When was the last time you updated your corporate identity package? Is it time to update? Take the following test to get an idea if it is time to update and improve your materials and image.
Do your marketing materials, brochures, business cards, website etc. all have different looks?
Was it more than 3 years since you last updated your materials?
To save money are you handing customers things you printed from your office copier?
If you answered yes to the above questions it is time to update your materials. Is the lack of attention to your business’s image and appearance is costing you sales?
While your logo is often the heart of your business identity, your corporate identity package includes your logo as well as your letterhead, business cards, envelopes, brochures, pocket folders, newspaper or magazine ads and website.
In a nutshell, a corporate identity package involves positioning your brand consistently across various media avenues. The look and feel of all your materials should be consistent and all tied together presenting a common look and feel.
While customers value companies with a proven track record of success, a stale and out-of-date image can hurt sales. Step outside the box (of your business) and look at your company’s brand from a customer’s point of view.
Does everything tie together?
Do the materials and packaging look fresh and modern?
Do your materials look professional?
If you were a customer would you feel comfortable doing business with you?
Parts of an identity package include:
Overall message you are trying to convey about your business.
A customer must be able to look at your logo and other materials and know instantly who you are and what you do. What they see must clearly identify your business and communicate professionalism and trust, (communicating without necessarily saying the words professionalism and trust in the message).
Once a basic design is done, you should survey customers and get feedback on the design. You want to make sure your customers get what you are trying to communicate from the design.
Think about the overall image your brochures, flyers, business cards, and other print materials communicate. Don’t forget the other elements that define your corporate image such as your website, social media, and email campaigns. This goes all the way down to store image, how your employees look and handle customers.
If you caught yourself admiring a competitor’s marketing materials, it’s very likely that your customers and prospects have noticed them as well.
Don’t settle for a stale, outdated image. Ask us today how we can re-create or simply help breathe life back into your important marketing materials.
You can waste a lot of time trying to design a brochure and the end product of all your work being wasted if you are not aware of how to format it. The proper format can ad punch to your brochure. A good graphic designer can take the basic data you provide and using their skills create a design that will guide your customers and prospects to buying from you. The entire process starts with you. It will help you to know the basic elements the designer will use. Targeting the message in your brochure is important and should be kept in mind while pulling together information.
A brochure’s design may vary, but its components are usually the same. They are:
Front cover headline. Purpose to get attention and to get the reader to open and read more.
Inside subhead. Purpose to pull the reader along and direct readers attention to important sections.
Body of the brochure. Purpose to provide data and fill in the blanks from the headlines.
Identification of your product/service
Benefits of your product/service
Your competitive edge
Testimonials, client lists, awards and honors
Back cover company information, if self mailing brochure be sure to include mailing address and a place for a stamp.
Results-oriented brochures must start with a great headline. The headline needs to scream a benefit to your target customer. The headline is the most important parts of your brochure. If it is enticing, the customer will read on. If it lacks luster, you’ve wasted your money and maybe lost a prospective customer. Your headline needs to catch the interest of the reader by providing the answer to their question of “What’s in it for me?”
The best headlines either address a solution to a problem or state a problem.
For example, “Reduce Your Financial Worries,” or promote a benefit, “How To Live Longer and Healthier.” However, you must immediately and specifically target your audience to clearly identify the benefit or solution you are offering. Headlines can ask a question, “Do You Want to Gain Financial Freedom?” or, “Would You Like to Lose 10 Pounds?” Questions will immediately target your audience (if the answer is “no,” the reader is not a valid prospect, and, in turn, will not open the brochure).
Now list the top four benefits your business offers.
Write The Inside Subheads
The inside subheads must get the prospect’s attention and reinforce your cover headline. Frequently, the subheads describe the components of the body copy – your products/services, benefits, competitive edge. For instance, if you own Green’s Landscaping, your subheads might be, “Don’t Be Green With Envy” (followed by your product/service description), “We Save You Greenbacks” (which heads a list of benefits), and “We’re Greening America” (which describes your natural, environmentally friendly competitive edge). Subheads should be kept concise and, when appropriate, interesting.
Write The Body
Your introductory paragraph should address the issue presented on the cover. If you asked a question “Would You Like to Lose 10 Pounds?”, you must answer it, “You Bet!”. Entice your prospects, but don’t overwhelm them with thesis-length sentences. Most important, the introductory paragraph should establish the need for your product or service. If your product or service does not fulfill some type of need, then it has no value, and you have no customers. You must be able to describe in your introductory paragraph why customers cannot live without your product/service. You can’t bury this in the body copy. If you don’t tell them immediately, few will read on.
Going back to Green’s Landscaping, the introductory paragraph might begin:
“Have you ever longed for the day when your lawn rivals that of a golf course, but you haven’t even disposed of last year’s leaves? Most of us don’t have the time anymore to do the things we like much less do those chores we detest. At Green’s Landscaping, we”
The body copy must include a description of your products and services, their features and major benefits, and that which sets you apart from your competition. Again, when writing the body copy, remember your target market and the message you’re trying to get across. Be selective, you do not want to be exhaustive when developing your benefits and competitive edge. List only those that are relevant to the prospective customers you are trying to reach. If you try to list everything, the most important features may get lost.
