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From the Ground Up: How to Brand Your Startup Using Printed Media

If you’re first starting out in business, you have a lot of legal headaches to overcome. But, you also have marketing to figure out. It’s not terribly difficult, but it does require a little forethought and some basic printed media. Here’s how to get started.

Business Cards

Business cards are one of the oldest mediums for advertising your business, but they’re incredibly effective. Business cards come in a variety of designs and materials, including traditional paper cuts, wood, steel, and plastic. You can even buy cloth business cards, though we’re not too sure how effective they would be.

When choosing a business card, your primary concern is the message you want to convey on the card. Cards are best used as a sort of introduction. Don’t try to do too much with them. You can put your business name, a logo, and some type of slogan on there somewhere. Of course, don’t forget to include your contact information. Other than that, keep it clean and minimalistic.


Letterheads are what you use to send interoffice and important client communications. They should contain your contact information, your business name, and a logo. You don’t really use these to advertise, but they are still important as a marketing tool. How? They show that your brand is serious and professional. They also help build continuity in all of your communications with the public.


Envelopes that are customised with your brand’s colours, logo, and “feel” are not essential, but they do kick things up a notch. Like letterheads, they show that your brand is to be taken seriously, and that you’re in it for the long-haul. After all, who prints up custom envelopes with the intention of not staying in business. It’s a “finer detail” lacking in unstable companies


Brochures are delicate marketing vehicles. They contain more space for a message than a business card, but less space than a full-blown marketing letter or website. The major benefit of a brochure is that it’s easy to print up using a basic business printer and ink supplies from this page.

You can even incorporate something like a QR code to “expand” the brochure into a full-blown online sales letter or informational document.

Direct Marketing Postcards (and Other Materials)

Direct marketing is straight-up salesmanship in print. This is where you send out postcards, letters, and other printed materials with the explicit intent of selling people something.

Most direct marketing postcards are one of two designs. They’re either traditional postcards or they’re “exploding” postcards. You already know what traditional postcards look like.

Exploding cards are actually folded up postcards that quality for postcard postage but can be almost as large as a full-blown direct mail sales letter.

These tend to be particularly effective in “two step” sales processes where your goal is to get prospects to visit a website or take some other action that may lead to a sale. While they aren’t terrible effective for direct selling, they’re still a very valuable part of your marketing strategy.

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