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Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches

Even if your marketing document is coming together perfectly — with compelling copy, a stunning layout, and quality photos — remember it’s not complete until it’s “finished.” A document’s finishing touches help portray its overall quality and importance and can take it to the next level.

Here are a few finishing touch options that will help you create a marketing piece you and your customers will love:

    • Spot varnish is available in gloss, matte, or satin finishes. Gloss varnish is often used to enhance the colors of printed photos and make ink colors throughout the piece appear more vivid. Matte varnish is used to reduce glare and improve the readability of small text. Satin varnish offers a blend of both. A contrasting spot treatment can really make a logo or other information pop (such as a glossy logo on a matte background).
    • Metallic inks are available in a variety of colors and are a great way to add interest with a shine and luster not available in standard inks.
    • Foil-stamping is an easy way to create focus on text or imagery, such as enhancing a classic, elegant logo.

      Finishing touches

    • Die-cutting is used to create a unique shape, outline, or edging.
    • Embossing involves creating a raised 3D impression using a custom die under high pressure.
    • Laminating can greatly increase durability and offer water protection. In addition to protecting a printed document, lamination can also enhance its appearance.
    • Other finishing options include (among other things) collating your pieces into sets, separating, folding, stapling, punching or drilling, padding, scoring, numbering, index-tabbing, packaging/shrink wrapping, and spiral, wire, comb, saddle-stitch, or perfect binding.

No matter your finishing need, from simple to spectacular, we can help you determine the perfect finishing touches to help your product really stand apart from the competition.

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>

Turn Customers into Salespeople

One of the most cost effective ways to grow your business is by letting your customers do the selling for you via referrals. Here are a few tips on how to grow your business through customer referrals:

  • Create a customer referral program. For example, provide custom printed referral cards that provide an exclusive discount to new customers. Also reward existing customers based on how many new customers they recruit.
  • Educate your customers with the information they need to market your products. Make sure your customers have access to adequate print literature, website links, blogs, newsletters, and other materials relevant to your company.
  • Differentiate your business based on a key feature or benefit you offer that your competition doesn’t, such as free shipping or low-price guarantees. These differentiators make great selling points to entice new customers.
  • Ask for referrals. If you’ve just talked to a happy customer who complimented your business, ask if they would be willing to refer others on your behalf.
  • Popularity sells. If your business has a very high number of referrals, promote the fact on your marketing materials and website. For example, “More than half of our new customers are derived from customer referrals” would make a great tagline somewhere on your website or in your product literature.
  • Ask new customers how they learned about your business. It’s always exciting to see real-world results from your marketing efforts, especially from word-of-mouth.
  • Include a statement on the back of your brochures, business cards, and other collateral that encourages customer referrals. “A customer referral is the finest compliment we can receive” would be a good example.
  • Don’t forget to show your sincere appreciation to customers who refer others to your business. A handwritten thank you note is a great way to follow-up, and that one extra step will reinforce the reasons why they recommended you in the first place.

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

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.

Marketing Tip#5 Low-Budget Printing Tips

Marketing Tip#5

With all of our purse strings tied right now, any printing project you pursue could probably be all your business can afford, perhaps for months or even years. It has to be done right, or there may never be a second chance.

You don’t have to be an expert in the print industry to save money on your printing
projects. A little research on the front end guarantees big savings. Develop a relationship with your printer and ask for money-saving recommendations. A printer worth his weight will take the time to understand your needs and help you navigate the process of each job, no matter how small. Whether you take on the entire project yourself or work with a trusted printer, don’t worry, you will find that it is possible to do a lot with a little.

  • Spend the majority of your budget on one expensive but attention-getting element: a high-end paper, a fancy die cut, engraving, or embossing.
  • Rely on a strong design in one or two colors, with ordinary offset
    printing or stick with high-quality black and white copies.
  • Be flexible about paper stock. Paper companies are rapidly changing
    their inventory right now and have plenty of discontinued stocks that
    would work great for your project, saving you money.
  • Plan ahead. Time is money. Don’t call in a panic because you’re down to your last ten envelopes. Inventory the office products on a monthly basis and reorder as needed. Likewise, Christmas will come in December again this year. Start planning your direct mail piece in October so it will be ready to print in November.
  • Use standard ink colors. When designing or updating a company logo, color
    should be a major consideration as it will affect your printing budget for years to come.
  • Chances are, your business name isn’t going to change any time soon. So go ahead and order 5,000 business cards or other frequently used materials at a much cheaper price break.
  • Go digital. We have digital copiers that print on heavy card stock and even
    glossy finishes as proficiently as a full color press. This is particularly useful
    for small quantities involving color. And usually, only a print professional can tell the difference.

