Print and Direct Mail Still Drive Integrated Marketing

Direct Mail Works

Just like fashion or the weather, trends in marketing tend to be cyclical – a decade or more ago the old chorus of “Print is Dead” was being sung by many in marketing looking toward the future. The excitement over the power of email, big data, social media, and online advertising worked to diminish an appreciation of the usefulness of paper, printing, and direct mail. And just like the weather, that excitement has been tempered over time with the realization that a mix of all these marketing tools will always be the most effective – and that print/direct mail has unique properties that can drive customer decision-making in ways a phone or laptop screen never will.

The nice part about this for the small business is that this holds true for their local outreach just as much as for the huge corporate players or the tech-savvy, flashy startups with national campaigns.  A recent Vox article explored “Why so many hip startups advertise with snail mail.” They note the cyclical trends of marketing and that print is making a comeback (even among the hip!) due to a combination of rising digital pricing and oversaturation of email/digital ads. The Vox article hesitates to actually praise the time-tested value of print advertising too readily:

“Are mailers more effective than online advertising? That’s certainly up for debate. No company Vox spoke with for this story would share numbers that compared the response rate of mailers to digital advertising.” link

 

Luckily, we don’t really need them to share that in order to see how a multi-channel approach to marketing harnesses the power of both print and digital (and we can check with the DMA for that data). The exact mix of those two that will prove most cost effective and successful varies based on business size, budget, location, goals, etc.

In the non-profit world direct mail has consistently been a staple to fundraising and survival. Check out these stats:

  • Direct mail increases online donations by 40%.

  • In 2012, US companies generated incremental sales through direct marketing to the tune of $2.2 trillion.

  • Advertisers in the US spend $167 per person on direct mail, earning $2,095 worth of goods sold. That’s a 1,255% return on investment.

  • Non-profits gain 78% of their donations from direct mail.

Source: PrintisBig.com
 
 

Yes, direct mail requires an investment upfront that can be larger than digital, but the longevity, focus, and the physical qualities of print reap larger rewards with name retention, response rates and ultimately ROI. The Digital Marketing Association reports that their 2017 research shows:

“Once again, direct mail response rates rank stronger than digital channels, sometimes exponentially: at 5.1% for house lists and 2.9% for prospect lists, mail response rates consistently exceed the 2% response rate of all digital channels combined.”

Rather than seeing an EITHER/OR situation between direct mail and new digital alternatives, embrace the opportunities of mobile marketing, qr codes, email, social media and website e-commerce as a whole new box of tools to get our your message and/or drive sales. To abandon print and it’s proven effectiveness in that transition will prove costly!

Rely on your printer for advice and direction with integrated marketing. They should be able to provide you with everything from encouragement along the way to complete design, layout, copywriting, production, multi-purposing, online implmentation and distribution of your marketing outreach. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Nonprofits, Charities Face Challenges of New Tax Law – Will Direct Mail Come to the Rescue?

Volunteer with donation jar

The new tax law passed by Congress in December 2017 has charitable fundraisers and nonprofits from the local level to the international level concerned. According to some estimates, the changes will potentially drain from $16 billion to $24 billion from the nonprofit sector each year. The reasons are clear: the law doubles the standard deduction for individuals and couples, making it unreasonable for millions to itemize their deductions and therefore eliminating an incentive to make or increase charitable contributions. Also, by raising the estate tax, the law erodes incentive to receive tax benefits by leaving bequests to charitable foundations. Many feel that smaller, locally based charities will be hit the hardest.

Of course, the generosity of Americans will not be diminished by changes in tax law (and not all of the changes are necessarily bad news for nonprofits). But the concerns overall are very real, and highlight the importance of giving now more than ever. Brian Gallagher, president of United Way International, feels that while people will still give they will not give as much. Why? Charitable contributions for the majority of people will be taxed.

These developments mean nonprofits will be more eager than ever to take advantage of smart, proven marketing/fundraising strategies. The strategic use of quality direct mail for charities and nonprofits is a proven winner, and should not be overlooked in marketing strategy plans for the years ahead.

