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Business Card Etiquette Tips

Business cards are an inexpensive, yet valuable way to introduce yourself and your business. Here are a few etiquette tips to keep in mind the next time you exchange business cards:

  • Be prepared by having business cards on you at all times, including weekends.
  • Never distribute tattered business cards that show wear from being stuffed in your wallet. Instead, use a hard business card case to keep your cards clean and crisp.
  • Offer your card during informal conversations if the person you’re talking to expresses interest in your products or services.
  • Distribute only one card to each new contact (unless more are requested), rather than expecting them to distribute your cards for you.
  • Exchange cards at the beginning of meetings to have the names and titles/rank of everyone involved readily available.
  • Show respect when receiving a business card by briefly looking it over (front and back) and placing it in a portfolio, notebook, or card case. Never fold or crumple the card, and don’t stuff it in your pocket or bag within eyesight of the card giver. Reading over or commenting on the card right away may also help you build a better association between the new contact’s name and face for future reference.
  • Be aware that foreign countries have different business card customs. If doing business in a country that speaks another language, consider translating one side of your card into their language.

Let us know if we can help you print customized business cards that will make a lasting impression with every exchange.

Build Business Relationships with Greeting Cards

Greeting cards are a great way to show your family and friends you are thinking of them on their birthday or holidays. They are also a powerful yet underutilized tool for businesses to reach out and connect with valued customers, professional acquaintances, and other businesses.
While holidays and birthdays are the most common times greeting cards are used, businesses can also use greeting cards for business event invitations, staff introductions, product or service announcements, exclusive promotion or discount offerings, gift card holders, employee recognition, thank you cards, follow-up notes, customer anniversaries, grand openings, and more.

We can set up programs for companies such as insurance companies, to send out birthday cards on the first of each month. The insurance company would just provide us a database with the birthday month, personal message field, and name/address, and we would personalize the card and address the envelop and mail it out. They would not have to think about it for a full year…!  This technology is called VDP, or variable data printing, that creates “extreme personalized mailings“.

Next time you’re looking for a creative way to send a friendly greeting to your customers, give the timeless touch of greeting cards a try.

Stand Out and Get Noticed With Folded Business Cards

Everyone knows that business cards are an essential marketing tool for exchanging contact information, so why not double your marketing effort with a folded business card?

Folded business cards not only provide your standard contact information, but can also provide your audience with something useful to them, such as an events schedule, appointment card, coupon, map, menu, frequent customer discount, punch card, or response card.

The extra space can also be used as a mini-billboard, provide a list of your products or services, highlight helpful tips or industry resources, and much more.

Creative options are endless, including designs, paper and ink choices, diecut shapes, finishing touches, and even the placement of the fold. Folds can made along the top edge, short side, or even offset, where part of the card is shorter, revealing information on the panel below.

Check out your options for folded business cards next time you want to make a lasting impression and ensure your prospects and customers keep your business card on hand.

Tips to Convey Quality

Tips to Convey Quality

While the quality of your products and services is ultimately measured by customer satisfaction, here are a few tips on how to convey quality in everything your business does:

    • Provide a no-hassle satisfaction guarantee…and stand behind it.
    • Offer a longer or more inclusive warranty than your competition does. This will show customers how committed you are to your products.
    • Post customer reviews and testimonials to encourage readers to see what others are saying about your products and services.
    • Offer a risk-free evaluation of your products to allow customers to experience your outstanding products and customer support firsthand.
    • Create a customer referral program that encourages and rewards customers to do the selling for you.
    • Distribute professional marketing materials such as letterhead, envelopes, business cards, brochures, flyers, and product catalogs.
    • Use only high-resolution, quality images. If an image isn’t up to par, don’t use it.
    • Include your contact information on all materials, including your physical address, phone numbers, and email address. This will show customers you are easily accessible.
  • Choose words carefully when marketing your products. Instead of using the word “quality,” use words that imply quality, such as “premium.” Instead of “inexpensive,” use the word “value.”

One of the easiest ways to show customers your dedication to customer satisfaction is by following Henry Ford’s famous words of advice: “Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.”

