tips for creating tailored marketing material

For most small business owners, finding time in a busy week to work on a marketing strategy seems like finding a needle in a haystack. And I think one of the biggest barriers is not knowing how to even BEGIN. 

Perfectionism is a pretty common personality trait amongst these types of go-getters, and it often tells us that unless we have time to do something perfectly and to completion, that it's not worth beginning. But progress is better than perfection, and taking steps every day and every week can really add up and evolve into tangible results.

When it comes to creating marketing material, there are a few tips that help me get rid of the guesswork and actually make a start. 


Stepping into a specific mindset will help narrow your thoughts so that you know who you're creating content for and what it will ultimately promote. 

I'll give you a detailed example: 

With Love Bridal is a luxury bridal salon in Ottawa and I have the privilege of photographing dozens of their gowns every year. The owner, Dana, is passionate about client care and she delivers an outstanding experience that Laura Kelly Brides seem to love. 

If I were looking to get a physical promotional piece into Dana's shop, I might spend 1 hour designing a handout which includes my pricing information. I might mail a small stack to Dana and to a handful of other vendors in town who I love working with. But if Dana opens that package and sees a wedding photo that I took which features a gown that was NOT purchased from With Love, she may decide it's not a good fit for her shop.

Can you blame her? If a wedding planner sent me a brochure to keep in my studio that featured photography by someone else on the cover, would I display it? Likely not, especially if it was taken in a different photography style. 

In that case the hour it took to create the content was wasted, not to mention the cost of production. When I put myself in Dana's shoes it helps me to design promotional material that she would actually be excited about! It may take an extra 15 minutes, but if she loves it and can be proud to display it, then that makes all the difference.

Right away I know I'm going to choose a photo that features a full length gown, purchased from With Love Bridal. This is not the time for a ring or shoe shot, or even an up close portrait -- this is all about the dress!


Never pull a logo off of a website. Plain and simple. The reasons are twofold: if you don't have permission to design something with someone's logo, you could get yourself in a smidgen of trouble by doing so. Secondly, if you DO have permission to use a logo, you'll need a hi-res one!

And if you end up with a PNG file, it'll be leaps and bounds easier to work with when it comes to your design. 


Every business tailors their own marketing material to a specific clientele, whether by look, feel, or demographic. If you can think strategically about where this item might be displayed or the kind of people who are going to see it, it'll help to narrow your focus even further. 

For example, my marketing material for Sarah Walsh Bridal matches the light, bright, and airy aesthetic that I know is prevalent in her studio in the Glebe. In fact, the model that I chose for the cover appears on a large canvas in her shop, so I know it'll fit right in. 


Paper goods can be expensive to mail! So depending on the vendor, an in-person drop-in could be the way to go. It's important not to overwhelm the vendor with a larger than life stack of marketing material that they have no idea what to do with, so keep it to a max of 30-40 pieces. 

Oh, and a little bit of ribbon goes a long way... Just saying. 


If design isn't your strength, this is the type of work that should be outsourced immediately. Deciding that this is the perfect time to install Adobe Illustrator and figure out how to use it is going to leave you frustrated and burning daylight. 

By the same token, if you are designing your marketing materials yourself, know that you could tweak for hours. I give myself a deadline when it comes to design projects so that I don't let my perfectionism take over. For example, if I'm working on a project in the afternoon, I'll decide that I'm going to send the order to print by 4:30pm LATEST, so that I can tie up all the loose ends before calling it quits at 5:00pm. 

Knowing that I need to get an order out by a certain time helps keep me focused! Make sure you're saving each file as a separate PDF so that if it comes time to re-order, you can do so without having to recreate the wheel.

I hope this post inspired you to start carving away at an intentional marketing strategy, and shed a bit of the perfectionism that might be holding you back!



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