Over at PrintisBig.com, you will find some eye-opening statistics about the print industry, and specifically about the power of direct mail – yes, good old-fashined direct mail, even in a digital age. While I would attribute part of the continued effectiveness of direct mail campaigns for marketing to their integration with other online and offline marketing methods, it looks like the preference of consumers for the physical nature of printed matter still pays off in increased conversion rates and marketing ROI. Also, small companies and non-profits are reaping the benefits of VDP personalization in increasingly targeted campaigns that drive up response rates as their database management matures. A couple of the stats from PrintisBig:

  • Direct mail increases online donations by 40%.

  • In 2012, US companies generated incremental sales through direct marketing to the tune of $2.2 trillion.

  • Advertisers in the US spend $167 per person on direct mail, earning $2,095 worth of goods sold. That’s a 1,255% return on investment.

  • Non-profits gain 78% of their donations from direct mail.

Source: PrintisBig.com
 

Rather than seeing an EITHER/OR situation between direct mail and new digital alternatives, embrace the opportunities of mobile marketing, qr codes, email, social media and website e-commerce as a whole new box of tools to get our your message and/or drive sales. To abandon print and it’s proven effectiveness in that transition will prove costly!

Current wisdom seems to say that millennials are less influenced by traditional print marketing in favor of online, digital ads. But the facts dispute this. Direct mail for millennials is still a trusted, welcome source of information and studies are showing that the most effective strategies always involve a mix of print and digital. Many who eventually donate online will have found you because they were first interested in a direct mail piece which directed them to the convenience of online giving.

As a nonprofit or charity fundraiser, rely on your printer for advice and direction with integrated marketing. They should be able to provide you with everything from encouragement along the way to complete design, layout, copywriting, production, multi-purposing, online implmentation and distribution of your marketing outreach. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

What the Success of Snapchat Means for Marketers

 

Snapchat

Content is king. It’s a phrase so overused that you may have nixed it from your digital marketing vocabulary completely. With hundreds of social media platforms sharing content at breakneck speed all over the world, how small business marketers continue to evolve and stand head and shoulders above all the chatter? The answer is content, but not just any content. Consumers are savvier, smarter and have higher expectations than ever. The content that will get you a gold crown has to be relentlessly consistent and inherently personal. If you have any doubt, look at how Snapchat has changed the face of social media with over 100 million active users and 7 billion daily video views.

Behind the Scenes Is Where It’s At

Brand consistency gets a lot of hype, and for good reason. Your audience has to feel like they can rely on the brand they love and trust. But in a fast food, first-come first-served, fight-for-your-right-to-party kind of world, consumers are now looking for more than a Coke and a smile. They want to see a brand evolve. They want to see behind the scenes. In fact, they expect it.

Snapchat is used by the masses, but it’s also used by the White House, professional sports teams, Amazon and CNN, all showing a more informal, humor-driven side. This adds dimension and relatability, which engages audiences on another level. Unlike the beautiful and professional images of Instagram and the carefully curated Facebook content planned out in advance on Hootsuite, Snapchat is instant, impermanent and truly of the moment. It’s also proof that consumers are interested in unpolished, real-life appeals.

Make It Easy and Make It Personal

Snapchat is the first social media platform to give users their own QR code as an inherent part of the user profile. While many businesses have used QR codes to drive traffic to a social media platform, website or microsite, Snapchat puts the focus on the user by giving them a code they can use to gain followers and connect with new friends. Both Elle Magazine and Harper’s Bazaar have changed their Twitter profile pictures to their Snapchat QR codes. All their followers have to do to follow them on Snap is take a screenshot of their profile picture, open Snapchat, go to add friends, tap add by Snapcode and select the screenshot. Easy, fast and no typing required.

Always Be Pushing Content

If there’s one thing to take away from the Snapchat revolution is that it’s OK to get real with your target audience. The fact of the matter is that perfectly polished content takes time and money, both of which are going into the pockets of your competitors while you’re perfecting every Instagram post and analyzing all 140 Twitter characters.

