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Welcome Bloggers

Remember when you were a wide eyed 6 or 7 year old filled with awe and wonder? Receiving a handwritten birthday invitation in the mail was more exciting than getting a letter from the President of the United States, or the Royal couple!  You were bursting with anticipation as you tore into the envelope. Wow!

Recapture that excitement for your little one’s big day with paper invitations.  Paper invitations are even more revered today than 25 years ago, thanks to the digital era.

If you want to plan a successful, fun-filled birthday bash for your special prince or princess, start with state-of the art invitations. If you are lost for a party theme, borrow an idea from this list:

Draw inspiration from the Great Mother Goose with a nursery rhyme themed party – select from one of these timeless classics:

  • Jack and Jill
  • Humpty Dumpty
  • Mary Mary Quite Contrary
  • Hickory Dickory Dock’
  • The Old Lady in the Shoe

Super Hero Party

  • Batman
  • Superman
  • Wonder woman
  • Bat girl

Other Popular themes for kids ages 5-12

  • Pirates (everyone dreses as a pirate)
  • Princess Party (give out tiara’s to all the little girls)
  • Beach-(Arrange for a slip and slide or shallow plastic pool)
  • Dr. Seuss: All attendees receive a Dr Seuss book, and the birthday girl or boy dresses up as their favorite Dr. Seuss character

Remember though that the seed of excitement is planted with colorful, dashing invitations. The buzz can begin long before the big day if you use the right ones. Here are a few pointers for creating state-of the art party invites that will wow ’em!

Use a reputable, high quality online printer to help you create bright, bold exciting invitations. Some printers offer a nice collection of pre-designed templates that can be customized with the child’s information. Otherwise, you can work with a good graphic designer to help you create a look perfectly tailored to your child.

Make sure you use bold, crisp colors,and thick, durable, paper stock. For a more daring look add a little bit of gloss or “spot uv.”

Take your invitations to the next level with bright, matching envelopes and eye-catching address labels. You’ll be the talk of the town and your child will feel like the king or queen of the neighborhood.

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Welcome Bloggers

75% of Americans admit to bringing their phone to the bathroom.

Startling, but true. Just take look around – We as a society are addicted to our mobile devices. And it’s not going away any time soon.

In fact, by this time next year, mobile shopping is expected to take over desktop shopping.  If you are thinking about optimizing your small business website for mobile shopping, first consider these important factors:

  • Your current website may be successful, however that doesn’t mean it will work well for mobile shoppers. A number of recent studies show that if a site is not properly formatted for a small digital browser, users will go elsewhere.
  • If you want to make the transition to mobile, keep in mind that almost everything about your existing site will need to change, including the user experience.
  • In addition to the differences in technology, Smart phone users have different buying behaviors and expectations than desktop/laptop shoppers.
  •  Everything about your site will need to change; including the features, fonts, graphics, messaging and user interface.
  •  Mobile users expect immediate gratification, and are usually in a hurry. This means the basic workflow of your site, as well its purpose and structure will need to be repurposed by people who know mobile intimately. If you are committed to going mobile, these five factors are a must:

 

1. Less is More: Scale Down

The content on your site should be compelling, simple and easy to navigate.  You’ll need to engage the smart phone user in 30 seconds or less, in order to be successful. Remember the old WIIFM (What’s in it for Me? the shopper). Remove any fluff or irrelevant information from your landing page. Your home page should tell customers why they are there, what they can get, what it will do for them, and how they can get it, in 30 seconds or less.

Fortunately there are a host of online services that can easily convert your site and make it mobile friendly (: http://www.mobilizetoday.com).For those who prefer to DIY, there are a number of good tutorials. http://www.google.com/think/collections/make-website-work-across-multiple-devices.html

2. Accept Mobile Payments

Many small business owners are already using mobile payment devices. Providers usually charge a fee between 2 and 3% per transaction, or give you the option of paying a small monthly fee for the device. Some of the more recognizable mobile payment products come from companies like PayPal, Intuit, and Google. If you are new to this arena, do an online search for best mobile payment providers. Some websites offer a side-by side comparison, making it easy for you to see which one will work best for you.

3. Offer Mobile Deals that are Hard to Resist

Announce a special offer exclusive to mobile shoppers.  For example, every mobile shopper can receive free shipping, or 25% off on their first two purchases. By consistently offering mobile deals, you’ll encourage customer loyalty and generate word of mouth advertising.

4. Promote your Mobile Shopping Site with Old Fashioned Print Marketing

Good print marketing is a very effective way to promote your mobile site. It serves several purposes: assures those who aren’t ready to go mobile that you will still cater them, generates leads, and increases awareness. Combine the announcement with a special promotion for best results. Make sure you include a great call to action that will compel readers to act now, and visit your store.

First 100 mobile shoppers receive an extra 15% off entire store.

            Offer good through end of month.  Buy now. www.mymobilesite.

5. Test your new mobile site with a group of smartphone users prior to launch.

Ideally, each tester should have a different type/brand of phone. This will allow you to catch potential errors, and ensure a smooth process.

What are you doing to get your small business ready for the mobile shopping boom?

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Welcome Bloggers

While it may seem that mom’s get all the love, Father’s Day gift sales are sizzling!

Did you know….

That Father’s day spending reached $12.7 billion in 2012 and is expected to be even bigger this year?

The percentage of people who used the internet to purchase gifts for Dad’s day last year was up by 6 percent from the previous year.

Avoid cliché ties, socks and slippers this Father’s Day. Dad’s everywhere will appreciate it and sales of novel gift idea promotions typically outperform the competition.  Statistics show that consumers start shopping for Father’s day two to five days early. So get ready!

For best results, create a dedicated Dad’s Day campaign. Since Father’s Day falls on June 16 this year, start your campaign in early June. Many shoppers are still undecided at this point. A timely, compelling, targeted promotion can be very powerful.

Here is a roundup of Six Fabulous Father’s Day Promotions:

  1. Offer free shipping – beginning ten days before dad’s day.
  2. Add a service or product to your inventory for a limited time, designed exclusively for Dad’s Day out. For example, even if your product or service isn’t related to these industries, create a special DAD’s DAY OUT PROMOTION: sell gift certificates to a day at the golf course, ½ day fishing trip, steak dinner, full body massage, or tennis lessons. Prospects may have something else in mind when they visit your shop, but now they can kill two birds with one stone and find the perfect father’s day gift as well. Consumers are almost always willing to pay a little more for convenience, especially at the last minute.
  3. Create a coupon code just for dad’s day.   As an example, give an extra 30% off to shoppers who enter or say the word “DAD.”
  4. Hold a contest for and kids and spouses. Ask them to write about why their dad or husband deserves to win 50 dollars’ worth of free merchandise. If you have a brick and mortar business, make sure you have something on hand for kids and women (candy, coloring books, flowers, etc) as this type of promotion will draw them in.
  5. “Father-Daughter-/Father-Son promotion. This works especially well if you sell a service, like photography, massage, personal training or hair styling.
  6. Hold a raffle-Announce the drawing on your website and with compelling direct mail pieces. This will generate word of mouth advertising, attract more business and create buzz.

How will your small business make a mark this Father’s Day?

Related:

How he broke sales records with a brilliant postcard marketing strategy:

Power words that sell

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Welcome Bloggers

The Overnight Prints Spa Play day for Dogs charity event stemmed from an exhilarating charity toy ride that I participated in last Christmas:

  • It was late November 2012.  The beach town I live in was flush with leaping dolphins clad in Santa hats,   twinkling lights, and avid boaters welcoming the season with animated decorations. Christmas music permeated the airwaves. The seaside city had been transformed into a magical waterfront wonderland.
  •  I was feeling the spirit and wanted to team up with a local charity.  But it couldn’t be just any charity. It needed to be something that resonated with and inspired me.
  •  Enter Southern California Harley riders. I stumbled across an intriguing postcard  about a Santa Harley toy ride for needy children. This was the ticket!  This sounded like a blast, and an ingenious way to help kids.

Mind you I don’t own or ride a Harley. I just knew I wanted to do this.  I really had no idea what I was getting into. It just sounded too good to pass up.

Here comes Santa….on a Harley

Somewhere between 75 and 100 Harley riders and passengers were told to gather at a nearby pub at 7am on Christmas Eve morning. The only requirement was that we had to dress as Saint Nick, Mrs. Claus or Santa’s helper. I donned a brand new Mrs. Claus costume that I found on eBay, complete with long shiny, stiletto black boots. As I pulled up to the parking lot, dozens of Harley-riding Santa’s were posing for a group photo.  I captured the moment on film, and joined the festivities.

  • We were treated to hot coffee and a delicious breakfast buffet, courtesy of Fitzgerald’s Irish pub.
  • With full tummies, and warm toes, we began loading hundreds of toys that had been collected over the past two months, into knapsacks and bags. We filled the back of two U-Haul trucks with the colossal stack of bulging sacks.
  • Then, after a looooong thundering roar, (that only a herd of Harley’s could make) we were off. And dare I say, this endless caravan that spanned for miles gave Santa and his reindeer a ride for their money.

Imagine for a moment….. 85 big, burly, Santa’s and dozens of elves, with festive helmets and long leather boots, riding through the interchanges of Southern California on  chrome plated, boisterously loud Harley Davidson bikes.  We rode single file – in a caravan through the streets, boulevards and five lane freeways of Orange County, CA. Every rider was decked out. It was an array of Red Velvet, long white curly beards, leather Santa gloves and festive helmets. The elves were clad in green and red felt costumes with funny drooping hats and pointy green shoes.  What a sight! As this convoy rode through the highways and byways we literally stopped traffic! It was spectacular.

  • People of all ages and walks of life literally stopped in the middle of whatever they were doing, last minute shopping errands, talking on their phones, jogging, eating, whatever. They looked on in wonder to marvel and gasp at the illustrious sea of Santa’s.   And remember that Southern California freeways and streets are typically jam packed with the hustle and bustle of hurried, impatient drivers focused on getting to their destinations as quickly as possible. They certainly don’t have time or patience to stop for anything that’s going to slow them down.
  •  But THIS was profoundly different.  It felt like we were filming a slow motion movie.  Drivers fought to pull over to the shoulders and watch in awe –as the caravan of Santa’s were taking over the 405 freeway.  Viewers were star struck, grabbing their Smart phones and digital devices to capture as many images and videos as the moment would allow.After spreading laughter, love, shock and awe through the streets we headed for our main destination- The Orangewood home for Children.This part of the journey was dramatically breathtaking- A true moment in time!
  • We climbed off our Harleys’, lifted oodles of bulging toy-filled knapsacks over our shoulders and ho-ho-hoed our way to the front. We delivered hundreds of sacks stuffed with games, toys and bikes to the awe-struck children.
  • But it wasn’t going to be over anytime soon. We drove around the building to a courtyard in the back, and greeted the children with red and green lollypops. The braver kids that dared were allowed to climb aboard one of the dazzling machines. A low rumbling thunder was interspersed with the sounds of exhilarated children squealing with joy.

After about an hour or so of action packed activity the kids were beginning to fade. It was time for us to venture back. We formed our parade once again and took a detour through the Orange Circle in historic downtown Orange, drove in the slow lane of the Garden Grove freeway and meandered through a couple obscure side streets. We even got some waves and claps from a few homeless people! We ventured back to the coast and rode through the charming seaside town of Balboa Island, tossing out candy and smiles to passerby’s of all ages. We stopped for pictures on a number of occasions. We rode North on Pacific Coast highway to Main Street in Huntington Beach to for a final parade of sorts.  Then it was back to the pub’s to decompress and enjoy a hot lunch.

If you are a small business owner trying to market on a shoestring budget, you’re not alone. You don’t have to have all the bells and whistles in place to host a charity event. It just takes a little creativity. Ask your Facebook fans for ideas, or hold a contest. There are no bad ideas. Give the top three ideas a free service or product. Make sure to take lots of photos of the event so you can blog about it later, and maybe even use them to create promotional calendar, and inspire other small businesses to follow your footsteps.

