The Contractor’s Guide to Marketing Materials

This is the ultimate guide for creating EFFECTIVE marketing materials for federal contracting.

So if you want to:

  • Increase your federal sales.
  • Grow your business.
  • Secure a recession-proof stream of revenue.

Then this is the guide for you. In this blog post, we’re going to cover which marketing materials you need to find success in the federal sector.

Let’s get right into it.

A Developed Brand

Well established brand is just as important in federal contracting as it is in the private sector. Either way, you’re marketing your goods and services to people. People need to trust your company.

A brand is how you do that because:

Trust = Recognition + Consistency + Familiarity

Developing familiarity depends on your outreach.

Developing recognition and consistency depends on establishing your brand.

Quick. Answer these three questions:

  • What is the McDonald’s slogan?
  • Who is the mascot of Disney?
  • What are the Coca-Cola colors?

It’s kind of scary that we can name all of them all, but that’s how brands are supposed to work.

Don’t you think it’s crazy how a simple visual or audio stimulus conveys an idea of a company, product, or service?

So no matter the size of your company (even if you’re just one person), invest in creating a brand. Get a logo, get company colors, go as far as creating your own slogan.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: 1 message shown 8 times is more effective than 8 messages shown 1 time each.

Capabilities Statement

Now that you’ve established an overall consistent look and message to your brand, it’s time to get started on your capabilities statement. In federal contracting, this will be the most important out of all of your marketing materials.

So what is a capabilities statement?

Think of it as a resume for your buisness. It’s a one-page document that displays what your buisness does and to what extent. Sometimes who wins or who doesn’t win a contract all comes down to the quality of the capabilities statement.

If you’re not willing to take the time and effort to craft a well-written capabilities statement, then quit right now. Seriously, why would you even bother with federal contracting?

Here’s a breakdown of the different sections of a capabilities statement:

  • Introduction/About Us
  • Core Information
  • Differentiators
  • Point of Contact
  • Corporate Data (Address, DUNS, CAGE, NAICS)
  • Past Performance

So what does a capabilities statement look like?

Just check out the capabilities statement for US Federal Contractor Registration:


There’s not enough that can be said about capabilities statements. If you are in the middle of making one, then be sure to check out this blog post for a more comprehensive guide.

But for now, let’s move on.

Letters

I know what you’re thinking.

“Letters? What? Why? It’s…2019.”

You have every right to think that way….and so does your competition.

Which is exactly why you should take this approach!

One of the keys to winning federal contracts and building relationships with agencies is to stand out. These days, it means a lot to get a physical letter because so few people still do it.

It takes just a few moments to send an email, phone call, or a message over social media. A letter really shows that you took the time to reach out to this individual. No matter what industry you work in, that means something. We’re all human and we all want to feel special.

Plus, when was the last time a client or buisness connection sent you a letter in the mail?

A killer letter can get you a letter back, a phone call, or get you added on someone’s LinkedIn network (it’s happened). As long as you created a bridge of communication between your company and the federal government, your letter did its job.

But better yet, send it as an overnight letter or put it in a priority envelope.

Get yourself on a quarterly schedule for sending these things out.

Plus around the end of the year, send a holiday card. Put pictures of you, your family, your pets, and your business.

Humanize your brand.

Letters seem sort of unorthodox in this day and age, but that’s exactly why you should send them.

Stand out. Be noticed. Get the conversation started.

It works.

SWAG

In the marketing world, SWAG stands for “Stuff We All Get.” Pretty much, SWAG consists of complimentary items that at least have a company’s name, logo, and colors on it (that’s why you need to create a brand first).

SWAG can come in the form of:

  • Pens
  • Mousepads
  • Stress Balls
  • Power Banks
  • Hats
  • Just anything you can come up with (seriously, get creative with it)

I bet right now if you’re at work or your home office, it will take you about 5 minutes tops to find an item of SWAG. Perhaps it’s an item that you use every day.

You can get your SWAG out to federal agencies, but keep in mind the rules. After all, federal employees are public servants and they cannot accept anything that can be perceived as a bribe. So to get federal agencies to have your pen or mousepad on their desks (or just whatever), you need to know that there’s a $25 limit per year to one person.

HOWEVER, you can also just send an overall package of pens and whatnot to an agency as a whole.

SWAG doesn’t just develop brand recognition, but it also opens the doors to communication. Give it time and reach out to the agency.

“What did you think?”

“Do other people do this?”

“How are the X’s working?”

You get the idea.

Brochure and Booth

These last two marketing materials go hand-in-hand since they pertain to trade shows.

A brochure is like a step above a business card. You can adjust them to even focus solely on one product/service you offer to a contracting officer or even prime contractor. These are especially useful for inventors who could use a bit of a convenient visual aid to describe what they offer.

With booths, you’re going to need to take a bit more time and consideration. You should at least attended one or two trade shows before investing in a booth. Scout out if your competition is there. Figure out why they were or why they weren’t at these shows.

Next, you’re going to want to consider the cost-per-contract model and it goes like this:

  • On average, a booth is going to cost you around $25,000 to set-up and staff.
  • An in-person visit is going to run you about $200 (travel expenses, etc.).
  • You attend a show with about 100 contracting officers and primes (that could use your product or service).
  • That runs you about $250 per visit.
  • You still save a considerable amount of time versus going after all of these contacts individually.

So in short, by all means, go federal contracting trade shows. At least have a few brochures on hand. However, take some time to make sure that setting up your own booth is worth it.

Send Me Your Questions!

Want to know more about marketing materials or just federal contracting in general?

Feel free to ask me directly!

My name is Hayden Johnson, I work at US Federal Contractor Registration (aka the most trusted third-party registration firm in the world) and you can reach me at hjohnson@usfcrgov.com

Please include:

  • The title of this post in the subject line.
  • A little about what you do and your current status in federal contracting (to help me get a better answer for you).
  • Any question you have about federal contracting!

Also, did you enjoy this post? Did you hate it? Is there some kind of essential marketing material that was left out?

Let me know in the comments below.

Besides that, good luck and happy contracting!

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