If you are a new or even established business, you may be looking into designing or re-designing your product packaging.
There are many things to consider when designing branded product packaging, here are the major considerations below:
Size: you need to consider the size of the product you are putting inside the box. It's important for a product like a candle or beauty product to fit snuggly in the box, and not rattle around.
Even if you need product packaging for retail shelves, it's important that when a potential customer picks up your product to inspect it, that it is packaged well. The last thing you want is for your packaging to look damaged on the shelves because the product didn't fit snuggly, and after people pick it up, it caves in.
On a personal note, I also don't like it when I get home with a product, open the box up, and find there is a tiny bottle on the inside of the product packaging. What a feeling of disappointment, even for a fleeting moment. That's the last thing you want your customer to feel - regret or disappointment. You want them to be content with their product purchase choice.
Style: the style of the box needs to be both practical to your needs, but also ensure the product is easy to access, and can even be a unique or fun shape, to stand out from the crowd. Think about that packaging you bought at Christmas, shaped in a Christmas tree. You may not remember the name of the brand, but I certainly enjoy buying seasonal looking packaging for fun.
Think about what you need the packaging for: for example, if you are an online store and sending your products out via the post, you could send a rigid box with a ribbon closure, but this wouldn't work well on a retail shelf, as the packages need to be streamlined so they can fit nice and neatly on a shelf. Otherwise the ribbon on the side of the box will be filling up your precious retail shelf space.
Protection elements: you need to think about packaging as a means to protect your product. If you are sending products in the mail to customers, depending on the fragility of the product, you need to choose the correct paper weight product packaging plus, you need to think about how it will travel in the mail.
For fragile products like candles, cased in a glass canister, it would be a good idea to send the product in a corrugated mailer box, with foam or bubble wrap to support it. You could choose either a thin flat pack box for the packaging, or a rigid box, for extra protection. You need to ensure the presentation of your box suits your brand.
Even if you're sending your product in a mailer box or courier bag, that might not look beautiful, you should make sure that when the client opens the mailer bag or mailer box, that they reach in to pick up a beautifully packaged item. The last thing you want is for them to spend 5 minutes unrolling and taking sissors to your bubbled wrapped package.
Limit the amount of time they have to unwrap, by choosing the right mailer package or product packaging paper weight.
Branding / Colour: as with all marketing efforts, you need to ensure your brand is consistent - and this includes your packaging - which is a mini-billboard to your product. Remember to keep to your business brand colours, imagery and personality consistent with all your other marketing efforts.
You want your packaging to have shelf appeal, but it also must tie in with your brand image that you have created in all other forms of marketing communication.
I hope the above points will put you in the right direction when discussing your packaging design needs with your graphic designer, so that your target customer will purchase your product - not only because the product is fabulous, but because it was the packaging that drew their eye to it! Remember, you may be the best product in your market - but your ideal customer might not know this - so make sure your packaging shouts it!
If your customer is at the shelf where your and your competitors products are side by side, make sure you are visible and irresistible to your customer, so your product is the easy choice for them.
Custom printed promotional boxes are a great way to present a product, in a professional way to your clients at a special event such as a product launch, or as a mail piece to your VIPs (or target market) as part of an integrated marketing campaign.
Once you decide a promotional box is going to be part of your marketing strategy, there are some considerations that you must think about to ensure your promotional packaging fits it's purpose and aligns with your brand.
Promotional box purpose:
First of all, you need to think about the overall purpose of the box. What are you going to present in the box, and why?
For example, if you are having a product lauch, perhaps you are going to give away a sample of your product, if you are opening a new apartment block, perhaps you are going to present the new owners with a keycard. If VIPs are attending a special event, you might want to give them a set of beautiful branded champagne glasses, if that's something your audience would value. Whatever your overall strategy is, you need to understand from the very start what the promotional boxes' signifgance is going to be to the reciever. That will make it easier to make decisions regarding size, elements, style, design and so on.
