Personalized Bandanas: Paisley, Personalized, Print to Order

 

Custom Paisley Silkscreened Bandanas

GREAT IDEA – why not put your logo and tag line on a bandana! They make a great as promotional products or swag gifts for customers, or to display for sale. The classic bandana with a paisley pattern seems to never go out of style. (You can read about the facsinating history of the bandana here.) We love these custom printed bandanas that incorporate a customer logo seamlessly into that classic design. They are lightweight woven cotton with screen printing in white and come in the whole rainbow of colors you would expect. We’d love to help you get set up with your own – to get started just click here or give us a call: 828-684-4512.

Pet Bandanas

The pet bandana version is also pretty awesome – a triangular shape makes it easier to tie around your best friend’s neck. They come in different sizes to fit the tiniest dogs or cats or some king-size buddies. The entire imprint area can be designed with your repeating logo or with some other shape or design of your choice. You can find this item here (along with thousands of other promotional products you can browse and order).

Color assortment of custom printed bandanasYou’ll need a version of your logo that works reversed out in all white with no screens – and we can help you with that. In our large bandana sample here, we used the logo at a larger size in the center, and then in four smaller imprint areas on each of the four corners. When folded, you’ll always see one of the logos. You might want to include a tagline or web address as well if the imprint area works better with that information.

Developing your logo in different variants is important for multichannel marketing. Never settle for one “FINAL” version of your logo from your designer with the idea that it can multitask for every need. Your mark can exist in different “flavors” that will be versatile enough to work in full color, single color with screens, spot color and at different sizes from tiny imprints to billboard size, offset to online. The standard full color logo that looks just perfect on your letterhead may not be the version that works for embroidery on uniforms, screenprinting, promotional products, black and white forms, single color designs, or wide format prints. For versatility of use, it’s also great to have your logo designed in a “Tall” (portrait) and “Wide” (landscape) version. Think about it: what might look good on a round coaster might look pretty tiny if you decide to print it on the side of a pencil!

 

 

Call us at 828.684.4512 to order your bandanas, or 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.

Foil Stamping Shines – More Options from Metallics

Foil Stamping - Hot, Cold and Digital

Foil stamping is a great way to add eye-catching shine and metallic glow to your print projects. Even a small touch of foil on a printed piece can bring it alive in a way regular inks never can. Foils have been around a long time (having once been done by hand) and today there are also several new digital and toner-based processes that can help meet the demands of any print budget, deadline, or run length. From the design side, defining the foil stamp area is generally no harder than defining a new spot color in your layout.

Probably the most well-known foiling process is Hot Foil Stamping. It requires a special metal die that is heated and pressed into the paper, creating a nice indentation in the finished piece. The hot foil process uses only one color of foil at a time, and is generally too costly for short runs. The final effect, however, elevates any print piece from average to classic – in other words, perfect for that customer who always says to “make it pop!”

Sample Foil Swatches Cold Foil Transfer is accomplished on a 6-color press. The first 2 units apply adhesive and foil, the other 4 are for CMYK printing. Overprinting CMYK onto the foil creates a whole gamut of metallic colors that would not be possible with one-color hot foil stamping. Besides gold, silver, and copper foil, there are also holographic foils which reflect a broad spectrum of colors back to the eye, as well as matte, gloss, pearled and pigmented foils from which to choose. Again, this can be a costly process, is often limited to coated stock only, and is not a great fit for a short-run budget.

New digital processes use either toner or a polymer varnish to attach the metallic foil, and can be cost-effective on short or medium sized runs. Also, metallic foil substrates are a great option – opaque CMYK inks are illuminated by the metallic media, and white can be under printed on specific elements to retain true or non-metallic color where desired. PaperSpecs has a great “Foil Cheat Sheet” you can download free here, outlining all the current processes.

InDesign Layout for Foil Stamping

To define the foil stamp area in your layout, just make all those objects be a new spot color – name it “FOIL” if you choose. You can get clear specs from your vendor or PSP, but in short they will need a separation from your design that only contains the area to be “foiled.” Foil stamping is also a great option when choosing from the huge variety of promotional products that can be branded for your marketing. Foiling can be used on most items from keychains to coffee mugs – in a wide variety of colors and finishes.

And speaking of varnishes, spot UV varnish coatings can give a flash of highlights to a printed piece in much the same way a metallic foil does. When the paper catches the light, these elements shine and give the illusion of depth and dimension but in a more subtle way than a metallic ink or foil. They too are simply defined in prepress as a spot color separation in the same way the foil is setup.spot UV coating adds gloss to print

So the options are out there today for employing great metallic foils and effects without any extra hassle for design, prepress, or budget concerns. The main limitation is often envisioning what the final product will look like — you will not really be able to create a digital or hard copy proof that will accurately preview the often stunning effects foil stamping can create. Perhaps the best way to do that is to ask your print provider for a sample of previous projects that successfully used foil. They should be happy to help you out.

