Thursday, April 12, 2018

Paper 101: What Different Terms Actually Mean


When asked about the details of the paper stock you are choosing for a print project, do your eyes glaze over? Do terms like basis weight, points, and color cast sound like Greek to you? If so, here is a quick list of basic terms to help you better understand the process. 
Basis weight is the weight in pounds of a ream (500 sheets) of a paper at its basic size, or the size of the uncut sheet supplied to the printer. For example, the basic size of book paper is 25 x 38 inches, so a ream weighing 70 pounds would be 70-lb. paper. Sometimes metric is used: 70-lb. book paper is equivalent to 104 g/m2.
Cover, card, and other thick stocks are often specified in points, which refers to the thickness of the paper.  This is often abbreviated “pt.”— for example, “8-pt. cover.” One point is 1/1000th of an inch, so an 8-pt. stock is 0.008 inches thick.
Paper grade refers to the end use of the paper. Bond is used for letters and documents, book paper is used for books, offset is used for offset printing, and so on. Digital presses generally have their own grades. Thicker grades include cover, bristol, tag, and index.
C1S and C2S refer to coatings. Paper is often coated during manufacture, which improves the reproduction of fine halftone screens and color fidelity. C1S  means “coated one-side,” which is useful for labels, packaging, and other materials destined for single-sided printing. C2S means “coated two-sides” and is preferred for two-sided commercial printing.
Brightness refers to the percentage of light reflected from the sheet’s surface. Basic white copy paper has a 92 brightness. Brightness by component wavelength (red, green, or blue) is also determined, as paper can reflect different amounts of certain colors, imparting a color cast to a printed piece if you’re not careful.
Paper can bring life, texture, and beauty to your projects. Want to learn more about how different choices complement different projects? Let’s talk!

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Can “I’m Sorry” Win More Business?


Everyone messes up once in awhile. Even the best, most responsible marketers get it wrong on occasion. When that happens, you have an excellent opportunity to boost sales and cement customer relationships. How? With a simple, personalized letter of apology.
Apologies are powerful. One Forbes contributor described how one company used a direct mail letter to apologize to hundreds of thousands of customers so well, so sincerely, that it ended up selling more merchandise than it would have otherwise. Talk about turning a negative into a positive!
Why do apology letters work?
1. They are relatable.
We are all human. We all make mistakes. By apologizing, you humanize your company and create empathy. When done well, addressing the person by name and including personal, relevant details to them, a sincere apology letter can improve the customer relationship.
2. They give you credibility. 
Nobody likes to apologize. When a company apologizes, it gets a customer's attention. This can give you tremendous credibility that builds trust.  
2. It gives you an opportunity to make right.
Everybody likes when a wrong is made right. Once you have a customer's attention, an apology letter can create positive feelings about your company and further cement customer loyalty.
It is not necessary to send formal apologies for every misstep, but when it merits, don't be afraid to do so. Keep it simple. Be sincere. Do it well, and you might find that instead of losing customers, you gain more loyal customers instead.


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Want More Donations? Choose Print!


For nonprofits, every dollar they spend on overhead, administration, and marketing is a dollar not spent on their mission. Not surprisingly, there is an intense focus on which marketing channels are most effective. So which channel works best for nonprofits? A study by YouGov provides the answer: direct mail. In a survey of more than 1,150 U.S adults, YouGov found the following:
  • One-fifth (21%) of respondents said that a direct mail solicitation prompted them to make their most recent donation. This is higher than for any other channel.
  • Older donors (55+) are most likely to respond to direct mail. One-quarter made their last gift in response to a mailing. Among 18-34-year-olds, this drops to 14%.
  • Lower income households are among the most motivated by direct mail. Nearly one-third of those earning $40,000 per year or less responded to direct mail for their last donation. Among those earning $80,000+ per year, this drops to 18%.
  • Only 12% of donors report being prompted to make their last gift by something they heard about on the radio, on TV, or in print. 
  • Even fewer (10%) were prompted by email.
  • Very few donors (6%) were prompted by social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, although this is stronger among 18-34-year-olds (11%).
When it comes to fundraising, direct mail is the clear winner for nonprofits. So once you have decided to launch a direct mail campaign, what is the next step? Make it the best it can be. Why not give us a call?


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Friday, March 9, 2018

Make a Stronger Impression with Print


Marketers should be paying attention to today’s trends in education. The same tools that help young readers learn and absorb information help the target audiences for your marketing campaigns learn and retain marketing information, too. One of these tools is paper.  In a new report, “Third Annual Back to School Annual Report,” the Paper and Packaging Board has gathered a vast number of statistics that show just how vital print remains to learning.
Take a look at this data:
      96% of parents think that paper is an essential part of their children achieving their educational goals.  This includes 95% of Millennial parents.
      86% of parents say their children learn better when they write things down on paper.
      56% of Millennial parents feel “most comfortable” helping their children when they are working with textbooks and worksheets.
      72% of parents overall say they use paper to help their children focus.
      95% agree they often see their child do well on homework when they complete it on paper.
In a world dominated by electronic communication, paper continues to show its muscle. Studies consistently show that paper aids the absorption and retention of information, which are the characteristics that help your prospects absorb and retain your marketing message, too.
Paper remains a mainstay of marketing for a reason!

