Are You Sending the Right Messages With Your Print Materials?

Printed materials are among the most effective communication vehicles for conveying a particular image, and they often make the first impression of an organization, laying the groundwork for a positive corporate identity. Printed Printmaterials serve many purposes, from attracting customers, to sharing product information to communicating with employees.

Getting your message across

A good way to determine whether you are effectively conveying your message is to pay close attention to exactly what your message is. Ask yourself some simple, key questions. Continue Reading →

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Just Who Are You Anyway? Ensuring Your Customers Recognize Your Brand.

shutterstock_183758825In a marketplace that exposes us to thousands of commercial messages daily, in a world of countless start-ups, daily announcements of mergers and acquisitions, and the constant introduction of new products, companies have an increasingly difficult time getting noticed.

That’s why branding – a combination of names, terms, designs and symbols that identify a product or company and distinguish it from competing products or companies – is so hot. Continue Reading →

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The Logo is Your Company’s Hardest-Working Staff Member

Nike, Target stores, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola. One thing these powerhouse companies have in common is brand recognition, built in part by a strong, recognizable logo.shutterstock_62502628

A company’s logo can be a visual ambassador, one that appears on everything from business cards and coffee mugs to delivery vehicles and websites. It leaves an impression of who you are and what you can provide for the customer.

Any company, large or small, can aspire to achieve the logo power of a UPS or a Ford. Here’s what’s important to remember:

  • Simplicity
  • Good taste
  • Consistency of use, meaning the logo is used on everything related to the business
  • Size — is the logo as recognizable on a business card as it is on a sign?
  • Originality— does it differentiate the company from its competitors?
  • Is it easily identifiable like the Nike brand “swoosh” or the McDonald’s arches?
  • Can it be easily adapted for use on the Internet?

Because it is so central to a company’s brand identity, it’s worth paying for a professionally created logo. And once you have the logo, it’s vital that it be used consistently to maximize its effectiveness. Need help with logo design? Call us. We can help.

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Five Smart Ways to Use QR Codes

shutterstock_151975406QR codes, or quick response codes, are more than quick. They’re also excellent for engaging, informing and entertaining consumers. These two dimensional codes — which can contain a phone number, calendar event, contact information, text message, URL, or geo-location (mapping) information — commonly appear in magazines, on billboards or business cards, in window displays and invitations, on signage and more.

Though QR codes are simple marketing tools that speak directly to consumers, many businesses struggle to see how they could positively impact their bottom line and add value to their business. So when designing creative campaigns and building content for QR codes, it’s important to think strategically.

Here are five smart ways to utilize QR codes to enhance your marketing efforts: Continue Reading →

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Important Marketing Tool Number One – The Tried and True Business Card

shutterstock_121739641In the age of smartphones, digital downloads and pay-per-click ads, some might wonder how important the business card is. Truth is, it’s very important. Some even consider business cards the single most important marketing tool a business has.

Business cards are a tangible representation of your company. They often provide the first impression of your business and they remain with customers and prospects when you cannot be with them. Business cards leave no doubt about how to contact you, and they can be passed from person to person, giving them even greater marketing mileage.

So how do you make sure your business card projects an appropriate image for your business? Continue Reading →

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Great Looking. Hard Working. How to Get Your Perfect Logo.

shutterstock_140501434Due to the power of branding and the impact a logo can have on how a business is perceived, it’s important for organizations to review their logos every few years to determine if redesigns are in order.

Here are some thoughts to keep in mind when designing or reviewing your logo:

  • Size matters. Is the logo as recognizable at one-eighth of an inch on a return address label or lapel pin as it would be blown up on a poster or billboard?
  • Is it original enough to differentiate your company from its competitors?
  • Is the design clean and simple enough to be easily identified like the Nike brand “swoosh” or the McDonald’s arches?
  • Is it inoffensive in other cultures so it can be used globally?
  • Can it be easily adapted for use on the Internet?
  • Does it work consistently on all company communications, including marketing campaigns?

 Getting the Right Look

Keep these basic guidelines in mind with any new design or re-design:

  • Be simple. Some of the best logos are the simplest. Simple things are easy to remember and tend not to become dated quickly. For example, the simple Target bulls-eye is widely known and recognized.
  •  Be relentlessly consistent. Pick a typeface. Pick a color. Use them over and over again, on everything. It’s vital to establish an identifiable look and feel.
  • Get good advice. You can toss around ideas, but eventually you’ll need to hire a professional graphic designer or print professional for help.
  • Don’t expect miracles. Your company’s image is the sum of many factors, not its logo alone. What’s important is making sure your logo sounds and feels smart every time it’s used in public.

