Employ Printed QR Codes for a Rapid Response

YOUR SECRET CODE FOR SALES

Not long ago, scanning books or groceries using a rectangle barcode seemed quite novel. It was fast, convenient, and just a little fun. But as society’s pace accelerated, so did our need to read barcodes efficiently. In 1994, Japanese auto-makers adopted “Quick Read” QR codes (square matrix barcodes that could be scanned from any direction) that stored a hundred times more information than conventional barcodes.

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QR codes have a unique look, encouraging customers to get involved by scanning the code and following the “digital scavenger hunt” you’ve created to lead them to a URL for your website, social media page, or to retrieve personalized communication from you (like texts or e-mails). QR codes are a fantastic advertising strategy as they allow users to engage with a brand in convenient, personalized ways. QR codes increase conversion rates while coaxing prospects further down the sales funnel effortlessly.

Use InDesign to Create and Modify Your Own QR Codes

Did you know you can use InDesign to create and modify your own QR code? InDesign treats QR codes as graphics, so you can scale and modify them like other artwork in your documents.

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Follow these simple steps to add a QR code to your designs:

  1. Click and drag the Rectangle Frame tool on the page to create an empty frame.
  2. With this frame selected, choose Object/Generate QR Code.
  3. Select what type of data to encode using the Type menu. The content area below this menu will allow you to choose a web URL, plain text, a text message or e-mail option, or even a business card. Enter your preference and continue the corresponding steps to enter appropriate data.
  4. Click the Color tab and choose a color swatch. You can modify the color by changing the “Fill and Stroke” attributes or leave your QR code black and white.
  5. Click OK for your code to be added to the selected frame.

Bridge the Gap Between Print & Digital

Nielson found about 56% of consumers rely on printed materials for sales information, specifically when seeking information on a purchasing decision. Print is seen as a concrete, reliable source, especially for prospects nearing a decision.

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By including QR codes in print marketing, you increase the potential for landing a valuable client. Consider using QR codes for:

  • Product packaging, invoice stuffers
  • Printed menus, business cards, or rack cards
  • Store promotions with discounts available at checkout
  • Promotional games, puzzles, or scavenger hunts
  • Stickers for merchandise, packaging, displays, or cards

Print is naturally viewed as informative and trustworthy, and QR codes are a perfect tool to bridge the gap between your print and online media!

 

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How to Make Your Idea Stick

IDEAS THAT STICK

Have you ever shared an idea with someone and seen it immediately take flight in their eyes?

Their mind is churning a thousand miles per minute, and you can tell that they grasp the consequence of what you have shared and how it could be implemented to solve their problem.

Alternatively, we have all seen the glazed look that comes over someone when what you are telling them is either common knowledge or has no impact on their daily life.

How is it that some people can share their ideas in a way that resonates so well with their audience, while others can drop a great idea that falls completely flat?

If you want to avoid your print marketing falling flat, there is an excellent communication framework that you can use that will help you relate your ideas to your audience in a way that they can actively understand – and take action!

Creating the Framework

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When you sit down to write content for your next sales flyer, business card or banner, remember these five key steps for communication that will engage and delight your listeners.

For your content to stick, be useful, and long-lasting, run it through these five questions.

Does your content make your audience:

✔ Pay attention?
✔ Understand and remember it?
✔ Agree/Believe?
✔ Care?
✔ Be able to act on it?

No One Cares About Your Ideas

Here’s the reality. Just because you care passionately and deeply about an idea – even one that hits you to your very core – that doesn’t mean that your audience will share your excitement.

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You have to frame your thoughts in such a way that they become personal and relatable to your listeners. This could mean unique messaging for different people in your audience, as it’s unlikely that a young adult will react in the same way to a pitch on health insurance as would someone close to retirement age.

Bringing in Emotion

Emotion is more than a simple feeling: warm, cold, tired, excited. Emotion is empathy, being able to put yourself in the place of someone else and feel their pain or desires. When you’re able to evoke those feelings in individuals, it causes a deeper level of connection and commitment to your ideas.

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You’ll want people to understand and remember the idea – so it’s essential to make it feel more concrete, or specific. If someone cares about your idea, then they are one step closer to buying into your overall concept, and your idea becomes more “sticky.”

Ultimately, the goal of a communications framework is to make an idea actionable, which is the final step and requires telling a story. The story could be about the benefits that you should expect to receive from pursuing the product or idea.

Stories can take a variety of shapes, from written newsletters to marketing collateral to personal conversations and even text messages that reinforce your point and continue to create a credible and emotional bond with your audience.

