Thursday, November 17, 2016

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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Want More Effective Direct Mail? Make It Lumpy

The goal of direct mail is to attract attention. To that end, there has been a growing trend toward dimensional mail, or mail that is bigger and fatter than traditional mail. Dimensional mail gets attention—and results. 
Dimensional mail that contains some kind of gift or incentive is also known by the more descriptive term “lumpy mail.” The idea is to provide something more substantial (or “lumpier”) than a flat postcard or letter. The “lump” itself—the object(s) included in the package—is an integral part of the campaign.
The nature of the “lump” can be literal, such as a product sample, or symbolic—say, a foam rubber brain, tied into the promotional message, “Working with us is a no-brainer.”
Examples of lumpy mail include:
  • Envelopes containing pens or other useful items bearing the client’s logo.
  • Packages containing product samples.
  • Candies or other treats accompanying promotional material.
  • Physical objects that tie into the campaign’s marketing message.
  • Basically any object the designer and client see fit to include.

The idea is that everyone likes receiving something unique, especially when there is an appealing gift in the box aside from something promotional. This increases the likelihood that the recipient will not only open the package but respond to the package’s message. 
Want more ideas for incorporating lumpy mail into your next mailing? Let us brainstorm with you!
Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Tips and Tricks for Selecting Colors

Color sells. It increases brand recognition, improves comprehension, and can motivate purchase decisions between products. Color also identifies. The United Parcel Service, IBM, and Home Depot are all synonymous with specific colors. Some companies even trademark colors as brand assets. Think Tiffany’s robin’s egg blue.
A study by G.A Wright Marketing found that the use of high-quality paper and color applications can increase response rates by nearly 50%. For example, the study showed that a four-color promotional mailer printed on heavy gloss paper stock had a more than 40% higher response rate than an identical three-color version printed on a lighter matte paper stock.
Colors summon emotions and create connections with the people surrounding your brand. Warm colors such as red, orange, and yellow are associated with a range of emotions, from optimism and excitement to violence. Cool colors like green, violet, and blue can be calming and nurturing, but they can also be impersonal and antiseptic.
Choose colors that will elicit a positive response from recipients, then balance them in a visually appealing way. Using variations of a single color will create a visual effect that is classic and easy on the eyes, but not as vibrant as it could be. Enrich the scheme by introducing analogous colors, selecting three colors next to each other on the color wheel. Examples include red/orange/yellow; green/blue/purple; and yellow/yellow-green/green. Consistently use one shade as the dominant color.
For higher contrast, select a complementary color scheme, choosing colors across the wheel from each other. This works best when you place a warm color against a cool color, such as red and green, blue and orange, or purple and yellow. Any tint can be used. Midnight blue/tangerine and royal purple/gold are effective combinations.
Most any color mix can work as long as you retain harmony and richness in your presentation and avoid the hues used by your competitors.
Test combinations until you find the scheme that sends the message you want associated with your business. Your customers make split-second decisions based on color, so use it to your advantage.

Need help? Just ask!

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

5 Direct Mail Ideas You Might Not Have Thought Of

Looking for creative ways to dress up your direct mail efforts? Here are five ideas with proven effectiveness that you might not have thought about.
1. Make it look official.
Try making your mailer look like “official” mail. Use triangles around the outside edges or use red, white, and blue parallelograms to mimic Air Mail. Use a white envelope with colors similar to the FedEx purple and orange or the UPS brown and gold. At first glance, recipients will think they’ve gotten a Priority Mail or overnight package.
2. Use real hand addressing.
Many marketers try to increase response rates by using handwriting fonts. However, this technique has become so common that most consumers can spot a handwriting font a mile away. Try using a third-party hand-addressing service. Real, honest to goodness hand addressing will make your mail stand out, make recipients feel special, and get your mail opened.
3. Use a real stamp.
Just like hand addressing, using a real stamp helps to boost response rates. It tells people they aren’t getting a bulk mailing and that the marketer cared enough, and wanted the communication to be personal enough, to use a real, live stamp. That gets attention.
4. Try a translucent envelope.
Got something bright and colorful to mail? Don’t hide it! Put the printed piece into a translucent envelope so people can see what’s inside.  
5. Put something in it.
Dimensional mail increases response rates. So does putting something extra into the envelope. Try a teaser like, “Free gift inside!” then add a little something for them to find. You won’t be able to use bulk postal rates, but recipient won’t be able to resist opening the envelope to see what’s inside. 

Want more great direct mail ideas?

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Is Your Direct Mail Trustworthy?