By:Courtney Knapp

 

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Welcome Bloggers

Wonder what all of the rage is about?

  • A QR code, put simply is a quick response code, designed to lead a consumer to a web landing page, product or promotion. You see QR codes on everything from T-shirts, to postcards to milk cartons.
  • QR codes were originally invented in Japan by a large auto manufacturer. The explosive growth is due in large part to the convenience and easy “readability” of the codes.
  • QR codes act and look like bar codes. Marketers embed them into promotional items to entice customers to take specific actions.
  • Customers often receive a special discount or reward for scanning the code with their mobile phone. Incentivizing QR code scanners is highly recommended. It makes them feel like they are receiving special treatment.

Why should you use a QR Code?

  • Beyond mere convenience to the consumer, QR codes can increase conversion rate (or chance of a sale).
  • QR codes can only be scanned with a smart phone. Research shows the number of consumers who are using their phones to shop is expected to skyrocket by 2015.
  • As the world converts to digital shopping, business owners everywhere should consider putting QR codes on their marketing materials. They’re cheap (or free), convenient, and easy to implement.

How to add a QR code: you don’t have to be a techy to do this:

  • A number of websites will create black and white QR codes for free.
  • You can also create a colorful code with colors that reflect your brand, for a small fee. Read more about how colors can affect sales here.
  • If you have a Smartphone, download an app for a QR code (do a Google search for QR codes).
  • The apps are all very similar, but read the ratings to help you select the one that is best for you.Once you’ve downloaded the app, start scanning QR Codes. Notice what types of incentives the marketers behind the codes are offering.
  • You’ll see these funny looking codes on cereal boxes, brochures, postcards, magazine ads, etc.  Pay particular attention to where the code leads you, and whether the discounts and promotions are worthwhile.
  • After you scan half a dozen codes, you’ll have a better idea if this is something you want to implement in your business.

When you’re ready, visit a service online that will create a code for you free of charge. Make sure they have a tracking system in place so you can determine the effectiveness. And place a strong call to action next to the code, to motivate consumers to scan it.

What has your experience been with QR codes?

Related articles:

More marketing ideas for small business owners

Small business website basics

Marketing strategies that won’t break the budget

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This article is a guest post by photojournalist Alan Staats.

One of the problems I’ve run into with internet marketing is, for lack of a better term, noise. Sure I can buy an email list targeted specifically to the client demographic that I want to reach. I can create a beautiful HTML-based document detailing all the wonderful things I can do for those potential clients. The issue is, many of the thousands of recipients will hit the delete button, before reading my beautifully crafted message. Or, it will get buried or lost in the “chaff” that clutters my prospects inbox.

 

After experimenting with a plethora of digital, social media, and print marketing activities I can honestly say that melding internet outreach with print marketing yields far greater rewards than using either as a sole source.

 

I also look to the internet to maintain a complex (as well as a hopefully informative and attractive) website, send out query letters, estimates, contracts, and maintain an active social media presence. But experience has taught me not to rely exclusively on the World Wide Web for all of my marketing needs.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I relish the internet and all of the marvelous things it offers. For example, without it, you wouldn’t be reading this article.  Unless, of course, someone printed it for you.

 

Having owned my own photography and video production company for more than 30 years, I have always believed in the power of print.

 

By chaff I mean those truly annoying (yet occasionally entertaining) emails (among other offers) from, say, Princess Shewanna of the landlocked kingdom of Katangaland-who desperately needs help moving her 600 million dollar inheritance.  If only I could reap even one percent for each spam message I receive.

 

So, sending out an email message promising great photography and video services has an unlikely chance of being read, much less acted upon.

 

However, I am not averse to internet marketing. What I am averse to is using the internet as a “single source” for marketing. Used in conjunction with “traditional” marketing methods, it can yield results far beyond what you’d expect.

 

For example, this is a true story:

 

I recently ordered 500 rack cards from an online printing service, (overnightprints.com) branded with my logo and contact information, and select photos. The chief reason behind ordering rack cards was not to place them in racks but rather because they fit in standard envelopes.

 

I printed a cover letter on letterhead stock, “wrapped” the rack card in the letterhead and mailed 100 of them, to a targeted list (that I also had email addresses for).

 

Since the addresses were local, I waited two days and sent an email to each recipient; the subject of the email was simply the name of my company.

 

The email had a little more information about my company and a teaser directing the recipients to my website, which has literally thousands of pages of information and imagery… and a “hit” tracking feature.

 

By the end of the week the results were astounding!

 

On day four, hits increased from an average of 60 hits per day to over 400, a rate that lasted the rest of the week before tapering off

 

Eight recipients responded directly with a phone call and requests for rate information

 

Three recipients booked me for work, one recipient bought, as a stock photo purchase, the photo that was used as the primary image on the front side of the rack card.

 

In comparison, an earlier solely email-based effort to a qualified list of recipients (which cost me five times the amount) yielded only a dozen responses, five of whom insisted I take their names and email addresses off the list, and seven who asked for printed material as a follow up.The bottom line is that internet marketing can be successful, of that there is no doubt, but if you are looking to maximize your reach for the dollars, combine the internet with print for an unbeatable combination.

 
Related articles:True stories about small business owners

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Welcome Bloggers

In honor of National Keep America Beautiful month

Whether you own an e commerce start-up or a 30 year old brick and mortar company, your small business can be instrumental in keeping America beautiful and green.

8 ways your small business can help

  1. Promote your business by giving out postcards or bookmarks with environmentally friendly messages and photos of stunning nature scenes.
  2. Help “greenify” America – Put a button on your website announcing that you will donate $1.00 of each order to a national tree planting organization.
  3. Create a special landing page for your website that offers 25% off to anyone who enters (or says) the word “Green” at checkout. Then create a batch of postcards with a QR code that takes scanners to that page.
  4. Donate $1.00 of each order placed in April to an environmentally friendly organization, such as National Geographic, Sierra Club or the Conservation Fund.  Advertise the promotion on your home page and with over-sized postcards.
  5. Offer to pay sales tax for the month of April, in honor of Keep America Beautiful Month.
  6. If you have a brick and mortar business buy a large plastic trash bin and collect recyclables during the month of April. Promote this with eye catching posters, strategically placed around your shop.
  7. Hold a contest for kids: Ask kids to write an essay about how they plan to keep America beautiful this spring and summer. Reward the top 2 best entries with a gift card to Amazon, or Target.
  8. Partner with a friend to host a “clean up our parks (or lake) day.” Invite people to gather at a local park and spend two hours picking up trash. Create branded thank you notes, for all of the participants. Include a 25% off coupon on the notes. Make it redeemable through the end of April.

Remember that when you use green in your marketing materials, you are exemplifying nature, health, life and rebirth.  For more on how colors can impact sales read about the psychology of color.

How is your small business keeping America beautiful and green?

Related articles: Make sure your direct mail stands out, Pros and Cons of Postcard Marketing

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Welcome Bloggers

Americans everywhere  will be doing their part this Earth day (April 22nd) to support the environment.  But as an entrepreneur, why not save the planet AND your bottom line every day, with simple “earth themed” notepads?

Use branded notepads to advertise an “eco-friendly” commuter promotion.  Give every customer who walks, rides a bike or takes public transportation to your business this month 15% off. Place the promotional notepads around town and make an announcement on your website.

Earth month” recycled shopping bag giveaway. Fill four recycled shopping bags with free swag.  Give one lucky customer a free bag each week this month. Advertise the giveaway with promotional branded notepads and postcards.

Hold a “green” contest: Ask customers and prospects to post their best ideas for reducing waste on your Facebook page, or a designated section of your website.  Use an online printing service to create promotional notepads announcing the contest. Include entry guidelines and a submission deadline. Give a notepad to each person who walks in or makes a purchase during the month. Finally, reward the top three entries with valuable prizes like free product,  cash, or a massage gift card.

Place a QR code on promotional notepads.  Each scan can trigger a $2.00 donation to an environmentally friendly organization.

If you’re  a hair dresser, hold a “cutahon” on Earth Day (April 22). Give 30% of the proceeds to an earth friendly organization. Advertise the event with branded notepads.

Create notepads with special “Earth month coupons.” Offer 20% off selected items during the month of April.

 

 

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Welcome Bloggers

Did you know that March is National Optimism Month? Research proves that optimists achieve better health, greater prosperity and more happiness than pessimists

It’s time to celebrate and use positive thinking to your advantage both personally and professionally.

As a small business owner, there are a number of simple strategies you can employ to empower yourself, your employees, and your customers.

30 Day Optimism Challenge

Pick at least one item from the following list. Incorporate it at least once a week for the month of March and see what transpires.

  1. Sprinkle your business and home with positive sayings and quotes. Choose five favorites and post them throughout the month on your website and Facebook page.
  2. Create bookmarks with uplifting sayings, and give them to your customers to show appreciation. Mix and match them using 10 favorite quotes. Add images of beautiful scenery or photos of your company. Each time your customer looks at the bookmark, he/she will feel a little more optimistic, and think of you. It’s a win-win.
  3. Celebrate the Spring Equinox. Hold a special sale to celebrate the blossoms and births of the season. Promote it with brightly colored postcards or flyers.
  4. Write affirmations on pieces of note paper.  Place on your mirror, dashboard, or computer. If you can’t come up with any, Google affirmations or try a site that lists creative affirmations.
  5. Challenge yourself to avoid saying anything negative-Take it a step further and look for the bright side of things. Tell others what’s great about being a small business owner, a spouse, parent, etc.  You’ll feel happier and inspire people around you.
  6. March 17 is St. Patrick’s Day. Embrace the Great Spirit and optimism of the Irish culture with a discounted happy hour.
  7. Spread cheer to your customers and friends with colorful branded magnets. Create a bright colored background. In large, bold text, write “Smile-It’s National Optimism Month.”Or, add a quote from Dr. Seuss to your magnets. Surely everyone loves the Cat in the Hat! Make sure to include your phone number and website on the magnet. Read more on boosting sales with color.
  8. Find three things to be thankful for every day, and smile relentlessly. It may just sneak its way into a habit.
  9. Infuse your conversations with positive words and phrases and compliment those around you. The power of words can be profound.

How does your small business celebrate National Optimism Month?

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Welcome Bloggers

Today’s printing tips are  brought to you courtesy of Company Folders. If you find one or three useful, please consider sharing this post with others. 

With the convenience of digital marketing, many companies have forgotten how effective print marketing can be in attracting new customers and keeping existing ones.

However, in order to be effective, you have to have materials that show off your brand in the best possible light, while staying creative enough to entice new customers into taking notice of your brand for the first time.

Merge Digital Media with Print Marketing

Using QR codes in your print marketing shows you’ve got digital savvy, and it gives customers a reason to visit your website or download your app.

When smart phone users see a QR code, they can’t help but want to follow it to see where it goes. Just make sure you’re leading them somewhere that’s going to help you seal the deal. Try using designer QR codes with color to make your codes work with your design.

Don’t Be Afraid to Instigate

Think about all those Super Bowl ads that get us talking around the water cooler the next day. Whether funny, poignant or just plain annoying, these commercials instigate the audience into talking, discussing and in some cases even arguing over them.

Create print designs that get your audience talking, even if you have to be slightly provocative to do so. When it comes to grabbing the audience’s attention, sometimes an idea that sounds insane is the one that gets your company noticed.

Engage your Audience in a Story

Nothing engages an audience quite like a story, whether it’s told through text, images or a combination of both. Decide what your company’s story is and how you want to tell it.

All of the best advertising campaigns have a narrative—from the toy bunny that just keeps going, to the old ladies who want to know where the beef is. Your narrative could be a written story, a series of sequential pictures like a comic or just one bold image that says it all.

Testify!

In this age of social media, customer testimonials are crucial for any business. Ask some of your longtime clients and customers if they would be willing to say a few kind words about your company, and include a photo of each.