If you have trouble getting started, on a separate sheet of paper, make an outline of your products and services, your benefits and your competitive edge. Then, go back and fill in the words later. Keep your sentences short and concise. The inside panels of the brochure should promote your competitive edge, the benefits of doing business with your company and a description of your products or services.
Be Creative. Use adjectives that best describe your business. Are your products one-of-a-kind, exciting, innovative, high quality, cutting edge, results-oriented, creative, dynamic or distinguishable?
List and/or describe only your primary products and services. Don’t provide a laundry list of all the things you do. State what you do and why you do it best. Sell yourself and your business.
People buy a product or service because they either need or want to. In order to create a need or a want, you must promote the benefits of using your product or service. Many business owners advertise the features of their business and neglect to promote how the product or service will benefit the customer. Features enable the product or service to perform its function. Benefits are the results a person receives from using the product or service.For example, Nike and Reebok don’t advertise the actual features of their shoes. They don’t mention what the shoe is made of or how it is constructed. Instead, their commercials advocate that you will jump higher, run faster and play better. Similarly, Volvo advertises the safety of their cars, not necessarily the design features that make their car safe.
10 Common Mistakes and Pitfalls Made On Brochures!
A full color brochure can be a valuable tool for expanding your business. Wilson Printing can help you design, print and mail your brochure.
If there is a 900 lb gorilla in the room of business today it is the lack of use of effective marketing tools. Many of you in the last few years in an effort to save money have cut back or eliminated your hard promotion. By hard promotion I mean printed materials: brochures, post cards, even catalogs and manuals. The new buzz- word is “We are going Green”. In the extreme, going green means to go “paperless” on everything by using electronic mediums such as email, video, and PDF documents to promote.
The tested fact is that your customers respond better to something they can hold on to, feel and touch. The human race is still touchy-feely. Our society the last few years has become overburden with electronic advertising.
Think about it, when was the last time you read an entire email or worse someone sent you a manual in a PDF document via email. OMG! PDF manuals or multi-page proposals go in my going-to-read-someday, but never-actually-ever-get-around-to-reading bin.
I am in NO way saying email or Web marketing is bad, we use it in our business. It has its place. What I am saying is the Internet is an ingredient in the marketing mix, not the entire pie.
What is the least expensive way to include direct mail in your promotional plans?
I know what some of you are thinking, “Sure Mark, you sell printed materials like postcard and brochures, of course you think that is the best!” True enough. But, I am also a business owner and just like you, I want more new customers and I am not particular as to how I get them. We use email and web advertising but we also use direct mail marketing, brochures and note cards as part of the mix. The hard marketing materials get noticed and generate response more reliably than electronic. As a matter of fact, our post card mailings drive people to our web site which drives business to our phone.
Using email or web advertising as your sole form of advertising presents a couple of problems:
It is difficult to get an email list that has enough people on it to make a difference. It is also very risky to buy an email list because the people on the list may have “opt-ed in” but they did not opt-in to you.If you get black-listed, people will not be able to go to your web pages, you personal emails will not go out. You will have to rebuild everything from your domain name on up.
People are being emailed to death so they are not paying attention like they used to. Spam blocking software is the number one selling software. (That should tell you something.)
The World Wide Web is the modern day Wild West with tons of web cowboys competing for attention. Competition is fierce and there are little or no restrictions of what can be claimed or promised. It can be very difficult to get noticed. You also have to stay on top of Internet marketing because it is changing everyday.
Staying ahead of this economy requires smart and well-planned marketing tools, this is the key to increasing sales. Using a combination of mediums will usually bring you the best results.
The following 14 points are keystones to successful promotion:
Survey your customers, find out what is needed and wanted and give them exactly that.
Focus your message on the benefits of what you do – from your customer’s point of view.
Keep your descriptions and explanations simple. Make sure not to use words and phrases that a layman will not easily understand. Using big words or industry terms creates confusion for the customer and drives business away. All a customer really wants to know is how your product or service will solve a particular problem and make life easier for them.
Combine email or web marketing with print advertising, post cards or direct mail. Use direct mail to drive traffic to your web site.
Be consistent and regular in your advertising because people are buying what you are selling everyday. You have to work hard to make yourself known or people will forget about you.
Make sure you set aside money for marketing and promotion every week and that you spend your money you set aside on marketing and promotion every week. Reject the notion that you can or should cut marketing and advertising when business slows. When you do so you are cutting the very thing that will bring you more business.
Make sure you know what a customer is really worth to your company. Knowing this number will help you track your return on investment. We have an easy formula to help you calculate this.
Have and use some sort of a database to keep customer information and notes, even if it is only a manila folder. The main goal of your business is to capture the identities of people who are interested in your services and people who have bought from you so they can be marketed to. The more complete your database is, the more effective you can be in your marketing and promotion.