If you need help sharing your next great idea through print, contact us today at 856-429-0715!

Is a Bleed Right For Your Print Project?

OVER THE EDGE PRINT.

The way you set up your print project can make all the difference in the final look and feel of your marketing piece. One of the most effective, yet simplest ways to change things up is by using a bleed in your design.

If you’re unsure what exactly a bleed is, how and when you should use it, and the potential challenges with adding a bleed to your project, keep reading. We’ll dig into the bleed concept and provide some best practices to make your print project look amazing every time.

What is a Bleed in Print?

A bleed is a printing technique where your design is printed bigger than the final product’s finished size and then cut down to size. It eliminates any unwanted white space or borders around the edge of your design.

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To put it another way, have you ever seen a printed marketing piece where what’s printed runs all the way to the edges, while other printed pieces may have a white border where the printing stops? That’s a bleed.

The Pros and Cons of Bleeds in Print

Now that you understand what a bleed is, there are times that you may or may not want to go in this direction.

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ere are some things to keep in mind when considering a bleed:

  • Bleeds work well if your design has a full-colored background.
  • If you have letters or images that you want to run right to the edge of your piece without the risk of being cut off, a bleed allows for that freedom.
  • A bleed can be slightly more expensive depending on the sheet size. (Remember, the image is printed larger and cut down to your desired finished size.)
  • If you’re printing a booklet or something that is going to be folded, you almost certainly want bleeds along interior borders, so it doesn’t look as though the project is unfinished. You want it to flow cleanly from one page to the next, and having the colors “meet in the middle” of the folded area is the best way to do that.
  • Bleeds are also great if you’re going to cut your project down to a smaller size, while you may want to skip the bleed if you’re creating a project with an exact border.

Understanding the Bleed Marks on Your Proof

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Once you’ve decided to use bleeds in your print job, you’ll want to understand the markings on your proof when you receive it. The trim marks are generally seen as corner line markings just inside the printed content and ensure that when your pages are trimmed, you will see the full image on the page with no white border. Fold marks are generally dashed lines indicating where you fold an 11″ x 17″ sheet in half, for instance.

Fortunately, using the default values within your graphic design software often provides the best option. It is still helpful to understand how bleeds, trims and folds work to create the most professional print project possible.

If you’d like help creating the perfect brochure for your company, please give us a call today at 856-429-0715!

6 Steps To Customer-Centric Writing

LISTEN. SOLVE. REPEAT.

Most business owners come ingrained with a laser-like focus on their business. They’ll swell with pride and “shout it from the rooftops” to tell you about their newest, exciting product or service. However, like the majority of people in business, they tend to take a business-focused approach, focusing on promoting the features or specs of the product and making sure that you know how this new product or service is the best of the best.

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Herein lies the rub, as they say. While shouting it from the rooftops might seem like a good approach, customers don’t necessarily want to hear about your business. Instead, they want to hear about how your company will help THEM. They are more concerned that you understand their need and are offering a solution to address it.

Here’s where customer-centric writing and promotion comes in. Instead of writing with the focus on you and your business, you can stand out from the crowd by thinking about how your new product or service will benefit your customers. Writing with your client in mind demonstrates that you understand their needs and want to help them achieve their goals. Writing with empathy creates better connections, improved communication, and happier outcomes. Happy customers become your business’s greatest fans.

Here are six steps to help you shift your perspective to be more customer-centric:

  1. List at least three to five main features of your business.
  2. Arrange the list beginning with the most important feature.
  3. Now look at the list, select the first feature, and dig down to what that feature means to your customer. For example, if you are in the tire business and one of the features is that you’re within walking distance of a mall, then you might put “location” on your list.
  4. Step into your customer’s mindset. What does your location mean for them? How will it solve their problem? The benefit is they can drop off their car, shop, have lunch, or meet a friend instead of sitting in a dull waiting room.
  5. Take the next feature you listed and then go through the same process. Rinse and repeat with the rest of the features.

If you’ve never looked at your business this way before, it’s likely that you might not be sure of what your customers do want and need. How can you find out? That’s where tip #6 comes in. Even if you’ve been in business for a while and think you know the needs of your customers, it’s good to refresh your viewpoint.

6. Pay attention to the questions they have and ask them for more information about what they’re trying to do. Don’t assume you know what they want, find out by talking to them.

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Your customers are individuals, with goals and dreams unique to them. They come to you for help to make these happen. What does your company do for them? That’s the direction your marketing writing needs to take.