Get a cellphone with an impressive camera, like the HTC One M9, so you’re always ready to capture the moment. Get a cheap, phone-friendly tripod or camera stabilization equipment made specifically for shooting video on your cellphone for less than $30. Just don’t forget that it doesn’t have to be perfect, edited or directly related to your product to hit home with your audience. Just give them a warm and fuzzy feeling when they think about your brand.

We understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

 

 

ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. 
Contact us at ImageSmith.com or call us at 828-684-4512 for quotes on all your print and marketing projects.

Making the Most of Your First Trade Show: 5 Essential Tips for Success

Trade Show Image

 

One out of every two trade show attendees is planning to buy at least one product exhibited as a result of attending trade shows, according to Exhibit Surveys. Attending a trade show can connect you with eager buyers, give your business a boost and turn your product into a household name. But finding the right trade show and earning success takes careful planning and a winning strategy.

Find the right trade show

Going to the trade show as an attendee is the fastest and most insightful way to figure out if the show is right for you. It’s not enough to simply book a trade show and arrive with your booth and supplies in hand. The ultimate goal is to raise brand awareness and nail the sale, but not every trade show is created equal. Showing up with a complex, high-end kitchen gadget to a trade show exhibiting economical and simple dinner tools will only lead to failure and make you stick out like a sore thumb.

Use an online resource like Trade Show News Network to narrow down your trade show options. Look for your target audience, as well as the cost of the show. Forking over several thousand dollars for a deposit for a trade show that just doesn’t fit your product or goals is a waste of everyone’s time and your money. A trade show also can’t give you much return if you’re going into the red to pay for the event. Set aside some extra money in advance to pay for marketing your booth and travel expenses.

Take networking to a new level

It’s a no-brainer to talk to as many people as possible at your trade show and carry extra business cards with you at all times. But there are other ways to network than just chatting up a prospective buyer. Take advantage of a captive audience and use this as an opportunity to meet as many new people as you can. Follow the lead of o-ring manufacturer Apple Rubber, who attended the MedTech World’s Medical Device & Manufacturing West Expo earlier this year. They sourced an entire list of exhibitors before heading to the show’s host city in Anaheim to see who was coming and what ideas to share, as well as downloaded the trade show’s app to keep up to date with news and events from the show.

Apple Rubber also took advantage of the first annual Anaheim Booth Crawl for attendees, which served as a great opportunity to meet exhibitors while enjoying free food and drink. The event gave attendees an excuse to mingle longer without skipping out to eat and helped break the ice.

Trade show pop up booths and equipmdent

Make the Right Visual Impact for Your Brand

Trade show booths, graphics, displays and materials have never been more affordable or easier to brand with your logo, colors, and message. Talk to your printer about the huge array of designs and styles in easy to carry or ship, set up and reuse trade show booths and hardware. From pop-up display systems and retractable banners to table cloths, signage, printwear for employees, collateral handouts and promotional items, make your booth stand out from the crowd with you own unified look.

Devour constructive criticism

Learning how to embrace constructive criticism as a means to refine your product is essential for any trade show attendee, but especially for a first timer. Retail buyers and sales reps know what sells and why. This feedback can provide valuable insight about your product you won’t get anywhere else. A good trade show will draw in hundreds or thousands of experienced industry insiders. Rebuking their advice is a missed opportunity to devour high-level feedback and compile more market research data.

Nail your pitch

Master your elevator pitch. Highlight your product’s benefits, features and a short and sweet explanation of how it works. But to really stand-out from the crowd, you need to wow the attendees with what your product can do to solve their problem.

AquaPodKit experienced this first hand at a recent trade show. Entrepreneur reports that AquaPodKit saw their booth failing to attract attention at a hurricane preparedness trade show, so they went to buy a bathtub at Home Depot, put their product in it and filled it with water to show how much it could really hold for a family of four. Soon attendees were lined up to get a closer look at exactly what AquaPodKit could do.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Making Print Social: Interactive Media and Integrated Marketing

 

info graphics and interactive media

Infographics have become wildly popular both online and in print. Graphic designers create visually inventive ways to convey otherwise confusing, unclear or tedious information that work well in print layouts and also draw readers online. The graphic-as-step-by-step-explanation trend is almost cliché – so much that The Atlantic was able to explore the trend with its article “The Rise of ‘In One Chart’ In One Chart.”