Use the phone and personal visits to contact your customers and prospects. Make sure your sales people are sending out personal notes with buck slips to customers. Often a hand written note delivered USPS generates great results. I have one of our sales people who is getting 7 – 10% response rate sending personal handwritten notes. We even offer a bulk mail program that is written in a handwritten font, which is very effective.
Make sure you have professionally designed brochures and sales flyers that tell your story and give the benefits of doing business with your company. Don’t horde or save brochures and promotional materials, pass them out liberally. They won’t sell anything if they are on the shelf collecting dust. Find new ways to get your promotional materials in the hands of your customers and prospects. Brochures make great follow up pieces to send to a prospect after they call or stop in.
If appropriate, get professionally printed pocket folders to put all of your materials in. The more professional you look, the more people will trust your company. Corporate Identy is key. Everything a customer sees or touches should look professional and tie together. Do not underestimate the power of themed and coordinated materials to sway a customer’s buying decision.
Every person who calls or expresses an interest in your services should receive at least 3 pieces of hard mail from you. This can be a thank you note, a follow up brochure and/or an information pack. Repetition sells.
This one should be a no brainer, but I am surprised at the number of businesses that let this one slip. Keep your store and especially areas where a customer might be or see – clean and neat. Nothing tarnishes a professional image faster than a dirty or disorganized store. I have seen businesses increase sales overnight simply by cleaning and organizing their store. It does not cost anything, only a little time and elbow grease.
And ABOVE ALL – DELIVER WHAT YOU PROMISE. The quickest way to put your self out of business is to leave a wake of upset customers. Word gets around. By research, an angry customer will tell 15 – 20 people about their bad experience and a happy customer tells an average of 3 people. For this reason, you should have a way to collect success stories and use them in your promotional materials, because you will increases your good word of mouth.
Many of your competitors are back on their heels. Now is the time to strike with a planned marketing program and take business away from them.
If you would like to sit down for a few minutes for a consultation with one of our representatives on how best to combine electronic marketing with direct mail marketing, please give us a call!
If you are interested in getting some assistance with your marketing call us at 727-536-4173.
Nothing gets results faster than when you put something solid, tangible and PRINTED in the hands of a prospect or a customer. Printed sales and promotional materials help move the sales process along. The challenge is how to save money when getting something printed by a commercial printer.
The following 11 errors will increase your costs when working with a commercial printer. These are simple suggestions which could save you hundreds of dollars on your printing costs.
#1 PROOF READING: Did more than one person proofread the job?
This is an obvious one. No matter how many times I proofread text, I can miss the same glaring error each time it’s passed over. Another set of eyes can sort this out quickly. In fact, the more people that proof your job the better. Unlike online content, print is permanent. Once printed, mistakes can’t be corrected.
It’s a fact that a spell checker will not catch all the mistakes on your text. More specifically, it will not catch misspellings that form other valid words such as weather and whether.
Also, triple check phones numbers, street addresses, email and web addresses. These can be easily missed and taken for granted that surely the phone number is correct.
The last thing you want to happen is to look over the proof, ok it for printing and there is an error or typo. Since you signed off on and approved the art, the printer is off the hook for the accuracy of the copy and assumes you checked and double-checked the art. If it is wrong this could cost you money to reprint the piece.
#2 SIZE MATTERS: If we change the size of the printed piece we can run on a smaller press and save money?
Not everything needs to be run jumbo size. Especially when ordering small quantities, the commercial printer will want to run the job digitally which is less expensive to print but also digital presses take a smaller size sheet of paper. For example, if you want 500 copies of a large or odd size brochure we would have to run on our large offset press. The thing about offset presses is they are not so efficient cost wise for lower quantities, which means it will raise the printing cost for lower runs.
The other point on size is try to keep your materials to normal sizes, like 8.5 x 11, 5.5 x 8.5 or 11 x 17 because most offset and/or digital presses are configured to efficiently run the final size as one of these standard sizes mentioned. When you want a brochure that is 22″ x 6″ for example, you are going to have more paper waste and this size has to be run on a large, offset press which is ok if you are ordering 10,000 to 100,000 copies. But if you want 500 copies, 11×17 folded down will save you a lot of money over the 22″ x 6″ size piece.
#3 DUMMY: Did you make a “dummy” or mock-up to check configuration and presentation?
If you’re producing a folded leaflet for example, it’s always worth printing the pages yourself to be sure you have them in the correct order. If you’re in any way unsure, ask your commercial printer for help. They’ll check the composition for you.
#4 QUANTITY: Are you absolutely sure about the quantity to be printed?
A second print run will cost a lot more than extended first runs (or “run-on” as printers call it). If you’re asking for a quote of 10,000 copies, get prices for 15,000 and 25,000. Often the price per piece comes way down on the higher quantities.
