Design and Marketing Roadmap for New Business Owners

As a new business owner, you are juggling a lot. Creating your products, tracking your expenses, building your team! You know that your logo, website and marketing materials are important too, but where to start?!

I often get inquiries from entrepreneurs who want to skip right to building a Website, but that skips some key foundational steps, and might cost more time and money in the long run. 

If you're looking for the best practice scenario, we have a roadmap for you. Of course, not every business can complete these steps in order; there is some room for overlap!

A SUGGESTED design and marketing workflow for a new business:

  • Establish your Business Purpose and Audience
  • Define your Design Challenge
  • Lock In a Logo
  • Build a Brand Identity and Brand Guide
  • Create a Website
  • Design Marketing Materials

Here are the details...

Establish your Business Purpose and Audience

When you're starting a business, it's important to determine and write down your business purpose and your target market, or audience. Your purpose is the work that you want to do and why you want to do it. Your audience are the people you want to put your work in front of, or who you want to sell to.

Be as clear as possible about what you're doing, who you are trying to reach, and about what success looks like for your business. This part sounds simple, but takes some time and intention.

When you can articulate this information, write it down, and share it with your team. Keep it handy. You can use this information as a touchstone to return to as you build your business. It will be the conceptual foundation that all of your design and marketing will communicate. On a broader scale, it will help guide you to answer many business challenges and decisions that arise. 

Define your Design Challenge

Your design challenge is the "problem" you want to hire your designer to solve.

For example, if you sell products, your design challenge will be to use all available resources to get people to your brick-and-mortar shop, or to your online shop – AND get them to buy your products. If you are a business coach, your design challenge might be to attract new clients to sign up for a consultation.

You might also have sub-challenges, such as to get people to sign up for a newsletter, which you will eventually use to entice them to purchase a product. 

If you need help with this step, an experienced designer can be a good resource!

I believe these first two steps are essential, like a solid foundation. You might find that they come naturally while you are building out your business. But if not, make a point of completing them!

If you skip the steps of establishing a clear business purpose, audience and design challenge, you might find your brand and marketing tools don't stand over time. This is why I like to build in a brand exercise and conversations before all logo and identity projects with my client partners.

Lock IN a Logo

A pillar of your brand's identity, your logo is your company's icon. We can all bring the Starbucks and IBM logos to mind. While a logo doesn't contain meaning inherently, if it is used well, over time, it can begin to represent not just the brand, but also emotions, memories, even human qualities. All of these characteristics help build trust and affinity with your audience, and attract them to work with you over and over.

Your designer can use your business purpose, mission, audience and design challenge to craft a unique and attractive logo.

Build a Brand Identity and Brand Guide

Your brand identity contains your logo and much more. It is the larger set of colors, patterns, fonts, photography, styling and sometimes even brand voice, that give your brand a "personality" and help build customer rapport. 

All of these brand elements should be designed and assembled into a Brand Guide early on, because the guide establishes the standards that should be used across all of your branded materials – from business cards and website to brochures, PowerPoint deck templates, social media accounts, and more.

Depending on the size and marketing reach of your company, your brand guide can be as small as five pages or as large as hundreds of pages.

Typically, the brand guide and related brand assets (folders of fonts, graphics, etc) are stored together. That way ideally, you can send them to a new designer as a reference, and the designer will be able to translate your identity onto any designed materials that you need. 

Create a Website

When your brand guide is ready, the website is an ideal next marketing step because your other branded materials all point back to your site.

A great Web designer will use your business purpose, audience, and brand guide to build a site that is not just pretty, but smart! 

Most importantly, your business website should promote your business purpose. While your site can be attractive and fun, it should also be super easy for users to navigate your site and buy products, or navigate your site and contact you. Keep this balance in mind when imagining your ideal site!

TIP: If you can include the following, your web designer will adore you, and your project will go even more smoothly. If you need help with this, many web designers can guide you.

  • Sitemap (a list of pages, and the way you want to see them connected)
  • Content (exact written copy with images for each page)
  • Functionality (ie. need a contact form, need e-commerce options, etc.)

Design Marketing Materials

When your website is launched, other marketing materials can follow. You can ask your designer and/or marketer for any or all of the following:

  • Print:
    • Business cards
    • Brochures
    • Flyers
  • Digital:  
    • SEO (built into website)
    • Social media
    • Google ads
    • PowerPoint/Keynote templates

With that, you're ready to take your business to new heights.

I hope this helps new business owners out there. I'd love to hear from you! Contact me>>

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