This doesn’t mean you should run away from infographics, though. They rose to ubiquity because they work: people enjoy them and they help explain complex topics quickly and succinctly. But infographics are inherently a one-way street. The designer and client are communicating with their audience, but the audience cannot talk back. This is why interactive media is a great new frontier for marketing. Users often spend more time with interactive media and they remember its message better afterwords. The following are some great examples of ways to take advantage of interactive media within any marketing campaign:

Quizzes

Dish Network has a Netflix quiz that is close to its television-addicted audience’s heart. With a series of questions, it helps determine what type of Netflix binger you are. Test takers answer some of the questions with responses like “I occasionally skip work to finish a season” or “I lost track of days somewhere between starting “Breaking Bad” and finishing “Mad Men.” Similarly, SnapApp created a quiz entitled “DDI: Common Leadership Styles,” and has reported great results with this as well as with many other quizzes it has put together.

This type of content is fun for users, it encourages them to stay on the website for an extended period of time and it prompts them to share the results with their friends on various social platforms. THIS IS GOLD. Quizzes are good investments to get users interested in looking at your content and promoting it for you – for free.

Contests

New York’s premier hip hop radio station, Hot 97, has remade itself for the digital era. One recent advancement is a contest to find up-and-coming artists called “Who’s Next.” For this contest, the station identifies local amateurs with potential, and each person or band creates a profile page to upload his or her songs to attract positive votes from listeners. A community has developed around the contest, and now the station has a small army of loyal fans who come to the site regularly to check for new music, watch videos and read the bios of those who hope to be the next big star.

Running contests encourages followers to check your site regularly, which gives you the opportunity to promote your product or services to them.

Visual Storytelling

One of the most beautiful examples of compelling visual storytelling comes from the New York Times. It’s story, “Snow Fall” tells the tale of a skier trapped in an avalanche on the Cascade Mountains in Washington state. From maps and video interviews to incredible photos and informative animations, this story has it all.

Although most companies don’t have anything this poignant to tell, the process helps turn all kinds of stories into captivating content. For example, McDonald’s put together an interactive site for user-generated “100 McDonald’s Moments.” This is designed to “remind people why they love the McDonald’s brand experience and core products,” explains Razorfish. The idea proved to be a success since the collection grew from 20 moments to 100 over a month of marketing. Razorfish also notes that the average visitor spent more than seven minutes on the website.

Stories enable visitors to spend more time on your site and engage with the content. Find or create a story that relates to your target market, and encourage visitors to look around for more interactive content.

 

Of course, all of this is part of the strategy of integrated marketing – using all the avenues of connection between you and the public in concert to boost the power of your marketing. Print, website, social media, face to face – it just makes sense to coordinate across all these interactions for greater results. For example, here’s a quick link to a story about how Traveler Beer uses social media to drive interest in their new Shandy drinks. Or this link about how Coca-Cola has generated huge buzz with their VDP marketing of personalized drink bottles.

We can all learn some creative ideas from how the big players use integrated marketing to create powerful returns. But the benefits are in no way limited to huge budgets or huge corporations. Even the smaller companies can coordinate their social media, blog and website with their print and direct mail to generate greater results in their marketing. In short, any content that makes your marketing “social” will be more successful for you and more engaging for the people you reach.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

NCOALink and CASS Processing: Get Your Data Back After Each Direct Mailing

Man receiving mail

Direct mail marketing works. It is a powerful driver of sales and success for businesses large and small. Yet because postal rules are confusing and the procedures are time consuming to follow, we normally pay a professional – often our printer – to handle all those mail headaches. What we overlook is the very important step of getting our “corrected” mail list back from the service provider! Your data, in order to qualify for bulk mail discounts, has been “corrected” – improved, standardized, updated – complete with additional reports on the remaining faulty addresses. After each mailing, you will want to reintegrate this corrected data into your database – otherwise you continue to pay for postage and printing that never reaches your target.

