Consider your branding strategy.
Setting yourself apart is essential in today’s world. How you present yourself and your business values to others is an extension of your brand. Everything from how you communicate, to your social media to even your invoices can make the world of a difference.
When developing your brand name, one of the most vital things customers look for is trust.
So, you need to communicate that message through each one of your touch points with your customers. And in this guide, we’ll be looking at how you can do that by using your invoices as a marketing opportunity.
But first, what is an invoice?
So, what is an invoice, exactly?
An invoice is a legally-binding document that indicates the buyer is owed a certain amount of money for the provided goods or services. In other words, it’s a payment request that lists the provided services for a certain sum of money.
Businesses often overlook invoices and see them as something monotonous that they have to send out at the end of each month.
But did you know that your business invoice can be a powerful means of communication?
As such, they can be used for an effective promotional and a marketing tool.
Electronic invoices, more specifically, have a lot of marketing opportunity in that they can be customized to fit your business goals and branding.
Read on to find out how you can effectively leverage your invoices to further extend your marketing brand.
1. A personalized invoice
Whether you’re a business owner, an entrepreneur, or a freelancer, you probably deal with a number of clients, all of who are different.
Invoices are an important form of communication with your clients, so, it’s important you create something that will leave a lasting impression and be more memorable. And if you manage to stay memorable, they just might come back for more.
Here is where the personalized invoice comes in.
Instead of sending out the default and boring invoice, you can take it a step further and fill out a personalized invoice tailored to that specific client.
Your customer may skim through an email, but chances are, they’re more likely to read an invoice all the way through, including the details. You can use this as an opportunity to further market yourself.
So, the next time you’re sending out an invoice, try to take some extra time and make it custom tailored to your client. Promote yourself in a way no one else is doing by create an image of your branding based on how you want to position yourself.
Though an invoicing might be a fairly straightforward process, it can leave lasting first impressions and further promote your brand.
2. Getting your name out there
If you decide to take the above approach, you can start with putting your logo in front of your clients’ eyes.
In order to get more customers and gain more exposure for your brand, you’re going to need to get your name out there.
Most invoicing platforms allow you to add your logo and customize the invoice (font, background, etc.). Something as simple as adding your logo can put you ahead of your competition because it’s a simple way to remind them who you are, what you stand for and that you’re different from the competition.
Ideally, your brand plan should come into play at all of your touch points with your customers - and this includes your invoices as well.
Your brand defines ‘you’ in your business and this is a really simple and a straightforward way of extending your brand notions. Branding reflects your business objectives and ideas. It tells your customers that you’re going to upkeep your business culture and everything else you believe in.
And in this case, your logo is a stamp of approval for all of the above. Don’t be afraid to remind your customers what you stand for.
3. More incentives
Similarly, you can take advantage of this often overlooked touchpoint with your customers and use it as a way to provide more incentives.
Though this technique isn’t necessarily new, it’s still just as effective and if you’re running a business, this can be part of your bigger customer service marketing strategy.
Your customer service is a big part of building a favorable brand for your business. And if you want them to keep on coming back to you, you can provide some form of incentives or rewards to do so.
Don’t be afraid to reward them once in a while for being a loyal customer. To do so, you can start providing coupons, loyalty promotions, referral rewards, and other incentives - written neatly on your invoice. For example, you can make it a win-win situation by offering your customers a discount if they refer your brand to people in their social circles.
Your customers will appreciate your thoughtfulness and you’ll gain more customers.
This is a simple and an effective way of encouraging repeat customers.
Your invoice has enough space to provide incentives and to market your brand - be sure to use it.
4. Communication etiquette
Like the above, this is a great way to leverage your invoices as a way to increase your overall customer experience.
Did you know that 84% of organizations that worked on improving customer experience (CX) in 2017 saw an increase in revenue? (Source)
If you want to do the same for your brand, consider how you communicate with your clients on your invoices. Your invoices give you a platform where you can communicate with your customers one-on-one, take advantage of it.
First of all, this gives you a place where you can ask for feedback. You can ask what areas they think needs improvement. This is another win-win situation because they feel valued and gives you a chance to improve areas you may have overlooked. You can also leave a link for your clients to leave a review on your website - the possibilities are endless.
Other than that, be sure to watch your tone when writing an invoice. It’s always important to stay polite and professional when dealing with a client. When it comes to business, every form of communication matters - including invoices, and they all can have an impact on your brand.
Even something simple like a “thank you for your business!” at the end of your invoice can leave a lasting impression on your client.
5. More sales
Invoices are a way to get paid. But if done well and you apply all of the above steps correctly - you can also use your invoices to generate even more sales.
There are many different ways to incorporate this into your invoices.
Adding a special “offers” list to your invoices can incentivize your customers to take the call to action and help you net a sale. Remember, your invoices should reinforce your brand. So, be sure to customize your invoice so the design looks appealing and your clients go over it. This also has the added benefit of branding your invoices - allowing your clients to remember you at the end of the day.
When doing this, however, you have to make sure your invoice isn’t cramped with offers. If anything, this will discourage your customers from wanting to do business with you. You have to find the right balance of being visually appealing while communicating your brand, and have some form of call-to-action to make them repeat customers.
In short, invoices are bills. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to further market your brand. By positioning your invoices as something that benefits everyone involved - you’re making it a win-win situation and make more money issuing invoices than before.
Uwe is the founder of online invoicing software InvoiceBerry and also offers Free Invoice templates to businesses. Small businesses and sole traders can create, send and manage their invoices, quotes and credit notes with the tool. In his free time, Uwe travels the world and enjoys experiencing different cultures.