Not only are you showing your potential customers how well you treat your clients, you’re enticing them with the idea that one day they might be the happy smiling face in your marketing media.

Go Green

Most of your existing and potential clientele probably consider themselves to be eco-conscious, and will respond positively to companies that share their ideals

Choose an eco-friendly printer.  For example, Overnight Prints uses waterless technology exclusively on all of their sheetfed presses.

Call Your Customers to Action

You’ve gotten your printed materials into the hands of your potential customers—so now what? Without a call to action, recipients are going to ask themselves the same thing.

Tell them exactly what you want them to do, whether that’s “call now for a free estimate” or “save a bundle with our services.” Once you’ve told them what you want them to do, follow up with your contact information so they can do so.

Provide an Incentive!

Not every potential customer is going to heed your call to action, so you have to motivate these stubborn mules with a carrot.

Add coupon codes, special offers and introductory rates on your marketing materials to give them a reason to contact you.

Be Theatrical

You have something important to say to your audience, so do it in a lively and dramatic way. Any business could claim that they “offer quality service at an affordable rate,” but that doesn’t sound very exciting.

Instead, you could write that your company offers the “highest quality service with the lowest prices in town.” Punch up your copy so that it gets your audience to take notice.

Use Color to Reinforce Brand Inentity

Coke is red, Apple is white and McDonald’s is golden yellow.  What color is your brand? Do you have effective branding in place? Do all of your marketing materials accurately reflect that?

Remember, there’s a difference between blue, cerulean and navy— substituting one for another misrepresents your brand. When in doubt, use PMS spot printing in your materials to always have the accurate tone that represents your brand color.

Upgrade your Business Cards

There’s a difference between professional looking and completely boring when it comes to business cards. Your business cards should reflect your brand, but that doesn’t mean slapping on a logo and calling it done.

Add color and design elements to give your card personality. Consider rounding the corners or adding spot UV coating to make it stand out. When recipients look at your business cards, do they see contact information or do they see your brand in a nutshell?

Pass it On

Word of mouth is a good way to drum up business, so you want to create a design that gets passed along to others. Referral offers are an easy way to create word of mouth publicity, but don’t underestimate the power of a creative design.

Sometimes we like to share things with our friends and family just because they’re interesting, poignant or funny.

 

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Welcome Bloggers

It’s been 10 years since Overnight Prints began to make and deliver top notch print products and, in some ways, we live in a different world. Sure, we still don’t have jetpacks, x-ray specs, or pet robots, but at the very least, styles have changed.

Some classic looks can be appreciated for a long time, but sometimes, updates are needed.

Here at Overnight Prints, some things will never change, such as our commitment to superior print quality and on-time delivery as well as our unparalleled devotion to environmentally safe printing practices. And, we are dedicated to making sure that all of your prints convey a look of relevance and professionalism.

That’s why we decided it was time to update our website; if you’re going to trust us with your look, you should know we take pride in our look.

Our designer, Michaella (a graduate of the Super Ninja School of Website Design), wanted to make sure the site’s new aesthetic didn’t take away from its effectiveness.

She focused on smoothing visual lines, clarifying labels, and improving your ease at locating various functions.

We want your time on the site to be as enjoyable and efficient as possible, and we welcome comments or emails about your experience.

Thank you for stopping by, and stay tuned for future improvements to the site’s look and function! (Sorry, no delivery via jetpack.)(Yet.)

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Welcome Bloggers

15-20 times a day: That’s the number of times the average person opens the refrigerator each day. That alone should convince you to incorporate refrigerator magnets into your marketing mix.  The exposure that your custom branded magnet could generate if it were stuck to the refrigerator of a large company could be invaluable. The ROI may very well be worth its weight in gold. Even if it were placed on an individual household refrigerator, the magnet would cause the homeowner to think about you up to twenty times each day. Magnets are affordable, practical, simple and effective advertising tools.

Here are 11 ways you can use magnets as promotional tools:

  1. Business card magnets
  2. Personal or professional photo magnets
  3. Give them out and promote them as a handy tool for picking up stray paper clips and safety pins
  4. Ensure attendance at special events with Save the Date magnets
  5. Give away calendar magnets with your contact information and logo
  6. Give branded magnets as a handy way to pick up small objects that fall under car seats.
  7. Increase traffic at trade shows with magnet giveaways
  8. Give them to customers to thank them for their purchase
  9. Create customized “tool kit” magnets. They can be used by men everywhere to pick up loose screws and bolts
  10. Make “sewing kit” magnets. They can be used to pick up and hold onto loose needles
  11. Offer 10 percent off when the magnet is used as a referral source
  • A Baylor University study suggests that companies who give promotional gifts to customers receive 22% more referrals than those who don’t.
  •  Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas conducted research that revealed customers who received promotional products re-ordered up to 18% sooner than those who received coupons.
  •  Lastly, magnets are lasting and memorable. This simple promotional tool is the perfect way to advertise your small business without breaking the budget.

 

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Welcome Bloggers

You are a single attractive male or female catching a bite to eat on your lunch break. You get up to use the restroom, and when you return, someone has discreetly placed a flirting card on your table.

The message on the card reads: “This is your Get out of Awkward First Date Free card.” The admirer’s picture is on the back of the card, along with his/her contact information. What would you do? Would you take the bait?

  • Overnight Prints posted a similar question on Facebook. We asked our fans “What, if anything do dating and business cards have in common?” We gave a fifty dollar free print credit to the three most creative responses. My personal favorite answer: “Some are boring, flat and dull, while others are shiny, colorful and exciting.
  • The ingenuity of the responses inspired me to take the question a step further. I decided to take it to the streets of Southern California and ask people how they felt about giving or receiving a flirting or dating card.

The first person I asked, a 50-something single male said he could definitely see discreetly handing a customized flirting card to an attractive woman. I asked him what his card would look like:

He said it would be sleek and sexy, and include several photos of him participating in his favorite sports – like water-skiing, biking and swimming. This strategy he thought would help him land a like-minded athletic, sexy and adventurous gal, with similar interests.

A gal in her twenties loved the idea of a flirting card. She said she never thought of it, but she might just have to go online before Valentine’s Day and design a card. She liked the idea of inconspicuously handing out a card, without providing too much personal information.

The majority of males I spoke with said they felt more comfortable with the idea of handing an attractive female a flirting card, than asking for her number.

The really shy ones said they would sit back and wait to make their move. Hypothetically speaking, if they were in a bar or restaurant, and saw an attractive woman sitting across the room, they would wait for her to go use the ladies room. Then, they would wander on over and carefully place the card on her table. Chicken or Romantic?

  • As it turns out, it seems that dating and business cards do have a lot in common. If you’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places, what are you waiting for? Go online and design a flirting card. While www.overnightprints.com doesn’t have a section especially devoted to flirting cards, they do offer a number of sensual, floral and colorful eye-catching templates.

If you are single and want to add a little spice to your search for love, design your card now. Use colors, images and themes that exemplify your personality. The message can be humorous or basic. For instance, “Next move is on you” or “Life’s too short – Let’s Flirt.” You might want to include your Facebook or Google plus profile, if you don’t include a photo.
If you’ve had success giving or receiving a flirting card, let us know.

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Welcome Bloggers

Before you implement a marketing promotion, do you take the time to calculate and consider Customer Lifetime Value?

If this term is foreign to you, or you just haven’t had time to deal with, it this article will give you a quick and dirty method to tackle it.

What is Customer Lifetime Value?
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a formula that helps you arrive at the dollar value associated with the long term relationship of a given customer. You can actually determine how much a customer relationship is worth over a specific period of time.

It is a powerful tool, and can aid you in determining how much you should spend on user acquisition and advertising.
There are a number of articles and resources that discuss the method in depth, but we will walk you through the basics.

First, you need to know (or estimate) your customer’s average spending, order frequency and retention. At the most basic level, Customer Lifetime Value is calculated as follows:

CLV = (Customer Average Order) x (Number of Orders per Year) x (Customer Retention)

For example:

  • Customer Average Order = $50
  • Number of Orders per Year = 4
  • Customer Retention = 3 years
  • So, in this example, CLV = $50 x 4 x 3 or $600

While this is good to know, it will be even more useful if you use a bit more data such as:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost
  • Customer Retention Cost
  • Cost of Goods Sold

Suppose you spend $400 for a successful postcard marketing campaign that brings in 10 new customers. Using these numbers, the acquisition cost for those new customers is $40 each ($400 / 10).

Add the acquisition cost to the retention cost multiplied by the retention period. Over the course of the same three year period, your customer acquisition and retention cost will be:

Acquisition & Retention Cost = $40 (Acquisition) + $20 (Retention) x 3 (Years)

Therefore, the acquisition and retention cost for the life of that customer is $100: $40 + ($20 x 3). When this is deducted from the first calculation the Customer Lifetime Value becomes $500 ($600 – $100).

Finally, subtract the actual cost (to you) of the goods sold to calculate your profit.

Calculating CLV can get very fancy, taking into consideration things like churn rate (the value of future income) and changes in buying habits over the years. But if you start with the basic formula outlined in this article, and adjust your spending based on the numbers, you should see an improvement in your bottom line. You can add more complexities as you become more comfortable.

Resources
http://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-netflix-measures-you/
www.dbmarketing.com
http://www.zeromillion.com

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General Interest, Invitations, Postcards, Rack Cards, Welcome Bloggers

Now that those year-end holidays are behind me I’ve got my sights set on the next big holiday.  Well, it’s not exactly a holiday, but it rivals New Year’s Day and the Fourth of July for sheer festive celebration.  I’m talkin’ about Super Bowl Sunday!

There’s nothing like hanging out with friends, brews, and a wide screen TV.  Who’s playing? Does it matter?  It’s a party, and rumor has it that we might even be graced with a Gangnam style commercial by our favorite global sensation, Psy!
SuperBowl_Invites_1v1-2
I’m definitely in the mood for a party, so I thought I’d try my hand at designing my Big Game invitations.  I’ve got a few Read more

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Welcome Bloggers

The victory of success is half won when one gains the habit of setting goals and achieving them.
Even the most tedious chore will become endurable as you parade through each day convinced that every task, no matter how menial or boring, brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams
.”

How can you ensure that the goals and resolutions you set today will not be forgotten in 30, 60 or 90 days? How do you know that the goals you set are even realistic and tangible for you?

Overnight Prints wants to support you in setting and attaining your New Year’s goals. And we’d love to hear your stories along the way. Therefore, we’ve included a link to a practical goal setting worksheet, (at the end of this article).
And we’ve compiled a list of “commonsensical” techniques for you to incorporate before and during your pursuit:

  1. Limit the number of goals you set to a few. Choose between one and three accomplishments that you are absolutely passionate about. If you try to do too many things at once, you will be set yourself up for failure.
  2. Write down your goals. Research suggests that people who write their goals down are much more likely to achieve them.
    Create a daily or weekly action plan. Keep track of your progress along the way.
  3. Cultivate a small support team. Avoid shouting your goals to the world. There are always naysayers out there waiting to discourage you. Instead invite one or two trusted advisors into your goal setting plan. These people should serve as sounding boards and mentors. Choose people who you have watched set and achieve similar goals.
  4. Don’t sweat mistakes – keep pushing forward.
  5. Re-evaluate as you go. Don’t be afraid to revamp and make adjustments. This will help you set yourself up to succeed.
  6. Have self-compassion: it’s okay to have setbacks and obstacles. Just don’t give up.
  7. Keep your goals and statements positive. Instead of saying, “I am going to stop trying to wear 25 hats as a small business owner”, try “I will ask for three referrals and hire a contractor to help me with SEO and marketing”.
  8. Check with a mentor to determine whether you have bitten off more than you can chew. If you have, scale down accordingly.
  9. Once you have a clear vision of your goals and how you will achieve them, create a vision board. Do this electronically or manually, with magazines and cardboard. Pinterest is a great tool to help you create customized electronic vision boards.

