Strut Your Stuff: Developing Collateral for Your Business

Collateral Development

Remember when we talked about your unique selling proposition? Unless you can pinpoint what makes your business unique in a world of homogeneous competitors, you cannot target your sales efforts successfully. You cannot develop effective marketing collateral, either. And that’s what we’re talking about today: developing collateral that serves you well.

Collateral is anything that communicates Who You Are to clients, potential customers, businesses, the media, investors… the world, really. Fact sheets. Biographies. Brochures. Your website. Banners.

It has to stand out, too.

Collateral is what keeps you competitive. Your company’s success depends on how well you communicate what you have to offer. This is where you have to be your most creative and compelling in expressing your company’s story and USP.

Your USP is central to all of your marketing communications, so don’t take this step lightly, LinkedIn advises. So ask yourself: Do you know your selling points?

Before Developing Collateral, Make an Outline

Now you can move on to drafting an outline–this will keep you organized and focused. As you create and design your collateral, you can refer to your selling points to keep you on track.

Create a Style Guide (if you haven’t already)

The style guide is where you jot down words you love to express your company, and trigger words you want to steer clear of in your communication. You can also make note of the color palette to be used, preferred images and typography, text, and tone. Code My Views pins the tail on the collateral with its explanation: “What images are associated with the brand and product lines? In what ways can/should the company logo be used? What are people allowed to say about the brand? What marketing tactics are preferred or encouraged versus what marketing tactics should not be used?”

Evaluate Your Current Collateral

What about your current hard and digital copy is effective? What can you change without starting over? Does the tone need to change according to the outline and style guide you set up?

Are your images powerful? Do they successfully and consistently convey the message you putting out there?

What Else is Out There?

You should always be keeping an eye out on what other businesses are doing, whether they are your competition or not. Ideas and inspiration can come from something not even remotely related to what you do.

Check out HubSpot’s piece on effective but ugly marketing strategies. Their counterpoint to beautiful design is that sometimes it’s not entirely contingent on your message’s success: “Our point to marketers is that execution is everything. Don’t let the pursuit of a perfect design stand in the way of what works. In the grand scheme of ROI, ugly marketing can be beautiful.”

Cultivate High Quality Materials

Don’t skimp on cost when it comes to the choosing materials. The type of paper that you use, the quality of the collateral images and even load times for your digital assets all contribute to how your audience will respond to your marketing collateral.

For more tips on developing effective marketing copy and creating killer design, check out 3 Steps to a Killer Landing Page and Content Strategy Do’s and Don’ts: You’re a Content Wizard, Harry.

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