The Benefits of Adding Value to your Printed Materials

Consider the product you wish to print, such as notepads, business cards and menus. For an example, instead of a simple notepad, a beauty salon could spice it up as a “honey-do” list. Given to
a client, they can have fun with it and use it as a practical marketing piece. At our printing firm, we believe that tight budgets shouldn’t stand in your way of having marketing materials you are proud of. Give us a call today and we will help you figure out how to add value to your printed pieces and start seeing results.

Making Connections

Inside every human being is a desire to connect in real and tangible ways. This desire for connection permeates everything we do and every decision we make: even our decisions of what to buy and when. We respond to ads because we connect with them somehow. A spokesperson, scene, or catchphrase resonates with us and makes us laugh, or cry, or both.

  • A soldier sits down in a quiet moment to listen to a recordable storybook his child sent from home.
  • A team of clydesdales pulls an iconic wagon into New York City, then bows silently before the Statue of Liberty in reverence.
  • A couple drives frantically to the top of a parking ramp. The man jumps out and signals his confused girlfriend to follow, just in time to… miss the airplane banner flying by, asking her to marry him.

Each of these commercials (and many others like them) tells a story that, at first glance, has little to do with the product they’re selling. Instead, they show the product (or in the case of the clydesdales, a symbol of the product) in real-life situations that make it far more relatable than a simple product shot or feature list ever could.

Here are links to the three commercials I mentioned in this post. A quick warning: If you haven’t seen these, you might want to have a box of Kleenex nearby for the first two. Feel free to list some of your own favorites in the comments at the end of this post.

“Active Duty” Hallmark Commercial

9/11 Tribute from Budweiser

Wherever Life Takes You (Chevy Cruze ECO)

Fostering Innovation, Embracing Mistakes

Think mistakes are always bad? Think again. William L. McKnight, a former president and chairman of the board at 3M, has been credited by many with fostering the company’s emphasis on innovation. In 1948, while president of the company, McKnight had this to say about mistakes.

“Mistakes will be made. But if a person is essentially right, the mistakes he or she makes are not as serious in the long run as the mistakes management will make if it undertakes to tell those in authority exactly how they must do their jobs. Management that is destructively critical when mistakes are made kills initiative.”

Today, 3M holds patents on hundreds (if not thousands) of products, ranging from Scotch® brand tapes and Post-It® Notes to fiber optics, fuel cell components, security devices, and more. By accepting mistakes as an inevitable part of business, 3M has built and maintained a highly successful brand in a fiercely competitive market. Along the way, they’ve earned a reputation as a leader in fostering innovation and attracting top talent to their team.

So what can you learn from one of the world’s leading brands? Embracing initiative means accepting mistakes and learning to loosen the reins.

An Important Message from…You

Owners writing a blog about them or from them

Create Relationships

If your business is looking for a great way to relay important messages and create a favorable impression of your company, consider a “message from the owner” (or president, CEO, etc.). Here are a few tips to create a “message” that speaks for itself:
In addition to creating a standard “mission statement” message from the owner, consider offering regular messages via a company website, newsletter, blog, sales letter, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc. to communicate new initiatives, announce new products, or simply offer an insightful perspective on a relevant subject.

Include a photo of the owner/president/CEO. Readers feel more of a connection when they can put a face with a name.

While the messaging is most effective when it comes from the owner him/herself, consider help from a member of your communications team for message ideas, editing, and wordsmith help.

In addition to sharing a message with customers, a message from the owner is also a great way to create a sense of community within an organization and narrow the gap between the owner and coworkers.

Encourage feedback and open lines of communication whenever possible. A forum where customers or coworkers can ask questions and receive a response from the owner can be a powerful marketing tool. Consider highlighting questions and responses as topics for the messages.

Boost Sales with FAQs

Many people enjoy shopping online for one main reason: convenience.
A frequently asked questions (FAQ) section on your website will save your customers time by providing them with quick answers and relevant advice. At the same time, it will also save you time by eliminating repetitive questions. A well-produced FAQ will reinforce buying decisions and shorten the time it takes to order from your business. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your FAQ section:

  • Answer each FAQ with well-written content that will also help rank in search engines for keywords relevant to your industry. Doing this can help turn your site into a resource for customers and other prospects.
  • Allow answers to expand and minimize with a single click, so the questions remain easily scannable and readers don’t have to wait for a new page to load each time. Do not create the FAQ as a separate file (such as a PDF) that customers need to download to read.
  • Update FAQs frequently to ensure answers are still relevant.
  • Organize questions so they are easy to find, such as by category, with the most popular questions first.
  • Use brief, informative answers. If detailed answers are required, provide a link to more information. Have the link open in a new window, so the visitor doesn’t have to leave the current page.
  • Focus on providing helpful information. Avoid flashy designs that distract from your content.
  • Include various contact methods should the reader want more answers. In addition to general contact information (phone, fax, email, mailing address, etc.), provide a question form that’s easily accessible from your FAQ page.

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