Date needed by:
As with all marketing activities, it needs to be well timed, and fit in with the overall marketing strategy. You need to start the concept and design process at least 3 months in advance. This will ensure you have time to get all the stakeholders involved. Marketing, your Graphic Desinger, and the packaging supplier, to ensure what you have time to discuss and mock up some designs, check costs to ensure the box you want is in the budget, or have time to tweak your design or elements of the box, to ensure you can get a promoptional box with most of your requirements that fits your budget. You also need to think about turn around times - producing promotional boxes can be a 4 - 12 week process, depending on the quantity), and to ensure you have time to get a sample of the box made up and sent out to test before ordering in bulk, especially if you have a product that needs to fit into the box or into a foam insert snuggly, getting a sample to test beforehand is prudent.
You need to ensure the box is big enough to present the product you are giving away. For example, if you are getting champagne glasses printed with your logo, you will need to find out the height and diameter of the largest part of the glass. For most products, you will need to measure the length x width x height. Once you have that, you will need to decide if you need a box that fits the product snuggly - so ensure the box is a few mmm wider for the product to fit in snuggly, or if you want to present a key card the size of a credit card for example, you might want a box that is at least 5cm wider around the card foam cut out, so you can present it in a larger box, and can custom print the foam with your logo or design, or even with a special message.
Elements (foam, paper insert):
Think about how the product will be presented in your box. For example, if you are presenting key cards, you would need to have them firmly secure and presented nicely in the box by placing them in custom sized foam cut outs.
Or maybe you're presenting custom printed wine glasses to a client in a promotional giveaway box, and you need paper inserts to protect the glasses from moving around inside the box.
Think about how you want the products to be presented, and you can work out the style of the box you want. A rigid box with a silk satin ribbon, will give a different image than a flat pack box with flap lid. Think about the image you are trying to portray, and make your box fit that image. If you're a sleek property developer and want to give your upmarket buyers a gift, you would want to present them with a sleek, upmarket, expensive looking branded box. If you're a fun, vibrant, unique clothing brand, you could present your event guests with a stunning, stylish and unusual shaped box, with your logo on.
Branding / colours:
Your box needs to keep with your company's brand image (as with all marketing related activities). It's important that your promotional giveaway box fits in with your brand image. That means using your brand colours and logo.
You can use so many amazing effects with printing to make your promotional box even more unique and memborable. For example spot uv to give your logo or design a glossy look, foiling to create a shiny effect, and embossing for a luxury feel to the box.
How you will present the promotional box to the client (mail out or at an event):
If you are mailing out your promotional boxes, you will need a sturdy rigid box, to ensure your promotional box doesnt get crushed in the mail. It is a good idea to place your promotional box inside a corrugated board mailer box when sending out, to ensure it is protected in the mail.
If you are handing the boxes out during an event, you may need to think about matching (or simarly themed) bags to hand them out in, otherwise attendees will have to carry them around akwardly during the event, and might leave them down. If you present them in a branded event bag, they can easily carry them around during the event. Another option is to give them out as the guests are leaving the event, as a parting gift.
After sending out the promotional box in the mail, or handing them out to deleguates at an event, its important to follow up (as with all marketing activities). You want to make sure your marketing efforts have some ROI (return on investment) for the time, effort and expense you have gone to, to create your promotional give-away boxes.
A custom printed box in your brand colours with your logo or design printed, is a professional way to present your product. Your clients are sure to see you as a professional organisation that takes pride in their brand.
Let us know in the comments section below what you think is important to consider when creating the design for promotional boxes for a product launch or event.
Working closely with creative clients, we have the honour of supplying beautiful promotional boxes for a range of events, product launches, VIP thank you boxes....or any other reason you want to present your product in a stunning, memorable box with your logo and design printed.
Here are some of our favorites below:
Images (above): VIP promotional giveaway box
Images (above): Promotional packaging for VIP client giveaways at events
Images (above): Promotional packaging for a product launch. Including custom cut foam
Images (above): Promotional product packaging to showcase products at a tradeshow and and new product launch
Images (above): An array of promotional packaging ideas for your next event. Please note not ALL boxes displayed in this album were supplied by Custom Printed Bags & Boxes.
Please share with us in the comments section below if you have seen a stunning promo package, or if you have recieved one at an event.
There are a multitude of very talented Graphic and Packaging Designers around the world.