The basic rule, when it comes to promotional materials, is quantity over quality. You want to get as much of it out as possible. If you are spending $3.50 for an off size, tri-fold, full color, pocket folder for example, you tend to be more conservative and not pass them out to just any old prospect. I know you don’t want to hear this, but often your prospect will take your folder and throw it in the trash. So the rule of thumb is you want it to look professional, but a 2-color standard size pocket folder which is professionally designed, can be produced for under $1.00 depending on quantities ordered. This means you can afford to put it in the hands of more people, more often which means you will get more business coming in.
#5 If there are photos in the document, do they need to be retouched?
One of the most common changes I make in Photoshop is to adjust the levels of an image. This is to make sure that white areas are bright white and black is actually black. It really helps with contrast (in the image menu, select ‘adjustments’, then ‘levels’). Also, color prints tend to get darker after scanning, and large reductions can make shadow areas heavier.
And no, you can’t just lift photo’s off the internet and send them to your printer. The reason is photos on the internet are 72 dpi which is very low resolution. We need 300 dpi to print crisp, clear images.
#6 PAPER QUALITY: Is the paper opacity sufficient or will there be any see-through?
If you hold a newspaper up to the light, you can read the text and see the images on the other side of the paper. This might be fine in the newspaper industry, where paper costs are astronomical, but you obviously don’t want a promotional brochure or annual report to have the same effect. Choose a good weight of paper stock (approx. 150gsm+) and you’ll not only prevent this from happening, but your colors will print more brilliantly too.
Does the paper need to be gloss or flat? If you have a lot of text and a few photos, you can save money by going with a non-gloss sheet. Usually a piece with a lot of photos and graphics looks better printed on a glossy sheet.
#7 What about the texture of the paper?
Cheap paper feels cheap. Is this the impression you want to give? When receiving a quote, why not factor in a few different weights of paper? You might be surprised at how little extra you need to pay for a higher quality paper. Just so you have an idea, copy paper is usually 20# bond, a step up from that is 60# bond and still a better step is a 70# opaque text. You will feel the weight difference from the 20# or 60# to a 70#. The 70# sheet feels a lot nicer but is only nominally more expensive.
#8 Can we substitute our choice of paper for a stock that’s less expensive, while still looking as good?
We can advise you. One factor this depends on is the amount of ink you’re going to use. For instance, if you have large areas of black to be printed, you’ll need a decent paper stock to prevent the paper going out of shape or the color bleeding through.
#9 Will ink colors change when printed on a particular type of paper?
Printing inks are transparent and will change depending on the brightness or “yellowness” of a white paper.
#10 Does the printed sheet need a varnish?
If your print job is to be stacked and packaged, you have to be careful that the ink doesn’t transfer from one brochure/poster/business card to another during storage and transit (this is called offsetting). Varnishing can be a useful preventative. You can also consider aqueous coating to guard against finger-marking and scratching. Most printing presses will apply anti-offset powder, which is a fine powder lightly sprayed over the printed surface of coated paper as sheets leave a press. This is normally sufficient to prevent ink offset, but if in doubt, ask.
#11 Can we print four colors on one side of the sheet and black on the reverse to give the illusion of a “four color process” job?
If you want to use color, but find that it’s too expensive, you can always print one side of the paper using full color with the reverse in black only. Newspaper companies use this technique to give the appearance of full-color printing. What you’ll find is that a lot of the time only one side of a newspaper page shows color, whereas the reverse of that page is in black only. This saves money, yet gives the appearance of higher quality.
I’m sure you get the idea by now. The most important piece of advice is to ask your printer about possible cost savings. We want to help you and know our business.
In the heat of a project it can be easy to lose sight of getting the information you need. Sure, you could request a quote after quote trying to get the cheapest price, often giving up quality or service in the bargain. There’s a better way. Relax, and bring your printer into the equation early on so they can give you suggestions to save money. Give us as much info as possible about your future print plans, too. If we know what projects are on the horizon, we might be able to combo-run your jobs to save time and money or make suggestions for the design of the piece which could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
This year is shaping up to be a year packed with uncertainty. The stock market goes up and crashes the same day. The news media tells us we are heading for a recession then that we are in a recession and there is no hope for us. The negativity can be overwhelming if you listen to it. The question may become, “Am I wasting money advertising now or not?”
As managers and owners of businesses, what do we do when we hear the constant bad news? You could pull back, tighten up the reins, hunker down and try to ride it out. You can cut back advertising and promotion hoping to save money and improve your bottom line. But is cutting back going to improve your business? No. Why? Because you are stopping the one thing you have that reaches out and lets people know you are still there and open for business. The other option is to increase your advertising and promote more.
Research and experience has shown that cutting advertising and promotion during economic downturns speeds the downfall of a business. The reason for this is with reduced or eliminated advertising people, customers and prospects simply forget you are there. They may have a need for what you do but end up calling your competitor instead. Why? Because you are trying to selling a secret! They forgot about you.
I don’t care if you have been in business for 50 years, the simple fact is that people forget and if you are not in their face on a daily, weekly or at least on a monthly basis they do and will forget about you. I know this cold, hard reality may strike your ego a blow squarely in the face. But this is one of the primary reasons why we see well-established businesses that have been around for years go out of business, their customers forgot about them. They felt everyone knew they were there. They didn’t need to advertise. Their customers started doing business with the new guys across the street.
