5 Ways to Toot Your Own Horn

ONE, TWO, THREE, LOOK AT ME!

With the rise of email and digital marketing, you might be under the impression that print promotions are “dead,” but nothing could be further from the truth. Reach your interested customers who are staggering under the weight of spam emails and poorly-targeted digital advertising with an impactful and beautifully designed print promotion.

Rules of the Road

Whether you’re looking for a quick response to a particular promotion or your goal is to build interest over time with advertising, these key design rules will ensure that your message has the desired impact for your next project.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition Sending out just one mailing piece will not provide you with the results that you would like. Instead, design a series of staggered, targeted promotions.

Make an Impact There’s no need for subtlety in advertising. Insert a clear call to action, or next step, for your customers within the design.

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Types of Promotions

No matter the promotion type, execution is critical. Poorly-presented type or design could ruin an otherwise clever idea — taking it from eye-popping to eye-rolling in a moment. Below are five common promotion design types depending on your goal:

Self-Promotion

Is your business the best at what it does? Say so! Create a booklet that details your specific offerings or a simple postcard that drives people to a web-based landing page or to give you a call.

Brag Promotions

Brag promotions are the ideal way of letting your audience know that you’ve done something impressive. Win an award recently or get recognized within your community? Create a brag promotion as part of a larger project and include messaging about how the award will benefit your customers.

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Capabilities Promotions

Want to let your clients know how many options you have available at their fingertips? Capabilities promotions are a great way to explain the breadth or depth of services that you offer.

Invitations

Let your customers know you have a special event coming up soon. Host an open house, a business gala, or a community fundraiser, and use a creatively designed and printed invitation to spread the word.

“Just Because”

There is never a bad time to say “Thanks” or celebrate a special occasion. Send a printed and well-designed note to your customers for corporate anniversaries, holidays, or after a large order.

Ready to design and create print promotions and advertising that makes people take action? Give us a call, and we’ll help you craft the perfect promotional piece that will get you noticed!

Smart Companies Get People Talking

YAKETY-YAK, GO TALK BACK

Growing your brand and business takes work. When you take advantage of the right tools it can help you become more visible, gain the trust of others, and increase your bottom line. Although technology is a helpful way to enhance your marketing strategy, sometimes, going back to the basics can also be one of the best things you can do.

What is the one tactic that has always worked?

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You can’t buy this type of advertising, and when people recommend your business, others listen. Knowing the five Ts of word-of-mouth marketing and how it can work for you is key. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Talkers

Who will tell their friends about you? Be tuned in to who will tell others about your business. Think about what you can do to get them talking and take it from there. If you’re offering specials, these are the people you give the exclusive deal to first, and then tell them to tell others. Make them an ambassador of sorts by giving others a discount when they mention that person’s name.

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2. Topics

What will they talk about? Is your business very accommodating? How is your customer service? What does your website look like? Can they place an order online? All of these make a difference and helps the talkers sing your praise.

3. Tools

How can you help the message travel? Be proactive. Have the talkers link you to their social media. Have you ever had a social session at your place of business? Get the radio station down there, have some freebies and discounts, and make it a community event.

4. Taking Part

How should you join the conversation? Have you partnered with the schools to do something for free, or have you volunteered to speak about what you do? Meet the neighboring businesses. Join the Chamber of Commerce and network. Engage with your audience on social media. Not to sell anything, but to have a real conversation. All of this makes a difference and gives the talkers something to talk about. When you join the conversation in a non-selling way, you welcome a better response for other channels of marketing later, like a targeted direct-mail campaign.

5. Tracking

How will you know what people are saying about you? Once you have implemented tools like savings discounts and specials, and have partnered with the community, you will get the feedback you are seeking. If your customer base is growing, you will know people are talking. Get people to add a review or two online, so others who are searching for your services will be able to read first-hand reviews

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Use these five Ts of word-of-mouth marketing and watch how impactful it can be. Integrating the old with the new can be effective and produce amazing results now and in the future.

 

6 Ways to Settle the Score

THE PERFECT SCORE

To score or not to score? This question faces anyone creating a printed piece that must be folded before mailing, display, or delivery. While in some cases folding without scoring will be sufficient, in others, scoring eliminates any color cracking on the fold and can make all the difference in producing an elegant final result.

