5 Steps to Great Print Planning

Most successful printing projects don’t happen by accident. They start with a good plan. Here are 5 steps to ensuring that everything goes smoothly and on budget.

  1. What is the goal of the printed piece?

Is the goal of the piece to entertain or inform? To impress? Your marketing goals influence the design and quality of the piece. Certain ideas may have a significant impact on turnaround or cost. For example, some binding options can take extra time, and certain trim sizes might incur extra expense. Paper choices can also affect the project cost and turnaround time.

  1. Who is the audience, and how will they use the piece?

If you are designing a flyer for a theatrical opening, it will look different than one promoting a rock concert. People read a book differently than they read a poster. Before setting anything in stone, talk to us to determine how your design decisions can affect the project budget and schedule.

  1. How many suppliers are involved?

Take into account the schedules of any outside service providers. For example, if you are using a freelance illustrator or label designer, you need to take his or her availability into consideration. If you’re adhering a label to a bottle, you need to work with the bottle company to ensure that the bottles are available when you need them.

  1. When does the piece need to arrive?

Always plan backwards from the delivery date. It’s particularly important to involve us in this part of the planning process so we can schedule your project. Because we juggle many jobs at any given time, your project needs gets to press in time to meet your deadline. If not, your job may get rescheduled behind other jobs, and especially if those jobs are large or complex, that can affect its mail or delivery date significantly.

  1. How much “fudge” do you need?

Finally, you need to incorporate “fudge factor.” Always add in buffer time to accommodate slippage in the schedule. The larger the project, the more buffer you will need.

The moral of the story? Good print planning starts with communicating early—and often.

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Are You Designing for Visual Impairment?

When we think about selecting a font for a print marketing piece, we tend to think about the creative aspects of the selection. Does it match the branding? Will it convey the right message (strength, creativity, whimsy) to the target audience? But there are some practical issues that need to be considered as well. These relate to readability.

Not everyone in your target audience has the same level of vision. Older members might be facing issues like cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma. Even younger consumers may have untreated amblyopia or eye teaming. These visual issues make reading challenging. If your audience has trouble just reading the words, the larger marketing message will get lost.

According to the American Foundation for the Blind, when choosing a font, here are some specific things to consider for target audiences (or portions of those audiences) who might be facing vision issues:

Font type: Use easily recognizable characters in fonts such as standard Roman or Arial. Avoid decorative fonts.

Font size: Increase the font size to make it easier to read. This is especially important for in-store displays, signage, and other materials that may be read from a distance.

Serif vs. sans serif: For maximum readability, use a sans serif typeface.

Bold it. When possible, use bold type because the thickness of the letters makes the print more legible.

Contrast: Choose colors and type styles that contrast from background. The more contrast, the easier the font is to read. You may want to avoid using italics or all capital letters. Both make it more difficult to differentiate letters.

If you are going to a general audience, it might be worth segmenting out specific age groups or other demographics and including font selection and sizing as part of the customization.

Need help choosing the right font for your audience or segmenting your projects to get the right match between the two? Let us help.


7 Ways to Maximize Impact on a Small Budget

A high-impact marketing campaign comes from creativity and strategy, not from having limitless resources. Let’s look at seven ways to optimize your marketing budget for maximum impact, even on minimum dollars.

  1. Concentrate on a niche market. Target your message to a smaller market versus a diverse group of prospects. Maximize your marketing spend by mailing highly relevant, targeted offers rather than general solicitations.
  2. Plan your printing. Involve us in the design of your printed pieces from the beginning. We can often recommend paper, ink, trim sizes, and layouts that will save you money.
  3. Maximize your postal spend. New postage rates have recently gone into effect that address size, shape and weight. Using these new parameters, we can advise you on creating mailings that will minimize your postage expense while maximizing your ROI.
  4. Consider postcards. Some studies estimate postcard readership at close to 100%, especially if your design is eye-catching and your message is brief. Ask us for assistance in creating a low-cost postcard that meets postal service specifications for reduced postage.
  5. Be the expert. When prospective clients are in need of your product or service, you will have instant credibility if they have seen your name in print. Create a newsletter or blog, write articles for magazines, newspapers and journals, or even consider producing your own branded magazine.
  6. Network. Join a speakers bureau and attend trade shows and conferences. Utilize online networking resources, such as LinkedIn. Pass out and mail business cards and brochures to boost awareness among your potential clients.
  7. Partner with non-competing businesses. Identify companies that offer complementary goods and services, and create cooperative marketing collateral using a pool of shared dollars.

