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Other, Small Business Tips

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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Other, Print SMART, Small Business Tips

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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Other, Print SMART, Small Business Tips

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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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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