Consider the following factors, and how they might affect your progress:
Ask yourself:

  • When I accomplish my goal, what will it mean to me? How will my life be different?
  • What area of my life will it affect (financial, relational, health, etc.)?
  • Who else is involved-Can another party prevent me from attaining my goal? If so, how can I counteract this?
  • How much time will it take-daily, weekly, monthly, overall?
  • Am I passionate about it?

Here are some examples of realistic and attainable goals:

  1. I will hire a contractor to help with graphic design as needed.
  2. I will update my website-specifically I will change the copy on the home page and add a coupon engine to the checkout feature.
  3. I will do 4-5 postcard campaigns this year.
  4. I will do three things for myself every day.

If you are passionate about the goals you have set, and follow these tried and true techniques, you will succeed.

Download this customizable goal setting worksheet to help you get started.

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Welcome Bloggers

Are you an introverted entrepreneur? Does the thought of networking, cold calling and lead generation make you nauseous? If so you’re not alone.

Being an introvert can actually be an asset in the world of marketing and networking.

Although meeting, greeting, and delivering elevator pitches might not be your forte, your natural style has equipped you with a wealth of powerful tools. You just might not have recognized them yet.

Your inborn reflective nature can make you a rock star marketer:

It is a fact that most introverts cringe at the thought of mingling in a room full of strangers. Introverts prefer written communication to verbal, and many excel at networking online. Social media, videos, and blogs have taken the sting out of walking into a room full of strangers.

But the best kept secret about being an introvert is that since you have a natural tendency to observe people, you are a great listener! And you are able to connect with others in a more authentic way than others.

Typically introverts connect on a deeper level much faster than their extroverted friends. Unlike extroverts, who think out loud, introverts ponder and analyze ideas. In fact some of Silicon Valley’s most brilliant brainiacs are introverts.

Introverts are excellent listeners. This is where you have a strong advantage.

If you are a bona fide introvert, challenge yourself by making a commitment to attend one or two networking events each month. But instead of feeling dread, go with the intention of connecting with two or three people. Inquire about their children, hobbies and passions. With this approach you won’t feel so much like a fish out of water. You’ll stay in your comfort zone by listening and observing. They will get to talk about themselves and the activities they love. This will naturally lend itself to an authentic connection.

If you want to further enhance your networking, take advantage of print marketing. Create elegant or unique postcards or business cards. They’ll serve several purposes: act a conversation piece, and help you introduce yourself.

If you are an introvert, we want to hear from you? What strategies have you discovered that help you “hide” yet showcase your natural talents?

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Welcome Bloggers

If you are considering a postcard marketing campaign, your timing is right on! Recent trends coupled with a number of credible studies reveal that more and more businesses are turning to print marketing, and consumers are beginning to lose their apathy toward print mail. This post explores that trend and the reasons behind it.

In the era of emails, blogs, tweets and likes, snail mail, (especially postcards) is making a comeback. Business owners and managers are incorporating print marketing into their campaigns more often than not, for a number of reasons:

Affordability: Even the smallest of businesses can afford to create and send postcards.

Flexible timing: If you design several versions of your postcard mailer, and print enough for a full year, you can be spontaneous and flexible about the timing of your mailings.

Professional designs: Most online printers offer a wide variety of pre-made professional design templates Overnightprints.com has a design for every occasion whether you own a pet-sitting business, floral boutique or are a bride to be. And new designs are introduced throughout the year.

Durability: They last much longer than plain paper because they are printed on high quality, durable glossy paper stock. They’ll hold up longer when slipped under windshield wipers or stacked on a self-serve counter.

Guaranteed delivery: It may take a few days to arrive, but mail almost always gets delivered. That is not the case with emails, considering the high bounce rates and spam filters.

Non-intrusive: Postcards don’t interrupt people while they are at work, or dinner, and they don’t clutter up the inbox. Consumers retrieve postcards from their mail boxes when it is convenient for them, and unlike letters, they don’t need to be opened.

Fifty percent of U.S. consumers prefer direct mail to email, according to a study released by marketing services firm Epsilon. The study also found that one-quarter of all U.S. consumers said they found direct mail to be “more trustworthy” than email.
–Direct Marketing News–

Traffic generators: Consumers can certainly print and bring in an email coupon, but that takes more effort than holding on to a postcard.

Postcards are Memorable: Business owners and consumers get hundreds of e-promotions. A traditional postcard stands out, especially a well-designed or oversized card.

There’s almost no limit to the benefits of postcard marketing. If you aren’t yet convinced of the unlimited benefits of postcard marketing, do this simple experiment:

Go to www.overnightprints.com and select postcards

  • Choose a pre-made design that is relevant to your business
  • Write a short but compelling message. Try something like “buy one get one free” or “we will pay the sales tax through the end of the month.
  • Include a deadline to create a sense of urgency.
  • Measure the results.

Resource:
http://www.yudkin.com/postcardcourse.htm

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Welcome Bloggers

How would you like to open your mail box to discover a bona fide European postcard from a picturesque, quaint medieval German town?

On the front would be a picture of cute German maiden, clothed in a colorful traditional dirndl (German for ruffled apron, bodice, and skirt).  For the record, this garment is a type of tracht, which historically was used to help identify certain social or political classes. That’s your history lesson for the week. Now back to the postcard: The young lass would be serving up a tray of your favorite hops, with the breathtaking snowcapped Alps in the background.

You can actually send or receive such a novelty for the mere price of five dollars. I stumbled across the ad while researching postcard marketing in Germany. Incidentally, The German term for postcard marketing is postkarten-drucken (your language lesson for the week).

  • As the story would have it, a German college student is showing a bit of entrepreneurial flair. We’ll call her Anke. Anke is earning extra cash by offering to send a postcard anywhere in the world, from her scenic medieval town in the German countryside, for five dollars. She advertises in a global online marketplace for micro-businesses.
  • What’s even more impressive, in some areas of Germany print marketing is stronger than ever.The German research firm, für Handelsforschung, together with a European marketing agency, polled 4,000 consumers, and found that more than 80 percent had a favorable view of print ads and personalized direct mail.

Seems the entrepreneurial student couldn’t have launched her service in a better time.

How about you? If you have an ecommerce store, and can ship anywhere in the world, take the lead from Anke. Market your product or service in Germany.

And if you should decide to up and move to Germany, by all means, check out our sister company: postkarten-drucken. They’d love to set you up with postcard mailers, flyers, and all your print needs. All we’d like here in the U.S. are a few pictures now and then and a little update. And if you should happen to run into Anke, tell her Hallo and Gut gemacht from Overnight Prints!

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How many times have you been in the middle of a riveting best-seller, and had to put it down, because of an unexpected interruption?

How often have you lost your place, only to come back and unintentionally re-read nearly an entire chapter, before picking up where you left off?

Enter the bookmark: this small, simple tool can alleviate frustration, save vast amounts of time, and serve as a marketing piece or novel gift idea.

Use it simply as a way to mark your place in your favorite book, or get creative and personal:

Take a look at these innovative bookmark ideas:

  1. Holiday favors: Design bookmarks around your favorite holiday. Give them to avid readers, potential clients, teachers, and relatives.
  2. Gift tags: Use bookmarks as gift tags for birthdays, weddings, holidays and special ceremonies. Create designs that reflect the spirit.
  3. Souvenirs: If you’re in the hospitality industry, create custom bookmarks with scenic photos. Use interesting pictures of nearby landmarks, stunning nature scenes, or local establishments.
  4. Keepsakes for new parents: Custom bookmarks can serve as wonderful keepsakes for new moms. Include the name, birthday, and weight of the newborn. Or, give as a gift for the baby’s first book.
  5. Give customized bookmarks to friends and clients: Personalize them with a favorite quote, song lyrics, photos, or your tag line.
  6. Recipe cards: Give away your favorite recipes on bookmarks. You’ll be a hit and you might even set a trend.
  7. Marketing tool: Promote your establishment with bookmarks. Include photographs of your business and products. Add your website, email address and phone number. Attract even more business by designing bookmarks that contain promotional offers or special pricing.
  8. Event tickets: Bookmarks are the perfect size for wallets and pockets. Use an online printing service to design innovative event tickets for upcoming affairs. This is much more affordable than traditional custom ticket printing. And your customers will have a keepsake.
  9. Save the date: Encourage attendance at special events, parties and weddings by designing customized save-the-date bookmarks.
  10. Gate-fold Business Cards: Make clever eye-catching business cards with bookmarks:

Simply download a business card template from a site such as www.overnightprints.com and design your bookmarks as if they were greeting cards. Split the 6″ template into two 3″ design spaces (one for inside and one for outside). Once you receive them, fold down the center and make a gate-fold business card.  Your business card will stand out, and you’ll have a sophisticated way to introduce yourself and network.

Encourage reading, church attendance, and participation in community events:

  1. Librarians: Encourage kids to read by giving away colorfully designed bookmarks that feature favorite children’s authors or characters.
  2. Churches: Promote your organization with specialty bookmarks. Include bible verses, service times or inspiring quotes.
  3. Chamber of Commerce: Design bookmarks that showcase the unique aspects of the town or city. Incorporate photos of community events, restaurants, and popular attractions.

Make money with bookmarks:

If you have a natural flair for creativity, you might want to try your hand at designing and selling bookmarks.

Here’s a how-to guide for creating elegant eye-catching bookmarks:

  • Create a custom bookmark design using an online bookmark template (download templates at online sites such as OvernightPrints.com). This template will give you the standard bookmark size and design guides.
  • Design using your template guides. Once your design is complete, upload and checkout. Printing will take 2-5 days at most online print shops.
  • Buy some fancy rope or ribbon from a craft store.
  • Once you have received your bookmarks, purchase a 1-hole punch, and punch a hole in the top of your bookmark.
  • Thread a fancy ribbon through it, using a square knot (two ends through the hole – then through the loop).

How have you used bookmarks to promote yourself or your business?

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Do you have a solid marketing plan in place for next year? Are you clear on your advertising goals and strategies?

With the year coming to a wrap, it’s a perfect time to dial it in.  Your marketing and advertising plan should include a variety of channels; however this post will focus specifically on print marketing.

It’s time to get specific with your print goals:

  • What is your goal? If you want to be known as the best residential lawn care company in your local area, use a high quality postcard with bold colors and elegant messaging.
  • If you are hoping to sell more widgets this week, create a postcard that announces a unique promotion.
  • It is essential to review and solidify your goals before you leap into the creative and execution phases of print mailing.

As beneficial as postcards are, one disadvantage is the limited space. Consider the purpose of your message.  Are you introducing a new company to the community?  Are you providing information such as an appointment notice, or new location? Postcards are most effective when you announce a single topic.  If you are going to announce more than one item, consider using a flyer or a brochure instead.  And remember to keep your message simple.

After you decide on your goal(s), determine the number of mailings you will do.

Research consistently shows that businesses should plan to do 4-6 mailers, before they will reap the benefits.

  • Create a calendar to help you identify holidays and special events.
  • Get creative with promotional sale ideas (i.e., 10% of sales go to charity, buy one and your child gets 50% off, etc.).
  • Brainstorm ideas on what your postcard or flyer will look like (use eye-catching images, simple messaging, and no more than three colors).
  • Write down a list of ideas for calls to action.

Here’s a list of action words that you may want to incorporate into your call to action:

  • Win
  • Receive
  • Review
  • Purchase
  • Get
  • Shop

Decide how you will make your postcard stand out. If you’re not sure, try over-sized postcards; offer a giveaway, or create a postcard coupon.  Another option is to use a customer testimonial:

A leading global communications firm (J. Walter Thompson Agency) says that text body that features a compliment will yield 2 times more positive thoughts about your firm or product.

The most important thing is to get started with print marketing.

You’ll have an edge on the competition, you will learn something new, you may see an increase in traffic, and you will ease into the New Year with a clear plan of action.