Some Eye-Opening Stats on UAA Mail

UAA: Undeliverable As Addressed – for mailers, this equates to throwing money down the drain. Mail lists generally contain many errors and misinformation that make an address undeliverable – typos, nonstandard abbreviations, redundant and incomplete address information, data entered into the wrong fields, even just plain incorrect delivery addresses. Also, people and businesses frequently move, leaving mailers with out of date contact info. Consider the following stats:

  • As much as 25% of your database will deteriorate after one year, according to HubSpot. People move, change email addresses, change jobs….and if you are still trying to reach them with the old contact information in your database, you are wasting money.
  • In 2013, 6.8 billion mailpieces (or 4.3% of those processed by the USPS) were deemed UAA. (source: Mailing Systems Techonology)
  • UAA mail costs direct mail marketers over $6 billion each year. (source: Mailing Systems Techonology)

The Easy Fix… and You’ve Already Paid For It!

When you pay your service provider to mail your marketing pieces, you are paying them to check and correct your data against the National Change of Address (NCOA) database, and – as far as is possible – to standardize and “fix” any errors in the addresses. In order to receive discounted bulk mail rates, this must be done and certified within 180 days of the mail date (90 days for Carrier Route discounts). The USPS doesn’t want undeliverable mail in their system any more than you want to pay for postage that yields no return.

Sample of Corrected AddressIf you do not receive your “corrected” data back from your service provider after all this work, your database retains all the original errors and the process gets repeated on your next mailing – only now the addresses are older and more likely to have already been dropped from the NCOA resource. With each repetition, more addresses “deteriorate” and become UAA, costing you more money and a decreased response rate. Why pay for this mail list “cleaning” and they toss it away after one use?

NCOAlink and CASS processing will standardize all abbreviations, misspellings and update any registered Change of Address moves on file with the USPS. For the addresses still identified as UAA, NCOA processing will provide reports detailing the reason each address was rejected, as well as a listing of all changes that were made. You can use this information to research and correct your UAA entries, or just delete them entirely. The key is to reintegrate the newly corrected data back into your system.

 

What happens to the database you hand your mailer?

Below is some more general information about the details of NCOA processing. This is the part most of us are glad to pay someone else to handle.

Your data, when creating a VDP or variable data printed mailing, may include many fields of information in addition to those necessary for mailing: age, email, income brackets, customer numbers, amounts due, subscription information, and on and on. That data – necessary for the VDP mailpiece – travels along untouched with your mail list during NCOALink certification. In order to receive discounted bulk mail rates, your mailer processes your data through NCOALink (which includes CASS, DPV, LACSLink, and SuiteLink).

National Change of Address (NCOALink) is the database of everyone in the US who has filed a Change of Address with the US postal service. Access to it is licensed to service providers and made available to mailers so they can keep up with individuals and companies at their permanent addresses. If your best customer moved from New York to Los Angeles, this is how you stay in touch with them without interruption. The NCOALink process also includes:

USPS CASS Report Form 3553CASS (Coding Accuracy Support System) processing will correct and standardize addresses. It will also add missing address information, such as ZIP codes, cities, and states to ensure the address is complete. Starting with 2007 Cycle L, CASS software will also perform delivery point validation to verify whether or not an address is a deliverable address and check against the USPS Locatable Address Conversion System to update addresses that have been renamed or renumbered. Also, Error codes are offered to help you understand what might be missing or incorrect with your addresses that do not + 4 code.

DSF2 processing relays delivery point information received from mail carriers. It includes DPV® (Delivery Point Validation), LACSLink® (Locatable Address Conversion System), and SuiteLink® processing.  Together, these identify vacant, residential, business or seasonal address information, increasing the deliverability of your mailpieces and allowing mailers to more accurately target who receives a mailpiece.

