How To Create An Effective Brochure

One of the most effective tools in your marketing arsenal is a brochure. Brochures can be printed in full color or simply one or two colors. Today, with the advent of digital printing, low run four-color brochures are very affordable. Brochures can be designed as a self-mailer. The biggest benefit of a brochure for direct mailing is that you have more organized space than with a postcard.

Find Out How You Can Create An Effective Business Brochure, Click Here.

With most things in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to create a brochure. The following will give you the guidelines and help you avoid common errors in brochure design. Our goal is to help you create an effective brochure for your business.

Brochures are an effective way to educate and inform prospects about a business and its products and services. Then why do 75% of businesses not have this simplest form and highly effective form of marketing?

There are several reasons why but the main reasons boil down to having no time and no direction. Busy business owners and managers simply do not know where to start and do not have the time to think about it. Sound familiar?

As a tool, a brochure can be used to help move your prospect through the sales process to arrive at a decision. If you do not have a brochure and would like one, the following is information that will help you get the most out of your brochure.

There is no such thing as an all-purpose brochure. You must target your audience and decide on the specific message you want to send. A broadly focused brochure appeals to no one and rarely stirs any kind of response or interest.

When several brochures are used for an organization, they should be designed to have a similar “look.” This includes similar type styles and sizes, as well as a common design. Margins, graphs and borders should be consistent.

The Process Of Creating Your Brochure

Brochure development follows four stages:

  • Plan
  • Write
  • Design
  • Print

Want To See Brochure Samples? Click Here.

Plan In Advance. Brochures are not a simple task. You need on average at least a month to produce a brochure if you hire outside resources. This timing can be compressed, but plan on paying for it. Following are some development and production rules-of-thumb to consider:

Writer 3 to 7 days

Designer 7 to 14 days

Printer 3 to 5 days

Decide what the purpose of your brochure is. Some examples might be:

  • I want to inform prospects about the full range of my services to gain additional sales.
  • I want to educate prospects about my cutting edge technology.
  • I want to persuade prospects to change their brand loyalty to my firm.
  • I want to sell an overstocked item.
  • I want to position my company against my competition.
  • I want a tool that will help my sales team close prospects.

Choose Your Target Market. Who are the potential buyers for your product or service? These customers will have certain distinguishing characteristics that identify them as prospective customers. Beware of targeting too broad a market. If your potential bigstock-Targeting-A-Group-Of-People-4065014customers have several distinguishing characteristics, try dividing them into (market) segments. That way you’ll only consider one group of customers at a time. Different groups may require different messages. If you develop too broad a message, it may not attract any prospective customers.

Do Some Free And Simple Research. As time permits, save as many brochures as you can, even the awful ones. See what you have to compete against? After you have accumulated an impressive pile, separate the brochures into two piles, good and bad. Incorporate the good characteristics into your brochure, and beware of the bad.

10 common mistakes in brochures ebook


10 Common Mistakes and Pitfalls Made On Brochures!

    Develop Your Budget. Decide what you can spend and apportion it accordingly into writing, designing and printing. Also, don’t forget your distribution costs! If you are using outside resources, independent writers and designers can be hired for $35 to $75 per hour. Wilson Printing charges an affordable flat fee for designing brochures.

    We have some of the lowest prices on printing brochure you will find. Our graphic designers can take your concept to reality. Call us to get the process started 727-536-4173.

    Mark Hale


    How to Correct And Improve Direct Mail Response Rates

    Why you are not getting responses from your advertising or direct mail?

    As long as 99.999% of the U.S. population has a mailbox, direct mail will be the most efficient means to market for most businesses. Direct mail is the simplest means to advertise there is because everyone has a mailbox and the USPS delivers the mail regularly. Having said that, why do some businesses fail to get results?

    Of all the advertising mediums available to you direct mail is the easiest to de-bug when response rates are lower than desired.

    Failure of a direct mail program boils down to one or more of the following situations:


    • The mailing list. The list is either outdated, old or is targeted to the wrong public for the message. The more demographic data you have on who you want to reach the easier it will be to get a good list. Wilson Printing can help you find a mailing list.
    • The ad is weak. Often this is the most common reason why a direct mail campaign fails because there are several variables. A weak ad can be caused by several things, including but not limited to, poor design, too many offers or products on the piece, weak offer, no “call to action” or an uncompetitive product or offering. The more homework you do on what your competition is offering and the better you can communicate the benefits of your product or service to the designer the more effective your ad will be. Hiring someone with a track record of designing successful direct mail pieces can help you and is well worth the expense because they can take the basic information you provide and design an eye-catching piece.
    • Low or no frequency. This one is usually less likely because if you have a good targeted mailing list and a well designed postcard, promoting a competitive product with a compelling offer to buy now, with a message that is targeted to the recipients on the mailing list, you WILL get some sort of response from the first mailing. Keep in mind that you will get more response the second or third time you mail to the mailing list. This is because with all the competitive noise in the market it takes two or three times for a person to see the ad before it registers. Also, people come in and out of the buying zone randomly and you never know how many people are shopping to buy your product now, but over the next three or four months many more will be buying than in the first month you advertised.

    If you are going to use direct mail, or any other advertising medium for that matter, you are going to have to have the correct point of view regarding advertising or you will never stick with anything long enough for it to be viable. There are and never have been any magic panaceas that will 10x your sales with one ad or one mailing, it takes time.

    First, do your homework. Make sure people want what you are selling. Survey your customers and find out what they want. Look at old invoices to see whom your best customers are, where they live and what they buy. Have all the benefits to the customer and the reasons to buy your product or service NOW at hand before you start designing the ad.

    Second, you have to know what a customer is “really” worth to your business. When I say worth I don’t mean just a single purchase, but long term what is a customer worth. Knowing what a customer is really worth helps you to quota how many customers you need to make a return on your investment.

    Example: Lets say you are selling a product that sells for $200 and you are spending $3000 on a direct mailing. Taking just the one time sale of $200 you would need around 30 – 35 sales to double your investment.

    However, with the above example, a customer once they buy your product usually spends $1,500 per year and they stay with you for an average of three to five years. That means a customer’s value is worth around $4,500 to $7,500, ($1,500 x 3 years).

    So if you have 30 to 35 customers, that would really be worth $135,000 to $262,000 dollars to your business, which is a lot more than the $200 you received for that first sale.

    Your return, if your 30 customers came in off a $3,000 investment, would be 45 times. Which would be stellar and also unrealistic in today’s marketplace. You have to think in terms of the real customer value or you will always be disappointed in your advertising.

    Finally when working with the graphic designer on your ad “be your own advisor”: DO NOT show and ask the opinion of the ad or postcard to your office girl, secretary, shop foreman or cousin. These people are well meaning but most likely are not marketing experts and often will make suggestions that will weaken the ad.

    The only person’s opinion of your advertising that really matters is that of the customer. I suggest showing it to several customers, say 10 to 20, to get their feedback. It is called a flash test. Show them the ad for 15 seconds and ask them what caught their attention in the ad. You want to find out if they “got” the main point of the ad and if the offer got their interest.

    Write down what they say and tabulate the similar responses. If the majority of the customers you flash test like the ad, understand what the offer is and would buy, you have a good idea of the impact of the ad.

    The only rules of doing a flash test is that you have to show it to more than a couple customers (the more the better) and the people you show it to have to be in the demographic group that the ad was designed to reach.

    Mark Hale


    How To Combine Print With Electronic Marketing


    If your business is struggling with a decision between using print or electronic marketing, why not double your impact by teaming them together and using both?

    The question is usually how can I affordably combine the reach and flexibility of the Internet with the targetability of direct mail to increase sales?

    Both of these mediums, with new technology, actually combine and work very well together. The following are some tricks and tips you can use to increase the effectiveness of your advertising and save money in the process.

    First of all, how much money would you say you are wasting on advertising now? What would it mean if you could increase your effectiveness by 25% – 40%? Probably would mean a lot more customers and sales.

    When I say electronic marketing I mean Internet, email and social media.  When you send out an email blast and follow up with a targeted direct mail piece you will dramatically increase traffic to your website and traffic to your business. Both pieces have to be coordinated and directing traffic to a landing page. The landing page is designed as such to give them enough information but leave them with enough questions so they have to call you. The idea is that it all culminates with a live conversation with the prospect.

    Postcards are a proven effective way to communicate quickly, focusing on one central message. The benefit of postcards is in two seconds the recipient knows instantly what it is and why they want it. Combine a postcard with the QR Code Technology and people with smart phones can instantly go to your landing page. In the next 3 years it is estimated that 90% of the traffic on the Internet will be via smart phones. Postcards + QR codes and smart phones have the potential to drive business directly to your doorstep.

