May 4, 2018



The Small Business Administration reports that 99% of U.S. businesses are classified as small businesses. Here in Virginia, there are over 700,000 small businesses, which employ 47% of the private workforce. Small businesses are vital parts of our communities that invest money in our local economies.

At BambooInk, we know what it’s like to run a small business. We know the joys and uncertainty, hard work and strong relationships that come with owning a business. That’s why we’re proud to partner with small businesses to achieve their goals. Whether you’re launching, growing, or keeping your small business running smoothly, printed marketing materials are an important investment.

What are marketing materials?

Marketing materials raise awareness and promote or sell your products or services. Advertising is only one component of a successful marketing plan. Your marketing process also encompasses your day-to-day operations and relationships.

The Small Business Administration states that the marketing process consists of these key areas:

  • Advertising
  • Community involvement
  • Customer support
  • Distribution
  • Market research
  • Media planning
  • Product pricing
  • Public relations
  • Sales strategy

Why should small businesses have printed marketing materials?

It might feel like we’re living in a digital world, but there are many opportunities to connect with your ideal customers offline. Marketing materials introduce your business to your target audience, and they inform these prospects about your products or services. They also allow you to stay top of mind with your current clients and increase your visibility in the community. Never overlook opportunities to express your gratitude to clients, vendors, and anyone who supports your work or the community’s development.

“But even in this digital age, it’s essential for small businesses to maintain some aspects of print marketing. Don’t think of it as stale and old-fashioned. Think of it as a blending of old-school and new-school techniques.”

–Bridget Weston Pollack, Vice President of Marketing & Communications, SCORE, “Why a Strong Small Business Still Needs Print Marketing”

What are the essential printed marketing materials for small businesses?

Business cards as part of BambooInk’s marketing materials

BambooInk business cards on bamboo paper

Business cards

Even though we often connect online, professionals regardless of industry or niche still need business cards. All your contact information is given on one easy-to-carry piece of paper. Check out our tips for printing business cards.

marketing materials for John Tyler Community College, letterhead

Letterhead can be a valuable addition to your marketing materials


Not all correspondence has to be through email. Make an impression by sending a letter on your custom letterhead. Read more about the benefits of custom letterhead, printing options, and what to include in your design. 

Custom envelopes as part of IMB marketing materials

Custom envelopes for IMB


After you’ve written that personalized letter on your company’s letterhead, don’t forget to slip it into a custom envelope for added impact.

What marketing materials aid a small business’s day-to-day operations?


You’ve put passion and skill into your restaurant’s food. Make your menu as distinctive as the dishes on it.

comment cards as part of Ellwood Thompson's marketing materials

Comment cards for Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market

Customer comment cards

Nothing lets your customers know you value them quite like listening to their suggestions. Add your logo to increase brand awareness and loyalty. Check out why comment cards are important, what you should include, how you can use them, and your printing options. 

Appointment cards

From dental cleanings to hair cuts, we have many appointments to track. Make it easy on your customers with custom appointment cards. Print your contact information on the reserve so they can use it as a business card after their appointment is in their datebook.

Order forms

Standard order forms just won’t do when you have a detailed offering, like Ellwood’s Market’s holiday catering.

What marketing materials do small businesses need for sales?

The next time your small business is represented at a meeting, trade show, conference, or in the public sphere, think about what members of your target audience need to make a decision. Give them the information in a clear takeaway using a combination of the following marketing materials.

marketing materials for VSU, presentation folder, flyer, and envelope

Presentation folders can hold all your marketing materials

Presentation folders

Custom presentation folders keep you organized, show your attention to detail, and make an enduring impression. Our clients use them for press kits, fundraising, presentation takeaways, welcome packets, sample kits, and more. They make excellent educational packets for schools, seminars, trade shows, and training events. Learn more about the benefits of custom presentation folders, options available, and how to keep prices low on our blog.


This versatile marketing material makes itself at home everywhere from your office’s front desk to conference tote bags, your expo booth to direct mail. It literally puts important company information at your prospects’ fingertips. Read our tips for designing custom brochures. 


Flyers aren’t just for community message boards. Consider them for an upcoming event or collect them in a custom presentation folder.