Print & Copy Factory’s Green Solutions

We were recently asked by the Ferndale Chamber, to write an article about what Print & Copy Factory has been doing to go “green”. We have been busy at Print & Copy Factory – always looking for solutions that work for our community and customers. Going green is can be related in many different aspects and I would like to visit three of the top green things we have been focusing on.

For one, we have been working on creating a “Lean Manufacturing Culture.”  Which is so powerful in many ways, as less is more, and production is smoother. And the customer of course benefits because less time is less money!! If you have not heard about going Lean, you can check in with our buddy down the street from us, Paul Akers of Fastcap, www.fastcap.com. <http://www.fastcap.com.> He has been implementing LEAN for over a decade and even provides tours of his shop. He is selling a book on his website that explains it very powerfully. We have started this in January, and it is a process. The most powerful benefit that we have seen so far is that the employees are empowered to improve processes with less, and more importantly, take on generating themselves as leaders, which permantes to their home and community.

We are also part of the “going paperless” movement, which for a printshop to say is almost sacrilegious! So not only is it a mind twister, but, it is thinking outside the box for us as a business and for products for our customers businesses. Even though we feel that there is still a major importance on printed materials, we have recognized the importance of us providing websites for our customers as well. If you think about it, websites are like a moving and growing brochure on the internet. The benefit of having us help with your website is it matches the marketing of all your printed materials too! One stop shopping is green isn’t it?

Also, we jumped in fully with the social media aspect of relationship building, by providing classes for our customers. When the economy went down, people’s marketing budgets did too, and so creating ways to help our customers find and build relationships was key for their success. We also have developed services of providing and creating email blasts (marketing) and setting up facebook business pages for our clients.

As a printshop we find the technical advances are a benefit to going greener, but mostly when people think of going green in a printshop they think of recycled paper, and the printed process so let’s discuss that.

One of the most misleading conceptions about recycled paper is that you think you are saving the environment by using them. It is important to know the whole story so you can make wise choices.

When we started our business 20 years ago, recycled papers were just being introduced into the marketplace, and we saw many problems with the products. Recycled paper was not only very expensive, but it was hard to print on and create a sellable product that customers would be happy with and used to, compared to virgin papers. Recycled paper has to go through more lengthy processes, such as bleaching and chemical baths to get the pulp back into a sellable product. This in fact, is more harmful for our environment. And the chemicals, the acidity of recycled papers, the broken down paper fibers caused many printing inconsistencies. The chemistry needed to create the right levels of ink (oil) and water to imprint a beautiful image was difficult to count on reliablity from order to order and even during a print run.  This caused a great deal of waste, running extra paper to get the colors up to quality. Also, recycled papers tend to have more paper powder on the sheets causing build up on rollers, creating more machine jams.

The good news is however, over the years, we have seen the recycled paper be developed to a better product that is consistent and easier to run on the machines, and now have become a main staple of our printshop. Most papers we use have a percentage of recycled content in them.  Because things have drastically improved with the recycling processes and paper manufacturing techniques, we also have generated a new line of digital presses that are more acceptable to running these papers. We mostly use digital printing presses, that allow us very little setup, and very small, short runs and very inexpensive pricing, compared to the traditional printing setup costs.  With traditional printing, we used to have a press room full of machines, that included printing inks, chemistry and film and plates, not to mention large amounts of set-up.  Now, we run a large percentage of our business on our digital presses, providing our customers can get beautiful full color printing, on high quality paper, for just very small runs and with less chemicals! Even though Digital printing may be more expensive in the larger runs, it is being green, because none of those chemicals, film/plates and setups are needed.

With this technology, it even creates more products that we offer such as VDP (variable data printing) creates “Green – Direct Mail” meaning, you are no longer needing to send out mass mailings, we can help you select and  generate specific leads with personalized mailings, at a smaller quantity, with major high ROI (return on investment) results.

One of the most frustrating mis-conceptions about print is that people are discounting/disconnecting with this valuable media in the way they market their business. The statistics still show that Print Drives Both On- And Off-Line Sales.
Print is a powerful media… and its power is multiplied when used as part of a multi-channel
campaign. Print enhances the impact of television, telemarketing and the internet by providing an extra dimension that’s warm, inviting and highly personable. Use it to reinforce your brand’s message, introduce new products or services and drive traffic to your website.