    For best results keep your message on the postcard very concise and to the point with heavy emphasis on buy-now incentives. This is where a landing page becomes a tool you can use to go into more detail and if you are smart you will have a mechanism in place on the landing page to gather people’s contact information. Requiring this information to receive a coupon or a free download also has the effect of eliminating people who are not serious buyers. You should always follow up every lead from the Internet with a piece of hard mail like a thank you note, a full color brochure or a prospect information kit.

    The follow up mailer should provide your contact information, a link to your website for more information, an opportunity to sign up for your monthly newsletter, etc. Chances are good that a visitor who is interested enough to visit your landing page will take a moment to read your printed materials. You also need to put something in their hands that they can touch and hold onto. When making a buying decision people still want the mass of something solid to hold onto, call it “kicking the tires” syndrome. When you send a piece of hard mail as a follow up, you are bypassing all the competition on the Internet and establishing a direct line with the customer or prospect.

    Often your best prospects are the most difficult to get to. A note card is another tool you can use to reach them. The benefit to note cards is when personalized they tend to get past gatekeepers and get opened. Combined with a “buck slip” you can get very good results. We have developed a bulk mail note card product that is hand written for the personal touch and is very effective.

    If you’d like more ideas for print and electronic marketing combinations to maximize your marketing efforts, give us a call today! We’ll help you create a marketing strategy that is sure to get noticed.

    I hope you found this information useful. If you have any questions please give me a call 727-536-4173.

    Mark Hale



    Guerrilla Marketing Principle #1 – If You Are Out of Sight, You Are Out of Mind.

    A customer is a very special person. Of the billions of people on planet Earth, only a tiny fraction has chosen to do business with you.  Often these customers are hard fought for. The fact is for whatever reason they have selected your business on purpose. What is a customer worth to your business? Probably a lot.

    Having said this, I am surprised by the number of businesses that do not have a program or plan for staying in front of customers and clients with regularity. These businesses are easily spotted by the roller coaster – feast or famine nature of their sales.

    When you are out of sight you are out of mind, literallybigstock-How-to-Keep-the-Customer-writt-48052622

    The consumers’ needs and interests change and they forget quickly. If your business serves the business to business market it is even more vital that you market to your customers regularly as employees, market contacts and when personnel change your business will be forgotten quickly and then a competitor walks in the door or sends them a postcard and “boom” you lost the business.

    Every business’s marketing program should have two parts: One part promoting to people who have already bought something from you. The second part of a marketing plan is to get new business in the door. When budgeting your marketing money it is best to spend 60%-70% on getting new customers and 30%-40% promoting to existing customers.

    What is the best way to market to existing customers?

    •  A thank you note sent within 48 hours of each purchase, although 24 hours is more impressive and memorable. Anyone can send a thank you note. Often the thank you note has a coupon for an additional service, usually an offer with an item related to their purchase tendered about 30 days after the purchase. The offer can be for a product or service. Guerilla marketers do it ASAP.
    • A follow-up questionnaire sent to each new customer to learn more about them and their interests and what other things they may need help with.
    • A birthday card sent to customers.  Use the questionnaire mentioned above to learn each customer’s birthday – month and day, not year. Then send them a card when their birthday rolls around. Later, you can expand this tactic by sending graduation cards to the customer’s kids, anniversary cards to the customer and spouse and postcards from your next vacation.
    • A newsletter sent monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly. A well-designed newsletter not only keeps you in front of the customer, it also allows you to provide valuable free information and still make offers to sell something.
    • A catalog of your offerings sent only to customers or sent first to customers, then to prospects, if your customer list isn’t long enough. Customers will especially appreciate a “customers only” catalogue that clearly communicates it is for customers only.
    • Emails sent to your customers on a regular basis. Your emails should be designed with 85% helpful information and 15% selling. The purpose of the email is to provide free advice or help not necessarily to sell something.

    Do you have a referral program in place? People who have brought from you can be your best source of leads. Are you asking for referrals? If not you should.

    If you don’t stay in contact with your customers, somebody else may win them away from you. By constantly fanning the flames of love and loyalty, you will prove beyond any words that you revere your customers, while at the same time safeguarding against apathy.

    Mark Hale



    Go Stuff It To Increase Your Sales – Coupon Marketing

    Are you looking for a very low-cost, yet highly effective way to generate sales and promote your company?


    Try including statement stuffers and coupons in with your billing statements.

    A statement stuffer can be a coupon or special offer for another product or service. By using a stuffer you are putting directly in their hands a “reason” for the customer to do more business with you. This easy to apply marketing concept will generate thousands of dollars in sales for your business as well as increasing customer loyalty.