 

 

1

With the holidays fast approaching, Overnight Prints is taking extra care to make sure we have all of your holiday print needs on hand, and a whole lot more.

Our team wants to support, empower, and delight you this holiday season.

We’re raising the bar this year with a number of blockbuster promotions and events. The details are confidential. However, expect to see contests, giveaways and tremendous discounts.

  • You’ve dug your heels in hard all year long.
  • You’ve been courageous and persistent.
  • You are out there making a difference.
  • Now it’s our turn to demonstrate our appreciation and gratitude.

Gear up for the excitement by getting into action now:

  • Make a list of everyone you want to send cards to. Include your personal and professional contacts. Take note of the number of cards you’ll need.
  • Start crafting ideas for your holiday message. It’s best to keep it simple and upbeat.
  • Order early
  • Brainstorm several direct mail ideas for the New Year.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Send handwritten thank you notes to new customers.
  2. Send coupons to frequent customers.
  3. Send monthly birthday postcards with a special gift offer.

Overnight Prints is honored to be your “go-to” for your holiday print needs. We’re here to support you in your dreams and endeavors. We encourage you to begin the New Year with unshakeable confidence, enthusiasm, and a pile of postcards from none other you’re your favorite printer, Overnight Prints.

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Welcome Bloggers

When are you most creative? When do your million dollar ideas surface?

  • Did you know that you can tap into your greatest potential between the hours of two and five a.m.?
  • That’s what a famous international author believes.
  • He’s even revealed that he wrote one of his bestselling books during these early morning hours.

People everywhere often awaken during the wee hours of the morning. At first glance, it appears to be nature calling. But several years ago in a newly released book, author Wayne Dyer discussed this phenomenon.

Dyer created the content for that very book, by writing daily, between two and five a.m.

  • He believes that when he writes during the pre-dawn hours of the day, it is not him. It is “Source.”He theorizes that we reach our greatest potential before daybreak.
  • Dyer suggests “we have our guards down; we are most vulnerable and open to creativity when we awaken between two and five in the morning.”

He encourages readers to journal during what he considers these peak hours. I was intrigued so I decided to give it a shot. After a few three a.m. journals entries, his theory began to resonate with me.

I was able to tap into a deeper level of creativity and uncover profound new ideas.

It seems that the distractions of the day can prevent us from accessing our highest potential because our minds are racing with deadlines, to-do lists and other stimuli.

Whatever it is that is keeping you from a restful sleep, try this experiment:

  1. The next time your body awakens you early in the morning, push yourself to stay awake for a few minutes.
  2. Write down whatever is on your mind. The content is irrelevant. List your fears, concerns, goals or random thoughts.
  3. Write for at least a few minutes before you go back to sleep.

You may not discover profound solutions on the first few attempts. However, if you challenge yourself to pick up the pen a couple of times per week, you might be amazed. You may uncover an effective new business strategy, or solve a nagging concern. At the very least, you’ll have a new tool to unload your worries and frustrations. And you’ll revel in your new-found tranquility.

4

Welcome Bloggers

Do you have a personal or professional blog? Are you fairly new to blogging?

If you answered yes to either question, take a moment to read this post. You may not yet have been introduced to the string of con artists waiting to get their hands on your site. Guest post blog scams are on the rise.

What is the guest post scam?

  • An approach that initially appears innocuous. However if you succumb, all of the time and effort you’ve put into developing a credible site could be in vain.
  • Subtle. People will contact you via email, compliment your blog, and offer to provide “unique” content.
  • They will ask for a small favor in return. They’ll ask you to embed one or two links into the content.
  • The bottom line is your site is penalized.

Undeniably there are a number of legitimate, respectable writers who may ask you to post their content. How then, can you determine whether or not the offer is credible?

These tips will help you discern whether you are dealing with a legitimate blogger or a con artist:

Guest post con artists:

  • They contact you via email. They complement your blog content in a vague manner.
  • They don’t reference specific posts, and their message is impersonal at best.
  • They do not provide links to their blog, or to any content they have written.
  • They may not address you by name. In some cases they won’t reference the name of your blog.
  • They may not provide a last name, or any information about themselves, other than a first name.

Legitimate writer

  • They explain specifically why they believe their content is relevant.
  • They provide links to their articles.
  • They provide their full name.
  • Their offer is well written.
  • You can review the content they are offering, before you agree to post it on your blog.
  • You can sometimes find their content on legitimate websites.

Perhaps the most discernible difference between the two is the absence of links to content they have written.

Key takeaways:

  • Double check each and every offer you receive from a guest blogger.
  • Make sure you review the content they are offering, before you agree to post it on your site.
  • Trust your instincts.
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Half the size-Double the impact!

 

Mini: “of a small or reduced size in comparison with others of its kind” Merriam Webster Dictionary.

Mini business cards might be half the size, but double the impact! And the variety of ways you can use them is endless! If you are looking for a natural, easy conversation starter, or a business card that pops, or a simple way to add a little pizazz, it’s time to capture the magic with mini cards!

What is a mini card? It is a pint – sized card that measures 1.0″ x 2.75″ (standard U.S. business cards run 3.5 × 2).

Here are some clever ways to use mini-cards:

Dating card: Imagine customizing a mini card to suit your dating style, and discreetly leaving it in a place where an unsuspecting potential love interest might find it.

Gift tags: Be a trend setter this holiday season, by attaching customized mini gift tags to your holiday gifts.

Appointment Cards: Give colorful, cute cards to your clients, with their appointment information written on the back.

Mommy cards: Use them as a business card for the CEO of the family. Place them in the diaper bag, purse, car or your child’s lunch box. No matter where your child goes or with whom, rest assured that if anything should happen, all of the important information will be right there, on the little card.

Business cards: Show some flair; stand out from the rest of the stack,  with a unique and captivating mini card.

Social cards: Design creative styles that match your personality. Give them to your friends for lunch outings, invitations, or play date reminders.

Merchandise Tags: Attract even more attention to your products, with vibrant, branded pint-sized cards.

How have you used mini cards? What types of reactions did you receive?

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Welcome Bloggers

Do you want to keep website visitors on your site for more than three seconds?

Then write captivating, compelling headlines! How, you ask? We’ve done the hardest part for you. We thought we’d help get you started by giving you a few compelling headlines. Take a look at the list below:

  • Confessions of
  • Who else wants to?
  • The biggest business mistake I ever made: (people like to read about other people’s failures)
  • How I lost_____________and gained__________in the process.
  • The misfit’s journey to (success, Africa, jewelry making, starting his own business)
  • The Zen of:
  • Decoded: Seven secrets to:
  • Rags to Riches – The triumphant story of: (we all love the underdog)

Now, after you’ve created a headline that you’re proud of, remember that each line you write should give the reader an incentive to read the next line. Think concise and compelling. Forget about crafting lofty fluff. Each sentence should stand alone.

Use metaphors, stories, personal experiences, and above all, be authentic. If you want to craft a clever piece about an otherwise boring topic, try connecting on an emotional level. Here’s an example:

Your business is accounting. While there must be an élite group of number crunchers out there who fervently spend their Friday nights charting tables and spread sheets, that’s not the case for most of us. So, how can you turn dull, dry, data into compelling content? You do this by touching on concerns, thoughts, questions, fears and uncertainties that everyone has. For example, financial peace of mind, retirement, health, faltering 401k’s, aging gracefully, etc.

The point here is to connect with people where it matters most. Show that you are human. It is fine; in fact it’s refreshing to write about things that you are not proud of, as long as there is something meaningful in the story for the reader. Here are a few more ideas you might try, the next time you are in desperate need of interesting content:

    • Make people laugh
    • Surprise people
    • Unleash your inner geek
    • Be generous with information and insights
    • Be irreverent
    • Be politically incorrect
    • Write from your heart
    • Smile when you write

Visitors will not only read your entire post, they may even line up for your next epic chronicle. Better yet, they may become a loyal follower or customer.

 

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Welcome Bloggers

Do your eyes glaze over within 30 seconds of looking at your marketing goals? Forget looking at them, what about just thinking about them? Does your stomach drop when a peer says something like, “Our new marketing campaign is getting really great results-how’s yours doing?” (Um, uh, what campaign?  Campaign, I thought that’s what politicians do!) “Great. Yes, really uh great! Thanks for asking.”Geez Louise you think. I’m a small business owner wearing a thousand hats, and you’re asking about my marketing campaign! If you relate even a tad to this scenario, this article is for you. We’ll tell you how to avoid a marketing meltdown. We’ll show you how to attract more customers and how to become simply magnetic, in as little as ten minutes a day.

 

First, jot down what types of online marketing you are doing. Whether you are a seasoned marketer, or a total novice, write these words down: connect, authenticity, caring. (If it helps you remember, write C.A.C. in parenthesis). Write these words on a sticky note, and post it in a place where you will see it daily. There’s nothing magical about the words, but they sure are powerful!If you do these three simple things, you will be doing much more than most of your competition. And you’ll see the rewards in time. This isn’t a quick fix, but it is an old-fashioned, straight forward method of attracting customers, and keeping them.

As a society, we are more digitally connected than ever before. We can tweet, like, email, jabber, Skype, text, just to name a few. We can contact people around the clock, regardless of where we are in the world. But never before have there been a greater number of lonely people. (http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930).

The reasons are simple: we are spending way too many hours on our phones and computers, and sacrificing quality face-to-face time. Remember when your grandparents used to sit on the porch, and drink lemonade? They’d talk to one another and their neighbors for hours. Imagine for a moment a couple of old fishermen spending the afternoon in a small boat, waiting for trout. What do you think they are talking about? How are they whiling away the hours? What do you suppose the girls talk about when they go to the day spa? Oh, if walls could talk! This type of rapport looks effortless, but it’s built over time, and requires trust, honesty, and authenticity. These qualities should define the essence of your customer service.

Connect

Connect with your customers and show that you care. Get Creative. Spend some time every day reviewing their buying patterns. Then start to segment them in terms of geographic location, gender, etc. You will begin to see trends and emerging patterns. Send out a few thank you notes. Use email, text, or snail mail. Save handwritten notes for the larger purchases, and for customers who have purchased more than once. Thank your clients for their business and ask how they like the product. You might ask them to send or email a picture of themselves using the product. If you are on social media, by all means, use it to engage with your customers. Ask about their hobbies, passions, and goals. Inquire  how you can fill a need with your services and products.

Be Authentic

Don’t send a canned message to the masses. You can deliver the same message to twenty people without sounding contrived and pushy. Avoid selling. Talk to them like you would a friend. Respond to their questions, concerns and comments. Thank them for their opinion, and start building rapport. Take the time to listen, and connect. Share some personal tidbits about yourself and your lifestyle. You are laying the foundation for long-term relationships.

Care

Set aside ten to fifteen minutes, three times a week, to reach out and connect with buyers and potential customers. Offer free advice or services. Hold an open house. You can offer wine and cheese, special sales, hold raffles, and fun contests. Start to get to know a bit about what makes your target market tick. Look for common themes, frustrations, goals, and plans. Then, tailor an event around one of these themes. For example, hold a Saturday afternoon sale for soccer moms, or a contest for parents who are busy with back to school activities. Start small; this isn’t a fast slum dunk. Start by reaching out to ten people a week. When you have a good handle on that, increase your goal to twenty, then thirty. Keep your numbers small, and your tone will be more personal. Don’t be afraid of criticism in the process. If you do this consistently, people will resonate with you. You will start to become magnetic. They’ll tell their friends about you, and your business will grow, slowly, over time. No need to worry about huge campaigns and marketing meltdowns. Just keep it simple, by connecting, being authentic, and caring. Let the rest unfold.

We’ve seen it work for us. We’d love to hear from you. How have you gone from a near meltdown to becoming magnetic?

 

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Business Cards, General Interest, Green Printing, Welcome Bloggers

Overnight Prints Keeps it Green. You Can Too.

