Choosing the Right Paper for Your Next Print Project

People might think paper isn’t a big choice when starting a project. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Choosing paper is one of the first things you should decide on when starting your new project. No one sheet fits every project. Paper is three-dimensional and makes all the difference in how your project turns out.

When your rough graphic design is done, the next step should be to talk to your printer about choosing the right papers. Ask them for their paper suggestions so you can decide what would be best.   

Turnaround Times for Paper

Getting your quote early will help you know the turnaround time to expect and when you will need to provide the design to your printing firm to get it on time.

Durability of Paper

When choosing the right paper, evaluate whether it needs to be something that will last or if it’s something meant for a shorter lifespan. If meant for direct mail, you might choose something less sturdy. But if you are working on a marketing brochure, annual report, or a catalog, you will need something sturdier and more heavy duty.

Personality of Paper

Considering the life span, texture, color, and personality of the piece will determine what type of paper you should use. Ask yourself what impression you hope to make with this piece; then make sure your paper represents that well.

For example, if you are promoting the environment, be sure to use recycled paper. A non-profit asking for money probably doesn’t want to invest in top-tier quality because it might make the recipients think they already have enough money. However, if you want to represent quality and luxury, choose a paper that will represent that.

Use a coated, glossy, matte, or silk sheet for colorful, crisp images or photographic reproduction. For more of an understated type of image, use fluorescent inks and the more natural surface of uncoated papers. 

If you want to create a unique look, try a one-color printing job. Pair it with unusually textured papers or specialty papers. This is a huge trend in Europe and is making its way to the United States and Canada.

The Many Whites of Paper

Just when you think your project is easy because you want white paper, think again. There is blue-white, balanced white, natural white, soft white, and much more. You will definitely want to talk to your printer about these options. The blue-white is quite popular right now because it allows the various colors to shine through. Warmer whites are more comfortable for the eyes to read for long periods of time.

Other Paper Considerations

If you are looking to print on both sides with heavy ink, you will want to talk to your printer about choosing a heavier stock. If your project will be mailed, you will need to consider the weight to make sure it fits the USPS requirements; otherwise, it can cost you more to mail.

There are so many variables when it comes to printing your latest marketing project, and that’s why we are here to help. We offer sound advice with solid delivery on our promises. We want to help your business shine. Contact us today!

 

5 Steps to Combat the Comparison Trap

In today’s society, it’s common to try to one-up people, whether it’s with material things or with accomplishments. And to do this, we often compare ourselves to others. But this can do more damage than good. Let’s take a look.

Thomas Mussweiler, a professor of organizational behavior, says, “We’re wired for connection and belonging, but if we constantly compare ourselves to others, we’re putting our happiness, confidence, and mental health at risk.”

Our minds are conditioned to compare ourselves to others, so we know where we stand—if we are good at certain things or not. But when this act of comparing becomes the norm in every area of our lives, our mental health can suffer.

Are you guilty of the comparison game? If so, here are five things you can do to help.

5 Ways to Beat Comparison

1. Embrace Gratitude

Be thankful for what you have.

Write a list or meditate on why you are happy in life. This helps us shift our thinking to positive things rather than looking at what others have that we don’t.

Think about non-material things here as well. It’s great to be thankful for a house and car, but don’t forget those around you, too.

2. Set Goals for Yourself

Without comparing yourself to others, set healthful goals that will benefit you in the long run.

Maybe you want to exercise for the health of it (rather than to be smaller than your best friend). Or perhaps you want to read more books this year than you did last year. Maybe you want to earn a degree to broaden your horizons. Or perhaps you want to travel with your loved one so you can share more experiences with them (versus trying to have better FaceBook pics.)

Setting goals is great if you do it with the right focus.

3. Celebrate You

Start a real list of what you like about yourself.

Be careful not to make it sound like a resume. Be real. What are some things you do that you are proud to do? Are you a good baker? Are you good at cheering people up? Are you a giver? Are you creative? Be proud of who you are. 

Being humble doesn’t mean beating yourself up.