There are many cost-effective ways to let future customers know about your company’s products and services. Be resourceful and you will reap the rewards on your balance sheet.


3 Ways to Make More of Your Data

One of the biggest misconceptions about 1:1 (personalized) printing is that marketers don’t have enough of the data to create personalized, highly relevant campaigns. This might be true in some cases, but you might also be overlooking ways to do more with the data you already have.

Here are three ways to maximize the use of existing data:

  1. Revive existing customer relationships.

Find those customers that used to order frequently but who might have dropped off the map. Send them a note telling them you missed them. Ask them to fill out a survey (to find out why) and offer a coupon encouraging them to come back.

  1. Cross-sell and upsell.

While prospecting is an important part of marketing, your most profitable relationships are the customers who already buy from you. Take advantage of these relationships by proactively cross-selling and upselling relevant products of use to them. If you are an auto dealer and know a customer’s lease is about to expire on a Toyota Corolla, for example, send a personalized brochure appealing to all of the benefits of upgrading to a Toyota Camry.

  1. Start a loyalty program.

Ask existing customers to join a loyalty program. These programs encourage customers to maintain their relationship with you based on deals. Buy nine, get the tenth free. Earn discounts and free stuff based on shopping frequency or referrals. Sometimes loyalty program benefits are discounts and free merchandise, but especially for luxury items, exclusive access and insider information can be powerful incentives, too. If you are a local winery, ask tour visitors to sign up for a wine club. Offer insider “deals” like exclusive wine tastings and access to lectures from local celebrities.

Need help maximizing your existing customer data? We’ve got great ideas. Just ask!


Personalized Marketing: It’s Mainstream

From personalized coupons at the checkout counter to “just for you” recommendations at Amazon.com, personalized marketing is everywhere.

While some marketers are still deciding whether to take the plunge into this “new” form of marketing in print, fully personalized documents have been around for a long time. Back in 2010 (“Capturing the Cross-Media Direct Marketing Opportunity”), InfoTrends found that the overwhelming majority of marketers were already using segmented (40%) or fully personalized (21%) communications. Only 40% of campaigns fit into the category of “one to many.” This means that if you are sending static mail pieces, you’re competing with marketers who are not only speaking to their customers and prospects on a personalized level, but they are seasoned at doing so. If your competitors are personalizing and you are not, you are at a competitive disadvantage.

Need to get started? Even with a simple basic customer list, here are steps you can take:

  1. Personalize by name.

Use the recipient’s name creatively. Integrate it into the design in an interesting, eye-catching way.

  1. Target by a single, simple variable.

Will it help to target the mailing by gender? How about by ZIP code? Would it help to add a map? (This works great for new businesses or new branches or locations.) These are data you already have. Use them!

  1. Beef up your marketing database.

Purchase simple variables like home ownership or household income for the names you already have. Adding to your database is not expensive, and it can boost your marketing effectiveness exponentially.

Need help? Talk to us about how you can put data to use to create a more personal relationship with your customers.


Fun Fact

 The first New Orleans Mardi Gras parade was 177 years ago

 

*Read More: 10 Fun Facts About Mardi Gras | http://us105fm.com/10-fun-facts-about-mardi-gras/

Fun Fact

An astronaut can be up to 2 inches taller returning from space (the cartilage disks in the spine expand in the absence of gravity)

*Reference: http://www.did-you-knows.com/did-you-know-facts/height.php