From printed ads in magazines and newspapers to postcards, direct mail packages, catalogs, door hangers, newsletters, billboards and more, companies everywhere are using print to effectively Increase their sales. They understand that:

Print Gets Read – 80% of households either read or scan advertising mail sent to their household.[1]

Print Gets Response – 2.24% direct order response rate for printed catalogs, compared with just 0.48% from emails. In fact, catalogs have the second highest response as a marketing option, after telemarketing.[2]

Print Influences Decisions – 76% of customers have been directly influenced to purchase by direct mail.[3]

Print Drives New Business – 70% of customers renewed a business relationship because of a direct mail promotion.[4]

Print Leads to Repeat Business – 70% of customers renewed a business relationship because of a direct mail promotion.[5]

Print Increases Online Search – 67% of online search is driven by offline messages; 39% ultimately make a purchase.[6]

Print Increases Online Sales – 76% of internet users surveyed have been directly influenced to purchase an item or service thanks to a direct mail piece.[7]

With results like these, it’s no wonder so many successful organizations choose print.



[1]United States Postal Service (2007). Household Diary Study.
[2]DMA Response Rate Report (2008).
[3]2009 Channel Preference Study.
[4]2008 DMA /Pitney Bowes Direct Mail Survey.
[5]Ibid.
[6]iProspect Offline Channel Influence on Online Search Behavior Study (2007).
[7]Exact Target, 2009 Channel Preference Study

_________
The environmental impact of print on paper
Responsible:
90% of the paper consumed in the United States is produced in the United States [source <http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
33% of papermaking material in the United States comes from recycled paper; 33 percent comes from wood chips and scrap from sawmills; and 33% comes from virgin trees [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
Renewable:
90% of the wood harvested in the United States comes from private “tree farms” [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
56% of forests in the United States are private ownership; the remaining 44 percent are public ownership [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
Recyclable:
87% of Americans (268 million) had access to curbside and/or drop-off paper recycling programs in 2010[source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> .
63.5% of the paper consumed in the Unites States was recycled in 2010 [source
<http://www.agmrc.org/commodities__products/forestry/forestry_profile.cfm> ].
This website is a clearinghouse which brings together in one place information and links to other websites that tell the story about the effectiveness and environmental credentials of print on paper.

resources:

http://www.chooseprint.org/index.html
http://printgrowstrees.com/facts.html
<http://printgrowstrees.com/facts.html>
http://www.tappi.org/paperu/all_about_paper/earth_answers/earthAnswers.htm <http://www.tappi.org/paperu/all_about_paper/earth_answers/earthAnswers.htm>
http://www.printcopyfactory.com/resources/green-solutions.html <http://www.printcopyfactory.com/resources/green-solutions.html>

Would You Like Fries With That?

If you’ve ever eaten at a fast-food restaurant, surely you’ve been asked, “Would you like fries with that?” or “Would you like to supersize your meal?” Cross-selling involves presenting customers with complementary products or services to consider above and beyond their initial purchase. Here are a few tips on how to successfully cross-sell (or up-sell) your products to increase revenue:

    • Use cross-selling as a way to help customers try to solve a problem, rather than just to sell more stuff. Educate them on products or services you have to offer that may meet their needs or new items that weren’t available before.
    • Suggest relevant items that complement and make the initial purchase more valuable (such as selling a memory card, camera case, and batteries with a new camera). Also consider offering items that vary in price, such as an $8 case, a $15 case, and a $25 case. The least-expensive items will most commonly be added as impulse buys.
    • Position products in lucrative places on your website to cross-sell complementary items, or direct customers to other items they may be interested in. For example, Amazon.com offers suggestions of items that are frequently bought together, as well as “Customers who bought this item also bought XYZ.”
    • Promote bundled packages that provide a price break to purchase extra items together. For example, “Save $15 when you purchase our XYZ camera, case, and memory card value bundle.”
    • Reinforce cross-selling efforts with customer testimonials or expert recommendations. Popularity sells, and people are more likely to follow suit when they see what others are doing.
    • Timing is key when up-selling products. Don’t try to promote an extended warranty until after the decision has been made to purchase an item.