The top consideration in whether or not to score a printed piece is the thickness of the paper being used for the project. As a general rule, paper that is 100 lbs. or heavier should be scored before folding. Other instances where scoring the paper is recommended would include:

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Budget cuts typically mean that scoring is the first to go, but you may seriously want to reconsider. The risk of not scoring a folded piece includes unsightly creases and buckling around the folded area.

You have a number of options when it comes to scoring a printed piece. The highest quality scoring process is called the Letterpress Score, but here are six other scoring options commonly available as well:

1) Letterpress Score

A steel rule is formed in the desired shape and braced in wood affixed to a metal frame. Paper is then pushed between the steel form and the press.

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2) Rotary Score

This process utilizes a pressurized roller system to make the score.

3) Litho Score

Also known as a “press score,” a metal rule with a heated back is attached to the impression cylinder, and a scoring rule makes the crease as the paper runs underneath it.

4) Heat Score

This technique is most effective on heavier coated paper stocks and involves heating a copper die to around 350 degrees.

5) Wet Score

A directed stream of water moistens the area where a fold is required. (Not recommended on coated papers.)

6) Impact Score (Electronic Knife)

A knife with a fixed-width steel rule strikes the sheet within a channel to create the score and crease.

We’re here to help you settle the score! You might want to know about different scoring options, but you certainly don’t need to worry about the best way to get the perfect score. That’s our job. If you have questions about whether scoring your printed project is the best option, give us a call. You’ll receive guidance on the best options for your folded piece so that you can create a result you and your customers will love!

Design That’s Easy as A-B-C

LETTER-HEADED DESIGN

When most people think of design elements, individual letters aren’t the first things that come to mind. Sure, selecting an appropriate typeface to complement the overall look or feel of a design is essential, but letters themselves (and the words they create) tend to be more the domain of literary artists.

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If you stop to think about it, though, letters truly are visual elements. By themselves, each represents a particular sound or group of sounds. Grouped together, they represent various thoughts and ideas. Even more to the point, though, each letter has its own unique set of shapes. The S, for instance, has its sweeping curves, and the A has its crisp lines and angled peak.

With that in mind, can an entire design focus around a single letter form? Can an individual letter represent an entire idea on its own? Could the letter V, for instance, become a visual metaphor for anxiety? Or the letter X somehow display order? Take a look at the designs pictured here, and see for yourself. As you’ll see, each is based around a single letter form, which has been used to convey the desired emotion or idea.

So, the next time you find yourself facing a blank screen, with no idea how to proceed, remember these words… and, more importantly, the letters used to make them.

Stuck on PRINTED LABELS

Are you using generic pricing stickers on your products? Or printing out generic labels on your office printer?

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There is nothing wrong with DIY-style labels and price tags. We all want to save some money on things. However, little things can often make the biggest impression on your customers.
The moment your customer walks out of your establishment, all they have are the printed images on your products. Retail stickers can be so much better than little white squares. Have some custom stickers created with your brand or your tagline printed on them to ensure that your name travels with your products.
Even if you are not a retail business, custom labels can be placed on any number of objects, cards, folders, and more. They can be very handy in a pinch to add to bags or other pieces given out at the last minute for impromptu occasions.
Emphasize your brand with stickers and labels that are precisely designed just for you. No matter where you place them, custom sizes and a variety of materials will help your brand pop. Stand out from the crowd with your own tags that include your own unique look.

If you’d like help creating labels for your product, give us a call today at 856.429.0715.

Creating a Category of One

YOU: THE ONE AND ONLY

Building the perfect brand centers on finding those precious elements that truly separate your business from the competition. You need to be able to not only communicate what it is that you do and the service or product that you provide, but why your customers should choose you over every other option available to them. The word “Only” is hugely important in the world of marketing for that very reason – it helps you accomplish both of those goals at the same time

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The Power of “Only”

Fill in the blanks in the following sentence:

“Only [your brand] delivers [relevant benefit that nobody else provides in quite the same way you do] to [your target audience].”

Once that sentence is complete, you’ll notice two very important things. First, that you’ve arrived at the perfect framework through which to build your brand for the best results. Everything that you do in marketing should center around this one simple and focused idea, that nobody does what you do in quite the same way that you do it.