Keeping up with Pintrest boards, The Dieline and Lovely Packaging websites, are great ways to keep in the loop of whats happening on a daily basis with packaging....however there is always space for a book or two. I have listed some below that have had good reviews.
Let us know if the comments section if you have discovered a must-have packaging design book or which packaging design websites you keep an eye on for inspiration.
Packaging Design: Successful Product Branding from Concept to Shelf by Marianne R. Klimchuk and Sandra A. Krasovec
The ANZ Stadium promotional boxes that we supplied
Promotional boxes are a great way to present your clients with professionally packaged gifts or giveaways. You can also present your high-end clients with beautifully presented products or items.
A fun give-away can become a talking point for your guests at a product launch or event.
Custom printing and branding the packaging with your business logo, or with a call to action is a great way to communicate to your current or potential customers.
Many brands use promotional give away boxes as part of an integrated marketing campaign.
What you need to consider when using promotional boxes:
- What is the end goal of the box?
Is it a fun little package that you will be putting on the place setting of each guest at a sit down event? if so, the product that goes in the box (if any) needs to tie in with the place setting and promotion and possibly contain useful items for the event.
Or is the box a practical box that contains your brand new product? if so, if your product is heavy or if you are promoting a luxury brand, a rigid box may be the best option.
- what design features will make the box stand out?
Foil printing, spot uv, and embossing are all printing features that make your box that little bit more special (if it fits in with your brand image).
- what size / colour and style would work?
You need to keep with your branding colours and within your brand guidelines of creating the box, and need to create a look and feel that ties in with your brand. You also need to think of the practical needs of the box: you need to ensure that your product give-away that you are presenting in the box, will fit snugly, and you need to consider if you need foam or paper inserts to keep your product in place or protect it.
The style needs to tie in with your brand and image. A fun brand could possibly give away a product in an unusal shaped box, whereas a luxury brand would give away a product in a classic style box.
Promotional give away boxes are a great way to market your product, communicate to your target audience and give them a delightful experience of opening a beautiful package to reveal the contents inside!
Flat pack ANZ Stadium promo give away boxes:
Promotional giveaway box that we supplied to an advertising agency's client:
A fun promotional give-away idea: a pack of cards:
A unique, custom made giveaway promo box that our factory created:
The Atout France conference bag we supplied
If you are working in events, marketing, PR, Graphic Design, Retail, or if you are a business owner needing bags for your product packaging or your industry's annual tradeshow.... or for any of the numerous other reasons you need a bag, you will undoubteably need one that is unique to your size, printing, branding and design needs.
To create the perfect bag, whether as a give-away gift bag, promotional bag, retail bag, conference bag, product lauch event bag, product packaging bag... or any other bag! these are some important elements you need to think about and get right:
Your brand image: most importantly, your bag needs to fit in with the brand image (look) you want your product or service to portray. Are you a cute boutique shop selling pretty clothing and accessories? you would probably want to source a classic boutique style paper bag with ribbon handles, in your brand colour and logo printed. What about an IT event give-away bag with brochures packed inside? perhaps a non-woven bag would be best suited for the deleguates. It depends on what you want your brand image to be and how you want your business to be portrayed, amongst other things; like the bag's practicality and function.
Size: the size of the bag is very important. You don't want a product packaging bag that swallows up your product, or an event bag that is too small so that your flyers or promo items stick out the top in a messy and unprofessional way. Your product or event giveaways should fit neatly and snugly into the bag - the bag should be custom made to fit you product or your giveaway needs.
Shape: if you really want to stand out from the crowd, you could source a bag that is an unusual or unexpected shape. It is bound to get people looking more closely at the bag (and at your brand). A retail store in a zoo in America, sold their products in animal shaped bags - much to the excitement of children, and much to the amusement of the parents. If you can, try to make your product packaging bag fun or event bag memorable (if it fits in with your brand image).
Colour: the colour of your bag should match your brand colour. That's why it's important that you source from a bag supplier that can custom print to your exact CMYK / PMS colour code requirements. Think of the colour blue for example: there are dozens upon dozens of shades of blue. The ANZ bank blue is a particular shade of blue which never changes; therefore when they order event bags, they would provide the bag supplier with the blue CMYK colour code that is unique to their brand.
