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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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:
- Personalize by name.
Use the recipient’s name creatively. Integrate it into the design in an interesting, eye-catching way.
- 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!
- 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.
The first New Orleans Mardi Gras parade was 177 years ago
An astronaut can be up to 2 inches taller returning from space (the cartilage disks in the spine expand in the absence of gravity)
When it comes to boosting revenues, many companies focus on acquiring new customers. In fact, according to Econsultancy’s “Cross-Channel Marketing Report 2014,” 44% of marketers are placing a greater focus on customer acquisition than customer retention. Only 18% are focusing more on customer retention. However, focusing on acquisition to the exclusion of customer retention may not be the best strategy. Here’s why:
- The 80-20 rule applies in marketing, too. Research shows that 80% of a company’s revenues come from 20% of its customers. These 20% love your brand and find value in a relationship with your company. Identifying and courting those customers can be enormously profitable.
- The chances of making a sale to a new customer ranges from 5–20%, according to Marketing Metrics. By contrast, the likelihood of selling to an existing customer jumps to 60–70%. Your existing customers can be your most lucrative. You want to keep them.
- According to Peppers & Rogers, it can cost up to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. For this reason, it can take up to one full year before a new customer becomes profitable. Once you’ve acquired those new customers, you need to keep them.
On board with customer retention? Let us help you identify your most profitable customers and craft a great customer retention campaign!
“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – Socrates
Get ready for great USPS promotions in 2016! Just like in 2015, the USPS will offer a 2% discount on qualifying promotions that use interactive technologies that make your mail pieces more effective and cost-efficient, too.
The new promotional categories for 2016 are as follows:
Emerging and Advanced Technology/Video in Print Promotion (March – August 2016): As in 2015, the promotion encourages mailers to incorporate mobile and other print technologies into their mail pieces. In 2016, this includes Near Field Communications (NFC) and Video in Print, as well. The 2016 promotion also adds an A/B Testing option. To receive the 2% discount, mailers must use A/B testing protocols and provide results to the Postal Service, which will share data with other marketers. Shared data will not identify participating mailers.
Tactile, Sensory, and Interactive Mail Piece Engagement Promotion (March – August 2016): This promotion is new to the USPS and will offer a 2% discount to mailers who incorporate advanced print innovations in paper and substrates, finishing techniques, and inks.
Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion: This is an extension of the 2015 promotion that encourages mailers to keep Business Reply Mail (BRM) and Courtesy Reply Mail (CRM) envelopes and cards in their outgoing mail pieces. Qualifying mailers will receive a two-cent postage credit for each BRM and CRM piece returned during the promotion period. Mailers who participated in the 2015 Earned Value Reply Mail Promotion and either meet or increase their volume of qualifying BRM/CRM pieces will receive an additional one-cent (three cents total) for each returned BRM and CRM piece.
Mobile Shopping Promotion (July – December 2016): As in 2015, this promotion will encourage mailers to integrate mobile technology into their direct mail. The 2016 promotion will include a new social media component under which consumers will be able to connect with “Buy Now” features available on most major social media platforms.
Personalized Color Transpromo Promotion (July – December 2016): This is a continuation of the 2015 promotion that encourages mails of bills and statements that use color messaging to either address the recipient by name or use information relevant and specific to the recipient. The promotion applies only to bills and statements.
There has never been a better time to use postal mail. Give us a call — let’s get mailing!