No matter what you may think or feel, there is always a number of people who are ready to buy what you sell today and more will be in the market to buy tomorrow and more next week and next month. If consumers are not thinking of you when they are ready to buy what do you think the chance is they are going to buy from you? Probably not very good, hence the beginning of a downward spiral for you if you are not advertising your business.
Think of your market as a big bulls eye. The center of the bulls eye is the buy now zone consisting of people who are ready to buy today. As you move out to the outer rings of the bulls eye, these make up the “consideration” or “thinking about buying it” zones.
Some people may be days or weeks away from buying, others months away. Experience tells us that when people are in the outer rings of the marketing bulls eye they are forming decisions about what and whom they are going to buy from.
Think about the last car you purchased. Did you, one day, just go out and buy a car? Or did you, for several weeks or months in advance, notice different makes and models of cars and think about how you would look behind the wheel? Did you ask friends who had a specific model how they liked their car? Did you read consumer reports? Did you research who had the best price?
The rule of thumb is that the larger the ticket item, the longer people are in the “thinking about buying it” zones. The smaller the ticket, the quicker and more often people move in and out of the buy today zone. So, if you sell a relative small ticket item or service, people move more quickly in and out of the buy now zone. With big tickets items people move slower. The way to get your UNFAIR share of the business in the buy now zone is to reach, influence and make people aware of you while they are in the awareness zones. To become known you have to advertise consistently.
If people are not aware of your business when they are in the “thinking about it” zones, what are the chances they will come in and buy from you when they are ready to buy? You would have better odds of hitting on the slot machines in Las Vegas. When you cut back your advertising and marketing you are effectively putting your business and future of your business in the category of being a SECRET. You cannot sell a secret. People do not buy secrets.
One of the services we offer at Wilson Printing is help with your marketing. We assist businesses with not only design and printing but help with developing concepts to attract customers.
There are several ways to advertise. We happen to be very good at helping businesses use direct mail marketing. Direct mail is effective. If you would like to know more about it, please feel free to contact me.
We have all heard the term Branding, but what exactly is Branding? And more importantly do you have to hire a big Madison Avenue advertising agency to develop a brand locally?
Usually when people talk about brands or branding they think of large companies like McDonald’s or Nike. Most of us operate in a very competitive business environment and developing dominant local brand can be vitally important to your success.
There are three things that go into building a brand locally. If you have them in place your advertising and marketing will be more effective and your sales will consistently grow.
If you have found that your company’s advertising has not been effective and you feel like you are wasting your money and time you probably need to improve one of the three points of creating a dominant local brand.
Before we get into what you should do to build a dominant local brand let’s make sure we are on the same page by defining some basic terms.
Merriam Webster defines the word Brand as a class of goods identified by name as the product of a single firm or manufacturer. But a Brand is much more than that, when a customer see a logo, symbol or a name that identifies your business something unspoken is communicated and you want that unspoken thing to be confidence and trust.
Branding is defined as the promoting of a product or service by identifying it with a particular brand. There are several ways you can promote first and foremost is how you present, deliver and service what you sell.
A Brand is simply an identity or symbol for a business and branding occurs with the promoting and exposure of the brand to a target market. A brand is built by not only by promotion and advertising but also with combination of things you do on a daily basis.
One thing all the marketing experts agree on is that a Brand communicates confidence and trust. How do you build confidence? It does not matter it you’re a Fortune 500 company or a small mom and pop shop building a brand at any level involves a combination of Promotion + Public Relations + Image + Delivery.
Promotion is simply advertising and promoting products or services. There is a technology to successful promotion. Successful promotion attracts attention, creates interest and invites action.
Public Relations is the action of inducing the public to have understanding for and goodwill toward a person, firm, or institution; also: the degree of understanding and goodwill achieved. This can be achieved through good service and caring that the customer not only gets what they pay for but also gets more value than they expected.
Image is a mental picture or impression of or toward something. Image is a perception people have which is created by PR and Delivery.
Delivery is simply doing what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it. Caring that the customer is happy and satisfied and doing what is necessary to make them happy is the key to referrals and future business.
If you and your people are taking care of your customer by producing a good product, are standing behind what you do and do so as fast as possible you accomplish numbers one, two and three above.
I recently went into a local AT&T store to upgrade my cell phone. There were five people behind the counter and three customers. Three of the employees were sitting around twiddling their thumbs while two worked very hard to help. I waited for 30 minutes to get serviced while the three idle employees watched me waiting offering not a word or any assistance. This gave me the impression that the employees (and AT&T) really did not care one-way or the other. If the three who were sitting around could not or would not help customers they should have been in the back out of sight. It was very bad PR to have them sitting idly while people waited. Over the next 2 hours several people came in and I watched people leave with a disgusted look. This scene was not very good for building a brand or creating future business.