4. Praise Others

When you have good friends and family and even coworkers, it’s time to praise them.

It’s a great way to feel good about yourself while you do this. Lifting others up is good for the soul… even the person who is giving the praise.

5. Take a Break from Social Media

When we constantly look at others’ social media posts, it seems like their lives are perfect.

Well, we all know that’s not the truth.

These are only snips of things going on. We never know the whole story. So, why should we put pressure on ourselves to do the same things? We sometimes need a break from social posts to refresh our minds and help ourselves to focus on what really matters in life.

There are so many tempting ways we try to compare ourselves in life. But if we can remember to retrain our brains from comparing ourselves with others, we will be much happier.

At our printing firm, we want to promote you! We know you work hard, and that’s why we celebrate you, too. See what we can do to promote you and your business today!

How to Stay Positive in a Negative World

Remaining positive when negative tension surrounds you is a skill worth mastering and sharing with others.

If you need a few ideas on how to create a positive outlook or cheer others up, here are some you’ll’ find helpful. 

Breathe.

Practice the 4-7-8 technique from Dr. Andrew Wile.

Try this breathing pattern: empty the lungs of air. Breathe in quietly through the nose for 4 seconds. Hold the breath for a count of 7 seconds. Exhale forcefully through the mouth, pursing the lips and making a “whoosh” sound for 8 seconds. Repeat the cycle up to 4 times.

Focus on positive things in your life.

“Living in gratitude” is known to support our physical, psychological, and social health.

It can produce stronger immune systems, better sleep, feeling more joy, and help you be less lonely.

Take a few minutes each day to write down what you are thankful for: a job, family, pet, warm house, nice clothes, friends, etc. Happy chemicals (dopamine and serotonin) are released when thinking of joyous moments. No matter what situation arises, focus on something good.

Create a go-to happy book.

When things are tough, have a Pinterest page, a journal of happy thoughts, a picture album of favorite times, or other ideas that are easy to access. Then when times are tough, go right to that item.

Create a blissful playlist.

Having a playlist ready to go will help elevate your mood at the press of a button. Use music, Ted Talks, comedy bits, bloopers, or animal videos as an easy mood lifter.

Write notes to yourself.

Put up notes with positive quotes to remind you to focus on the positive things. Remind yourself to forgive those who bring you down. This is a healthy release of the negative in order to allow the positive in.

Go outside and look around.

Enjoy soaking up the sun’s rays. Breathe in the fresh air, no matter what season it is. Go for a walk in a new place or an old favorite. Taking time out of the office and home will open up your mind to new perspectives.

Laugh.

Studies have found that laughter lowers stress, anxiety, and depression.

It also improves coping skills, mood, and self-esteem. Watch a favorite comedian or call up a friend who makes you laugh.

Spend time with positive people.

It rubs off on us. Both negativity and positivity are contagious. Schedule time with those positive people so that you can encourage each other to stay positive.

Identify areas of negativity.

If you’re not sure when you are most negative, ask a coworker, friend, or relative.

Then attack your negativity with something positive.

If you are in a bad mood when you drive, try to change your self-talk while driving. Or, if you are negative at work, work on focusing on the positive items at work.

Give yourself time.

Changing your mental state isn’t as easy as it sounds. It takes dedication and work. It’s a focus that might not be natural to you. Be gentle with yourself. Take time to change by starting with one thing at a time.

No matter what area you are focusing on, we can help you have a positive printing experience. We promise to be on time, professional, and help you create beautiful marketing pieces.

How to Write a Newsletter That Will Get Read

In a busy world filled with lists and to-dos, how do you put out content that will rise to the top and be read by others?

Here are some great writing tips to help your newsletter get the attention it deserves.

1. Figure out who your audience it first.

Are you sending the newsletter to prospective customers? Or are you sending it internally to your staff? This will determine the tone of the language you use, be it formal or informal.

2. Determine the voice you want to use.

Most of the time, it’s best to write as if you are writing to a friend. Use a more casual tone so that everyone feels welcome to read it.

