Be Neutral
A Publication of the Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution


This is one in a series of marketing articles that will explain e-marketing in layman’s terms.  This information is provided to help you modify your online presence to get your practice noticed.

Marketing Tip: Should You Still Be Using Printed Collateral ?

Prior to the mid 1990s when public access to the internet came into being, marketing was accomplished using printed materials. These included business cards, brochures, ads in industry specific publications, and more.  As we've illustrated over the past year, the internet has created many efficient, effective marketing opportunities that allow you to reach substantially more people. Does that mean print collateral is dead ?  No, just the opposite - print advertising now has to be better than ever !

Before you start printing collateral however let's make sure you have all the other elements in place:

Logo designed that will work well in all formats
Website up, running and optimized for search
Registered with GODR
GR Code designed ( see - )
Mailing list started
Newsletter template designed

Now that you have the basics in place let's consider what printed materials are really necessary and which you can cost justify:

A.  Business Cards
Regardless of the nature of your practice you MUST have business cards that are specific to your mediation / arbitration practice.  They should include color and your logo - cards that are white or cream with cursive text will end up in the bottom of the pile.  However if you create a card with strong color and a great logo your card will stand out in the pile and may be just enough to remind someone to pull it out.

Your business card needs to include just the basic contact info - name, phone, website, and email address.  As you probably mediate in a variety of locations your address isn't going to be important anymore.  You would hate to have someone decide not to use you for a lucrative mediation just based on the fact that you were geographically undesirable !  One quick note about your email address - while many of you like to use gmail, hotmail, yahoo and other mail services....don't do it on your business cards !  Using a free email service makes you look unprofessional at best and often will make professionals who are sending you private documents uncomfortable.  The hosting provider for your website will normally offer you free mailboxes that mirror your URL - please use one of these !

Now that we rely so much on e-mail and phone it is important to give people an easy way to ensure that they don't make a mistake when entering your contact info into their database.  The best way to to this is to create a GR code and put it on the back of your business card.  There are apps out there where you can create this for free - for more detailed information about GR codes and how to build them please read our prior article on the topic ( )

B.  Brochures
We are often asked about brochures and whether or not they are of value.  The answer is yes, if designed and used correctly.  Assuming you are a small practice ( 1-4 professionals) a traditional 3 part foldover brochure is more than sufficient.  On the other hand, if you are a substantially larger group (8+) then a book style brochure is probably going to be required.  The downside of the book style brochure is that they are expensive and tend to make the reader feel that your services are going to be too expensive for them to use.  On the other hand, a well designed 3 panel brochure that includes basic details on your mediators and services along with all your contact info should be more than enough to pique the reader's interest.  As you already have a well designed website up and running...and you've listed it on the brochure...then the rest of the information they need to know about your practice will be found there.

Just starting out as a sole practitioner ?  Well for you the single panel piece (often called a rack card) that is the size of a business envelope may be just the right tool for you.  Both the three panel and the single panel piece can easily fit in a standard business envelope with your ONE PAGE letter of introduction.  As you'll be mailing to a lot of folks costs will be an issue and these two options are the least expensive.

C.  Pens, calculators, golf balls, etc
Some people believe that if you really want a prospective client to remember you that the best way to do it is to give them a tangible item that they will use daily on which you can imprint your logo and / or contact info.   The problem with these printed promotional items is that they get expensive very quickly and unless you are very careful you might be spending a lot of money for something that goes into the recipient's desk draw never to surface again. 

The good news in the era of digital printing is that doing any of the items we've suggested here can be done very cost effectively.  Large volume printers like VistaPrint and PrintPlace will inundate you will offers as soon as they realize you are in business.  Printing 500 business cards can even be free in some instances !  On the front end you'll want to order manageable quantities of your printed materials (remember if you mail to 5,000 people you're going to get a lot of calls...and if you can't manage them all the caller isn't going to try again).  Digital printers can turn your order in as little as 3 days so order what you'll need to start and then once you see what works, tweak that brochure or card so that it will work as well as possible.

Questions about your own printed materials ?   We'll be happy to arrange a consultation for you so you look your best !



Michele Gibson is a Georgia-registered neutral and a certified emerging media consultant.  She is the president of Digital Smart Tool, LLC – an e-marketing firm offering website design, SEO, electronic newsletters, social media coaching, and marketing training seminars.

Phone: 404-592-3367  E-mail: