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Turning Inexpensive Business Cards Into An Eye Catching Business Card

bigstock-Business-Cards-3042018There are several things you can do to take an inexpensive business card and turn it into a classy statement of your businesses prestige and image. Thermography, or raised printing, is one of the tools Wilson Printing can use to add pizzazz to your inexpensive business cards. Thermography is an exciting specialty printing process. What is Thermography?

ther·mog·ra·ph.y – noun 1. a technique for imitating an embossed appearance, as on business cards, stationery, or the like, by dusting printed areas with a powder that adheres only to the wet ink, and fusing the ink and powder to the paper by heating it.

Raised print business cards are the most common use of Thermography. Here are some tips from the experts that will help you make the most of thermography for your company.

Thermography is perfect for making a part of a design stand out. Line art or detailed drawing that looks like etching works especially well with thermography. Any color can be thermographed. Both pastels and bright and bold colors look especially striking when thermographed.

Areas of large, flat design are not ideal for thermography, especially when there are finer elements on the same page that are to be thermographed. Large areas require more heat, which may cause the precise area to smudge. Consider outlining the edges of a flat design with thermography for a unique look.

Thermography doesn’t do well across the fold. If you are designing a folded piece, be sure the thermography doesn’t fall on the fold line or it may crack. Similarly, thermography should not be used on bleed edges as it may crack when cut.

It is most effective to design your piece using thermography on one side of the paper only. Thermography applied to the second side of the paper will require a second pass under the heat and may compromise the first side.

Always request blister inks so that the color will not change during heating. All types of paper stock can be used for thermography but, for the best results, use an uncoated paper with a smooth, hard-finished surface.

As always, we are here to help you decide the best way to use thermography for any of your projects. Call us, we can help you with you next printing project 727-536-4173.

Mark Hale

CEO

Types Of Direct Mail Pieces And Their Uses – Saving Money On Mailing Costs

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The key to saving money on mailing costs lies in a basic understanding of types of direct mail and their best uses. Knowing this can help save you money and generate more leads for your business. Using the wrong type of mailer for the type of prospect you are trying to reach can be a waste of your valuable resources. When deciding on the type of direct mailers, consider the life style and habits of the person who is receiving it. Choosing the type of mailer matched to your prospects can pay huge dividends in returns. The following is a list of the basic direct mail pieces and the best ways to use them.

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Postcards

Postcards are economical to print and mail. Postcards are effective for most products or services. Postcards come in a variety of sizes. The reason postcards are effective in generating leads is mainly that your prospect does not need to open anything to see your message. The right offer put in an eye-catching design will generate leads. If you would like more information on postcard marketing click here.

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Pros:

a. Prospect does not have to open anything to see the message. You mail a post card and you make an impression.

b. Unlike other medias available to you, people do still get their mail. They will at least see your message.

c. Postcards are inexpensive to print and mail. This allows you to reach prospective buyers more often.

d. Post card results are easily tracked.

e. You can target exactly the prospect you want to reach.

Cons:

a. Limited space, your message has to be focused.

Self-mailers

Self-mailers are effective for most products or services. They are made in a variety of sizes. The term self-mailer means they stand alone in the mail and are not inserted into an envelope. Self-mailers are usually tri or bi-folded pieces. They are best used for products or services that need more space for photos and product information.

Pros:

a. Are effective in generating leads.

b. More space to display product information.

c. You can better position your company’s products and services.

d. Are well suited to build image and corp. identity.

e. If designed properly, prospect does not have to open anything to get the main benefit.

Cons:

a. Mailing costs are slightly higher than with post cards.

b. Because of increased space available, some feel the urge to load up the piece with too much information. Marketing materials with too much information tend not to be read and end up in the trash. The purpose is to give them enough information to generate interest so they will call you.

c. Some marketing people tend to confuse brochures and self-mailers. They are similar but different mediums with two different purposes. A self-mailer’s purpose is to generate interest and leads. A brochure’s purpose is to help move the prospect from interest to decision.

Lead Letters

Lead letters are mostly written communication to a prospect. They should conform to social etiquette for letters. They allow you room to include more information in the form of inserts. The letters should be personalized. Lead letters work well for reaching professional type clients who have people who screen mail traffic for them. You can design the envelope to look personal or official depending on the market you are trying to reach.

Pros:

a. Are highly personalized.

b. Give you more space to include more information.

c. Are effective in reaching professional clients.

d. Look less commercial.

e. Look important to prospects.

Cons:

a. Higher cost to produce.

b. Higher mailing costs.

c. Prospect has to open something to get message.

Mailing Service

Wilson Printing offers mailing service as well. We are linked up with the post office through our software so we can get the lowest postage for you. Our mailing service is there to save you time and money on your post card and other marketing mailings.

Wilson mails not only postcards, but tri-fold self mailers and lead generation letters. We can suggest the program that will get the best results for your particular product or service.

Getting your direct mail marketing materials into the hands of your customers and prospects means involving the postal system. But navigating postal regulations can be an overwhelming undertaking. Fortunately, a little knowledge can go a long way toward demystifying the wide array of mailing services that can be used for successful marketing campaigns.

Rest assured that you don’t have to tackle the mailing process on your own.

The following services are available to help make your mailing a breeze:

  • Mailing List Rental. Rent a list of names and addresses.
  • List Processing and CASS Certification. This service cleans up the duplicates and identifies any potentially undeliverable addresses in your mailing list.
  • Addressing. For just pennies a piece, high-speed equipment can ink-jet the destination address, return address and mailing indicia all at once.
  • Variable data. Customize your mail pieces with personalized greetings or sequential numbering, either during or instead of the addressing process.
  • Inserting and tabbing. The latest technology makes it easier than ever to insert cards, letters or multiple pieces into envelopes, and tab or seal folded brochure mailers.

If you have questions about the mailing process, we would be happy to walk you through it. Just give us a call or stop in with your questions.

Mailing Lists

Wilson Printing offers mailing lists. The correct list can determine the success of your mailing. It is important that you take a good look at the product or service you are promoting to see who is buying it and who would be prospects for it. You will find that there will be things they have in common such as for residential mailings, age, sex, income, geographic area or other identifying characteristics. Our marketing consultants can help you weed through this and get the best list for your product or service.

Once you have your list, it is important that you go at your marketing with the correct point of view. The best results are obtained with consistent, regular and repetitious mailings to the list. You will get better results the 3rd or 4th time you mail to a list than you do the first couple of times. Why? There are a couple of reasons why this is 1) the prospect does not need the product or service at the exact time you mail them, but will in the future. 2) We live in an over advertised society, people block out most of the advertising they see and hear. Only a well designed post card or letter will get their attention and will only get their attention if they see it several times. Our marketing consultants and graphic designers can help you come up with a message that will motivate prospects to call. But you do have to make a commitment to be regular and consistent with your marketing.

To start a direct mail program call us at 727-536-4173.

Mark Hale

CEO

 

Understanding Direct Mail – How To Save Money On Postage Costs

bigstock-Confused-Woman-Scratching-Her--44040691An overview of postage rates, classes and terminology for the direct mail beginner.

If you’ve done any mailing at all, you’ve found that postage is the largest expense of a direct mail campaign. Thus anyone who wants to become a true success with direct mail must become familiar with the post office and how postage works. If not, you’ll end up spending a lot more money in postage or risk something going wrong with your postcard affecting your results.

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Classes of Mail

There are several classes of mail commonly used to send post cards. The key differences between these classes are their level of priority and their cost:

First Class Mail is the mail class that you are using when you put on a manual stamp. This type of mail is given the highest priority and is generally delivered within 1-4 days depending upon where in the country it is sent and received. Return service and forwarding service are included.

Standard Mail is commonly used for mailing advertisements and promotions as it costs substantially less than First Class. Often mistakenly called “bulk mail”, standard mail is given lower priority at the post office and can take anywhere from a few days to as long as a couple of weeks to be delivered. Usual delivery time is about 5-10 days, but it depends upon the distance traveled and, more importantly, on post office workload. Not recommended for time sensitive or dated mailings, particularly during holidays or elections. Undeliverable pieces are not forwarded or returned to sender. 

Non-Profit is a special type of standard mail that qualifies for lower rates. The priority and delivery details are the same, it simply costs less. It is only available to legally non-profit entities.

Other Classes: There are other postage classes that are used for newspaper and magazine mailings, larger size mail pieces, etc. but for the purposes of the usual post card mailings, these do not apply.

Common Confusion

A common confusion is that “bulk mail” is actually not a class of mail. Though often used incorrectly to refer to standard mail, “bulk” simply means that you are sending a lot of mail at once.

Bulk mailings can be sent using any class of mailing and are handled by a special part of the post office that is set up just for large mailings.

If your mailing is being prepared using an “indicia” with a “postal permit”, it means it is a bulk mailing and the postage is being paid directly to the post office, instead of via stamps or a postage meter.