We here at Overnight Prints pride ourselves on not only our print quality and on-time delivery, but also our unparalleled devotion to environmentally safe practices. Besides using eco-friendly paper, Overnight Prints is also the only major online printing company that uses waterless printing presses, which dramatically cut down on waste and toxins. Being as how sustainability is a particular concern for us here at OvernightPrints.com, I thought I’d share a few, very feasible tips on how to show your own appreciation for our environment (aside from hugging trees, of course).

  • Recycle. Most of us recycle our  cans and glass bottles, but many other materials in our homes are  recyclable, including paper, and almost all types of plastic. To  find out whether the plastic can be recycled, look for the plastic  identification code on the bottom or the side.
  • Conserve water. The majority of  water waste in a household results from improper watering of lawns.  Make sure you’re watering the grass and not the sidewalk, and get a  rain barrel to reserve rainwater.
  • Plant a tree! You can help reduce  greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce energy costs for your home  (more trees = less energy wasted for air conditioning). Not only  will you help make your urban dwelling more beautiful and green, but  you’ll be creating a natural habitat for other creatures.
  • Ride your bike or use public  transportation.  
  • Switch your lightbulbs to CFLs and  purchase energy-efficient appliances.  
  • Shop at your local Farmer’s Market  and support your local economy. 
  • Repurpose everything you possibly  can. Use discarded paper as scrap paper and order recycled promotional pieces  from your favorite recycle-friendly online printer.
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Business Cards, General Interest, Welcome Bloggers

Business cards are versatile promotional tools that can be formal or informal, depending on the type of image you want to portray. They’re a must for networking events, and are ideal for promoting your business and yourself. Write down promotions on your cards, or design them as appointment reminders, to name a few of the different ways you can make use of this powerful marketing tool.

Another good idea is to take it one step further and display your talent—freelance artists and designers who want to not only network with others and gather a buzz about their work, but showcase a little sample of what they do at the same time, might consider a colorful logo or an illustration sample of their work, so as to display their talent subtly and without much effort.  (Because, let’s face it, you can’t carry your 4′ x 6′ photo prints everywhere!)
So, what can you include on your card? In addition to the obvious necessities—name, title, company name, telephone numbers and email address—a business card should display your social media contact details, which is a great way to network with others in an informal manner.  People often hesitate calling others, but are more comfortable adding someone to their Facebook friends list. It also helps you create the impression that you’re up-to-date with new technologies and social trends, and not still stuck in the Alexander Graham Bell age! It really is up to you what design you choose or the information you put down on your business card.

1

General Interest, Resellers & Designers, Small Business, Welcome Bloggers

One of my pet peeves is when a small business owner tries to pack everything they can possibly think of into their brochure, then they sit back and wonder why their brochure isn’t earning the return on investment they’d hoped for.

You see, they mistakenly believe brochures are printed to inform customers.

The fact is that brochures are not tidy little information-givers.  They’re marketing tools and should be strategically designed as such.  That’s why less is more when it comes to printing brochures:  less clutter, more sales.

Your brochure should have a singular and definitive goal, and that goal should be designed before you jot down the first line of copy.  Your goal might be to motivate customers to call you for a demo, visit a website, sign up for a newsletter, make a purchase or visit your retail location.  You can answer all their questions when they follow up.

This isn’t to say you shouldn’t give any information; but it does mean you should only tell your customers what they need to know in order to be motivated to take the next step in the purchasing process.

Tell your customers:

  • How your product or service will make life easier and better, and solve a problem
  • Why your product, service and company is the best solution
  • Any supporting data to that end
  • Why now is the time to buy with a time-limited coupon offer
  • What to do next

Anything else is extraneous information that gets in the way of your marketing pitch.  Naturally, each of these points manifests itself differently for every individual company and campaign.  One company might promote itself as trustworthy because it is a family business with decades of experience, while another in the same industry might promote its trustworthiness by explaining the benefits of a new cutting-edge technology.  Put yourself in your customers’ shoes to determine what would motivate you to buy.  That’s what your brochure should contain, and nothing more.

Ask yourself:  Is this information going to help me make a sale?  Why?  Justify every aspect of your brochure by demonstrating how it will help you make sales; if a block of text or design element has no sales purpose, cut it.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of profits.

Employ your graphic design prowess to draw customers in to your key selling points, offer, and call to action; but don’t clutter.  White space is inviting space, it helps customers focus their attention, and it’s comfortable.  It can be your best design and marketing tool because it frames your other elements, without the need for frames.

 

 

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General Interest, Greeting Cards, Welcome Bloggers

This  simple but “crafty” Photoshop tutorial is inspired by the kind of  handmade cards that you often see being sold on Etsy, HowAboutOrange, and Dawanda.

This really easy Photoshop tutorial is perfect for those readers who are new to Photoshop and who want to develop their skills in working with paths, fills, and styles  (Note: You will need to utilize  both Illustrator and Photoshop to create the card in this particular tutorial, but the various photoshop effects can be applied to any “path” elements and objects that you wish to create)

greeting_card_thankyou

>>DOWNLOAD ORIGINAL GREETING CARD PSD FILE HERE<<

Read more

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Business Cards, Corporate Identity, General Interest

Many variables play a role in how your print marketing materials are perceived by potential customers.  Your copy, your offer, and your design are three considerations upon which the utmost importance is placed.  But there’s more to customer influence than what goes on your postcards, posters, business cards, catalogs, and other print marketing materials.  In fact, some of the most subtle nuances of your presentation can help your brand leave a lasting impact and motivate direct sales.  Your choice of paper stock is one of those variables.

Paper stock matters because it directly impacts how your designs look when printed on paper as well as how your marketing materials feel in your customers’ hands.  The following details reasons why paper stock is indeed important to maximizing your return on investment.

Good Paper Stock Enhances Your Design

Glossy paper stocks make your designs more brilliant, so that they practically pop off the page.  Matte paper stocks enrich your colors and add depth to your designs.  Both lend impressions of your company that cannot be conveyed by words alone:  authority, confidence, trustworthiness, attitude, success, and other identity-related adjectives.

Good Paper Stock Comforts Customers

Premium paper stocks don’t just look pretty; they feel good, too.  When customers hold a smooth, thick, robust business card they feel as though your company can be trusted, because your company’s card is professional.  The best part is you can get professional printing on premium paper stocks at deep discounts when you know where to look.  Think about which company you would trust if two competitors handed you business cards:  one, flimsy and flat; the other thick and glossy.

Premium Paper Stock Maximizes ROI

Not only will customers be more impressed and comfortable doing business with you, but your marketing materials will last longer with wear, tear and weather.  That means you get to put your campaigns to work longer on a single investment, thus maximizing your return.

What are the Best Paper Stocks?

The best paper stock depends on the project in question and how it will be deployed.  You can go to any product on the Overnight Prints website to learn more about the benefits of each specific paper stock.  You might learn, for example, that you could print business cards on standard premium-quality 14-point paper stock with a glossy coating on one or both sides (for penning in appointments on the fly).  Or, print an even thicker 16-point gloss business card.

Not sure what paper stock to print on for your business cards?  It all depends on what impression you want to leave on customers and your overall brand image.

First, let’s assume you want to print professional-looking business cards.  You can instantly throw out the flimsy, cheap business card paper stocks many discount printers have.  You do want to yield a return on your investment, after all.  Next, consider the following questions:

Is your company new, fresh, exciting, or innovative?

A glossy 14-point or 16-point paper stock might be the best choice.

Is your company bold, cutting edge, or authoritative?

Go with a thick and robust 16-point gloss paper stock.  Add a UV coating for an extra-thick, extra-glossy sheen.

Is your company traditional, new age, or artsy?

Try a 13-point matte paper stock, which adds richness and depth to your colors and design.

Do you often set appointments or jot down additional information for customers on the fly?

A 14-point glossy paper stock, coated on one side only, will give you the fresh appeal of gloss on the front and the ability to write with a pen or pencil on the back.

Follow these tips, and you will be able to print a professional-looking business card that enhances your design, feels great in your customers’ hands, and promotes your brand image at the same time.

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General Interest, Mailing Services, Small Business, Welcome Bloggers

In spite of (and actually, because of) the influx of digital promotions in the marketing realm, a well-planned direct mailer remains one of the best marketing tools at your disposal.  In fact, direct-mail marketing is better today than ever before.  Why?  Because so many of your competitors are focusing exclusively on digital marketing, creating an opportunity for you to reach and influence your target customer base in areas being neglected by others in the industry.

A strategic approach to direct-mail marketing will yield exceptional results.  Your mailing list, design, copy and printing , as well as your choice of direct mailing service, have a direct impact on your return on investment.  Do your research and select a direct mailing service that meets the following criteria.

Experience

Your direct mailing company should have at least five years of experience sending successful direct-mail campaigns under its belt, or at least your job should be managed by someone who does.  Your direct-mail service has a vested interest in your success, since happy customers are repeat customers, so an experienced company will be able to catch any glaring errors before they become disasters.

Convenience

Full-service companies such as Overnight Prints are perfect direct-mail partners because they offer both convenience, and they can help your entire campaign launch without a hitch since they oversee the entire thing from start to finish:  design, printing, mailing list generation, and mailing.  What’s more, you’ll get better pricing by going this route and increase your overall return on investment, since such companies can spread profits out over multiple products.

Quick Turnaround

Many direct-mailing campaigns are time sensitive, so you want to select a company that offers quick turnaround.  Two to five days is good, and will ensure your holiday promotions arrive before January.

Verified Mailing

You don’t want to waste your marketing investment on unverified or repeat addresses, so make sure your direct-mail service employs CASS verification and removes any duplicate addresses from your mailing list.

Customer Support

You should be able to speak with a qualified account representative who can answer any of your questions by calling a published phone number, in addition to via email.  A direct-mail service with good customer support will also be one that pays attention to the details of your project.

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Flyers, General Interest, Posters, Welcome Bloggers

Looking through my garage the other day, I had a vision of myself on an upcoming episode of “Hoarders.”  If you can at all sympathize with this feeling, it may be time to look through your closets, attics, and garages and gather everything that is no longer needed (like, for example, the stationary bike with the pedals that have been similarly stationary for quite some time now). Put outdated clothing (e.g. the flannels from your “grunge” period) and items that no longer fit into a pile. Once this project is complete, you will likely have quite an inventory. Before donating it, consider having a yard sale. The weather is warm and a yard sale is a great excuse to get outdoors.

Aside from enjoying the sunshine, you can make some decent cash by selling unwanted belongings. However, this event will only be successful if your advertising is effective. Online ads are convenient and often low-priced but not everyone is computer-savvy. In some towns, yard sale patronage is comprised of the older generation and many of these folks do not own a mastery of the computer.

Capture their attention by using online printing to create full-color posters and attach them to street signs and telephone poles at major intersections. This advertising lets everyone know where and when the event will be held. They are large enough to fit a brief description of what will be sold as well as some photographs of these items.

While tumbleweeds are blowing through the yards of other sales in town, your yard will be jammed with shoppers. It may even be necessary to do another quick run-through of the home  during mid-morning in order to gather more items to sell. At the end of the day, the yard will be bare and you may very well have a large wad of cash in your pocket…not to mention room to actually park your car in the garage.

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The fact that we live in an increasingly technological world is not a groundbreaking idea to most. This trend, of course, also applies to the business world. It is an undeniable fact that almost all data, including contact details, are stored electronically nowadays. Regardless of how technologically-based business has become, the fact remains that plain old business cards can still be relevant.

Below are some reasons why business cards are still important even in 2012:

Business Cards Increase Name Recall

Simple truth: Human beings (this includes your potential customers) does increase the chances of being remembered – no matter the actual physical layout of the card or what kind of work you’re in. Wouldn’t you rather see a customer walking away with your business card than walking away with nothing? Business cards really do help a person stand out and be relevant.