Done properly, cross-selling is an effective way to boost revenues, while at the same time helping customers get more value from their purchases.

super size me

What Do Your Business Cards Say About You?

The design of business cards is always  a hot topic of conversation among start up businesses, we are always asked as a marketing specialists, what is our opinion.  Of course it depends on the type of business and your budget and what your business goals are. At any networking event, encounter of a prospect, you want to make a great impression and lasting impression.  Even in the digital age, despite of all of the technology, business cards will probably be the only tangible evidence of an encounter and the presentation of a card still represents the initial contact for many influential businesses. So don’t cheapen or miss-represent your company, the format, coloring and size of business cards can help to turn a brief encounter into a lasting first impression.

1. Make sure the card is great quality.
Good-quality cards are available on an economy of scale; unlike the long waiting times and expense of pressing traditional cards, the modern digital process is swift, economical and can result in superbly memorable designs. Thick, soft card with rounded corners can make a favorable impression.

2.Contact information should be 100% correct.
The correct name, address, phone numbers, email address and website address are essential to allow your contacts to reconnect with you long after your initial meeting. The important facts should still be prominent and easy to read.

3.Think of a card as a vehicle for your branding.
When spending money on marketing materials, you can get more value of your marketing dollar if you use consistent branding and image. From stationery to your website, to your inside of your business, branding is who your business is, what people remember, and the perception that is created.  Your card should not be limited to just you; it needs to tell people about what makes your company so unique and exciting. It could be that the logo isn’t very exciting, or the purpose of your company isn’t apparent. Take a look at your card and ask; what’s missing?

4. Card sizes vary greatly.
In the United States, business cards are normally set at 3.5″ wide x 2″ tall.  You can consider various sizes, to stand out, but be aware, if it is a functional size for your customer base.  Massage therapist for example can get away with a fun size such as 2.25″ x 2.25″ square, whereas a law firm should stick to the professional size.

5. Font, Spacing, color and style.
The font should be elegant but legible; Gothic script can be difficult to read, and Comic Sans suggests that you don’t take yourself seriously, let alone your business. Think about sizing and spacing of letters to ensure that the script does not conflict with the color pattern of the card.  Non-confrontation colors, can be an indication of the comfortable image that your company is trying to project. Cards in full color with custom logos are great for sticking in people’s memories.

6. Stock & Printing style Choices.
There are oodles of different papers and print methods that can create a card just for you.  Consider a textured paper such as linens, with a foil stamp, or a blind embossing.  Thermography, is a raised lettering technique that was really popular in the 70’s and is finding its way back into the design arena.  We also are creating business cards with different quality of lamination and Ultrakoting processes. If you are trying to convey as much information as possible, you can have a set of CD business cards made, with multimedia content, but ensure that your investment will cover its costs- these are expensive unless you commission a batch of several hundred.

7. Consider your photo or photo of your product on the card.
The new marketing is to create relationships, and people tend to first remember how they look and maybe not their name. So a photo on the card is very important.

8. Consider putting a QR Code and social media icons.
Consider the fact that social media is here to stay, well for the moment anyways. Might as well take advantage of this vehicle for what it is worth! It is not for every business, however, for ways of keeping on top of the mind of your customer, this is a great way to do it. You can create fun games and loyalty with all of the great technology advances social media offers.

9. Water run-resistance.
I have seen so many people try to print their business cards on their home ink jet printers. This ink is not water proof. And it looks very unprofessional – not to mention the sloppy quality of the graphics and fonts it generates.  The print and paper of your card should be crisp and the text unable to be obliterated by just a few rain drops. Accidents happen, and an occasional spilled glass of wine should not ruin an opportunity. Ink jet printers-produced cards do not use waterproof ink and leave a very unprofessional impression, no matter how small your business is and your budget. Business cards are your number one marketing tool in your tool box, do not short change it!