Printing: depending on your brand image or what the bags are used for, you can get creative with your printing needs. What about a call to action or unique pictures for a series of events that you hold throughout the year? with short runs you can make each event unique, you don't have to print just a generic logo on the bag and hand the same bag out at every event, in every shop, for every product pack bag you give out. Talk to your Graphic Designer or marketing professional about what you want to achieve - you might be surprised just what a bag can achieve in terms of communicating to your target market.
Special printing features: this could include Spot UV, foil stamping, or letter press printing for example. Think about what you want to achieve with your bags - a high end look for special deleguates to your exclusive event? or a product packaging bag that will stand out on the shelves alongside your competitor's products? Your bag is a mini-billboard and should reflect not only your brand image, but should be used to communicate to your audience. First you've got to get their attention - and that's where special printing features can assist!
Lamination: The type of lamination you choose on your bag, will depend on 'look' you want to achieve. Think of the brands on your level - are you a luxury brand that would need a high gloss look, or are you trying to project an earthy, environmentally friendly look, which a cotton bag or kraft paper bag could suit the brand image best?
Thickness: think about what your bag is needed for, and you will be able to choose the appropriate gsm or paper / cotton bag thickness. For example if you are packaging a heavy product in your product packaging bag, you would need to look at around 400gsm thickness, but if you're just after a classic boutique retail bag, you could get away with 200gsm, which looks good quality, and can hold clothing and other light items. Even if you are purchasing bags for events, you need to know how heavy the items are that you are going to put in them. If you are going to be placing a bottle of wine, a promotional item, a heavy brochure and other items, you need to ensure you source a bag that has a re-enforced base, thick material (paper or cotton) and has re-enforced handle holes so they don't break.
Material: you need to think about if a paper bag would work best or if a cotton bag be the best fit for your brand image.
We understand that each client's needs are unique - that's why we do not stock any standard bags. We custom make to your unique requirements.
Product packaging bags that we supplied:
Event bags that we supplied:
Information pack bag that we supplied:
Retail bag that we supplied:
Product launch bag that we supplied:
Image: Charbonnel et Walker Valentines Day heart shaped box
Now that Christmas is over, I felt it was necessary to discuss the importance of packaging your product beautifully to not only meet the demands of the season but to also meet customer's demands for beautifully packaged goods on a year round basis.
Maybe you have a product that could be purchased as a gift for almost any occasion. For example, if you are a luxury chocolates business, you are likely to have sales all year round (people purchasing for birthdays, anniversaries, get well presents...) and then find you have spikes in sales around Valentines Day, Easter and Christmas.
To stand out from your competitors on the shelves, why not customise your packaging to to the season? You can continue to stock your standard packaged products alongside your promotional stock, but keep in mind people will most likely buy a product in the appropriate packaging for that celebration over other packaging options.
Take Valentines Day for example (which you should be thinking about and developing packaging for now that Christmas is over) - you could be the best chocolatier stocked on the shelves in your local boutique chocolate shops, and your loyal customers might buy your chocolates on a regular basis....but come Valentines Day, those same customers could grab your competitors product over yours if your product is not presented the best packaging design on the shelf, or if your product is not packaged for the season at all!
Not only that, as a luxury product supplier, you would be expected to package your product for the season.
Remember to also keep in mind your product packaging should be beautiful all year round - not just during Valentines Day, Easter and Christmas to secure sales. People love giving beautifully presented gifts that are packaged beautifully and in a professional way. People also love to receive beautifully packaged gifts. It makes them feel special and valued if the gift looks expensive.
Take some time to think about your packaging, and compare it to others on your 'level'. If you are a luxury chocolatier, are all your competitors using rigid boxes with their brand colours and logo printed on the lid? are you only using flat packed boxes with a sticker on the lid? maybe your customers are buying your chocolates for themselves to eat, but go to the competitors when they are buying gifts for friends and family, due to your packaging not being perceived as luxury packaging. As with all changes, do lots of research before, during and after you trial something new.