In fact, rely on your printer for advice and direction with all of your 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.

Using Templates to Design – Print, Promo Products & Signs

 

Designing on templates

Trade show booths, converted envelopes, coffee mugs, die cut folders, POS displays, folded mailpieces… what first step do all these design projects share? In each case, you will want to ask for a template from your printer before you design.

The print, signage and promotional products world continues to diversify with custom branding opportunities that allow you to print on just about any object you could want. Throw in the creative use of die-cuts, spot coatings, textures, and folds and starting your project layout on the right foot becomes all the more important. For the designer, that means working with vendor-supplied templates to make sure your design ends up printing in the right spot with no expensive surprises or added cost.

Vendors are usually glad to supply a pre-press template for your specific project. In fact, many require your files be submitted on their template – and for very good reason. The positioning, size, and bleed area are critical for successful output on projects using various substrates and printing surfaces, and complex bindery or finishing processes. When you submit files that need no adjustments, you save prepress and art department fees that would be needed to correct or modify your files, or perhaps save having to pay for a job that did not print as you hoped.

Often, however, instructions are vague about exactly HOW to work with the template. Here are a few pointers that may help. In MOST cases, the template you will receive is a PDF. If you are using the most common desktop publishing software – anything from Quark Xpress to the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite – the PDF can be used in several ways to guide your layout without getting in the way of your work.

We love Illustrator for many great reasons and it is generally our preferred software for design of promotional products, wide format signage, vehicle wraps, and even some regular print jobs that have complex die cuts or folds. The PDF template can be placed into Illustrator like an object, on its own layer, and used as a guide. But the most helpful way is to begin by choosing File–Open With (rather than just File Open) and pick Illustrator as your app rather than Acrobat. (If, as sometimes happens, the template PDF uses fonts that your computer does not have, just ignore the warnings. While they may not print well on your end, the vendor who made the template will have them, so no problem.)

Trade show booth template

Templates are almost always vector objects that will open and be editable in Illustrator. Of course you don’t want to edit the template, but it can be helpful to have the ability to manipulate it when using many layers or when you need to hide parts of the template in order to proof your project to a customer. You may also need to copy and use curved shapes or other features of the template when creating masks or other design elements.

Layers palette in IllustratorMany PDF templates are very user-friendly in Illustrator. They use specific non-printing colors to designate the layout and help you see the placement of things like folds, edges and dyelines while specifying how much bleed area you need to allow as well. They will generally have the template elements on locked layers so you don’t accidentally edit them. Most have a blank layer already prepared for you to work on. If not, always leave the template on it’s own layer(s) and create a new layer to contain your print elements.

Layers palette in InDesignSometimes, it is preferable to prepare your layout in InDesign or another page layout application. You can simply File–Place the PDF template into your document. It makes sense to create – and lock – a layer just for the template file. You can then turn visibility on and off as needed and move it up or down in the layer order as well. Your document size in InDesign should be the same size as the entire template, including crop marks if applicable. Upon export, you would generally turn all fonts to outlines and create your PDF/X1A with no crops or bleeds other than whats included in the template.

These PDF templates generally include other important information to guide your design. They will specify whether you need to use PMS spot colors or stick to all process. They define needed bleed area. And they usually spell out the resolution, size, and embedding specs for any images you include.

Templates save time, headache, and money throughout the course of your design project. Make it a practice to ask ahead of time for a template, and make the template your friend.

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 & Personalization – 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 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.

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.

Shandys, Selfies & A Mustache: Traveler Beer Does Integrated Marketing Right!

 

Stick on Mustaches from Traveler Beer

What is more fun than a stick-on mustache?!

…well, taking a selfie with your mustache to share with the world AND enjoying a new European twist on delicious beer at the same time. That combo has helped prove Traveler Beer Company a pro at integrated marketing. Combining a great product and marketing design with social media buzz is one step. But in Traveler’s current campaign, the vital link between the products and the online excitement is good, old-fashioned print and promotional products! It is exciting to see these traditional marketing tools put to their best use in combination with the latest in digital communications.

Traveler is “introducing” to the American market the European tradition of “shandys” – quality craft brews combined with carbonated citrus or fruit flavors. The four Traveler flavors use lemon and lime (“Curious Traveler“), grapefruit (“Illusive Traveler“),  strawberry (“Time Traveler“), and pumpkin (“Jack-O Traveler“). With such a unique product, Traveler is wisely shaping their marketing around the adventure of a new experience. By using a turn-of-the-LAST-century flavor to the graphics, they are reinforcing the idea that these flavors have been around a long while in Europe and proven a favorite. With the current public preference for all things hipster, the classic Victorian handlebar mustache works as the perfect representative of the product, and the perfect way to involve consumers in becoming a part of the marketing itself.

