to customers. This helps make us recognisable and also allows us to promote our business at the same time.
Gilet – I love my gilet, it has our logo on the front, and it’s great when I need an extra layer of warmth! It looks a little smarter, on top of a hoodie at certain events too.
What stationery/branded items do you have already for your business?
What items are you unsure about?
Is there anything you think would definitely not work for your business?