printing press

In our digital-focused world, it may seem as if all you need to start and market a business is a website. But while a business website is essential to success, there are also some important print elements to consider. Printed materials make a professional impression on customers, clients and partners.

Here are seven essential print elements every small business should have.

1. Business logo

Your business logo is the foundation of all your other marketing materials, so take some time to get it right. Don't try to do it yourself (unless, of course, you're opening a graphic design business). Instead, enlist professional logo designers who understand design trends and are knowledgable about the small business market and your industry. When you have your logo exactly the way you want it, trademark it to protect yourself so no one else can take it. (Learn more about trademarks.)

2. Business cards

There are plenty of ways to exchange contact information, but in the end, it all boils down to business cards. When you meet a prospect at a networking event or introduce yourself to a potential customer during a sales presentation, an exchange of business cards is expected. Fortunately, business cards don't have to cost a lot to make a big impression. Choose cards on thick stock, unusual shapes or sizes, and bright or metallic colors to help your cards stand out from the pack.

3. Business checks

You may not think of business checks as a marketing tool, but how seriously would you take a business that sent you a check from someone's personal account? Aside from looking professional, business checks show that you are separating your business and personal finances, which is essential to avoid getting in trouble with the IRS at tax time. Business checks don't have to be boring, either — order checks that highlight your logo, and they’ll serve as a branding tool, too.

4. Business letterhead

Email may make up most of your business communications, but there are still times when nothing but mail will do. When you need to send a business letter, proposal or contract for signature, business letterhead ensures that your message gets the respect it deserves. If you aren't sure how long your business will be staying at your current location, get letterhead with just your business name and logo, and type in your address as needed. That way, you can use it even if you move.

5. Business envelopes

Mail a business letter in a plain white envelope, and chances are it will get pushed to the bottom of the pile (or not even opened). When you use professional business envelopes with your logo and business name on them, the recipient knows it's important. If you don't expect to mail things often, an address stamp you can use on plain envelopes will save money while still looking professional.

6. Brochures

Almost every type of business can benefit from the professional image a brochure creates. Leave brochures behind after a sales meeting, hand them out at your tradeshow booth, display them at your point of sale, mail them to prospects — their uses are almost endless. Look for a brochure design and printing service that offers a wide variety of options for folding, paper stock and design.

7. Vehicle signs

Almost every small business can benefit from magnetic vehicle signs. Whether you’re a CPA visiting clients at their homes or offices, an interior decorator doing work at customers' homes or a bakery owner delivering orders in a van, a magnetic vehicle sign helps you look professional wherever you go without the expense of a custom-painted business vehicle. (Bonus: Your magnetic vehicle sign also serves as a mobile billboard for your business.)

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