Promotional Products from Traveler Beer

Traveler’s mission was to involve the public through social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, primarily. To achieve that, they created a great variety of bar swag and promotional products to put the Traveler brand into consumer’s hands. Online, and in retail outlets, bars and restaurants, you can find branded t-shirts, backpacks, glassware, bar taps, and on and on. The key to actually involving folks in the marketing game is a set of stick-on mustaches attached to printed cards. The card for each style mustache directs the user to stick on the mustache, take a photo, and post it online with the hashtag #TRVLR. The result has been that elusive social media buzz and virality that makes a marketing campaign successful.

Twitter and Instagram SelfiesThe payoff for the consumer? Primarily, the fun of seeing their mustachioed selfies online! The Traveler website has a page called TRVLR GLRY with Mustache and Traveler of the Week photos, and shots from parties and events hosted around the Traveler products. Search for the hashtag #TRVLR on Twitter or Instagram to see all the folks joining in the fun.

The greatest part of this type of marketing? It can be done on a large scale like Traveler has shown us, or on a small scale for a local business with a lot less money and time to invest. Print and promotional products can be designed to encourage the recipient to actually market for the brand – post a photo, wear the logo, visit a webpage, or share the experience on social media of using the product. The reward for doing that can be a coupon or discount, a contest prize, or it can just be the kick of seeing one’s very own selfie on a website. When done right, adding the social media component to a standard print marketing campaign only amplifies the impact of the original idea but with very little, if any, added investment. For the consumer, it enhances your brand image and their enjoyment.

 

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They 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!

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.

Why Great Customer Service Is a Powerful Small Business Marketing Tool

 

Customer Service is a great marketing tool

With the power of the Internet and the multitude of review sites, it’s difficult to avoid honest opinions about your company. Those reviews, both positive and negative, are just a Google search away, and whether the complaint or review is valid or not, people may still take it as gospel.

According to Fonolo, 68 percent of businesses plan to increase the amount of money they invest in customer management because the customer experience is so important. Additionally, positive feedback can be very useful for marketing purposes, especially when customers share how their issues were resolved efficiently.

Companies can use that testimonial information to develop customer service strategies, and show their customers that they’re appreciated. This in turn creates new and repeat business. Here are some ways to turn customer referrals and testimonials into increased business:

Take Care of Your Customers

The best type of marketing is word-of-mouth by your customers. The best way to create a positive buzz about your company is to provide great customer service. People will remember how you solved their problems and helped them find whatever they needed. Not only will they return to your company but they also will tell their friends about their positive experience. This is the easiest way to market your company because you let your customers do the work for you.

Reflect Your Caring for Customers

Taking care of customers is a vital marketing issue, perhaps even more so than buying billboards or advertising. When customers feel cared for, many are quick to share that experience, reflecting the hard work of your company. Every customer is a gatekeeper to evangelize your brand. Showing your appreciation and generosity for loyal customers builds solid support for your business.

Marketing customer service requires long-term vision “to move the needle on customer service operations, in order to keep customers satisfied and loyal to your brand,” states Kate Leggett in an article on Forrester.

Loyal customers deserve your attention. Those who receive a top-to-bottom customer support experience could become repeat buyers. Your company can go above and beyond the typical customer service requirements by showing appreciation to loyal customers. When you reach out and thank them, it comes across as a genuine attempt to make them feel special. One way to do this is to send something like a gift basket and a hand-written thank you note. You can brand any number of useful and desirable products with your logo and colors to use as giveaways – the promotional products field has items at all price levels ready to be imprinted, engraved, embroidered or branded with your company logo and message. Also, print wear is a great idea – loyal customers will be happy to receive and wear a quality clothing item screen printed or embroidered with the attractive logo of a company they appreciate.

Locate Testimonials

If your company pops up in Internet searches next to negative terms, then that gives people an early reason to look elsewhere for comparable products or merchandise. But, if your business connects to positive search results, it gives people a reason to trust you.

With customer review sites such as Yelp and Trip Advisor, people can see what others said about you, and, luckily, you can use positive reviews to your advantage. Figure out who your most sustained, loyal customers are, and ask them to honestly share their experience in a video testimonial for your company’s website. Wistia offers advise and tips for creating video testimonials for your business such as being prepared but not scripted. If you don’t like videos, then you also can ask repeat customers to go onto Yelp, Angie’s List or other review sites to honestly talk about their experiences.

In your advertising, emphasize the real-world experience of your most honest customers, and more people will get a sense of what you’re all about.

 

Strive to buy your print locally! A community printer will understand communication and design, with a special emphasis on your local market. They 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!

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.