People don’t just buy from companies they like. They buy from companies they trust. When you send out direct mail campaigns, it’s important to keep this in mind. Let’s look at five ways you can establish trust with your customers.
1. Use solid, believable content. Leave the extravagant claims and cheesy superlatives to the late night infomercials. Make your headlines and body copy factual and believable. Back up your claims. Be specific so people know that you are representing the product accurately.
2. Write for your audience. If your marketing copy sounds generic, recipients might not feel that your claims are genuine. It’s hard to trust a company that is willing to sell anything to anybody whether they really need it or not. Target your offers, marketing copy, and calls to action to each target audience specifically so they recognize your claims as true.
3. Credible design. Marketing copy can be superficial and cheesy, and so can design. If you use five different fonts and clutter the design area with tons of images and an impenetrable sea of text, your piece will look unprofessional. If your design looks unprofessional, your company will too. Avoid super tiny fonts because they make it look as if you are trying to hide something.
4.  Use real people. Customer testimonials are great for establishing credibility, but they have to be from real life people. Use names, locations, and pictures of smiling faces when possible. Assure readers that these are actual people, not customers you made up.  
5. Proofread your text. Spelling and grammar errors don’t make for a professional image. Have a professional editor or proofreader get a final set of eyes on your copy to ensure that there are no mistakes.

When it comes to direct mail, there are no shortcuts.  Be sincere. Be credible. Present not just a great product, but a company that people can trust.   

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

Friday, May 13, 2016

What Is Your Print Project Wearing?

Once your print project comes off the press, it may not be finished—not yet. It might need that extra finishing touch. Let’s look at three reasons you might want to add a coating before your project goes “live” into the hands of your target audience.

1. Protection.  Sometimes a project needs that extra level of protection to keep it looking its best. Coatings can protect projects such as direct mail, marketing collateral, packaging, and catalogs from a wide variety of harsh environmental conditions, including:
  • Mailing equipment
  • Moisture
  • Dirt
  • Retail storage and display
  • Handling (including fingerprints)
If you need full waterproof properties, you may want to consider a laminate.
2. Gloss. Shine adds sparkle and impact. It instantly conveys the impression of value and quality. When you print or mail a piece with a high-gloss coating, you are telling recipients, “You matter!” UV coating offers the hardest coated surface and the highest level of brilliance and sheen. However, these coatings may crack if folded or scored and require printing with UV inks underneath for compatibility.
3. Special effects. The number of options for specialty coatings is exploding. Spot varnish, for example, highlights specific areas of the printed piece for visual interest and impact. (Think lips popping out on a lipstick ad.) Soft touch creates a printed piece with a velvety finish. It produces a wonderful tactile feel and adds fingerprint resistance. Some specialty varnishes can be enhanced with effects such as glitter, tint, and scents. If you want to use a laminate, you can even get holographic effects.
Different finishes have different benefits and drawbacks. They also have different ranges of cost. Varnish is inexpensive and flexible, but tends to yellow over time. This can be problematic if your product has a long shelf life and large areas of white. Aqueous coating dries quickly and offers a high level of protection, but it has a higher cost. Specialty coatings offer a wide array of effects and visual and tactile appeal, but they may also carry a premium.
Different coatings “shine” for different types of projects and under different conditions. Talk to us about your coating options before finalizing your next printing project.
Please give us a call at 440-946-0606
Or visit our website here for more information.

3 Tips for Adding Video

Whether you are adding video to email, to print-to-mobile efforts via QR Code or augmented reality, or to direct mail using An embedded video screen, video has become one of the hottest ways to communicate with your audience.
According to data collected by HubSpot:
  • 51.9% of marketing professionals name video as the type of content with the best ROI.
  • Shoppers who view video are 1.8 times more likely to make a purchase than people who did not view video.
  • Using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%.
Here are three tips for adding video to your next campaign:
1. Tell a story. People relate to stories more than facts and figures. They also tend to remember stories longer. This is why Liberty Mutual uses the storyline “You loved [your car] Brad—and then you totaled him” to talk about the company’s better car replacement and why the Allstate “Mayhem” commercials have millions of views on YouTube. Find a way to use video to tell your story. 
2. Keep it short. People love and relate to video, but they also have short attention spans. Experts say to keep your video between 1-2 minutes at most.
3. Use social media. Use social media to promote your video and multiply its reach. Target Marketing recently suggested tweeting out your finished video, posting a production shot of the video on Instagram, and posting teaser clips on your Facebook page.
Need help? Talk to us about incorporating video into your next multichannel campaign

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