    The idea is simple, you want to get your existing customers buying more from you. Many businesses miss this opportunity to increase their sales. They spend thousands of dollars promoting, get a new customer and then don’t do anything to get more business.

    Example, have you ever bought anything from Home Shopping Network or Amazon? If you did you see the amount of effort these businesses use to get a repeat purchase from you. The package you receive from them is stuffed with coupons and flyers for other products they offer.

    You save money using statement stuffers because they can be conveniently slipped into an existing mailing, such as monthly invoices, and do not require additional postage or the hassle of a separate mailing. Because statement stuffers are small they are inexpensive to produce in full four-color printing. Your statements do get opened by your customers so you have somewhat of a captured audience. The return rate tends to be higher than with regular direct mail.

    Statement stuffers are a very popular and effective way to market products and services, promote upcoming events, introduce new personnel and offer exclusive coupons and savings. To easily track offers, design them as a coupon that must be turned in to redeem the discount.

    Want to ensure your important message gets opened? Another idea is to customize the envelope for your statements. The back of the envelope can provide a great opportunity to communicate with your customers. For example, promote a new or updated website by printing the web address in large letters on the back of the envelope. It always helps to put a special of some sort along with the web address to give them a reason to go to your web site.

    The money invested in printing statement stuffers and the message on the back of the envelope is quickly returned. Almost any business that sends out invoices or statements can benefit from this inexpensive form of guerilla marketing.

    Wilson Printing can help create statement stuffers, coupons and envelopes that will get noticed and increase your sales!

    Mark Hale


    Fun Ways to Get Ripped Off – Tear Off Cards


    Do you want to add pizzazz to your current marketing materials? A tear off card is a cost-effective marketing tool that your target audience can’t overlook. Tear off (or rip) cards provide extra-valuable real estate for your important messages. They also eliminate loose mailing inserts, ads and order forms, which are often overlooked, lost or discarded without a glance.


    A tear off card can be any type of promotional piece (such as a postcard, door hanger, rack card, or on a brochure) that contains a perforated portion designed to be ripped off. The tear-away portion typically complements the overall promotional piece, which also functions on its own after being removed. We can also put a scratch and win on the tear off portion to add an extra element of participation.

    A tear off card can be designed into a postcard mailer as a business card. Your prospects can simply tear off your business card. This is especially effective for service type businesses like lawyers, plumbers or chiropractors. Fast food marketing has used tear off cards with great success for many years. While the concept is not new it could be effective for your business.

    Tear off cards offer creative marketing opportunities for all types of businesses, but are popular with automotive dealerships marketing car sales, membership organizations, financial institutions, women’s retail stores, insurance carriers and heating and air companies.

    Not only can rip postcards be designed as donation and order forms, school fundraiser forms and appointment reminders, but they are also a great way to feature tear off coupons, business cards, ads, new-product announcements, special offers and promotions, change-of-address/updated information forms, surveys and requests for information.

    While we may joke about (rip) tear off cards as a fun–new way to get “ripped off”–our commitment to quality is serious, so you can be rest assured your decision to purchase marketing materials from us is a good one. Our graphic designers can design material that gets noticed and generates sales for your business.

    Mark Hale


    5 Things You Have to Have in Every Ad to Get Results


    Five Basic Elements to Increasing Your Advertising Results

    When you advertise you want to and need to get a result, a return on investment. Your promotion money does not grow on trees. You want to make sure every ad dollar is effective. Getting someone to respond to an ad and do business with you is very similar to and is basically a sales process.

    When a prospect first sees your postcard or direct mail piece they are instantly trying to decide what you are selling and if they need or want your service or product. There is an inner conversation that takes place in your prospect’s mind in the first 3 to 7 seconds when they see your ad.

    Before we get to the five elements you need to make your ads effective, let me ask you this. Do you feel that you have wasted money on advertising? What would your sales look like if you could improve your advertising effectiveness by 30%?

    It is not complicated or mysterious thing to make your advertising more effective. You need only to know five basic premises, everything builds from there.

    The prospect has five things he wants to know:

    1.  What are you trying to sell me?

    2.  How will it help me? (What’s in it for me?)

    3.  How much is it?

    4. How do I get it?

    5. Why should I buy it now?

    Your offer must address these five questions and quickly! If the message is garbled or confusing you will lose your readers interest. The headline must catch attention. The photo must support the headline and pull the reader’s attention into your ad. The reader’s eye must be directed through the ad. The basic rules to follow are: clarity, simplicity, brevity and call to action.