The second part of developing a brand involves logos and promotional materials that are easily identified and remembered.
I want you to ask you to look at the printed materials you hand out to your customers. Things like brochures, pocket folders, business cards and even your invoices.
Do they convey a professional impression of your business?
If your customer is looking at your materials and your competitions side by side, which looks more professional?
When you look at your printed materials, do they look like they belong together or are they mixed batch of themes, looks and designs?
If you were your customer, looking at your company’s materials do they communicate professionalism and confidence?
When was the last time you updated these materials?
Wilson Printing has a team of professional graphic artist that can help you design your materials so they have a common theme and work together to communicate what you do.
Our goal is when one of your customers look at your printed materials they get the impression that your business is ranked in the top ten of the Forbes 500. We specialize in making you look good.
The most difficult thing in today’s marketplace can be getting the attention of your customers and prospective customers. People are bombarded with advertising and generally ignore most of what they see. I wanted to share with you something we have been doing and getting very good results with for our clients. The program I am referring to is a Promotional Check Mailer. Click here to see a copy of the mailer.
The check comes in a brown kraft window envelope. You can see the official looking check through the window. The envelope gets opened. It is not uncommon for our clients to get a 1% to 5% response with the Check Mailers.
These mailers are generating more responses and sales than any other form of direct mail or promotion for that matter. Why? Because they adhere to the basic rules for getting response. There are four basic rules of thumb as to what you want to do with your advertising, they are:
It must get noticed.
It must create interest.
It must build desire.
It must invite action.
Direct mail has been around for a very long time. There are several types of direct mail, from simple sales letters, post cards, self-mailing brochures to expensive package mailings. Postage increases along with the down turn in the economy have detoured many from using direct mail in recent years. This means you have less competition for your prospect’s attention (in the mail box) than ever before.
Why in the world would you even want to consider using Direct Mail and something as wild as a Check Mailer? I mean postage is expensive. (We can save you money on postage by the way.) Simple, can you tell me what other form of advertising that 99.999% of the population get and see it? Think about it…. There is not a one, none, no other medium that reaches this percentage of people. Everyone gets mail and they look through their mail. Direct mail is personal, targetable and trackable. Does it work always for every business, no. But the reasons it does not work are three and are easily corrected.
Let looks at some of the other advertising options available to you.
Newspaper – it reaches only 8% – 12% of the population and in some cities less. Newspapers have to sell 65% – 70% of the pages as advertising just to break even. So you have a lot of clutter and no guarantee that your prospect will even see your ad.
Radio – there are on average 18 – 25 radio stations in most medium to large metropolitan areas. Targeting becomes tricky. Stations run 18 – 25 minutes of commercial per hour usually in blocks so it is easy to get lost in a commercial block. Radio is a great way to brand a business and drive traffic but you have to be patient, it takes time to build and people do not always tell you how they heard about you.
TV/Cable – oh my god are you kidding me. There are 200 channels and remote control means most people click channels instead of watching a commercial. Ladies, tell me how many commercials you see your husband sit through and watch? The answer is if he has the clicker, not many. Television stations also run 18 – 25 minutes per hour of commercials.
Billboards – for some business models this is effective. But still there are a lot of roads and the people you are reaching are mobile and cannot respond directly.
Email advertising – used to generate a lot of response, now with spam filter and high email traffic it takes a lot to get through not to mention getting read. It is inexpensive and most businesses should use email but should not rely on it as the sole form of advertising.
Check Mailers – this concept is not a new idea. It has been around a long time. Check mailers are effective. What we have done is combine sales letters with the check. The check gets noticed and the amount gives them incentive to call. The letter lets you sell the sizzle of what you are offering.
What could that response rate mean to your company sales? Click on this link for an article that will help you calculate your potential return on investment.
Calculating Your Return On Investment
Why does it work so well?
Two reasons: 1) it gets noticed and 2) it puts something of value in the prospects’ hands and gives them a reason to call you now.
Would you like more information on this for your business? Or, if you need anything else, please let me know. We are here to help you.
Looking for low cost brochure printing deals? Want some tips on how to save big when designing and printing your next full-color brochure? If that’s you, keep reading because there are 5 simple ways you can save money on your next brochure order.
1. Standard Sizes…or Not
You may think that having your brochure larger or a different size than normal will make it somehow unique. The fact is, what will make your full-color brochure unique is the content and design not necessarily the size. The best bet for saving money is to design your brochure using common sizes. The most common brochure sizes are 8.5 x 11 or 5.5 x 8.5. There are two reasons why this is. One, paper comes in large sheets which are made in standard sizes. Because larger or odd size brochures are printed and are cut down to size, you will have lots of wasted paper. You are charged for the raw materials needed to print your brochure however many big sheets it takes to print your order. Two, offset presses and digital presses are designed for maximum efficiency to use standard paper sizes, oddball sizes cause inefficiencies that increase your cost.