Secondly, you now have a beautifully simple way to communicate what it is that only your brand brings to the table for the customers that you’re trying to reach. You’ve just built a brand and successfully created an important category where you stand alone from everyone else all at the same time.

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The Success of “Only” and Creating a Category of One

To get an idea of this in motion, consider the example of Volvo. To fill in the previous sentence with information related to that brand, you might say that,

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That simple, brand promise is one of the many reasons why Volvo is one of the most successful businesses in its industry today. Not only is it both understandable and believable, but it’s also unique and does an excellent job of differentiating Volvo from the rest of the pack. It’s immediately compelling in that it focuses on the natural concerns of parents, and is admirable because it’s making a promise regarding the safety of children.

In one simple sentence, Volvo has told you everything you need to know about who they are, what they do, why they do it, and why you want them to be a part of your life. Now you need to do it, as well.

By creating a category of one for your business, you not only have the framework through which to craft your brand, you also have the perfect form for that message to ultimately take as it reaches the masses. Remember, you know that only your brand delivers one or more particular benefits to your target audience – it’s a large part of why you got into the business in the first place. Now, it’s time for your customer to know this, too. That is where the word “Only” will come in handy again and again.

 

Paper Shifts Color: Orange is the New Red

SO MANY ACRONYMS, SO LITTLE TIME

Have you ever been to a restaurant and all you wanted was a simple breakfast? Just when you thought you had your order all planned out, your waitress hits you with a rambling of options. Would you care for white, wheat, rye, or pumpernickel bread? Do you want those eggs fried, scrambled, poached, green, with a side of ham? Sometimes, the choices seem endless.

When it comes to printing, sometimes your options can feel a little like that, too. Take spot colors, for instance. Any colors that fall outside of the normal range of CMYK inks are commonly called “spot colors.” Where CMYK colors use a blend of four specific inks – Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black to create a wide range of color, spot colors are actually pre-mixed using a unique formula to create one, specific color. As you start to learn more about spot colors, one of the things you’ll notice is that just like your breakfast options, there are a number of different acronyms and options that you’re somehow supposed to be able to keep track of. Would you like coated, uncoated, or matte? Huh? Thankfully, they have pretty straightforward explanations.

C vs. U and Beyond

The acronyms C and U refer to “coated” and “uncoated.” The key thing to remember here is that when used in reference to spot colors, they’re actually talking about the paper and not the ink. Ink is made up of pigment (the color) and the carrier, which is usually oil. The oil part of the ink soaks into the paper and dries. The pigment sits up on top of the mineral or clay coating with coated papers, but soaks into the fibers with uncoated papers. Because the type of paper you’re using can have a pretty significant impact on the way the ink color appears in real life, it’s something you’ll want to try and keep track of.

Here’s an example of what coated versus uncoated paper would look like. You can see how the coated paper provides some extra “shine.”

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That “shine” will affect how spot colors are displayed, so keep that in mind when making your paper choice.

Furthermore, if you were to compare the colors PANTONE 185C and PANTONE 185U side-by-side, for example, one of the first things you would notice is that PANTONE 185C looks a little brighter and a little more saturated than the PANTONE 185U version. You’re still talking about literally the exact same ink, but the difference between coated and uncoated stock changes the way that ink ultimately looks when printed. Pretty fascinating, and pretty important to remember when making your decisions!

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“M” stands for matte. Matte coated or dull coated papers are still coated with a mineral coating, so the ink colors typically look closer to the C or coated version, but keep in mind that these papers are not as bright and tend to make the color ink look a little more subdued.

Pretty simple, right?

Two other acronyms that you might encounter are CVU and CVC. The “CV” letters stand for “computer video” and are largely used to reproduce colors on a computer screen. Adding a “U” for uncoated or “C” for coated indicates which paper type is being simulated on the computer screen.

Hopefully, by now you’ve realized that your options aren’t nearly as hard to work with as you thought they were. Remember that these options, even though they’re used in conjunction with the ink are actually talking about the paper. The ink, for the most part, is the ink is the ink, but the paper is a whole different story. Select your swatches in any way you see fit, but remember, ultimately the type of paper you choose can make something darker, less saturated, more saturated or something else entirely.