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Are Recipients Getting the Message?


How often have you seen a slick direct mail piece—well written, with great graphics and a compelling call to action—but wondered, “What does this company want me to take action on?” Sometimes the simplest components of great marketing pieces are overlooked. One of these can be the actual goal of the piece.
Take a recent marketing effort from a well-known university. It was mailed to upscale professionals within a targeted geographic area. The headline read, “The Power of Discovery Starts Here.” The graphic was a rolling ball maze with the university’s logo in the center. Inside were more printed brain games. On the main page were printed the name and dates of the program in bold reverse type on a bright red background.
The piece was eye-catching, and the graphics and headlines made you want to take action. But on what, specifically? Based on the headlines, one might think it was to encourage recipients to further their education through a post-graduate or continuing education program. In reality, the piece was promoting a college prep program for middle-school aged children.  The target audience was the parents of middle schoolers, but that wasn’t clear until well down into the body of the text.
This was a mistake that could have been easily fixed. Instead of “The Power of Discovery Starts Here,” the university might have said something like, “Give Your Middle Schooler an Edge!”  
How to avoid this mistake in your own marketing?
  • Clearly define the goal of the piece upfront. What do you want people to do? Buy a product? Sign up for a program? 
  • Clearly define your target audience. Ensure that the audience not only has the need for the product or service, but that they have the ability to take the desired action. (For example, that they have the authority to make the purchase.)
  • Get a second or third set of eyes on the piece. Does the reader understand the goal? Is the CTA clear? Is the value well presented?
Some simple steps upfront can ensure that your mailing is its best. Need help? Contact one of our business development experts today!

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.


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5 Considerations for Creating Standout Mail Pieces


When we think about great direct mail results, we tend to think about the list, the message, and the call to action. However, things like the size, shape, and texture of the piece play a key role, too. Let’s look at five considerations for creating standout mail pieces.
1.  Trim size.  If you want the lowest possible postage cost, go with a standard 3.5 x 5” postcard. Choosing a nonstandard size will cost more in postage, but it will make your postcard stand out. “Why is that one different?” the recipient wants to know. It might even be the first piece they pick up. What’s that worth?
2. Weight. Consumers tend to associate the weight of the stock used in the mailing with the quality of the brand and, by extension, the product being marketed. Heavier weight stocks command respect and attention. 
3. Texture. In a sea of smooth envelopes, mailers with textured finishes get noticed. From high gloss and spot varnish to specialty processes, there are lots of options to choose from. 
4. Personalization.  Even the use of someone’s name on the front of a card will engage the recipient more than a static card. This engagement might only last for an extra fraction of a second, but sometimes, that is all you need.
5. Color. Why use a standard white background when you can pick from a range of vibrant colors? Use knock out type, graphics, and images on dynamic backgrounds to get your mailer to jump out of the box. If you carry in a sea of white envelopes and one bright red one, which one would you pick out first?
There are lots of ways to get your direct mailer to stand out from all of the others. Why not try something you have not tried before?  You just might love the results!

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Friday, February 9, 2018

3 Tips for Better Email Marketing

Want to improve your email marketing for 2018? Here are three tips you want to keep in mind.
1. Know (we mean really know) your audience.
We’re not just talking about knowing what they buy. We’re talking about how they like you to communicate.
For example, younger audiences don’t like the hard sell. It’s important to communicate your value, but the hard sell will turn them off.  Younger audiences also tend to be more responsive to user-generated images than to professional photo shoots. They also tend to be more responsive to peer comments and reviews than to company-generated content.
2. Create campaign-specific landing pages.
When your audience clicks through the email, don’t send them to your main website. Send them to a landing page created specifically for that product, that campaign, and that promotion. 
Ensure that the content on the landing page matches the content in the email. As your audience clicks through the email to the landing page, you want it to be a smooth, seamless transition.
3. Don’t, don’t forget the CTA.
Although many audiences don’t like the hard sell, they still need to understand what you want them to do. If you focus exclusively on content, they may simply see your email as an information campaign. Include a clear call to action so they know the end goal — to purchase a product, sign up for a webinar, or come to your event.
There is lots of content out there being used for branding purposes. If you are selling something, make sure your promotions aren’t confused as being among them.
Need help getting your email messaging out there? Let us help you integrate your direct mail, email, and other multichannel content in an integrated, effective campaign. 

Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.



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