How to Save Money

First of all, keep in mind that anyone who tells you they have “a better rate” is not telling you the truth. The post office publishes a standard set of rates and rules and these are available to everyone. There are no companies out there that have some special deal with the post office.

However, there is a great deal of variation on how well people know the post office’s rules and how they use them to prepare your mailing. Someone who knows the postal rules well and can fit them best to your particular situation will often save you a lot of money.

Here are some of the basic ways this is done:

Automation – Using special software, we can verify the quality of a client’s mailing list and print on a special barcode in addition to the address. The post office can now use a machine instead of a person to sort that mail and this saves a lot of time. In exchange, the USPS gives a big discount on the postage rates.

Saturation or High Density Mailings – It’s a lot easier for the post office to deliver 1000 postcard to a single neighborhood, than to deliver 1000 postcards to 1000 different homes all over the country. For that reason, you can get substantial discounts for mailing to a high percentage of people in a geographic area. Often mailings of this type sacrifice the ability to target a specific type of customer, but if the product you are selling has appeal primarily as a result of someone’s location, it can make lots of sense.

There are a number of additional ways to prepare mailings and other details on how to save money while still satisfying whatever deadlines or requirements may exist for your mailing.

It’s not necessary that you are an expert on them to do a mailing, but your direct mail company should be. Make sure that they take the time to ask you what your timetables, deadlines and requirements are and recommend options to help you meet your needs at the lowest postage cost possible.

Summary

Be familiar with the basic postal classes and which are most appropriate for the specific mailing you have planned.

Ensure that the direct mail company you choose to handle your mailing has the experience to prepare your mailings right. They should make recommendations about how to accomplish your objectives and save you money.

Using this advice, it is our hope that you can stretch your marketing budget even further and send out a lot of post cards. Because that is the way that you’ll truly BOOM your business!

Mark Hale

CEO

Vital Post Purchase Promotion

How many customers did you service last week? How many of these people will be back for more service or will refer a friend to you?

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There are some old school tools you can use to boost customer retention and referrals.

Sending out a “thank you” note to everyone you service is a powerful way to further increase sales and a way to do post-purchase promotion. The fact is few businesses send out thank you notes to their customers today and if they do it often is an impersonal email that may or may not find its way through spam filters.

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Here are a few tips on how to offer a successful follow-up with a “thank you” note card that your customers will not only appreciate, but will help your business grow:

  • Offer a coupon or discount as a thank you for making a purchase. A great way to entice repeat business is with a free shipping voucher.
  • Send a free sample or a free voucher for something your customer may be interested in. They will be more likely to purchase again if they have a pleasant experience buying from your business.
  • Send a personalized, handwritten thank you with a surprise gift for large purchases and ask how the customer is enjoying their new XYZ.
  • Consider providing exclusive discounts on items that complement the original purchase (such as 20 percent off a wireless printer to complement a new laptop purchase).
  • Create a referral program and generously reward customers who do the selling for you. Word of mouth recommendations about personal experiences can be far more powerful than traditional advertising!
  • Create urgency by including an expiration date. Give customers ample breathing time to recover from their initial purchase if it was a considerable amount invested in your product or service.
  • Encourage customers to fill out a survey about their experience and offer an exclusive discount or promotion upon survey completion.
  • A handwritten card will have a greater impact than an email thank you. People still like getting mail in the mailbox.

If you’d like help creating an attention grabbing postcard, a self-mailer with tear away coupons or other creative ways to stay in touch with your customers, give us a call. We are here to help.

Mark Hale

CEO

What is The Perfect Way to Advertise?

bigstock-Modern-Business-Concept-40987330Business managers and executives ponder the question of “What is the best way to advertise my business?” They have tried many advertising mediums with mediocre to dismal results. If there is a perfect way to advertise your business, what is it? If there were a perfect way to advertise for your business what would it look like?

You would be able to reach your best prospects with it.

It would be easy to buy and use.

It would be easy to track response.

You would make more money than you spent on it (AKA, ROI).

There is such an advertising medium.

That medium is Direct Mail Marketing. Here are the facts:

  • The United States Postal Service regularly and dependably delivers the mail to 99.99% of the population.
  • Everyone receives their mail and looks at it, even if just for a second.
  • Direct mail is personal.
  • Direct mail allows you to target exactly the people who are the best prospects for your product or service with no waste.
  • Direct mail is trackable.
  • Recent studies have shown that direct mail still provides a higher return on investment (ROI) than any other marketing medium.

