Marketing is a big umbrella. Everything from websites to T-shirts falls under it, and sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start.
In order to set companies up for success, it’s important that they have the following things in place, regardless of the medium they are using.
A logo and artwork
I would say that most of the companies I work with have a logo of some sort. While some have invested in a company to design it, most have had it around for some time and can’t really remember who built it or when.
Your logo is an important foundation of your brand and is used in almost all advertising to ensure that you are recognized by customers and potential customers.
While most of you can check the box when it comes to having a logo, I’d be willing to bet that a lot of you don’t have it in all of the formats that you need. (It never fails that just about the time you get all of your logos in a folder, someone will request something you don’t have.)
So, before you do anything else, it’s important that you have all of your logo files in three formats: full color, grayscale and black and white. When it comes to logos, colors, or lack thereof, matter. And if you’re wondering what types of files you should have to cover all of your bases, here are the essentials:
JPEG files — These are traditional photo images of your logo. JPEGs are probably the most common “image” file and something that many companies will request when working with your company’s marketing. These images should be saved in multiple sizes because JPEGs do not scale well.
This means that if you have a small logo file and you try to blow it up to put it on a banner, it will become pixelated and unreadable. I like having three sizes of each color in JPEG format: one that’s very large (a minimum of 24 inches at its widest point), as well as a medium and small version. (As a reference point, I like the smallest one to be only three or four inches at its widest point.)
EPS files — Although these aren’t used as often, they’re very helpful when you are doing Web advertising and graphic design work. The primary difference between these files and JPEGs is that they are saved without a background, allowing you to place them over the top of other images without that frustrating white box around your logo.
Like JPEGS, EPS files do not scale well, so you’ll want to have them in the same colors and sizes as the JPEG files.
Creation files — Because every designer is different, these files may be called vector files, AI files or PSD files. They’ll probably be the most frustrating files you have to work with because it’s likely you will not be able to open them.
Chances are good you’ll be able to see the file, but when you click the open button, the “what program would you like to open this file with” dialog box will pop up. Even though you may not be able to open them, the files have significant value to you as a company because they’re traditionally scalable to any size without degradation.
One pro tip: Ask the designers who help you make this to be sure to embed or outline the font before they send you the art. This will ensure that you do not run into a designer down the road trying to match a font and only being able to “get close.”
You’ll want these files when you’re doing high-end design work, as well as any other work that requires large sizes such as bus wraps, billboards and signage.
This is another box that most companies may think can easily be checked, but I am always surprised with just how incomplete company photo libraries really are. To have a well-rounded image library, you want to have some pictures in each of the following categories:
- Straight on side of the coach. While it sounds simple, this photo is a “go to” for a lot of marketing venues. Get one of every type of vehicle you have.
- Frankly, the interior of a modern motorcoach is more comfortable than many airplanes I fly on these days. We have an opportunity to educate the buying public by capturing, by class of vehicle, what is available. Get detail shots of the video system, air vents, overhead luggage space, seat belts, restroom and anything else that highlights the selling points of your various vehicles.
- Photographing your coaches in picturesque locations is a powerful marketing tool, and you definitely want some of these in your toolbox. It’s also a good idea to take pictures of special features that make your coaches convenient for passengers. From luggage bays to wheelchair lifts, capture detail shots and put them in the toolbox.
- Smiling, happy people. Once you check the box on the first three, start thinking about this one. Building a library of smiling, happy people on, or near, your coaches is a remarkable marketing tool. These photos say more for your business than any testimonial, caption or text ever can. A well-executed driver photo program is a powerful way to make this happen.
These are probably the most overlooked images, and they’re super important because they allow a customer or potential customer to engage with and begin to feel comfortable with a company.
- Key Staff Members. Having photos of your staff in your toolbox is important. Using them on your website and other avenues will give you a powerful advantage over companies who don’t use them. While headshots are the traditional photos used, we have seen some that we really like that are more informal but still tastefully done.
- Driver photos. Despite the fact that drivers are the face of most bus companies for their customers, there is always a noticeable lack of these same faces in our marketing efforts. Taking photos of friendly, professionally dressed drivers doing what they do best is good for the customer aspect of your business and it’s a great tool for recruiting additional drivers as well.
- Facility Photos. Do you have a facility that you are proud of? If yes, get some photos, start using them in your promotional efforts and keep them in your toolbox.
Video is one of the most important marketing methods in today’s world. From social media posts to television spots, video is driving more buying decisions than ever before.
Building video is often seen as being intimidating and expensive. And while it’s true that it can be both of those things, it doesn’t necessarily have to be. From cellphones to GoPro cameras, there are lots of inexpensive ways to capture video clips that can be put together to make promotional videos of almost any sort.
Don’t let “getting started” get in the way of getting it done. Start by building clips you can use, even if they’re short. Once again, drivers can be a great resource here to help you get video of your coaches, staff, facility and even your passengers.
Here’s the thing: a well-executed and well-stocked marketing toolbox will make marketing simple, quick and easy.
Whether you are using the suite of GoMotorcoach tools, our new Do It For You program or employing some other method to sell more charters, to more people, for more money, we’re positive this toolbox will save you time and effort — two things that are in high demand for all of us.
For more information about the Motorcoach Marketing Council and its programs, go to www.motorcoachmarketing.org.