When you practice customer-centric marketing, you not only differentiate yourself from competitors, you establish the basis for customer loyalty, repeat business, and word-of-mouth recommendations.

The Difference Between CMYK and PMS Colors

PASS WITH FLYING COLORS

The complexity involved in color and how big of a difference various color profiles can make on your print project is something you’ll want to pay attention to. Is there a specific shade of orange or blue that is included in your logo? Depending on who created your logo, your color scheme may include CMYK colors, PMS colors, or both!

CMYK Colors

The term CMYK refers to the four ink colors that make up the schema: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black, which is considered the key color. This particular model mixes together the three primary colors and includes black to produce darker shades. To create an image, printers define four separate plates that make up a full image. One plate is used for each of the four colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black) and is designed to lay down a very specific amount of pigment on the image. While this may sound like a simple way to print, it has worked effectively for hundreds of years.

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PMS Colors

PMS (or Pantone Matching System) colors are slightly different than CMYK colors because they are mixed before they are applied to a surface. The pure spot color, or PMS color, is a mixed ink that allows for a wider range of reproduced colors than the CMYK spectrum. Each PMS color contains a unique hue, which can be matched by a number that is associated with the Pantone Matching System of swatches. PMS inks are not laid in a dot pattern but can be screened in a halftone to produce a variety of shades

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Viewing Colors

Viewing either PMS or CMYK colors on a computer screen is a challenge due to lighting changes and the display variation. Fortunately, Pantone LLC provides a printed color chart for PMS colors that allows anyone to see the exact color that will be printed on your project. A unique set of numbers allows printers and customers to communicate effectively about what can be a challenging and variable subject: color. What looks like magenta to one person could easily be described as a red-purple by someone else — making it tough to describe specific colors without the common language available with PMS standards.

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Ready to get started on your next printing project? Our color professionals are experts at matching current color schemes or helping you find just the right shade to communicate your brand. Contact us today to learn more and get started on your next project!

Win Customers With Colorful Packaging

ADD SOME COLOR COMMENTARY

When you consider the packaging that you will use for your clients’ products, remember that color is one of your channels that communicates instantly. There are thousands of shades of each color, and picking the ones that evoke the emotions you want can help you forge a connection with the consumer. Here are a few tips to help you get what you want.

Ask yourself which one color gets your message across.

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Red is vital and exciting. Green can communicate healthfulness or sustainability. Pink can be girly or comforting. In some cases, such as a label for strawberry ice cream, the color associations are obvious. For other products, choose colors based on the mood you think fits the brand. For example, an outdoor recreation store wouldn’t print their hangtags or envelopes in purple since purple doesn’t really evoke the feeling of the outdoors. Instead, they would choose colors that would get the message across while also fitting in with the company colors. And, remember not to overuse color. Too many trying to shout at once just turns into noise. Pick a dominant one, then accent with others.

Always plan a family of products and marketing assets in advance.

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Think in terms of how these items will look together. If you have multiple flavors of ice cream labels, for example, plan how all of the different flavors will look lined up next to each other. Creating a unified look will allow customers to identify which products come from your brand. While allowing each product or flavor to be easily distinguished from the others, the use of a strong overall palette will help build your brand.

Always do a color-accurate printed proof.

Inks respond differently to different surfaces. To ensure that your assets will look exactly as you want them to, have a color-accurate proof made before doing your entire run. Even if you have printed that color in the past, testing it first can lead to better outcomes.

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Always consider how things will look and how they will make your customers feel. By keeping these vital color rules in mind, you can create packaging, brochures and other assets that make your brand attractive to consumers and easily recognized.

The Volume Advantage

07 Vlum.jpgThe more you print, the better the price can be per piece. That can have its advantages in many situations. Planning your marketing for the entire year, or even just a season, will save you in dollars and time.

Plenty on Hand
Those pieces that don’t change throughout the year and go out the door in high volume are perfect to print in larger quantities. You will always have these pieces in stock and can fill your orders or fulfill your mailings with ease.

Lower Costs
For flyers, brochures, postcards, and other things that use full-color print, the more you print, the lower the cost per piece. This kind of “discount” pricing is beneficial for planning longer term or for larger-volume projects.

Quick Turnaround
Short-run options may be more advantageous when looking at either smaller volumes or quicker turnarounds. Sometimes convenience is more important than cost.
No matter what you plan for or what your budget is, there is a print-volume solution that will fit the size of your wallet. Call us today to discuss your next printing project 856.429.0715.