Your service provider will be happy to return your NCOALink and CASS certified mail list to you as either a DBF or Excel compatible text file for reintegration into your database. Many of the newly created fields in your data are necessary for USPS processing and Intelligent Mail Barcode creation – these can be deleted by you without any problem, or you can request that your service provider return to you a file with only the fields you originally exported in your mail list.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Turn to Your Printer for Multimedia Marketing Support

Embroidery, wide format printing, and more

 

Printing businesses have expanded their services far beyond just printing on paper. Product lines include design services, integrated marketing and direct mail, promotional products and the production of marketing materials as diverse as wide format signage and embroidered or screen printed clothing. In other words, your printer is now your marketing specialist.

Printers Deliver Customer-Friendly Online Tools

Original Apple Computer Co. logoDigital technology arrived early in the print world with desktop publishing, photo editing, and graphics technology revolutionizing the business throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Back in the early days of email, printers were among the first to seize upon that technology to deliver goods (in this case, printing proofs) to customers as soon as they were available. No more driving downtown, finding parking, and hoping the client was available to look over proofs so the job could go ahead.

Clients, too, loved the new email services. So it was no surprise that once the web took off, printers quickly created websites to serve their customers even more quickly. Now they can upload files to print, preview them and place the order. By 2007, an industry report from First Research predicted that by 2010, 30 percent of all print jobs would have to be completed within a day. Short run, digital printing now fills that demand.

Today, printers offer online tools to help customers create and order their own marketing. Many offer professional design services or templates customers can use to create their projects. Customers can review the designs, approve and send them to production right away — all in a single online visit. (They can also save their work for later review.) Local printers will deliver the goods directly to the doorstep or business office, as well as providing technical and marketing advice for planning an overall marketing strategy for businesses both large and small. According to the Xerox blog, printers whose businesses grew by 10 percent or more in 2013 attributed some of it to web-based services.

Eco-Friendly Printing Pays

Printers have embraced green technology and sustainable business practices. The print industry has long been a leader in recycling and sustainable business practices. Soy ink (long a requirement for many federal government contract bids), water solvent inks, and the use of paper products endorsed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and other agencies give customers the satisfaction of knowing their print marketing is eco-friendly. Many customers choose to brand their print with this commitment to environmental stewardship as a part of their marketing outreach. In turn they can promote their good corporate citizenship through social media on outlets like LinkedIn, a leading site for business marketing and information. LinkedIn is a great place to post important business news and updates for clients and your industry, as exemplified by LifeLock.

More Products Than Ever Can Be Print-Personalized

It used to be that printing T-shirts was an expensive undertaking that required a minimum number of shirts to print. Digital technology makes it possible to affordably print even a single T-shirt. While the technology may not quite be the same quality as a silk-screened shirt, it’s pretty darn close and with proper laundering, digitally printed images can last nearly as long as a silk screen.

Custom EmbroideryEmbroidery is a great way to create custom branded clothing, uniforms, hats, bags, and many other items that will put your name and logo directly into people’s lives. Outfit your staff with branded print wear, or create items to sell or even give away to clients. They will become your own team of mobile advertising!

Mugs and other personal gift items are also fair game for personalization thanks to sublimation dye printing, a great way full service printers have diversified their printing businesses, says the industry news site MyPrintResource.com. A sublimation printer can print on anything made from a polymer base or polyester, which covers a lot of ground from Christmas ornaments to sports equipment to phone cases. The selection is huge, and you can browse an online catalog to find exactly the right promotional product to brand for your unique marketing plan.

Graphic Display BannersWide-format printing creates posters, banners, POP displays, bus signs, indoor and outdoor signage, trade show booths, and other large printed material.  Your printer will help you design and customize these items with your own logo, colors, photography and graphics for exactly the impact you want. Xerox predicts wide format printing will grow 65 percent each year through 2017.

Years of experience also empower a full service printer to advise you on ideas that work and that meet your individual budget. Best of all – this marketing expertise is yours FREE OF CHARGE! Where else can you find that kind of deal? If you have the right printer, you already have a highly trained marketing consultant who knows print, branding, direct mail, web strategies, social media and has years of experience in both high and low tech marketing approaches that work for businesses just like yours. The most assuring part of this partnership for you is that the print/communications company only succeeds when your marketing succeeds! Start taking advantage of this asset – the print industry itself has had to reinvent itself in this new high tech economy. They know what works. Meet with a printer today to find one who can offer you the full range of marketing options that today’s competitive and creative markets demand.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.