2. Lose the Fold…or Not
This is the second area that can drive up the cost of your full-color brochure. Folding is the last step in the production process. The most common folds are Z-Fold, Letter Fold and BiFold. Generally, the more complex the fold, the higher the price. The reason is because of the law o
f supply and demand. Folding machines are configured for the most common folds which are the most in demand. Anything out of the norm adds time and cost.
3. Limit Color Use…or Not
Usually there is no limit on color when it comes to printing brochures. Four-color process printing makes it possible to print just about any color under the sun. The only caveat is with specific PMS colors or metallic colors like gold or silver. With four-color process printing you get any color by mixing cyan, magenta, yellow & black. When you add a metallic color that makes the job a five-color job instead of a four-color process job, this will raise your cost dramatically.
4. Type of Paper
The feel of the paper can help communicate your message. It is an important decision for any brochure project. Paper, like most of the above points, can add or reduce your cost. When deciding on the paper, look at how you are going to use the brochure. Does it need to be sturdy or will a lighter weight paper work. Paper comes in two basic classifications “text weight” and “cover weight”. Text is a lighter weight paper. Cover weight is thicker and is used for covers of manuals, booklets and brochures.
The most common brochure paper is 100# Gloss Text. This is the heaviest text weight paper.
Using cover weight paper usually requires scoring before folding. This adds to the cost of the brochure.
The guiding principle for deciding what paper for your brochure is, how are you going to use the brochure. If you want to pass them out like tissue paper or mail them, my suggestion is to use the text weight paper. If you need thicker paper to make a statement or add durability, then use the thicker paper. If not use the thinner paper. We can help you decide on the best paper for your brochure.
5. Buy in Bulk
Like most things, the more you buy, the lower the price. How many are you going to distribute in the next six months, twelve months? At Wilson Printing we offer four-color brochure printing in quantities ranging from 500 to 100,000.
Remember, a full color brochure only works if it is passed out. Don’t be stingy with your promotion. A box of brochures does not sell anything sitting on a shelf. Plan how you are going to get the brochures in the hands of customers and prospects. The more printed promotional materials you have out, the more business you will bring in.
Would you like to generate more response and sales for your business?
Below are 10 rules you can use to boost the response of your direct mail and other advertising. The first thing you have to remember is the purpose of Direct Mail Marketing. The best use of direct mail is to generate leads.
The second thing to consider is how the media is consumed by the end user. Any direct mail piece is generally opened over the trash can. You have about two seconds to grab the reader’s attention before your postcard goes into the trash. This is not a good thing or a bad thing it’s just the way it is. The nice thing about direct mail is that the prospect has your piece in their hands. With other mediums the prospect may never see or hear your message.
The following is a list of things to keep in mind when you are working with one of our designers on your direct mail piece. This will help you give the designer the information needed to create an effective postcard:
A clear, bold headline
This is the most important part of the postcard or direct mail piece. It should grab the attention of the reader instantly. The best headlines are ones that convey a benefit to the reader. On a letter mailer, on the envelope or front of the postcard there should be one central message. The best way to achieve that is with a bold, clear headline that’s not cluttered up with other text. A good headline should take up at least 15 percent of the front of the mailer.
A graphic that supports the message
The photo or graphic should support and reinforce the message the headline is trying to convey. For instance, if you are trying to get people to list their home you would want to show a home with a SOLD sign clearly visible on the front. That graphic reinforces the message more than a simple picture of a home.
Color that pops
Make the headline and other text stand out by using a color that stands out from the background color. When you look at the card, ask yourself, “What do I see first?” If your answer isn’t the headline, you might want to tweak the colors.
Subheads that lead into text
The rule of thumb here is to be brief. In today’s over worked society your prospects will seldom read long passages of text. They want to know what is in it for them (the benefit). And, they want to be able to see “what’s in it for them” without a lot of work. Remember, you want to give them enough information to entice them to call you for more information, but not so much that they make a value judgment or get a headache trying to figure out what it is you are selling.
One of the biggest errors people make in advertising is stating features rather than benefits. For example, never assume recipients know what benefit can be derived from a lower interest rate on their mortgage. Let them know how their monthly payments will go down. How much money they will be saving.
An offer is always a good idea and should represent a specific reason to call now, such as “limited supply” or “interest rates are climbing” or a special price point or other urgent reason to call now.
Your company name and logo
Although this needs to be on the mailer, it shouldn’t overshadow the offer. Customers care most about what you can do for them.
Call to action
Tell prospects exactly what you want them to do. “Call today for more information” or “See us online at” are two of the most common desired actions.
Provide your name, phone number, and Web address directly following the call to action. Whatever you ask prospects to do, give them the means to do it easily.
A return address ensures you’ll get returned mail from the post office and sends a message that you’re an established professional. People feel better knowing the company they’re dealing with has an actual location.
This is by no means a complete list. There are design points along with the above data that will boost your responses. Remember, when it comes to marketing, there is no magic medium that you can use where people will beat your doors down.
The war of marketing is fought on the battlefield of consistency, employing several different weapons. Direct mail is one of the marketing weapons that has with stood the test of time. When used properly and consistently it will generate a lot of business for you.