Business Cards Are Easier to Hand Out in Large Crowds

Given the technological savvy of most consumers these days, business cards should theoretically have been phased out. After all, you could simply store names, addresses, and phone numbers on your phone now. As is true with a lot of other ideas that SEEM like they should be true, this is not always the case. Storing numbers electronically is fine when on a one-on-one setting. But imagine the horror should you find yourself somewhere like a business convention. Who has the time to store every number in your phone? And after it’s all said and done, would you even remember who these new friends are with nothing but a name and a number to help you?

With business cards, you can continue giving your pitch to that important investor without that awkward pause whenever he tries to type in your contact info into his smartphone – he could do that at a later time like, you know, when you’re done talking.

You can literally throw business cards around a convention and someone will surely pick one up. While that last statement sounds ridiculous (and not something I’d recommend you try; but hey, they’re your business cards so do whatever you want with them), I’d say it’s still better than introducing yourself one person at a time hoping someone actually stores your number for reference.

But if you’re all about technology – you know, the kind that can barely watch TV shows on a TV anymore, fret not. Business cards can be modern too…

Business Cards Can Be Customized to Fit Your Market

Your business cards don’t have to be dull. Try to be creative so you can have business cards that are custom built for your customers. You can print business cards in custom shapes. You’d be surprised by the variety of business cards out today. Again, you are only limited by your imagination. Use your cards, not only to provide contact information, but to also promote your company and brand.

Business Cards Are Good for SEO

I know how much marketers have thrown the term “SEO” around and for good reason. These days, almost everything is done online. Even if you’re not running an e-commerce business, there’s a good chance you still have an online presence (you should have at least a Facebook page). Having those URLs in your business cards will help boost your inbound traffic.

There you have it. These are just a few of the reasons why business cards are important.

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International World Water Day is held annually on March 22 as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

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You’ve heard of the elevator speech.

That’s when you have from 30 seconds to one minute to pitch your organization, your product or yourself to a policy maker, venture capitalist or potential employer.  It may not occur on an actual elevator.  But savvy CEOs, entrepreneurs and salespeople commonly practice their elevator speeches and use it in business and their personal life.

Screen shot 2012-03-01 at 7.31.18 AM

A business card is like an elevator speech, except you only have about 3 seconds to define yourself and your value proposition.

Three…seconds.  Probably less time than it took you to read the preceding paragraph.

And in those three seconds you have to convey who you are and what you stand for.  A tough assignment.

Most business is still conducted face-to-face.  If you fail at the moment you hand someone your business card, the consequences can be dire.

Most business cards are pretty boring.  They don’t have to be.  How do we communicate something serious in a way that is memorable yet whimsical, makes a point but isn’t frivolous?

Cartoons.
Screen shot 2012-03-01 at 7.35.30 AM

A cartoon is a very effective means of communication.  It makes an instant impression.  Gapingvoid business card cartoon art is designed to open doors and initiate a conversation with people.  Face-to-face.

Use a cartoon to make that first impression.  You might not get a second chance.

Choose a cartoon and add personal details to create your own gapingvoid business card.

–BR

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As Kermit sings, “It’s not easy being green.” Especially if you’re involved in the printing or paper industry.

Kermit

We all like white paper. It’s easier to read and easier to print on. But paper isn’t naturally white. To make paper white requires bleaching. White, good; bleaching—using chlorine, bad.

I was initially confused by the alphabet soup of claims for chlorine free paper products.   Read more

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In honor of Ben Franklin’s birthday on January 17

Early to bed and early to rise makes a
man healthy, wealthy, and wise.

We all know this aphorism.  And every schoolchild knows about Benjamin Franklin’s experiment with a kite and a key.  He signed the Declaration of Independence.  His inventions—from bifocals to swim fins to the lightning rod—are legendary.   Ben Franklin created the Post Office and the circulating library.  He was a politician and the first American diplomat.

But despite all these accomplishments, he always thought of himself as a printer. Benjamin Franklin didn’t invent the printing press. He didn’t even create the Franklin Font.  But he was considered the most accomplished printer in Colonial America, and his contributions to the publishing industry are celebrated to this day.  That’s why today’s post is dedicated to Benjamin Franklin, printer, whose birthday is Read more

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New gapingvoid business cards from Overnight Prints!

Hi Everybody,

With everyone’s attention fixated on the Internet we tend to forget that most business is still face-to-face.  If you fail at the moment you shake someone’s hand for the first time, the consequences can be dire.

This was more obvious when that’s all there was, but in many industries not much has changed.  Face to face sales calls, conventions, trade shows, are still big drivers, the fact is that for many businesses, the Internet just leads to more Read more

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school_banner_blog

Back to School Ideas
Summer is almost over and it’s back-to-school time all across the USA! No need to be sad though, back-to-school is an exciting time, full of fresh beginnings and brilliant new things to be learned and discovered!

Whether you’re a parent packing your kids off to school, a returning college student, or a teacher with a whole new brood to take care of, you will need to refresh your school supplies. Here are a few of our favorite back-to-school products:

Address Labels

Let your little ones choose their favorite address labels from our template library and use them to label school supplies, books, lunch bags and more.

Here are our top five back-to-school picks:

cat_address_label Read more

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I realize that this sounds obvious but there’s no point in being timid about it – being timid doesn’t get you work. Be excited about your new design business – you should shout it from the rooftops! Let everyone know; friends, relatives, ex-colleagues, acquaintances, the guy you sometimes talk to at the coffee shop! Tell them that you’ve just started a design business and to pass on the information to anyone they know – give them a few business cards for their wallets.

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Flickr is a great place to network with people and to generate work leads. There is, however, one major problem with using flickr to promote your work: Flickr does not allow the promotion of services or the selling of your artwork. Even though you can’t put a price-tag on your design work in Flickr, there is no reason why you can’t utilize the massive social networking and community aspect of flickr to connect with potential clients and other design professionals.

9

Business Cards, General Interest, Mini Business Cards, Resellers & Designers, Small Business

A mini business card looks like the regular business cards cool and hip little brother. It’s a smaller, sleeker version of the business card that lives in the pockets and wallets of small business owners, graphic designers, creative professionals, young entrepreneurs, and just about anyone else who likes their business cards to stand- out from the crowd.

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Magnets

car door magnets

Overnight Prints has released Car Door Magnets. The following article outlines the huge benefits for small business owners using this product to make a big brand impression around town!

A Cost Effective Marketing Tool for Local Businesses

Magnetic signs are one of the most budget savvy ways you can market your business to a huge audience.

Put a magnetic sign on your vehicle and you get almost “zero” wasted impressions – bringing in brand-new customers could be as easy as getting in your car! For businesses such as plumbers, construction workers, real estate agents, decorators, landscapers, pet groomers, pizza delivery restaurants, handymen, carpet cleaners, maid services, party entertainers and just about anyone else who has a local business, a magnetic sign is the easiest way to get your business name and number seen. Most people viewing your sign live in the area of your business and are therefore potential customers.
Read more

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General Interest, Green Printing, Resellers & Designers

We thought that it was about time that Overnight Prints made something that talked about ourselves as a company and about the things that differentiate us from our competitors. But we didn’t want this video to be a typical corporate affair with a man in a suit telling people how great our company is! Instead, we wanted to make something that really speaks to our designer and small business customers about our quality printing, our fast delivery service, and our green company policies.

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Fonts

In an ever-changing design environment, a designer really needs to have a collection of contemporary and cool fonts in their font arsenal to keep their designs looking fresh and modern! Here are 20 of our favorite new free fonts to add to your collection. The list consists of some beautiful fonts for long copy and general design use as well as some sublime experimental typefaces!

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General Interest, Small Business

Direct mail is probably the most effective way to connect with customers and to offer them your product or services. More importantly, it represents an opportunity for you to “speak directly” to those customers who are most likely to need your product or service. The following article outlines the ways that customers can create cheap and effective marketing campaigns for their small business.

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Posters

I often think that the fan version of the movie poster is better than the real version! These particular poster designs have been created by extremely talented artists and designers who have used amazing visual language, artistic skill, and conceptual thinking to create some inspirational work. I hope that these designs inspire you in your own poster design work!

Read more

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General Interest, Resellers & Designers, Small Business

I’ve had a lot of design customers telling me that they’ve been using our Calendar designer to create a really easy and cost-effective custom design portfolios to send to clients and agencies! I tried it out for myself, and it works great!!

Creating print booklets of your work for self-promotional purposes can be expensive. Especially if your plan is to distribute them between multiple clients and agencies. Although, fancy bound booklets look great, it’s just not practical to create more than 2 or 3 copies. Especially if you’re on a tight budget.

portfolio_image

 

 

Using our Calendar designer, freelancers,artists, illustrators and designers are able to create affordable portfolio promotions that greatly benefit from being printed in hi-res on 4-color presses.

Read more

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Christmas

It’s nearly that time of year again!! That special time of year when designers, freelancers, and other creative types start to plan their custom Christmas Cards and come up with something brilliant for their clients and friends. The temptation is always there to do something easy and traditional; something “snowmany”, “Santa Clausy”, or “snow sceney”!

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Corporate Identity, General Interest, Resellers & Designers, Small Business

As our email and site banners proclaim: “This is our best deal EVER”. Simply put, if you make a $50 order from us today, then you’ll receive a discount for $50 in the New Year to spend on any print products you want from our site! We wanted to give back something special this year and we feel that this is the strongest offer we can give to our customers.

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Corporate Identity, Greeting Cards, Postcards, Small Business

If you’re running out of time this holiday season, and you need a one-of-a-kind set of exclusively designed greeting cards, gift tag, address labels, or invites, then I’m certain that you’ll find a design that you’ll love in our collection. We are also offering matching sets of address labels (gift-tag stickers), gift-tags, greeting cards, and photo rack cards! Here’s a list of my top 5 favorite designs that our designers have created and links to each individual template:

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Business Cards, Corporate Identity, Fonts, General Interest

Although I’m a Mac guy and I personally like the “cold metal” look of my G5, I’m not keen on Steve Wozniaks fancy laser-cut stainless steel number. It’s not very practical, affordable, or even particularly attractive! I prefer Steve Jobs simple business card design from the 70’s. Despite its “dated” font (Motter Tektura – the old Apple font) it has a simple elegance.

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Business Cards, General Interest, Small Business

In October, You may already be planning your Christmas promotions, but you’d be unwise to forget Halloween and the money-spinner it can be for many businesses.
In fact, consumer polls have shown that Americans are actually planning to spend more on Halloween this year than last (even though we are all a little “spooked out” by the continuing recession.)

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Business Cards

I heard about Augmented reality about a year ago and have to admit to being somewhat puzzled as to how it works (I’m still a little perplexed as to how to create something like this?) However, I do understand the idea behind “augmented reality” – that somehow our real-world environment can be augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery.

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Bookmarks, Business Cards, Corporate Identity, Photoshop, Small Business

I work with these products all the time and I’m often being told by our customers how they’ve used our print products in new and interesting ways. After discussing this subject with some of our customers, I was given a “top 3” list of their favorite “alternative” uses for our print products.

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Bookmarks, Business Cards, Corporate Identity, Flyers, Greeting Cards, Postcards, Rubber Stamp, Small Business

Regular visitors to the Overnight Prints main site may have noticed that we’ve overhauled our online design file upload service to give our customers more onscreen control of the files that they send to print

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Art Inspiration

Mear One is a true artist – exceptionally skilled, incredibly intelligent, totally unique, and absolutely devoted to his craft. Read his interview about his murals and graffiti pieces have made him world-renowned. As a graffiti artist, his work goes far beyond the typical graffiti art that we see on bridges and street corners and has been elevated into the realms of “high art”. His works of art have a style and sophistication that is unmatched by any of his street art contemporaries.

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Flyers, General Interest, Photoshop, Postcards

Your Comp Card should act as a visual resume. They serve as a standardized way for models and entertainers to promote themselves. Generally, they refer to an 8.5” x5.5” postcard. However, it’s not uncommon to create a 4″ x 6″, 8″ x 10″ or other flyer -sized version. The most important aspect of creating a comp card is to communicate your visual resume as effectively as possible.