3. Keep it short.

Don’t over-write. Figure out your message, then tell it in as few of words as necessary to get the point across.

4. Organize your articles.

Put the most important article first, on the front side of the newsletter. Then add the following essential articles.

5. Use pictures and graphics.

Insert some visual aids in your newsletter. No one wants to read something that is packed full of tiny print.

6. Make sure there is some white space.

Don’t pack it full of text and graphics. The eyes need to have a break, so make sure to leave some space without anything in it.

7. Pick articles that other people will care about.

It might be interesting to you and your staff, but how does it relate to your readers? Think about it from their viewpoint. How will your article help them? Then write what will capture their attention and keep them reading.

8. Add a call to action.

Be sure to list your contact information on the newsletter so they can contact you to get more information.

Whether you are an expert or a novice newsletter creator, we can help get your message out. We offer excellent graphic design and printing to make sure your newsletter gets read. Contact us today!

Developing a Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantages are the factors that allow your company to produce goods or services better or more cheaply than your rivals and are the key factors in what makes your business better than others.

If your competitive advantage can be easily copied or imitated, it is not considered a competitive advantage.

Your competitive advantage is the essence of your strategy, messaging, and marketing. According to Jack Welch, “If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”

Comparative Advantage vs. Differential Advantage 

Comparative advantages and differential advantages are the two different forms of competitive advantages.

A comparative advantage is your company’s ability to produce something more efficiently, leading to greater profit margins.

One way to achieve a comparative advantage is to increase your economies of scale. An economy of scale is the savings in costs your company generates when it increases levels of production. Greater production leads to lower production costs because it more evenly distributes the fixed costs.

A differential advantage is your company’s ability to produce unique products or of higher quality than your rivals.

Examples of a differential advantage include advanced technology, patent-protected products or processes, superior personnel, and a strong brand identity. High-end brands, such as Louis Vuitton, utilize a differential advantage. Their high quality and uniqueness allow them to charge much for their products. 

Economic Moats

Warren Buffet described sustainable competitive advantages like a moat.

The image is that your company is like a castle, and your competitive advantage is the moat surrounding the castle. The better your competitive advantage, the greater the moat. A large moat makes it nearly impossible for other castles (businesses) to attack your castle (company). This illustration provides an excellent analogy for what a sustainable competitive advantage can do for your business. 

You can create your own moat by strengthening your brand, raising barriers to new entrants through tactics such as regulations, and defending your intellectual property through patents. 

How to Create a Competitive Advantage

Competitive advantages are imperative to the success of your business. A competitive advantage technique can be found in many areas.

1. Find a focus area

Trying to be great in everything often results in excellence in nothing. Therefore, most businesses find it best to hone in on a focus area. This is a market niche in which your company can excel. 

2. Employ the best talent

Your employees will determine the success of your business. Therefore, employing passionate, talented people is imperative. Search for talent and reach out. It’s better to wait for the right person than hire the wrong one. 

3. Utilize rewards

Incorporate rewards into your business. You’re going to need to incentivize your employees to go above and beyond their call of duty by rewarding high performance. Examples of rewards include money or vacations. 

4. Foster experience

Now that you have amazing employees incentivized through rewards, the next goal is to keep them wanting to work for your business for years to come.

The greater experience your employees have, the better your business’s customer service. Avoid a high employee turnover rate by making your work environment a place your employees will want to stay for years to come. 

5. Speed

Customers care about speed.

The faster and easier it is to buy from you or use your services, the better. Look throughout your process to find ways to cut down on time and make it easier for your customers. 

Dominate 2022 by establishing an effective competitive advantage! 

Elevate Your Marketing Campaign with Postcards!

Happy New Year! How crazy it’s already 2022! How was your 2021 marketing strategy? Whether splendid or slightly lacking, any marketing strategy has room for improvement.

In the new year, try incorporating (or reincorporating) direct mail marketing strategies. This long-standing proven method, with added new technology, is a perfect way to hit the ground running in 2022.