A lovely quote to finish off:
"Everyone loves a pretty package. Unwrapping, opening, unfolding – customers enjoy the experience of receiving a package almost as much as the product itself. Your product packaging is your best way to make sure that your customer’s first impression of your business is a good one." Dionne Christiansen
A successful conference will have many components, but I have listed some of the elements I think are most important in my experience of attending conferences:
I cannot stress enough the importance of engaging and relevant content. If you want to hold a conference, the most important element is content. You need to understand your audience, you need to be able to communicate clearly and on their level, and you need to engage them.
You want to make sure that you are not using industry or technical language that only people from your industry would use, if you are talking to a group of people who are new to your topic. Don't try to sound too clever. You will only end up alienating the people you are trying to impress!
You need to make the content interesting, and at all times (when possible), use real life examples. People connect with real life examples. It can help put otherwise technical or hard to understand concepts into real life situations.
The last thing you want is for people to leave your conference feeling negative or leaving with no confidence because they feel they haven't understood anything!
If you can help people learn something that they didn't know before, and it was taught in an interesting, positive and engaging way, the deleguates are more likely to view you in a positive light, feel more confident to engage with you, and feel grateful to you for your time.
Your invite needs to explain very clearly:
- the main topic(s)
- who should attend
- what will be covered in detail (topic points)
- date, time and venue
- if any catering will be included (if not, you can just say tea and biscuits provided); because this should be provided at the very least.
People are very time poor, so make sure you attract only people you really want at your event, and make sure you don't glaze over what you are really going to talk about, so that attendees see you in a positive light after the event and feel like you have covered the topic they came to learn about.
Getting the food and drinks right is important. As previously discussed, you should have at least tea, coffee, water and biscuits. However if you want to make an impact, I suggest you have catering.
You don't need to be lavish. Some wraps and muffins can do the trick. However, it does need to be tasty, so I suggest you ask the catering company if you can have a sample delivered, or at least ask around your corporate friends or family to find out which companies they use.
Pick a venue and location that will suit your brand. If you are a funky, alternative brand, why don't you have your conference in a funky office, or if that doesn't exist, or is out of your price range, try finding a space in the suburb that fits your brand the most. For example in Sydney, that could be Newtown.
If you're a serious business, then a Servcorp office space for example, could be a good idea, because it's corporate and upmarket. Remember everything you do is marketing and branding. Make sure you are using brand consistency when holding your conference.
Conference bags & promotional giveaways:
If you have a conference of any size, offering your deleguates a bag of promotional material and also a promotional giveaway is always warmly received.
Make sure your bag is custom printed with your logo, and custom made to the right size, colour and design for your professional look and brand image.
Your event bags should contain the promotional collateral and giveaway item snuggly. A bag that slightly too big or too small can just look wrong.
Prize giveaways: collect names
Make sure you collect business cards so you can follow up on those who attended. Not only should you do this to thank them for attending, but also so build a rapport, so they know you are friendly enough to approach in future if they want to engage your services. You can also ask them if you can send them a montly newsletter, to keep your company top of mind.
This way, you will hopefully get a ROI from your conference in the long run. If you think you are going to have difficulty asking each guest for their business card, instead ask your guests to place their cards in a glass bowl to go in the run to win a prize.
People will be more forthcoming in giving up their business cards in they are in the chance to win!
Networking opportunity for your deleguates:
If you are holding a conference that concerns small business owners, a timeframe before or after the conference to formally network is always welcomed. Many small business owners would like to meet others that they could possibly assist and/or do business with, or just generally expand networks.
This is just a small summary of the most important aspects of a conference. There are more elements that you may need to consider.
Holding a conference can be fun, it can help you gain more business, expand your networks, and can position you as a leader in your field!
Photo Credit: Dietetic Sinners
I just read a very interesting article in Sydney Morning Herald, about the frustration customers can feel when trying to open difficult packaging.
It's really important to keep in mind the process the customer goes through with your product - including when opening and consuming your product.
Although in some instances, it's of utmost importance that the packaging is secure (eg knife packaging), I still think it should still not cause injury when trying to open. At other times, it's just not necessary for the packaging to be so difficult and non user-friendly to get into!
You need to work with your Packaging Designer to work out what works best for both your product and your end customer, keeping in mind that your customer could by-pass your product due to it's difficult packaging. You don't want to lose sales after all the hard work you've done to get your product on the shelf, to difficult packaging!