10. And lastly, Keep them in a decent case.
If you regularly produce dog-eared cards from fluff-infested pockets, consider the impression that this gives prospective clients about your business. Produce cards one at a time from a case with a lid and exchange them with care. The care you take over your card shows the concern you have for your business.

Take a look at your card and ask; what’s missing?

 

Business Lessons from a Pinewood Car

Every year, Cub Scout packs across the U.S. hold pinewood derby races. In Canada, Cub Scouts take part in a similar event, known as the kub kar rally. In both events (and others like them), the idea is simple. Participants are given a block of wood, four plastic wheels, and four small nails to use as axles. They can fashion their cars pretty much any way they want, as long as they meet the guidelines for the race. Weights are added, and the cars are raced down a track, with gravity as the only source of power.

Lessons learned from a pine wood racing car

Lessons learned from a pine wood racing car

As you might imagine, designs and color schemes run the gamut. Some scouts will create traditional-looking race cars, while others will add their own creative flair. As racers line up, it’s hard to imagine that all those cars started out exactly alike, as simple blocks of wood.

In business, many companies start out with similar sets of raw materials or similar product lines. Some focus on creating flashy or innovative designs and marketing campaigns that help them stand out from the crowd. Others focus on the basics, like making sure the axles and wheels are sanded smooth and properly lubricated with graphite, to ensure an optimal ride. Still others strive to distribute the weight properly, to maximize efficiency and make sure the right people are doing the right jobs that best suit their skills.

And the best companies? You guessed it. They do all three.

So, while the business world may not always run on a nice, smooth track — and the playing field is not always level — with the right preparation and some good, old-fashioned hard work, your company can win the day.

Gumming Up the Works

gumming up things?

gumming up things?

Here’s something to chew on as you think about your business plans for the coming year:

A young entrepreneur moved from Philadelphia to Chicago in 1891 with $32 in his pocket and the idea of selling his family’s scouring soap to customers. As an incentive, the 29-year-old offered free baking powder with each soap purchase.

Before long, the baking powder became so popular that he began selling it instead. He then came up with a new incentive: two free packages of chewing gum with each can of baking powder sold.

As you might have guessed, the gum proved more popular than the baking powder, so he decided to change his product line once again. And that is how William Wrigley, Jr., started one of the most iconic brands of chewing gum on the market today.

In business (as in life), things don’t always go exactly as we plan. Markets change, technologies evolve, and what worked yesterday won’t always work today, tomorrow, or down the road.

Knowing when — and how — to adapt can mean the difference between success and failure for any enterprise. In Wrigley’s case, that meant understanding his customers’ evolving needs — and adapting his product line to meet those new demands.

What will it mean for you and your company in 2012? Only time will tell, so be prepared to recognize new trends, embrace new attitudes, and adapt your plans accordingly.

Creative Coupon Offers

It’s an age-old debate. Which is better: percentage off or dollar-off coupons? There is no right or wrong answer, since both options can be very appealing to consumers looking to save money. Here are a few creative offers for your next coupon campaign:

  • Offer the best of both worlds with a coupon such as: “$15 off or 15% off, whichever is higher.” This will also encourage customers to buy more to save more.
  • Consider offering a bonus item to increase the value of your coupon. This will also let you compete with your competition without actually lowering prices.
  • Offer incremental percentage-off amounts based on what the customer spends. An example of this would be “save 30% on $150 or more, 20% on $100 or more, or 10% on $10 or more.”
  • When using a dollar-off coupon, customers respond best to round dollar bill denominations whenever possible, such as $1, $5, $10, or $20 off. Not only are the amounts easy to calculate, but it easily translates to a bill in their pocket.
  • Try a BOGO (buy one get one) campaign, such as buy one get one free or buy one get one half price.

Use easy-to-remember codes like FEB20 rather than KTR10R44YZEX to make it easy to use during online checkouts.
Another great way to increase the value of a coupon campaign is to offer a follow-up survey for customers based on their purchase with your coupon. Offer another coupon as a thank you for completing the survey. Adding a survey will help you gain valuable input about what types of coupon promotions influence your customers.

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