And the best part? It can start with a simple postcard.

The Many Benefits of Postcards

Postcards are highly effective.

Did you know that 86% of customers take the time to read through their mail? Due to postcards’ higher visibility, you can expect a higher response rate than any other marketing medium, along with a 70% higher brand recall.

This translates into a high return on investment.

Every $167 spent translates into about $2000 in goods sold. That’s a great investment! Increase your benefits by incorporating a fantastic postcard design. 

The Postcard Design

The postcard design is important and should complement your message and marketing strategy. Here are a few aspects of postcard design to keep in mind.

The material is part of the design, and it reflects on your company.  For example, if environmentalism is essential to your company, share that value with your customers by using recycled material. Or, if you want to send a message of quality, then use heavier material. If your postcards are high quality, then your customers will believe your products and/or services to be high quality as well. 

The size of the postcard is important too. Average-sized postcards are great and effective, but more oversized postcards will stand out due to their inherently larger nature. Try giving the 6-inch by 11-inch postcards a try. 

The two main finishes are glossy or matte. A glossy finish portrays elegance, while matte seems more professional.

A well-thought-out headline is important! You want the headline to sum up your main idea while prompting the customer to keep reading.

A call-to-action prompts the potential client to react in response to the postcard. Examples include requesting that the customer call, visit the store, explore the website, or like/follow social media.

Call-to-actions are most effective when there is a deadline associated with them. Therefore, many companies find it beneficial to offer limited-time deals. Along with driving customer interaction and sales, a call-to-action will help you determine the effectiveness of your postcard campaign for future use. 

Developing a Plan

According to Benjamin Franklin, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Set yourself up for success by planning your postcard campaign.

Set SMART goals. SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. 

Set a budget. Don’t break the bank, but invest enough to see results. 

It’s important to be aware of the static and dynamic postcard costs. Static costs don’t change, while dynamic costs depend on the number of postcards you decide to send. The more postcards you send, the overall cost per card is lowered. Static postcard costs include copywriting and design, while dynamic costs include printing services and postage fees. 

Sending the Postcards

Next, you need to decide where you are sending these postcards. 

  • Send the postcards to existing customers. Given that they already have shopped at your business before, these postcards would mainly promote another sale.
  • Create or rent a new mailing list. This strategy will reach new customers, generating new business. When you create or rent this new mailing list, ideally, you’re going to try to find households within your target market demographic.
  • Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM): In this strategy, you mail a postcard to every household within a geographic area. Sometimes specific demographics congregate in neighborhood clusters. If you can identify your target market within a neighborhood, this strategy is useful. If your business is close to a certain neighborhood, it may be helpful to let the locals know about you, and they may love your business out of proximity convenience. 

Repeat!

Send follow-up postcards.

Potential clients need to hear your company’s message about seven times before they decide to buy. The more familiar your business becomes to the customers, the better off you are. In marketing, familiarity generates sales because people are drawn to the familiar.  

Developing a postcard marketing campaign will set your business up for success in 2022!

Is Die Cutting for Me?

You know how a new haircut can change the way people see you? It can make all the difference in your level of professionalism.

And die-cutting can do the same for your marketing materials.

With die-cutting, the possibilities are as endless as your imagination. With fresh, new die-cut marketing materials, the public will definitely take notice.

What is Die-Cutting?

It is a cut using a sharp steel blade that is formed into any specific shape you want.

It is then used to cut through the paper. It’s a lot like a cookie-cutter, except you cut paper instead of dough.

Just think what you could do for your dull, old marketing materials. It’s not just circles and squares. Die-cutting allows you to make stair steps, holes, rounded corners, sharp points, and much more. Make any point you want with fresh, new die-cut materials.

Creative Uses with Die-Cutting

You have probably thought about using die-cutting on your business cards to make them stand out in the pile of rectangles. But have you thought about using this technique on door hangers, postcards, brochures, and presentation materials?

The options are out there. It’s up to your dreams as to what you’d like us to accomplish for you.

