While social and web-based marketing channels are extremely important, a heavy focus on everything digital means that sometimes we forget about the offline, physical marketing materials, which can still have a huge impact on the success of your business.
How will you advertise your physical storefront without signs or banners? What if you want to give away promotional materials at a trade show, or come up with some great branded stickers or merchandise to promote your business?
If you’re wondering where to get your physical marketing materials, you’re in luck: I’ve compiled a list of resources that will help you get started creating great marketing materials for your business.
This list includes both services we have used in-house here at Palo Alto Software, as well as recommendations from real entrepreneurs and small business owners who have used these services and who can speak highly of them.
When I asked small business owners to share their favorite resource for marketing materials, the response in favor of Vistaprint was, quite literally, overwhelming. It was by far the most recommended resource.
So, consider Vistaprint the fan favorite when it comes to marketing materials, and a great place to start. From banners to business cards, Vistaprint is known for its quick shipping, affordability, and a wide range of options.
Second only to Vistaprint in terms of suggestion frequency, Moo came widely recommended as a great resource for marketing materials.
“They are the coolest and easiest to use,” says Dean Ferraro from Authoritax. “Order their free sample pack to see what I mean. I use them for my business cards, and 95 percent of the time the people I give them to say, ‘Wow, nice card. I like it.’ That’s the impression I want to make!”
Though Moo is slightly more expensive than Vistaprint, many of the entrepreneurs I spoke with told me that they felt the higher cost resulted in a higher quality product. If you have a little more to spend, Moo might be your best bet.
3. Sticker Mule
We can personally vouch for Sticker Mule here at Palo Alto Software, as we’ve use it to create stickers to promote our business planning software LivePlan, and for Bplans as well.
Many entrepreneurs I spoke with also recommended Sticker Mule, with users commenting on the speed of delivery, good quality product, free proofs, and free shipping.
PsPrint is another printing resource that offers a range of primarily paper-based marketing materials, such as business cards, posters, and brochures. They also offer templates so that you can create your artwork without the help of a graphic designer.
“They provide a wide variety of products and they have a ton of sales,” says Amie Marse from Content Equals Money.
She also offers the following tips: “We plan ahead and wait for the product we want at 50 percent or more off. And always, always, always pay the extra few bucks for a hard copy proof.”
Yes, this company carries mugs—but not just mugs. If you’re looking for marketing materials that go beyond banners, signs, and business cards, Discount Mugs is a great place to start. They offer custom printing on apparel, bags, pens, office supplies, and much more.
“They have great products and low prices and make the process so easy,” says Deborah Sweeney from MyCorporation. “We love buying fun, branded, creative material—whether for opening day, for marketing to our partners and affiliates, or for our own internal team.”
There isn’t a whole lot of ambiguity here; Signs.com is the place to go for—you guessed it—signs.
“For our metal sign and store window decals, I used Signs.com,” says Jenn Burt, founder of boutique GypsterVeil. “Their customer service from the graphic designers is awesome! Very helpful with file types, sizes, and logo issues.”
Another one-stop shop for general printing needs, Uprinting offers printing services on over a hundred different product types, fast turnaround time, and inexpensive pricing.
In addition, their direct-mail service can save you both time and money if you plan on ordering postcards or brochures to mail to your customers.
Like Moo, Overnight Prints is another option to look into if you’re worried about getting the highest quality printed materials.
“I’m a former VistaPrint customer; I have nothing bad to say about them, but the quality that I received for the standard print and paper weight at Overnight got me from the first order,” says Kimberly Thigpen, owner of The Bath Place. “Not to mention if you need it overnight, they can really get it to you in time.”
9. Club Flyers
If you need cheap business cards, Club Flyers is worth considering.
“If you want to go really cheap, down and dirty, the best place is Club Flyers, where they will actually print business cards and 4×6 postcards for free—the caveat is that one side is an advertisement,” says Dawn Reshen-Doty, President of Benay Enterprises.
“We use these for tradeshows, giveaway coupons, and other events where we hand out hundreds of cards and really don’t care that only one side has our information.”
They do offer customized wristbands (as well as pins, lanyards, and more), but one thing that sets 24 Hour Wristbands apart is their fun temporary tattoos, which come in varying sizes and are, of course, customizable.
24 Hour Wristbands also regularly offers promotions, such as 10 percent off promotional codes.
11. Brilliant DPI
If you need help designing your signs and materials as well as printing and manufacturing them, Brilliant DPI has you covered.
Shannon Steffen of Daymark Digital puts it succinctly: “Have a concept but don’t have the creative skills to create a design on your own? Brilliant DPI will take you from concept to physical marketing products without breaking a sweat. From posters to car wraps and more, they have you covered.”
If you’re looking specifically for customized T-shirts, Spreadshirt offers a wide variety of styles, as well as a 30-day money back guarantee. The company uses American Apparel T-shirts (always a favorite for their flattering fit and quality) and offers a discount for bulk orders.
Recommended by our eCommerce Manager Corey Abramson, WishPromo is another great site for physical materials beyond signs and banners—think hats, lanyards, keychains, planners, and more.
If you’re planning on ordering branded clothing and couldn’t find what you were looking for from Spreadshirt, check out CustomInk. Their selection is considerably wider, covering everything from T-shirts to sports uniforms, and they offer templates as well to help you with the design process.
While they offer similar products as plenty of the resources above—from office supplies to branded merchandise like water bottles and tote bags—Staples Promotional Products offers a low price guarantee, which might make it a good option if you’re hoping to find the lowest prices possible.
We love Canva, and we can’t say it enough. You don’t need formidable graphic design skills to be able to use it, and it’s easy to create fun, professional images for your business.
While not strictly a resource for creating physical marketing materials, Canva is a great place to start creating your visuals, if you don’t have an in-house graphic designer. Then, just choose one of the sites above and print away—it really is that easy.
Did your favorite resource for marketing materials make the list? Is there one you think should be included? Let us know in the comments below, or on Twitter @Bplans!
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