How to promote your small business in print

Should I use printed sales materials to market my business?

It’s a great question, and clients ask me this all the time…

It seems like everyone is jumping on the “online” marketing bandwagon these days.

Marketing your business online with compelling e-mails and your website is not only smart… but necessary for your success.

But Houston – we have a problem:

Online marketing isn’t the only game in town. However, don’t make the common (and maybe costly) mistake of underestimating the effectiveness and convenience of printed marketing materials.

So I’m gonna toss out a few basic pointers regarding print materials that can still be used effectively for most small businesses like yours.

Business cards

If you personally meet new prospects at networking events or meetings, you’ll want to pass out business cards. The keys to a great business card are no different than any other marketing materials.

Get their attention, and make sure your prospect knows exactly what you do and how you can help them – not your title.  “Helping businesses increase profits” is much better than “Consultant” or “President”.

Tri-fold brochures

Many businesses (even some marketing gurus) think brochures are dead. I think they’re a great medium, with enough space to tell your unique story and sales message to your prospects… only IF it’s written in a way that speaks directly to your reader’s needs.

If your reader is interested in your product or service, especially if it’s a high-cost one, and your headlines get their attention, you bet they’ll read it. If they’re not interested, they won’t read it no matter what.


Postcards are great because they can be used for many things. There are several common sizes and delivery methods available. Typically I recommend them as an inexpensive way to get new leads, or a way to introduce a new product or service to existing customers.

Their biggest advantage is your message and offer is immediately front and center – no envelope to open. You can also use them as handouts. The downside is limited space, so your copy, message, and design must be powerful, laser-focused, short and to the point.

Rack cards

Approximately 3.5″w x 8.5″h, these work well to hand out to prospects, put in brochure holders on a store counter, put on a table at a tradeshow booth, or as a “leave behind” when you can’t speak directly to your prospect.  Advantages are similar to postcards – get attention quickly and convey a short, focused sales message without having to open an envelope.

Door hangers

Very similar in size and usage to rack cards, except they have a cutout at the top so you can hang them on doors or on mailboxes. (You can’t legally open mailboxes unless you actually mail something). Great for door-to-door or neighborhood promotions. The downside – someone has to do the footwork…

There are obviously many other shapes and sizes, ways to use them, and specific situations. So if you have a specific marketing problem to solve and you’re not sure which one to use, or what it should say, contact me.

And to be most effective, all the direct response marketing principles apply. They must:

  • Get attention
  • Have a powerful headline
  • Have compelling copy
  • Include an irresistible offer
  • And include a clear and simple call to action

I’d love to hear how you successfully used any of these, so leave me a comment below…

If you want help with your marketing strategy, writing effective sales copy, have any comments, or have a marketing project you’d like help with, e-mail me or call me at 603-686-5140

If you need help with website design, writing SEO optimized web copy, email marketing, or other online marketing strategies, I can help!

To your marketing success!

Merrill Clark

Website and Marketing Copywriter

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