Your sales invoice should be valuable tool for your company

I’m willing to guess that you’ve given some thought about how your communication looks. You probably have nice stationary and many of you also have figured out how to send emails that include your company logo.

But, have you considered how your invoice should be designed in terms of how it looks from a graphics perspective and other “extras” that could be included on it? To say that most small business invoices are “ho-hum” would be putting it mildly.

Think about it this way: You put your “best foot” forward when you set out to land new customers. You hand out nice business cards. You have a beautiful website for prospects to visit. You send out marketing materials printed on glossy paper and designed by professional graphic artists.

But when it’s time to ask these people for money, you use a standard form that could have been printed out 70 years ago and no one would know the difference. Frankly, this tells your customers that you just don’t care anymore.

You sales invoice should be an item that you give some thought to, and I think this applies in two general areas:

  • The graphic design of your invoice, and
  • The space on your invoice where you can include comments or additional information.

Invoice graphic design

If you’re still working your way through an old box of invoices you had a local printer make for you a few years ago, well, they’re a good chance that they’re sufficiently boring and you should chuck them. There are many ways to customize various invoice templates today. Microsoft Word comes with several invoice templates and they can all be improved with the addition of your logo. Online accounting services like Quickbooks, and online payment systems, such as PayPal, allow you to easily add your company logo. It just takes a few mouse clicks and you’ll only have to do it once.

The point is to give the same kind of attention to the invoices you send as you do to your other important business communication. Make it a mailing piece that you’re proud of.

Creative use of space

There is usually an area where you can enter comments on invoice templates. If you’re using something like a Microsoft invoice template, you can make wholesale changes to type and add virtually any information.

Let me forward this idea: Your sales invoice should be a sales piece. Why not use some of the available space to start your next sale with each customer. Use it to promote an “unadvertised special” or news about a new product that is scheduled to be available soon.

You can even have some fun with it. Say something like, “If you’ve paid enough attention to read all the fine print on this sales invoice, use code #XYZ123 on your next widget order to get an immediate 10 percent discount! And thanks for one of our most observant customers.”

And if you send invoices via postal mail, don’t forget that you can stuff the envelops with other materials promoting your company in different ways. You’re already paying for the postage, why not piggyback another bit of information on the mailing?

These are just a few ideas. Remember that the most profitable companies take advantage of every opportunity available to improve their branding and make incremental sales.

Your sales invoice should be included in those strategies.