Vow, this very moment, that you will carve out an hour to explore the sites we are going to go over today and get professional looking documents, forms and marketing materials — without busting your budget to shreds. With what I’m going to show you here today, there is absolutely no excuse not to look and present your best.
Recently we conducted a survey here at Small Business Trends and asked where you go to find templates to create marketing materials and business documents. In this article we’ll reveal the sources and what each source is best at.
The templates most small businesses use could be put into two major categories:
(1) business, financial and legal documents
(2) marketing collaterals, flyers, labels and other marketing aids
Business, Financial and Legal Documents
In the survey many of you mentioned DocStoc, Scribd, and Microsoft as sources you use for your business, financial and legal documents. One thing you need to know about these is that they are community sites.
That means that if you have a good template you can post it — or use templates that others have posted. You will find both free templates as well as some that you might have to pay to download. But the prices are certainly reasonable (many are under $5.00).
Docs.Google is another source that surfaced in the survey. The Google templates are partially templates created by Google, and partially contributed by other third party sites.
I’ve added a couple you did not mention, but that I have found to be useful ….
Digital Work Tools has a large selection of business and administrative template. The site is well-organized by topic or use.
Gazhoo and MyWorkTools are two others. These both have community contributed documents for small business owners. My favorite is MyWorkTools because they actually have what I call “Marketing Management” documents that include spreadsheets for product and project management, meeting management and agendas as well as presentation outlines and templates.
Marketing Collaterals, Flyers, Labels and Other Marketing
From the survey, your favorite sources for marketing materials and “designer” templates are: Stock Layouts, Vista Print, HP Small Business, HP Creative, and Avery.
Avery has good label and CD templates. The try to get into some other things, but you have to download software for them and that can be cumbersome. If your primary marketing tool is a CD in a case, Avery can’t be beat.
But if you’re using other marketing tools, you must check out the other sources. When you really need to have traditional brochures and business cards printed professionally, Vista Print is a good choice for price and overall value. If you want to look like a big company, it is better to spring for the premium business cards rather than the free designs.
If you want to create brochures, mailers, presentations, promotional items, or customized materials for a special customer or presentation, you must visit the HP sites. HP/Small Business has small-business related marketing tools. HP/Creative has more consumer-styled options. Surprise your customers with the unexpected and adapt a consumer template for business use.
Template Sources Table
I’ve summarized all this information in the following table.
I decided to break out marketing materials into “Cool Marketing Stuff” and “Marketing Management Tools.”
- Cool Marketing Stuff refers primarily to templates with a large variety of high quality design and graphical elements: promotional flyers, mailers, coupons, business cards, postcards.
- Marketing Management Tools refers to actual marketing management documents that will help you plan and manage your marketing programs, meetings and campaigns.
Overall, the resources you can use for creating polished and professional marketing communications are as close as your computer and printer.
The one piece of advice every small business needs to take to heart is: be clear on what sets you apart. Then be sure that everything you put out is consistent with that message.