Archive for April, 2010

Your Company’s Mail List…You Can’t Market Without It

April 10, 2010

As we’ve mentioned in previous issues of Printips, the success of any direct mail marketing campaign depends primarily on the mail list. Studies have shown that 60% of the response rate can be attributed to the mail list, while only 20% each is attributable to the offer and the appearance of the mail piece. Given the importance of a mailing list, we recommend that all our customers understand the basics in order to make the best use of any list – internally-generated or purchased.

Mail lists can be divided into two basic categories: house lists and rented lists.

A house list is one you compile yourself and consists of customers and prospects. The customer portion of a house list might include both current customers and those who haven’t purchased in a while (and therefore would be considered inactive). Prospects are those whose demographic characteristics match those of your customers, but who haven’t yet purchased anything from you.

Rented lists consist of compiled lists containing names and addresses that have been gathered from secondary sources; response lists, composed of people who have made purchases or responded to offers; and specialty lists, containing names and addresses of a specific nature (such as a mailing list covering education, healthcare, religion, or government listings). Compiled lists are further subdivided into residential or consumer lists and business lists. Finally, a residential list may include names or may contain a generic descriptor such as resident or occupant instead of the name.

Direct Mail Marketing…How to Make it More Effective

April 9, 2010

Q: When is the best time to market your business?

A: All the time.

Marketing – making people aware of your business, its products and services, and convincing them to buy – is a fundamental activity for any business and a requirement for sales growth. Broadly defined, marketing encompasses almost everything a business does, from providing good customer service, to having a consistent look in printed materials, to networking, to sales calls.

One of the most popular methods of marketing is direct mail – mailing something of interest or value to customers and prospects. Especially for small businesses, direct mail is favored over media advertising (newspaper, magazine, radio, and television) because it can be directed at people who are likely to be interested in or receptive to receiving information on your product or service. The direct mail marketing piece not only describes the product or service in a way that provokes interest from the recipient; it also tells the recipient what action to take next, and may even give a deadline for responding.

Make Your Business Cards Work For You

April 8, 2010

Your business card. When you started your own business, it was probably the first thing you had printed. Or when you joined your company, your business cards may have been waiting for you on your first day of employment. You may even have saved a business card from your very first job – that’s how powerful it is to see your name in print.

It is generally agreed that a business card performs the following basic functions:

• to introduce you and your company to potential customers, suppliers, or colleagues; and

• to provide all the relevant information by which someone can contact you.

In addition, a business card can serve as an advertising function – a mini billboard that describes your competitive edge or gives reasons why someone should consider doing business with you.

Other reasons why someone would accept your business card were identified by Dr. Lynella Grant in her publication The Business Card Book. According to Dr. Grant, someone is likely to keep your business card for a personal or social reason; in order to give your card to someone else (a sort of third-party business referral); to update your contact information from a previously-accepted business card; or because your business card is “likeable, unusual, or useful.”

Simple Steps to Upgrade Your Printing

April 7, 2010

How long has it been since you’ve taken a critical look at your business’s or organization’s printing? Business stationery (letterheads, envelopes, business cards), marketing materials, forms – chances are that it has been more than a few years since these were originally designed, they may benefit from an upgrade.

In this case, we’re not talking about a complete makeover. Rather, we are thinking of simple steps to refresh the look or improve functionality. You may be surprised to learn that some upgrades can be undertaken without any increase in the cost of your printing, while others may add minimally to cost.

So here we go – simple steps to upgrade your printing.

Taking the Pain Out of Ordering Printing

April 6, 2010

If you have been reading our newsletter regularly, you have probably noticed that we write a lot about the many technical aspects of printing. There’s a reason for this. We are dedicated to the idea of providing more than printing to our customers. We strive to share our knowledge and experience in a way that will benefit our customers and make the job of placing printing orders smoother.

Generally speaking, our customers can be divided into two groups – those for whom buying printing is an integral part of their job responsibilities, and those who order the printing when necessary. Our technical topics are selected with the first group in mind.

In contrast, this issue of Printips is written specifically for the second group – less technical but more practical and, we hope, useful to all our readers.

Selecting Paper for Business Stationery

April 5, 2010

Your company’s business stationery package – business cards, letterheads, and envelopes – has a very important effect on the impression people form about the company. And whether it is a first impression or a repeat encounter, you definitely want to present a consistent look that conveys positive attributes.

Although the design you select for your business stationery is the strongest element in creating an appealing image, paper also has a role to play, since it forms a background for the printing and interacts with the ink. By understanding the basics about papers used for business stationery, you can help us guide you to an outstanding choice.

Using a PrePress Checklist

April 4, 2010

We’re proud to say that our prepress department is great – experienced professionals who knows all the tricks to make a file print correctly. And one of the tools that makes this possible is not a whiz-bang piece of new software, but a simple form – our prepress check list.

The form is used to collect information about your file and how it will be used, so our prepress department can accurately preflight and prepare the file for output. If you’ve never seen the form before or aren’t aware that we have one, then likely our customer service representatives have been completing the form for you prior to submitting your file to prepress.

It occurred to us that whether or not you actually complete the form, you should understand why we use it and what you can do to help. The more you know about prepress, the more likely your files will pass preflight with flying colors, and complete raster image processing (RIP) without incident. This will speed your files through prepress and produce a better result on press or our digital equipment.

Anatomy of a Newsletter

April 3, 2010

Publishing an informational newsletter is a wonderful way to keep your name in front of customers or prospects. (In fact, it’s one of the reasons we provide Printips to you each month.) A newsletter may entertain, educate, inspire, or inform. And a well designed newsletter communicates much about the organization that publishes it.

To achieve a great looking newsletter, adhere to a few basic principles of composition and design. You will produce a publication that will catch the eye of your readers.

Typography from Gutenberg to Computers

April 2, 2010

One of the best things about being a printer is recognizing the role our profession has played in the educational, political, and religious life of mankind. In the Middle Ages, before printing was invented, scribes made books by handcopying manuscripts in distinctive calligraphic lettering. A single book could take years to produce using this method, meaning that only the church and nobility could afford them.

Printing made it possible to produce whole books in weeks rather than years. This, in turn, enabled the rapid spread of knowledge, ideas, literature, and news, profoundly shaping the development of whole societies.

Many people believe that the invention of printing hinged on the development of the printing press. Derived from presses used to squeeze the oil from olives and juice from grapes, the first printing presses used a heavy screw to force a block of type against the paper below.

But that’s only half the story. It wasn’t until Johannes Gutenberg perfected the technology of movable type in 1458 that the printing press realized its full potential. Movable type – letters of the alphabet, numerals, and punctuation marks constructed of durable metal – could be assembled into a page of text, then disassembled and re-used to create a new page of text.

Fresh Ideas for Common Printing Projects

April 1, 2010

As you would expect, there are some products we print for many of our customers. Letterheads, note pads, thank you notes, newsletters, and brochures are common printing projects for businesses (and we print several orders each week).

In this issue of Printips we’d like to suggest some ways to refresh the look of these printed materials with a few simple changes.