Case studies, testimonials, price lists, and product sheets

These marketing materials provide detailed information about how you solve problems, delight your clients, and meet customers’ needs. Keep them organized in a custom presentation folder.

marketing materials for John Tyler Community College, manual, self-mailer, and booklet

Branded manuals can be a useful addition to marketing materials


That how-to guide can also serve as a marketing tool. We offer a wide range of options including saddle stitched and perfect bound books. Learn how the binding types compare. 


Nothing grabs attention quite like a poster. Consider one for your next event or product launch.

What marketing materials do small businesses need for direct mail?

The United States Postal Service reports that 98% of Americans check their mail every day. Direct mail lets you meet your ideal customer right at their doorstep by sending targeted advertising based on zip code and route. You can customize your mailing based on your audience’s age, income, or household size. You just have to decide what will be most effective in their mailbox. Not sure? We’re happy to help. Contact us for expert advice.


Postcards are a low-cost way to deliver your message without a barrier between the viewer and the message. There are no envelopes to open so your prospect gets the message while they sort mail. As an added benefit, if postcards are undeliverable and returned to sender, you can update your mailing list, eliminating costs and waste for future mailings.


Self-mailers fold and mail without an envelope. Like brochures, they can come in a variety of folds and panel counts. They’re secured with adhesive tabs to keep them contained in transit and looking good when they arrive. If this is your first mailing or you haven’t sent them in a few years, check out updated requirements from the United States Postal Service.


Newsletters can foster an established relationship with clients, members, or donors.


If you have a list of products, it might be worth considering catalogs as part of your marketing materials.

What marketing materials can my small business use to express gratitude?

Imagine receiving a handwritten note in the mail on a special day. Feels good, doesn’t it? How about when your favorite coffee shop gives you a free cup of joe just for doing what you always do? At BambooInk, we love people who give us coffee. Consider ways you can spark that joy for your contacts.

Thank you cards

When you want to show your appreciation, nothing beats a personalized note on custom stationery.

Customer loyalty cards as part of Ellwood Thompson's marketing materials

Customer loyalty cards for Ellwood Thompson’s Local Market

Customer loyalty cards

Reward your most frequent and loyal customers. Devise a way for customers to earn points and name a reward they’ll receive for a set number of points. It can be as simple as a punch card that tracks coffee purchases. If they buy nine cups of coffee, their tenth one is on the house.

BambooInk holiday postcards

Our branded holiday postcards

Holiday greetings and notes for special occasions

Tis the season to say thank you. If the standard greeting card isn’t your style, a fun postcard that sparks engagement might be the way to go. For our holiday mailing, we asked customers to share what the word on the front of the card meant to them. They shared their photos on social media and tagged us in the post.

What are some tips for printing marketing materials for small businesses?

Now that you know what you need and how to use it, make sure you have the highest quality printed marketing materials.

Hire professionals

We know you’re creative and talented–after all, you started a small business–but trust experts in these services just as you want to be the go-to expert in your field. They’ll help your marketing materials pop. The professionals listed below typically have a wide network, and you never know, they might offer referrals to your business.


“Simply put, your brand is your promise to your customer,” writes John Williams for Entrepreneur. A branding strategy can help express your value proposition and establish the tone for your communications.

Graphic design

There are a number of free graphic design tools online that offer templates, but a professional graphic designer can incorporate your brand into all your marketing materials. You’ll get a finished product that appeals to your customers and is unique to you.


Look your best with professional portraits and product photography.


Okay, okay. This one might be a bit self-serving, but we promise that the results you’ll get from a professional printer will far exceed your office’s LaserJet. Good printers will work with your small business to save money by selecting the printing process, paper, quantity, sheet layout, and more that will keep your costs as low as possible.

Create a consistent look

Your marketing materials shouldn’t be identical, but it should be obvious at a glance that all the materials are from the same company. Each piece should communicate your brand.

Include key information

Double check that your marketing materials contain your company’s name, logo, tagline, website, and contact information (phone, email, mailing address, and even social media).

What’s the next step for printed materials for small business?

This might seem like a lot, but begin with the essentials and go from there. We are here to help mail and ship by offering data preparation, variable data, insertion, local delivery or national carriers, and more. We also offer full order fulfillment, including inventory management and packaging flat or three-dimensional items.

Let’s get started

We know every business is different, and we’re here to help you determine your needs and stay within your budget. Contact us for personalized solutions or get an estimate.

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