    Clarity – Don’t make your customers work to interpret what you’re saying. Believe me they won’t bother. Avoid industry jargon and specialized words that the reader does not understand and will cause confusion. A confused reader will ignore the message – so err on the side of simplicity.

    Simplicity – Simplicity is the first cousin to clarity. Think of the KISS method (keep it simple stupid). Really, there’s enough complexity in the world. Your customers aren’t looking for more complexity and especially not from someone who’s trying to sell them something. Simply demonstrate how you are going to make their life easier. Don’t over sell.

    The aim of direct mail is to generate a lead. A lead is a reach for more information. To get leads, all you have to do is get attention and build interest. Giving too much information often kills the reach for your product or service. You want your message to give enough information to create interest but it must leave them wanting more. If they have questions they will have to call you to get the answers.

    Brevity – Everyone is in a hurry. Respect that and keep it short, a single, crisp eyeful at most. A post card with a lot of text on it usually gets thrown in the trash unread. A sales letter is a different animal altogether and by definition has a lot of text. They must be written so that it gets the readers attention and pulls them into reading the letter. Sales letters are a personal form of marketing. The above rules definitely apply but there is an art to writing them.

    Make your Call to Action Immediate – Cut right to the chase, get to the point. Let your prospect know what you want them to do. Tell them how to get it and most importantly why they should get it now. Lay it out simply, clearly and briefly. The call to action should have a special offer or reason to buy now, the incentive for them to call you now.

    Remember the aim of direct mail advertising or any other advertising is to create a reach for your product or service. The above concepts carry over to other forms of advertising and sales materials. Everything in your sales and marketing arsenal should be designed to pull the reader in and move them along in the sales process to result in buying.

    We can help you create materials that communicate to your prospects and more importantly tie everything together.

    Mark Hale


    Direct Mail With a Very High Open Rate


    What type of direct mail gets a 99.9% open rate? Christmas and holiday cards do.  The fact is that 99.9% of Holiday cards get opened and looked at. These cards present a tremendous opportunity for you to influence your business’s sales, especially with the twist to it that I am proposing to you.

    How? What I am proposing that you look at is this.  Including a 3 x 5 promotional insert card with a special offer that is inserted inside of the Holiday Card. I can hear some of you. You are saying to yourself, ” Mark, that is a totally tacky idea. You are just trying to hock direct mail to me again.” Well you might be right! One thing is for sure, the idea is out-of-the-box of traditional thinking. (And direct mail still offers the best bang for your advertising buck.) Besides it fits, can you think of a more tacky time of the year than right after Thanksgiving to December 31st ? Besides, if the insert card is designed properly with taste, it won’t be tacky and it will drive sales to your business. This idea puts an incentive in your client or prospects hands that gives them a reason to do business with you. It is kind of like killing two birds with one stone. You get the public relations benefit of sending out a holiday card and a sales bump by including a promotional offer.

    Click Here To See Holiday Card Samples

    Christmas and holiday cards are the perfect form of marketing because they get noticed, they do get opened and they hang  around for several weeks (usually stuck to a door frame). Most companies do not take full advantage of the marketing opportunity that sending Christmas and holiday cards presents. They only send cards to existing customers but forget that sending out the cards does present an opportunity to create new customers too. This promotion is inexpensive to do and now is the time to do it. You should plan on mailing your card around the 2nd week of November so that it gets there right after Thanksgiving, just in time to affect your December (and January) sales. The fact is for most businesses, the holiday season brings the biggest sales opportunity of the year to increase sales and the biggest opportunity as a catapult for kicking off January’s sales.

    If you are thinking things have been too slow to send out Christmas and holiday cards and you are going to cut back to save money, I urge you to re-look at that consideration because it will put you in a box that is very hard to get out of. The box is called “the waiting to see what happens” box. This attitude of “waiting to see” will kill any chance your business has to grow and will eventually kill your business. Why, because when you wait you are not doing anything that will help handle your situation. You make your own destiny and can create your own success. In this economy you cannot afford to take a wait and see attitude about your sales.

    We have several stock designs you can use or we can design something totally custom and personalized for you. I would be happy to brain storm some ideas for statement stuffers you can use with your Christmas and holiday card.

    If we can help you, please give me a call.

    Mark Hale





    Do you want more sales for your business? Then you should include direct mail in your marketing efforts, as it is one of the most cost effective forms of advertising. Oh, you have tried it and it did not work for your business? With direct mail, like anything else in life, there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.

