Summer is over. I know that because I went to Staples yesterday. Shopping during “back-to-school week” at Staples is as bad as shopping on Black Friday at the mall. It is packed with unhappy kids and much happier parents, that is until they get to the register and find out the Hello Kitty backpack costs $38. But I digress.
The reason Staples is such a madhouse is because everyone needs new items for school. You can’t take notes in an old, used-up notebook. The locker might not even be the same size as last year so you can’t use the same old stuff. Your markers are probably dried out. You need new binders. But you want to make sure you go through old school supplies first. Maybe there are a couple markers you never used. There is probably a mirror or a locker shelf to use again.
The outlet mall is just as bad if not worse. You need new clothes for back to school. New dress code or you may have grown or old clothes are just plain worn out. If you need new clothes, then you probably need new shoes for all the same reasons. It would be silly, however, to get rid of everything and just get all new clothes and shoes. It would be a good idea to try everything on so you can decide what to keep and what to toss.
What can we learn from this back to school frenzy? Clearing out, cleaning up and freshening up your resources are exactly what you should be doing with your marketing materials. By marketing materials, I mean brochures, business cards, letterhead, mailers and handouts, as well as online materials and digital tools.
As far as brochures and other print materials go, you want to make sure the information contained is up to date and accurate. Have you changed your logo? Did the area code change? Are the people listed still employed? Have you added people? What about your services? Sometimes when I am working on an email newsletter, I will send a draft to the client and I receive an email that reads “We haven’t done mastectomy since 1998. Can you take that off the list of services?” Of course I can, but guess what, I got the list of services from the website so you should probably update it there, too.
Update online resources
It is easier to go “back to school” on your online materials and digital tools, but it still takes time and energy to keep these updated. Here is a tip. When you are putting together your website, Facebook page or other online portal, don’t use a photo of your entire staff. Rather, use photos of individual people. It is a nice touch to have pictures and bios on a website, but there are many O&P websites with photos that include people who no longer work there. It is tough enough to get photos of individuals, try taking a new whole staff photo every time you add or subtract staff.
Do all the links still work on your website? Do the contact us forms work? Test all the actionable content on every page. Check every link. If you have a “click here to email us” button, then make sure users can actually send an email by using that button.
The end of the year is fast approaching. Why wait until the holidays to go “back to school” on your marketing materials? Do it now and you will feel better about your new fall look.
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- Elizabeth Mansfield is the president of Outsource Marketing Solutions and the Vice President of Clinical Education Concepts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.