The below is the article straight from SMH:
It is the paradox of modern packaging: you need a pair of scissors to break open a packet of new scissors.
Whether it's wrestling with ''clamshell'' wrapping or vacuum-sealed jars, consumers are all too frequently confronted by products whose packaging renders
them unopenable, consumer advocate Choice says.
Arthritis Australia is calling on the federal government to evaluate the health and safety impact of packaging that is hard to open. In a ratings trial, called the Initial
Scientific Review, +8 means 95 per cent of the population can easily open the packaging, while -8 means that less than 60 per cent can safely open
The scheme has tested more than 200 products from Woolworths and Nestle.
''Accessibility has a profound impact on how consumers interact with packaging and affects what they buy,'' said Fergal Barry, partnerships manager of Arthritis Australia. ''Making these packaging changes opens up
markets, rather than eliminating parts of them."
''Consumers shouldn't have to get into a knife fight to get into the product. Everybody deserves
frustration-free packaging, not just the ageing population and those living with arthritis.''
Scissors, kitchen knives and hammers are the most
popular weapons of choice against unreasonable packaging, Catalyst research commissioned by Reader's
But the battle to break open hard plastic casing can often lead to unnecessary injuries.
Of the 500 people surveyed in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia, 42 per cent said they had cut themselves trying to open the packaging, and 14 per cent said
they had broken or chipped their teeth trying to rip open packaging.
The Australian Packaging Covenant set up a hotline two years ago for consumers to formally complain about their packaging woes.
Breaking into tamper-proof medicinal packaging and the plastic wrapping on Lebanese cucumbers were the two biggest complaints to the hotline so far, chief executive officer Stan Moore said.
''Packaging has evolved but it can be annoying at times,'' he said.
Wendy Favorito is a board member and consumer representative of Arthritis Australia and has suffered from severe arthritis since she was a child. Complete plastic casing around products, commonly known as the clamshell, was the worst to open, she said.
''If I buy a kitchen knife, how come I need a knife to get into packaging?'' Ms Favorito said.
But the Packaging Council of Australia has defended
excessive packaging, saying the fear of theft and tampering were serious concerns for retailers and
''Most companies want their packages to be easily openable and accessible,'' chief executive Gavin
In a world of instant convenience, excessive packaging is
used to keep products fresh or to make the product look more attractive. ''Packaging is a selling device,'' Mr Williams said.
Photo credit: rebootproduction.com
It's important for your start-up business to have a marketing plan because you need to market your product or service consistently right from the very start.
All branding and marketing should be carefully considered and decided on before you launch your product to market. Some considerations you need to think about when writing your business plan include:
Branding guidelines: amongst other things, these guidelines will include the font (or fonts) and the colour palette you will use in marketing communications. Different fonts evoke different feelings or thoughts - so it's important to choose wisely. I would suggest you spend time researching fonts and playing around with them (even in Word) until you feel comfortable you have found the font that suits your brand. Or work with a Graphic Designer to find the right font for your brand image. Like fonts, different colours evoke different feelings and ideas. We have written a few blogs on the power and importance of colour, so I would suggest you spend time researching the colours that suit and 'speak' your brand as well.
Business name: Depending on the image you want to portray, you need to think of an appropriate business name. If it's a service business, it could have your service in the title - so that when people search for you or see your logo online or in advertising, they know what you do straight away. For example, we got straight to the point and called ourselves our exact service.
If it's a luxury retail brand, think of names that evoke luxury or quality (or that have the ability to become luxurious sounding names because of your brand).
Logo: You need to create a logo that will evoke a particular feeling, and/or explain what you do (or both). For example, a university would probably want its logo to have a coat of arms, with classic, dark, serious colours, and probably something written in Latin in the logo. These elements will evoke the feeling of an established and serious university.
The logo is a very important part of your business so you need to do extensive research and talk to a Graphic Designer about the image you want your logo to evoke in people's minds when they see it. Like packaging, it can make or break a business. People are visual and will immediately think your business is shoddy if you have a bad or unprofessional looking logo.