    I put together the following checklist to help you improve your returns. You can use this checklist to improve the response of any method of advertising you use, not just direct mail.

    One of the most important elements of a direct mail program is WHO do you want to reach. Direct mail is the most targetable out of all advertising mediums. The first step is getting the best mailing list.

    Combine Google & Social Media With Your Postcard Mailer, Learn More!


    • Demographics – who is your customer?
    • Area – Where do your best customers come from? This is usually broken down by a zip code but we can also pull a radius around a street address.
    • Customer profile – usually age, income, sex, etc.
    • We can also pull a list with more narrowly targeted criteria to include hobbies and interests if needed.
    • Business-to-Business lists – What type of businesses are you targeting?
    • Industry type, employee size, gross sales and credit rating all are examples of how we can pull a business-to-business mailing list for you.

    Remember, the more specific the mailing list the higher the cost. To save you money, it is important to focus on the key characteristics of the target prospect you want to reach.

    After we get the information to get a targeted mailing list, we need to create an ad with the right message and build your campaign.

    When do you want to mail the piece? From this date, we will work backwards to determine when you need to have your art approved. Keep in mind, normal printing turn around after you approve the art is 3 – 5 business days. To address and process the mailing, figure another 2 – 3 days after printing.

    The 2nd most important part of your mailing is the message. Results-wise you can have the best, most targeted mailing list on the planet, but if message is wrong or is not targeted or is confusing you will get dismal returns. Our marketing specialists and graphic artists can design the piece, but the piece we design will only be as good as the information you give us. How do you create the right message?

    • What are you offering? What are the benefits of what you are offering? i.e. why would they want to buy it? Make sure you structure your offer from the perspective of the receiver of the message not from your viewpoint. Listen to what your present customers are saying about the product or service.
    • Call to action – Why should they respond NOW? You should give them some benefit for calling you now as opposed to six months from now. WHAT IS THE INCENTIVE TO CALL YOU NOW?
    • DO NOT use terms and nomenclature that people outside of your industry do not understand. If people do not understand what you are saying they will not come buy from you.
    • Tell them how to respond. Make it easy for them to respond. Give them a phone number to call and an email address.
    • Make sure you have your website on the card. This helps people who may want more information about your company. QR codes are a great way to direct traffic to your site.
    • Check the competition’s offers and prices. It is not vital that you have the lowest prices. But, if your prices are higher you will need to stress selling the benefits of buying from your business. Why is your offer better?
    • Sell the value. You may want to consider not putting a price on the direct mail piece but have them call for pricing. If you do this, make sure your sales force is drilled and can handle the leads when they come in. If you can offer the lowest price, do it. But understand that for most products there is one spot in the marketing ladder for a “Low Cost Provider”. Most consumers are more concerned about getting their money’s worth (value) than they are in getting the cheapest price. How can you demonstrate value?

    ** RULE** Do not put more than one or two products in one direct mail piece. The reason you don’t do this is that it tends to confuse people. You want to keep the piece as simple and straight forward as possible. Cluttered and confusing promo goes straight into the trash, un-read.

    Next step, based on your target market and what you are offering, what is the best form of direct mail to use?

    The final step is setting up a tracking system:

    • Brief everyone on the front lines in your company about the direct program you are doing.
    • Everyone should have a print out of the piece. They should know when the piece is being mailed. Drill them on how to respond and handle customer requests.
    • Anyone who works with and handles customers should be drilled to ask the new customer, “How did you hear about our company?” This is important to ask because sometimes people do not volunteer that information.
    • If you have the web address on the mail piece be sure to ask callers who say they came from your website, what sent them to your website.
    • If you use Google analytics, you will see that the hits to your website will go up after you send out a direct mail piece. Most people today will go to the Web to research and find out more information about a company they are considering doing business with before buying.
    • Make sure your website is set up to direct people to call you. Some business models work well for online ordering but most need human interaction to close the sale.
    • Anyone who works with and handles customers should have a little statistic sheet in their area where they can write down the number of incoming calls. You should have employees turn these sheets in each week. The best form of tracking sheets would have a place to write the customer name and the date they called. This gives you a tool to see how many leads were converted to sales. If your conversion rate is low you can track down why and correct it. Wrong product, wrong offer or poor sales skills are common whys for low conversion. Some products have a longer sales cycle so you may need to look at conversion over a several month period.
    • Calculate ROI. Click here to use our online ROI calculator to discover what a new customer is worth to your business.