In this day of the Internet, a well-designed brochure is a good tool to help you sell more products and services. Customers use the Internet and find you but want more information. There is also something about holding a piece of paper in one’s hands that makes a product or service more real.
Brochures fall into two broad categories – those that introduce a new product or service to a likely customer and those that turn an already interested customer into a buyer.
10 Common Mistakes and Pitfalls Made On Brochures!
A well-designed and professionally printed brochure can generate thousands in sales for your company. There are common pitfalls you should avoid when designing a brochure. If you want to get the most out of your brochure you have to avoid the following errors. If you make one or more of these errors your brochure will be ineffective and will be a waste of your time and money.
Pitfall #1: Trying to include everything you do in one brochure.
Including a laundry list of everything you do is a mistake. When you try to interest everyone, you end up interesting no one. Realize that most businesses have at least two or three types of customers they service. If you must put more than one or two products on a brochure, use products and services in the brochure that are suitable to one type of customer you service. Products and services featured should compliment one another.
Pitfall #2: A brochure designed with no purpose.
What are you trying to accomplish with the brochure? Sounds simple but a brochure designed with no purpose or goal in mind is worth little and generally does not produce a result.
What do you want to be the end result of someone reading your brochure? Do you want them to call and buy? Do you want the brochure to create more interest so they have to call you to get more questions answered. Do you want to simply educate them on the product? Is the goal to build trust in your company?
Pitfall #3: Brochure designed with no end use in mind.
To be successful, a brochure needs to be designed with a use in mind. How will it be used, as a self-mailer, as a tool for your sales people, something to educate prospects about your service or something simply to list out all the options available to the customer.
Pitfall #4: Designed with no insight on the target market for the brochure.
This pitfall is a close cousin to pitfall #1. You have to know your end user. What problem will your product of service solve for them? How do customers use the product? What questions do customers commonly have? People buy benefits so make sure your brochure promotes benefits of your products to the customer. The brochure has to be designed and with these questions as a guide.
Pitfall #5: Thinking that you are an expert on graphic design and can design an effective brochure.
Some people can do it but unfortunately most cannot. With the advent of desktop publishing, many people, in an effort to save a few bucks, set one’s hand to graphic design. Sometimes it works, most of the time not so much. Businesses end up losing more on lost sales from an ineffective design.
The money a professional graphic artist charges usually pays for itself. There is a specific technology to graphic design. For example, using color to highlight and sell the product. The correct font to make the message pop. The correct font spacing and leading can make the message readable and easily understood. The use of backgrounds, borders to ad aesthetics and appeal. And we have not even touched on how to use photos and clip art to tell the message. As you can see, there is a lot to graphic design and I have only touched on a small part of the technology. You are an expert in your business. If you want a promotional product ie. brochure that looks good and produces results you should hire a graphic designer.
Pitfall 6# No photos or the inclusion of photos for the sake of having photos.
A photograph or clip art graphic should help tell the story you are trying to tell. Sometimes the correct photo can tell the entire story with little or no written copy. How many photos and where they are used depends greatly on message and the purpose of the brochure.
Pitfall #7 No validation of message.
The use of customer testimonials can increase the effectiveness of a brochure by 75%. This is one of the most overlooked tools in marketing arsenal. You have to ask for them and collect testimonials on a regular basis.
Pitfall #8 Not using the brochures once you have them.
Full color brochures that are professionally designed and printed that sit on the shelf are a total waste. You cannot be conservative with your promotional materials. Get them in circulation. Invent ways and means of getting them into customer hands. You can include them in the delivery of products, mail them as self-mailing brochures and pass them out at a trade show or to people walking on the street if it fits your target customer profile.
Pitfall #9 Brochures are part of your solution to get customers.
A full color brochure should be part of you marketing plan not the entire plan. Your plan should include a mix of media from direct mail, radio, TV to post cards. Everything should tie together and support the main objective which is to get customers in the door and buying.
Pitfall #10 Not having a call to action.
Sounds simple but I am surprised how often a call to action is not included in the brochure. What do you want them to do? Call for more information? Go to your website? Come by the store? Include every possible way to get in touch with you, your website, phone number, email address and your physical address. Also one of the new tools available to you is the use of a QR code. A QR code can be scanned by a smart phone to take the customer to your home page or to a web video.
6 Bonus Pitfalls to Avoid with Your Brochure
Being concerned with the looks, but forgetting the sales objective.
Giving the printer poor artwork, but expecting excellent results.
Forgetting to emphasize the unique selling proposition of your business.
Omitting (or hiding) prices if they are critical to the reader’s decision-making.
Printing too many brochures with details that date too quickly.
Forgetting to monitor the response (as with any other type of advertising).
I hope this information helps you. If you would like a brochure designed and printed for your business please give us a call. We have professional graphic designers on staff to design a brochure that will look great and be effective in generating sales for your business. We have offset full-color printing and full color digital presses that will make you look like a fortune 500 company. To get started just give us a call at 727-536-4173.