Domain name & business email address: You should purchase a domain name for your website. You should get the same name as your business. At the time of thinking of your business name, you should try out a few internet searches and check if the name is available before deciding on and registering you business name.
You really need to get a business email address too. It's unprofessional to use a gmail or hotmail account for your business. Having a professional business email address creates trust and people will think you're an established business.
Your business card: You need to decide on the fonts, colours and designs you are going to use for your brand, and decide on your logo, before printing your business cards. That is why it's important to get your marketing plan right (and the branding decisions made) before launching your business and spending money on marketing materials or advertising.
Your business card is a marketing tool that can tell a lot about the person and the business in a second.
Make sure you use good quality photos, the correct font for your brand, your branding colours, and ensure the quality of the card matches the quality of your business. You don't want to be giving over a flimsy, cheap card if you are advertising yourself as a professional lawyer or accountant, but you also don't want to go over the top and look like you're frivolous with your clients money by giving out over the top luxurious business cards.
Website: You need to have a website, even if its a one page website, with opening hours information, your logo and a picture or two of what you or your business does. People are visual. You need to show them what you do - don't just tell them in words.
You don't need to spend hundreds or even thousands on a website. Weebly, Wix, and countless other template websites could do the job for free or for a small yearly fee.
Social Media: Nowadays you need to have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and join up to any other social media site that will be of use to your business. But I would say Facebook and Twitter are the main two that you need to join.
Check the rules, check what others in your industry are doing, and see if you can do it better. Make sure you take an hour out a week to update your Facebook page or Twitter account. You don't need to do something everyday - but make sure you do something on a weekly basis! That will give your prospective clients the indication that your business is active.
Before you go posting anything on social media pages, make sure how you write, relates to your brand. If you are a fun, young, hip brand - people expect you to have energy, say fun things and be boisterous. Keep to your brand character at all times. In your business plan, you need to decide what your brand image is, and what character your brand will have, so you keep to that character in all social media communications.
Packaging: If you have a product that needs to be packaged, you need to think about the packaging shape, colour and artwork design. Packaging is important as it is the difference between whether a customer will pick up your product when it is sitting on the retail shelf next to your competitors, or not. Your packaging is a mini billboard - and needs to tie in with your branding.
You should contact a Packaging Designer, or at the very least Google packaging designs and find the type of packaging style you want, then talk to a Graphic Designer about the printing / design you want on your packaging. Remember the packaging design / materials / graphics need to tie in with the brand image you want to portray to your customers (which you would have written up in your marketing plan). Ensure you're using your brand's fonts, colours and 'look' on your packaging. Just because you love a beautiful package that you've spotted in your Google search, doesn't mean your customers will.
4Ps - Price, product, place and promotion: Price - you need to figure out the price point you should sell your product compared to your competitors, and to figure out your profit margin. You need to think about the product itself. Is the product superior / different in any way to your competitors? if so, you need to make that very clear in your marketing efforts. Place - you need to think about where you're going to sell your products, (or if you are offering a service - where that will be located), and promotions - what marketing / advertising vehicles are you going to use to get your messages across to your target market.
However there is so much more to these 4Ps than I have written here - this is major! Entire books have been written on each of the 'Ps', which brings me to my next point...
Research: I can't emphasize enough how important research is. Along with traditional research, using common sense, asking people in your target market what they like or don't like and why, researching what your competitors are doing, seeing what your competitor's customers complain about, downloading reports or research about your industry that is usually readily on the web, are all ways you can research.
This is definitely NOT an exhaustive overview - this is just a few of the basics! Marketing is complex and important, but a lot of it is common sense too!
Everything you do is marketing. From the way you answer your phone, the way you dress and present yourself to your clients, the packaging of your product, where your product is sold or where your service is located. Make sure you get it right because every element matters. That's why it's important to write up a marketing plan before your launch, so that you have time to write and re-write your ideas, to hone your colour palette and your brand's character, and make a final decision on all marketing and branding elements before you invest in business cards, packaging or any other advertising materials.
Best of luck with your new business venture!
Clara Cassidy, Founder and Marketing Manager of Custom Printed Bags & Boxes, is a marketing professional with years of experience in branding, promotions and events.