    Checklist for direct mail marketing (use this to help you make direct mail easy):

    Target market identified. ______

    Product chosen to market. ______

    Benefits of product identified. ______

    Price point of product. ______

    Special offer with expiration. ______

    Testimonials included. ______

    How do you want them to respond? ______

    What type of direct mail piece is best for the target customer and will be best received by the customer? ______

    Target mail date. ______

    Are employees briefed on the program?______

    Who is assigned to track responses? ______

    Do you have tracking sheets for your people on the front lines? ______

    Is the target R.O.I. identified? ______

    Number of leads needed based on R.O.I.? ______

    I hope this checklist helps you with your direct mail program. Direct mail is one of the most effective and cost effective forms of advertising. Whether you are using postcard marketing, sales letters or special forms of direct mail knowing what will work best for your type of business and the basics of how to do it are vital to getting results. The fact is there is not another advertising medium that is as targetable, trackable or gives as immediate of a response as direct mail does. The above are common areas that can cause a direct mail program to fail. The more prepared you are, the more effective your direct mail program will be.

    Mark Hale


    Digital Black and White Printing

    Getting Creative in Black and White.  With the extreme popularity of high-resolution computer screens on the desktops of designers everywhere, it is easy to forget that simple black ink on white paper still provides an economical and extremely creative approach to design. Everyone is using color in marketing materials today. Sometimes good old fashion black ink and a clever design will help you to stand out and save you money. Black and white printed materials are usually 65% to 75% less expensive than process color.


     If you’re on a limited budget, need something printed fast, or need an alternative idea, why not design your next project in black and white? Black and white works well whether you are using digital or printing on an off set press. To get the most out of black and white printing, below are some tips to help you:

    • Consider creating an ad with screens (gray shades) – these are easy and inexpensive to reproduce in a variety of media.
    • Strive to create a layout that draws attention to the ad and also helps it stand apart from the (inevitable) crowd.
    • Ads that call for attention through a variety of easily produced black-against-white illustrations and graphic styles.

    There are endless ways to display an ad’s content, even when restricted to a single color of ink. Explore.

    Explore and Consider:

    • Hand-drawn elements
    • Cartoons
    • Unusual border treatments
    • Line work around and/or inside the ad
    • Interesting, bold typography
    • Sideways elements
    • Reversed text/graphics

    Want something different? Yellow or orange paper with black ink stands out. It is a good way to add color and save money on costs. Our graphic designers can help make your text really pop with a few of the design tips above. Call us, we would be happy to help in any way we can.

    Mark Hale


    Creating a Professional Image: How To Save Money With a Custom Pocket Folder

    Custom Pocket Folder SamplePocket presentation folders are a useful tool for many businesses. They put forth a professional image and help your business stand out from your competition. The standard size for a pocket folder is 9 x 12. Most have 2 pockets with business card slits. There are some things you should know about pocket presentation folders that could save you time and money.

    I see business people who think they are saving money by going down to Office Depot and buying generic folders to put their sales materials in. They buy a generic folder then put a sticker on it they printed off on their ink jet printer. Most of the time this is more expensive than having a company like Wilson Printing design and print a custom pocket presentation folder for you. The end product is definitely more professional.

    Just like business cards, letterhead or your full-color brochures, pocket presentation folders should make a statement about your business. The price for pocket presentation folders vary depending on some things: for the most part the paper used, the number of colors used in the art and the amount of ink coverage affect the cost of your pocket folder. Often a professional designer can use one or two colors along with half tones and shades to create an eye popping, cool looking pocket folder and save you money on the printing.

    Cost Saving Rules of Thumb:

    • Keep the design simple, use one or two colors. The idea is a professional look. Don’t clutter the design up with a lot of photos and graphics. Save the graphics for your flyers and brochures.
    • Avoid if possible, heavy ink coverage as this adds to the expense.
    • Use 12pt Coated Paper Stock. This is a common heavy paper that is inexpensive.
    • Look ahead to future use and order accordingly. The cost per folder comes down quite a bit, the larger the quantity you order.
    • Don’t put addresses or phone numbers on the folder. If you move your office the folders will be instantly outdated. You have pockets in the folder and slits to put business cards with your phone number and address on them.
    • The size of a pocket presentation folders is pretty standard, 9 x 12.   This gives you room to store 8.5 x 11 sheets of paper. Lawyers and Real estate agents often need legal size pocket folders. They too can be printed in one color all the way to full color.