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General Interest, Welcome Bloggers

Freelancers and design professionals are often asked to create designs for CD and DVD’s. For most designers, printing CD jackets is a no-brainer – they’re used to dealing in proofing and checking the quality of printed-paper products. But what about printing the CD face? This is not so straightforward. When taking your designs to a company that specializes in short run CD printing, it’s important to know the two major differences in the way that your CD face will be printed

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We are presently running a really cool contest for designers and artists at Overnight Prints in which you can win special discounts and offers from us, just by joining one of our social networking sites and showing off your print designs!

Open to everybody, and anybody, the competition gives you the chance to present your design to a growing community of designers and artists who have joined our social networking sites.

No.1 fan on twitter, facebook, and flickr

Take a look at this weeks design by >>>>>>>>>> . We think it’s great! But if you think you can do better, and would like the opportunity to win 500 free business cards ,please post your business cards, flyers, postcards, and any other prints you’ve created, and we’ll include you in our weekly giveaway!

How to win our weekly giveaway…

Upload a picture of the design you ordered from us on flickr, twitter, facebook

1 winner each week, winners will be showcased on overnightprints.com/fans

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Postcards

The postcard is a very versatile tool for artists, designers, and freelancers. Used for self-promotional purposes it can put you in touch with companies, galleries, agencies and design firms. The postcard “begs” to be lavished with your best piece of work. It’s just aching to get “out there” and to start marketing you in a way that no other product can.

Self-marketing with postcards is certainly not a new thing. I can remember being a young creative straight-out-of-college in the UK, trying to get ad agencies to notice my ad work. I thought that I was being oh-so-very-clever by mailing my work examples to hundreds of companies!

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General Interest

micalogo

 

After posting a feature about the students of MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) I was told that I should give all  MICA students a discount (“for being so awesome”)

I couldn’t agree more!

However, in return for a fantastic 30% off all print products, I would like MICA students  to post their work on our new Overnight Prints Flickr group. We are trying to grow a community of designers, and would love you to be part of it!

Read more

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Unless there’s a printing company in a galaxy far, far, away that can warp space and time, OvernightPrints.com is now, officially, the fastest printer in the universe! Our new and improved print service has been named BITGIT (buy it today, get it tomorrow.) It represents not only a faster delivery time, but also a general improvement in our overall print service – customers are now able to order from our website and specify the EXACT DAY that they wish their prints to be delivered.

With BITGIT we are officially the fastest printers in the universe

We have always been the fastest! We are the pioneers of fast and efficient online printing, and we are the ONLY online print company that has been able to supply 24 hour prints.  However, I will admit, that there have been occasions when we’ve promised to provide a next day service, and for some unforeseen circumstance, we have not been able to live up to that promise!

Our customers’ happiness is paramount and we hate to disappoint them! For this reason, we have made some major changes to our manufacturing process  so that we can  truly live up to our name, and deliver print products “overnight”. As well as putting new systems into place to maximize production, we have also built a manufacturing facility right next to the UPS super-hub in Kentucky (as the saying goes: “If you can’t bring Mohammad to the mountain, bring the mountain to Mohammad!”)  Being so close to our delivery point ensures that we can send our prints off as expediently as is humanly possible.

Our New Delivery Options

These new changes are reflected on our site. If you navigate to our homepage, you will notice the following text in our header:

overnight_prints_header

This time guide shows just how fast we can get your products to you.  By choosing our new “emergency delivery” option in the checkout section of our website, you can have your prints the following day! No other printer in the world can do this!

As well as providing you with  a next day delivery option, we have also revised our delivery services to give you more delivery

choices. Whether you need it next week or the next day, we have a list of shipping options and prices to suit your needs.

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General Interest, Illustration

I was recently contacted by Kristen Acampora, a Junior at Maryland Institute College of Art who wanted to feature her business card design on our blog site. Upon visiting her blogspot, I was really surprised at the excellent illustration work being produced by the students and recent graduates at Maryland.

I’d like to help promote their work and share their wonderful illustrations with the readers of this blog:

Stephanie Kunze

Annie Wu

Read more

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General Interest

Unless there’s a printing company in a galaxy far, far, away that can warp space and time, OvernightPrints.com is now, officially, the fastest printer in the universe! Our new and improved print service has been named BITGIT (buy it today, get it tomorrow.) It represents not only a faster delivery time, but also a general improvement in our overall print service – customers are now able to order from our website and specify the EXACT DAY that they wish their prints to be delivered.

With BITGIT we are officially the fastest printers in the universe Read more

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General Interest

On Saturday 10th April, I attended the Find art show at the Eyetorrent Artspace in Costa Mesa, Orange County. It was a night that celebrated “all things creative” – bringing together a community of artists, graffiti artists, musicians, a freestylin’ hip-hop band, pinstripe artists, and other vendors.

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Corporate Identity, General Interest, Photoshop, Small Business, Welcome Bloggers

A few weeks ago I posted a blog asking Overnight Prints customers and blog visitors to send me links to their work so that I could showcase their work on this blog. The response was incredible! The following list of designers and their work is representative of the diverse, unique, and talented customers that we have!

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Business Cards, Welcome Bloggers

They may be called business cards but does that mean they HAVE to be used merely for business purposes? One of the ways that many of our customers use our business cards is for their family members! If one of your family members was in an emergency situation, was lost, or was unable to remember their address or phone number, a business card that’s tucked into their backpack could be a “lifesaver”.

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Bookmarks, Business Cards, General Interest

Say the word “bookmark” and most people will immediately think of somber libraries with stern-faced librarians, or bits of tasseled old leather in-between the pages of dusty bibles! However, a bookmark doesn’t have to be such a grim and serious product. It’s actually one of the most usable print products for your home or office.

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Bookmarks, Business Cards, Corporate Identity, Magnets, Small Business, Welcome Bloggers

In the small business world, there is a growing business card trend for making them more “hand crafted” (e.g, hand-stamped business cards) and for taking them to another level by making a business card fulfill another function (e.g, fancy labels, decorations, jewelry holders, etc.) With a little thought and effort, you can make your business cards into something REALLY PERSONAL!

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General Interest

The Relationship between designer and client is often a contentious one! Designers can feel aggravated by the client’s lack of respect for their expertise and for their general lack of creative vision. As a designer, I’m sure you’ve had a few of those “I’m working for a complete moron” moments when nothing you do is pleasing to the client and all their suggestions and ideas seem ludicrous!

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Print Color & Color Correction

Many designers and other Overnight Prints product users order from us because of our fantastic offset print color output. However, there are ways to ensure that you can better replicate the color that you see onscreen, with the print color output that you will receive from OvernightPrints.com. By adding and adjusting your Photoshop color profiles, you will more effectively recreate the onscreen version of your design.

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Fonts

Being a design and marketing professional for a fair few years now, I feel reasonably justified in presenting you with my personal list of truly dreadful fonts – such as Comic Sans!

Personally, I find these fonts utterly detestable and I cringe every time I see them being used. If you regularly use these fonts, or are using these fonts, then my advice is to STOP using them! I am not in the minority in my condemnation of these typographical eyesores!

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Business Cards, Rubber Stamp, Small Business

High-cost marketing techniques are not always the best options for small businesses that are struggling to keep afloat in this economy. There are many very effective ways to market your company that cost next-to-nothing. All it takes is a little imagination and forward thinking. If you want to start generating interest in your company, it might be time to get “down and dirty” with a few low-cost marketing ideas and products.

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When was the last time you stepped back and really took a peek at your business cards, rack brochures, pamphlets and flyers? When was the last time you really wondered if they needed some tweaking, some revamping and some fine tuning? If you’re like most of us, that will probably be quite some time ago. If you’re like most of us, that’s probably a bad, bad thing. The good news is, this is a fixable situation. The bad news is, you have to fix it.

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How many of you out there have wandered onto a car lot, grabbed your checkbook and bought a car without ever taking the car for a test drive? Yeah, probably not many, if any. It’s completely reasonable, fair and wise to want to take the car for a spin, kick the tires a little, and really find out if it’s the car for you before you invest your money into it. Why should your business’s advertising materials be any different? Should you just click on the very first website you find, upload your design and hope for the best? No. You shouldn’t, and there’s an alternative.

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Business Cards

Is cell phone and Internet technology killing the business card? Over the last two decades, print promotion has certainly taken a slight downward turn as businesses embrace web-based promotion and turn away from flyers, business cards, magazine ads, and the printed word.

In the 1980’s the business card was king. It was absolutely essential for all businessmen and women to have a “killer” business card. The business card was often the key to successful social and business networking. Over the last 20 years, advances in cell phone technology have created a situation where people can swap numbers and information using their cell phones. It’s a fact that more people own a cell phone than a set of business cards!

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Ever have this happen? A publication asks you to send a logo or photo to them, so you take time out of your busy day, find the logo or image on your hard drive and send it over. Later that day, someone from the production department emails you that you’ve sent the wrong file format. Huh?
Or perhaps you put together a gorgeous Powerpoint presentation with photos you downloaded from the web, then went to print handouts from the file, only to discover the pictures are all jaggy and weird looking! What’s going on?
Well, my friend—you’re experiencing the resolution blues. (Don’t worry—you’re not alone.)

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Look beyond your computer’s installed fonts. Limiting your selection to fonts that are installed on 90% of all computers runs the risk of presenting a message that is cliche and unimaginative. I’ve seen headlines in Papyrus for everything from Christian rock bands to homemade candles. Can one font really be right for so many disparate products? Looking beyond your computer’s installed fonts will free you to find THE ONE font that really conveys the message of your brand.

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How do you go the extra mile? How does a person, a business, a company or anyone really step up and “go the extra mile?” It’s a tough question to ask in this day and age as so many people are trying to cut so many corners to save money in a tough economy. To me, going the extra mile simply means doing something that so few other people are willing to do, things you don’t have to do but that make all the difference in the world when you do. OvernightPrints.com has always been just that to me, from the speed and amazing quality they’ve always given me with their business cards, to the perfect and professional responses anytime I have a question.

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It’s officially the time of year where our mailboxes become over-stuffed with greeting cards of just about every shape, size and style you can possibly imagine. You’re going to be getting greeting cards with photos, long letters, one line signatures, funny designs, and just about everything else. No matter what they look like, when the Holiday season is officially over, we’re all left asking the same question: What do we do with them now?!

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Have you ever had to self-address anywhere from 50-400 envelopes, all with your name, address, city and zip code? Have you ever had to actually use a pen to do that and fill out anything from greeting cards to thank you notes to invitations, to whatever else? Chances are that if you have, you know the carpal tunnel syndrome mess that it can create, and the exhausting amount of time it can waste.

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C’mon, you know this is what you’re thinking. You’re a salesman or small business owner, you’re looking through the cool greeting card selection at OvernightPrints.com – and you’re imagining how clients and prospects will respond when they get greeting cards from you.

They’ll be so pleased! They’ll have such warm feelings towards you! They’ll remember how wonderful you are to do business with, and how they really DO need another “Wonder Widget”… and before too long, your website will be inundated with visitors and your phone will be ringing so often, you’ll need more minutes on your cell plan.

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We’ve all heard the expression, “What’s Simple Is True,” but today I think we can actually elaborate on that a bit…what’s simple, and cheap, is also true. That’s right, it’s not always how much money you spend, how many designers and marketing experts and whatever elses you have at your disposal, sometimes simple ideas can make big impacts. Enter, the bookmark as a marketing tool.

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We seem to have a love-hate relationship with greeting cards, especially when used for business purposes.

We know we SHOULD be sending out those “handwritten notes” that referral and sales experts say are vital to our success. We know we SHOULD stay in touch more regularly, and more personally, with clients and prospects – with anyone who’s important to our company’s success. We know we SHOULD use greeting cards – because they’re more likely to be opened than any other form of direct mail.

So why don’t we send more greeting cards?

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