To make sure your logo is working as hard as possible, see your print professional. He or she can help you determine if your logo is being used consistently to maximize its effectiveness. Consistency goes a long way in promoting your business.

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Create Intrigue to Boost Open Rates

shutterstock_73482994You’ve carefully crafted your message and targeted your list. But your message still faces the challenge of getting read. Don’t leave it to chance. Send your message in a format that’s likely to get opened — try a dimensional or “lumpy” mail package. These “eye‐catchers” are perfect for getting attention and are nearly a sure-thing when it comes to being opened.

I can feel it, but I don’t know what it is
Your customers’ curiosity is on your side. Few of us can resist finding out what that bumpy thing is inside an envelope. Such items do not have to be costly as long as they add intrigue to the process. A plastic coin, a magnet, a balloon – these are all inexpensive objects that can go a long way in getting your mailer opened.

Messages that stick
Repositionable notes or “sticky notes,” provide an effective way to quickly grab reader attention. Repositionable notes are 3 by 3 inches in size with a three-quarter-inch adhesive strip across the top. They are designed for use on the outside of an envelope or self-mailer. Repositionable notes are a great way to add a “personal” note to the recipient, especially if printed in a script type font. They can also be used to draw attention to a particular benefit stated in your direct mail piece. For example, your note might say something like “See page 5 if you want to start saving money on your car insurance now.”

No matter which technique you choose, be sure to consult your mailing company during the planning process to determine if mailing costs will increase. Once you’ve completed your mailing, tracking responses is essential in verifying which techniques generate the best results. Was it the chicken-shaped mailer or the one with the pepperoni pizza? You’ll want to know who’s biting into what.

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A Marketing Strategy to Implement Now – Build and Keep Your Momentum

shutterstock_131444588Direct marketing is an investment of time and money. But employing it regularly can reap rewards by keeping your brand in front of your audience. Brand awareness is the first step toward making sales and an effective ROI. Once you’ve located new prospects, cultivated an in-house list, employed goals and strategies and chosen the right media channels, you need to continue to nurture your prospects and customers. Continue Reading →

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Does Direct Mail Matter In the Digital Age?

Absolutely. Even in the digital age, direct mail works. Why? People like getting mail. Printed mail gives us something to touch, hold and read at our leisure. For most of us, going through the mail is still a daily ritual.shutterstock_49366582

But this is the digital age
One of the beauties of digital technology is that it works with traditional mail to make a bigger impact. Take personalization and cross-channel campaigns for example:

Digital printing and variable data technologies allow marketers to create direct mail campaigns that communicate on a one-to-one basis with prospects and customers.

What you know about your audience, can help determine how you’re able to customize and personalize your message. Try customization for:

• A recipient’s name or company name
• Offers based on past purchases or other information you know about the recipient.
• Personalized QR codes and URLs
• Varied images based on a prospect’s age, gender or interests

Cross-channel campaigns
These typically include a direct mail component and an electronic strategy such as a personalized landing page or QR code that enhance one-to-one communication.

According to the Direct Marketing Association, almost half of people now prefer to respond to direct marketing efforts online. So remember to add an online response option for your mailings.

Not sure what to do? We are here to help!

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There’s a List for That

targetAmidst the explosion of media channels and the confusion about what works and what doesn’t, one thing remains constant: direct mail. Why? It’s personal, measurable and flexible with an unmatched ability to target just the right audience.

But how do you tap that audience? With the right list. Databases are more plentiful and robust than ever before. Using one of the premier list sources, it’s possible to find more than 2,000 databases of charitable donors, 25,000 business-to-business buyer lists and more than 38,000 business-to-consumer lists. Many are highly targeted by demographic and lifestyle characteristics, so whether you’re looking for guitar-playing Gen-X males, healthcare purchasing directors, or senior citizen cat owners, you’ll find there’s a list for that.

Businesses of any size can easily and affordably leverage the power of this targeted data to reach a very specific audience, and doing so prevents unnecessary expense. After all, why spend money mailing to people who will not be receptive to your message, or worse – those who may want to hear your message but who have moved and won’t receive your mail?

Getting started — two things to consider

 1. Think beyond your mailing.

An integrated or multi-channel campaign improves the effectiveness of your marketing. More frequent touch points increase the likelihood of starting a conversation, leading your buyer down the sales path.

2.       Get the right list.

Frequently-updated rented lists tend to perform better than purchased lists which can be used “at will” and can be over-mailed because their usage is not restricted.

Let us know if you want help sourcing a list for your next mail campaign. We’re here to help!

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