Event Marketing for Small Business Owners

Bullhorn announcing Event

There are millions of small businesses competing against each other with websites, advertisements and marketing campaigns vying for the attention of consumers. It is difficult to stand out from the crowd in such an environment, but event marketing puts your brand right in front of consumers in a way that other forms of marketing can’t.

Events are a tried and true method of marketing, and lots of businesses large and small use them to engage potential customers. Live Marketing reports that companies spend $24 billion on exhibiting at events every year. Here’s a look at some of the tenets to help you take advantage of the vast opportunities available to you in event marketing:

Host Events

The quickest way to have people notice you is to invite them over. Hosting an event gives you a chance to market your product to consumers while networking with other businesses. As a small business owner, your event may not be a huge convention, but this gives your brand a chance to stand center stage and make a big impression.

Think about what kind of event is right for your business. If you run a bookstore, host an event where your staff reads books to children. Or, if you run a print shop, host an educational event for other small business owners about creating marketing material. Be sure to brand your event with custom signage displaying your logo, colors, and message. Items such as pop-up banner stands and wide-format posters are affordable, portable and can be reused for other marketing opportunities.

Trade Information

Whether you host an event or attend one, be sure to put your contact information into the hands of anyone who seems interested. You can do this by creating an email sign-up sheet or by offering incentives for people who visit your site and log in right then and there at the event. Also stock your event with flyers, brochures and any other print collateral and work to put it into the hands of your event visitors. Your primary goal should be to get as much information from potential consumers as possible as well as giving them the tools to research your business after the event is over.

Asheville Area B2B Trade Show Event, 2015
Asheville Area B2B Small Business Expo

Document Everything

We live in a media-centric world, and if you don’t take pictures, it may as well not have happened. Additionally, social media gives you a chronology of people who interacted with your brand that you can broadcast to engage your followers and drive business. Playing photographer and social media guru can be a challenge, but with an up-to-date smartphone like the HTC One M9, you can handle all that and more from the palm of your hand. Take pictures of yourself and your customers, and share them on social media to link yourself to the community around you.  Include print and promotional products with QR codes to help drive traffic to your online marketing – it’s all about using every opportunity to take advantage of multichannel marketing.

Give It Away

Branded trade show promotional products
Branded promotional products as giveaways put your name in your prospects hands.

Promotional items are a cross between gift and marketing material, and they are always a hit at events. Convention-goers often get excited about all the free swag they can receive, and you can leverage this to get the crowd to advertise for you. By giving away small promotional items, such as keychains, T-shirts and hats, you can make potential customers happy and have them advertising for you wherever they go. Furthermore, promotional items drive business — Epromos reports that 85 percent of consumers do business with a company after receiving a free promotional item.

Publicize

Heading to an event won’t help you if no one knows you are there. This means you need to get the word out. Post on your website about the event and take to social media to let your followers know where you will be. Reach out to bloggers in your industry and local news outlets to let them know about the event and your role in it, so you can get some press before the event even begins.

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 for any marketing needs. As a printer, we understand communication and design. Your printer should be able to provide you with the latest information, inspiration, technical advice, and innovative ideas for communicating your message through print, design and typography, signage, apparel, variable data printing and direct mail, integrated marketing and environmentally responsible printing. If they can’t, you have the wrong printer! The best advice, always, is to ASK YOUR PRINTER!

ImageSmith is now partnered with Extreme Awards & Engraving – our in-house partner providing custom engraved trophies and awards for employee recognition programs, sporting events, and promotional needs. With our new sister company, we will be sharing space, resources and expertise in a collaboration designed to further provide you with one place to meet all of your marketing needs… Under One Roof! Visit them online at www.extremeae.com or call direct at 828.684.4538.

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512. ImageSmith is a full-service print and marketing provider located in Arden, North Carolina. Contact us at ImageSmith for quotes on all your print and marketing projects, and more useful tips on how to create custom, effective, high impact marketing solutions.