    Another cost saving alternative to pocket presentation folders is custom presentation file folders. These folders are printed with your company information and are die cut to function as a file folder. Your prospects simply can file your folder with your materials in their file cabinet. This adds an element of versatility and convenience to your materials.

    The draw back to a pocket folders is that the size does not lend it to be easily filed. Most of the time the materials inside are filed separately and the pocket folder gets thrown away. Producing custom company file folders uses half the paper, which is another reason they cost less. Company file folders can cost as much as 50% less than pocket folders. This is a big benefit when you have a sales force making a lot of presentations.

    Depending on the quantity and colors, custom pocket folders can cost from  $.35 cents per to $2.00 per folder. The more unique the pocket folder, the more elegant, the more the cost. Pocket folders can be printed using gold foil and embossed, this gives them an extremely posh appearance. The least expensive pocket folders are one and two colors printed on 12pt coated stock.

    Wilson Printing’s graphic designers can help you develop a design that complements your other materials. Ideally, our designers would design a consistent look from your business cards, letterhead and brochures to your company’s pocket folders.

    Mark Hale


    Cheap Business Cards vs. Expensive Business Cards


    Business cards may be small but their impact is huge. A business card plays an important part in making a lasting impression upon those you do business with. There has always been debate over whether to spend money on expensive business cards or save money and buy cheap business cards. Both sides of the argument have merit. The cheap business card side of it does have some flaws. Why should one not use cheap business cards?  Experienced sales reps know how important it is to make a good impression on their prospects. They buy nice clothes, drive nice cars and wine and dine prospects and clients – only to give them a 5¢ business card? Why not consider a 10¢, 15¢ or 20¢ business card that would really wow a customer and add to the overall good impression? Look at your present business card, does it build confidence in you and your company? Or does is give the impression that you are a fly-by-night outfit? Something to think about when you are choosing your business cards.

    If you decide to spend a little more on your business cards, there are some things you should know that will help save you money and still make a good impression. The following is a list of tips that will make your business cards more effective.

    Feature your company name prominently with your name and title smaller. Using your company logo is important because it will help people associate your name with the product you are selling.

    Don’t take up too much space listing all the ways you can be contacted. It’s best to list your phone, fax and email address. Personal cell phone numbers and beeper numbers should be given to the client verbally when necessary.

    Business cards printed in full color can add a dramatic impact to the look of your business card. With the improvement in printing technology, full-color business cards are fairly inexpensive today compared to five years ago.

    Don’t overlook the backside of your business card.  It is a great place to add more sales and marketing information, your mission statement, a map and location or photos of your products. One caution to consider when using the back of the business card is if you ever need to write a note to a prospect, having printing on the backside of the card makes this difficult.

    Use a QR code on your business card. A QR code will allow someone with a smart phone to easily download your contact information into their phone or link them to your web site or youtube video.

    Have your business card coated on one side with a high gloss UV coating. This protects the card and makes it hold up better. We recommend a UV coating if your card has a lot of graphics or photos. The UV gloss makes the graphics and photos really pop. If your card simply has a logo and text, a UV coating may make the card look cheap so a good quality opaque paper may be better.

    With no other printed pieces, does design and ink color matter more than on a business card?  On a card with text and a simple logo, the addition of one or two colors can accent the card and pull the eye to a slogan, title or phone number.

    Paper – The type of paper you use on your business card can really impact the message you are trying to convey. There are basically 3 types of paper:

    1. Coated cover usually 12pt or 14pt. This paper is great if you have photos and heavy graphics. This paper is also the best for using a UV Coating.

    2. Linen usually 100# cover makes the best card for professions such as Lawyers, Doctors, Accountants or Dentists. Raised-letter printing looks very good on a linen paper.

    3. Opaque cover normally available in 80# or 100# thickness. This is a non-gloss stock and is the workhorse of business card paper. It supports simple text and full color business cards. About the only thing you cannot do with Opaque cover is apply a UV coating. There is not much difference cost-wise for 500 or 1000 cards among the 3 paper options.  It really boils down to which paper best supports the design elements.

    Paper color – You can get just about any color paper under the sun for your business cards. You will want to make sure the same paper color is available for letterhead and envelopes. You want everything to tie together. A note of caution on paper color, sometimes envelopes with matching colored paper can be very expensive. You will want to check prices before you decide on a paper color to use.

    Business cards are one of the most important tools for your business today. The time and effort you spend creating and printing business cards will pay future dividends. Wilson Printing has graphic designers to help you design your business cards and print them for you. We can also professionally print your card.

    Mark Hale