We sell direct mail programs, so you would expect that I would be tooting the direct mail horn. But for the above facts, direct mail is one of the most effective advertising tools you have at hand. Direct mail for most businesses should be a no-brainer, but direct mail is still not the only part of your marketing program. Direct mail is not good for image advertising, that purpose is best filled buy television advertising. Brand building is a combination of PR + Image + Direct Response. The purpose and best use of direct mail is to direct the response of interested prospects causing an increase in sales.

If you want to grow your sales you are going to have to develop a mix of media that you can reach and influence the best prospects for your business. Direct mail for most businesses should be an important part of their media mix. Direct mail can take many forms: post cards, letter mailer, note cards or check mailers. These all allow you to suit your approach to your prospect’s life style.

The following is a short highlight of the strengths and weaknesses of some of the other media choices you have:

Newspapers & Magazines – Newspaper is a good tool for promoting sales events. The costs versus the circulation numbers are out of proportion due to decreasing circulation and readership.

For a newspaper to be solvent, 65% to 70% of space has to be devoted to advertising, making for a lot of clutter and reader distraction. Most people are getting their news and current events online.

The readership of newspapers across the country has gotten older over the years. If you are targeting older prospects, using newspaper marketing can be an important part of your media mix.

Television Commercials – There are hundreds of different choices for TV viewing. Commercial loads on most stations are 10 – 12 minutes of commercials per half hour. The trend in recent years has moved toward shorter commercials, 15 seconds in length, which means there could be as many as 15 – 20 commercials per break. The heavy number of commercials is a key factor in channel surfing, which means it makes it more difficult to actually reach viewers. When was the last time you sat though and watched all the commercials?

Production costs to produce a commercial can cost as much as the air time to run the ad.

The plus points on television advertising is that if you get a well produced commercial and target the programs you purchase you can generate good results. Television has the ability to bring a message to life. You can purchase by program and target your audience by demographic. Cable TV allows you to target not only by demographic, but geographic area. Cable TV can be less expensive than broadcast stations and in recent years, audience has shifted from broadcast to cable. If you are considering TV you should carefully research the choices available to you.

Radio – is similar to television in that there are many choices for listening. iPods, MP3s and other personal listening devices along with commercial free satellite radio have given people more options and make it difficult to reach people.

Having said that, radio is still a better option than other mediums due to its portability and potential to reach customers closest to time of purchase. Combined with low production cost, when radio is properly used, it can be a powerful tool to increase sales. A well-produced radio commercial can be interesting and memorable. Radio for a lot of businesses should be part of the media mix. Radio can be used to add repetition to your marketing. Purchased properly, you can reach a large volume of potential customers often and regularly.

Email Marketing – Yes, email marketing was supposed to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. Email sent to existing clients and prospects (like this email) works well. But when you try sending a mass email to a bunch of people you haven’t already established contact with– a couple clicks of the mouse and any future emails from you will go directly to the spam/junk mail folder. Like other forms of marketing email can be an important tool, but for most businesses, email marketing is not strong enough to create expansion. Its best use is to stay in touch with customers and prospects with information that will benefit the recipient.

Social Media – can be an important part of your marketing. By its name, you have to be more social and less sales-ey in your approach. It is very good for networking, generating interest and driving traffic to your web page. Some business types can greatly benefit from using social media. For most businesses social media is part of the marketing mix– not the sole answer. To be effective, you have to have someone employed full time to keep up with postings, tweets and profiles.

Internet, Pay Per Click – can be a very good source of leads for most businesses. Your results will depend on how you are set up to convert the leads you get. The downside of this is that there is so much competition and marketing on the Internet it can be very difficult to capture and hold the attention of a prospect. The Internet is the Wild-West and to a large degree is still evolving. It should also be part of your marketing mix.

The best answer for most businesses is a media mix. Your advertising will be effective to the degree that you have the big three in your advertising. The big three are as follows:

1. Identified Audience: Know who your best prospects are and have selected the media or mediums that can target your best prospects.

2. Targeted Message: By knowing your customer and best prospects you have created your message so that it appeals to the buying motives of them. People buy a product or service because they perceive that it will benefit them.

3. Consistency: 90% of your results equal what you say times how many times you say it. Despite what some may try to lead you to believe, you cannot time the market. Which simply means that you never know how many people will be in the market to buy your product or service in a specific period of time. But, over the course of several months, there will be a lot of people who will be in the market.

When you advertise consistently you do two things: (1) you create awareness and familiarity and, (2) you increase the odds that prospects will call you when they need your product.

If you would like more information on how direct mail can help your business, contact us!

Mark Hale

CEO