Would you like your logo to stand out? We can do that. Or what about an image associated with your type of business?

Let’s say you are an architect, a real estate agent, or a builder. You could use a roof die-cut or a house. Or, if you own a restaurant, let’s create a basil leaf, a loaf of bread, a bowl of pasta, or whatever suits you. Or maybe you own a pet shop or dog training business in which we could cut out the shape of a dog.

No matter what item you choose to die-cut, it will freshen up your marketing materials and help draw attention to the most important aspects of your business as you see fit.

Need ideas? We’re here to help. Our die-cutting is top-notch and will serve your purpose of standing out in a crowd. 

Psychology Techniques to Drive Sales for Your Business

Knowing how the human brain works and what drives people to make decisions is immensely beneficial in marketing.

Luckily, there’s much research and information regarding various psychological tips and tricks to drive sales and expand your business. Here are a few.

Cut down on the options

Sometimes too many decisions can cause a customer to shut down, resulting in no sales. 

To avoid this, research your prospective client beforehand to determine what products or services would best suit their needs. When doing the sales pitch, focus on only these to cut down on the options. Even better, you can lump products into packages, so your prospect needs only to make one big purchasing decision instead of multiple small ones. 

No matter what you ultimately pitch to your client, it’s imperative you do so with the correct framing techniques. 

Utilize positive framing

Framing is how the information is presented. 

Positive framing increases sales. Therefore, try to sell your product or service in a positive light by homing in on the benefits. 

However, feelings other than positive ones can be beneficial if framed correctly. 

Fead your prospect’s fear of missing out (FOMO)

People are much more likely to act when they feel if they’re afraid of missing out on a great opportunity. 

Creating the sense of scarcity is an effective way to fuel FOMO within your prospect.  After all, the more rare something appears, the greater in value it becomes. Scarcity also presents a time limit for them to act, prompting them to buy soon. 

If the product or service is scarce because of high customer demand, then even better! The customer will assume the purchase will be a good choice because many other people seem to enjoy it too. 

The sense of scarcity can be artificially generated through limited editions and limited-time sales. 

Sometimes, FOMO is the main driver of a client’s decisions. Sometimes, it’s something else. Getting your client to articulate their thoughts to you can be immensely beneficial for the sales process. 

Get your client to tell you why

This one’s rather sneaky but highly effective because people are more likely to listen to themselves. 

If you can get your client to verbalize why exactly they want the product, then they will, in effect, want it more. To achieve this, ask your client why the product or service appeals to them and what’s holding them back. Your client will be able to tell you, and affirm to themselves, why they want the product or service. If something is holding them back, you will be able to better adjust your strategy.

You can get your client to want your products or services even more through promotional products. 

Give your prospect promotional products

When someone receives a gift, they’ll want to reciprocate the kind action. This makes them more likely to buy from you. 

Promotional products are ideal because not only are you generating a feeling of trust and reciprocity, you’re also advertising your company. The best promotional products are ones that your client will truly enjoy. Therefore, research your target market to create promotional products customized for this group. 

Giving and receiving are beneficial to both parties. Therefore, it’s helpful to get your client to give something as well. 

Ask your client for small favors

Once your client gets in the habit of doing small favors for you initially, they’re much more likely to agree to more significant favors down the road.

This is known as the Ben Franklin Effect. It is named after the founding father Ben Franklin, who, to build rapport, would ask someone for a small favor, such as lending him a book. This small act would generate feelings of warmth and helpfulness. 

In practice, this may look like asking your client to sign up for a free e-letter, share comments on social media, read blog posts, attend free webinars, or download an ebook. Later, when you ask them for something larger, such as to buy a product or service, they’re much more likely to do so. 

Not only will asking your client for small favors prime them for purchases down the road, but the small favors will help your client become more familiar with your business. 

Generate familiarity

Familiarity is good because it creates positive feelings. 

People like the things they are used to. Making your business familiar to your clients will help increase sales because as your business becomes more familiar, it becomes more trustworthy and good in their eyes. However, balance is essential. Too much can lead to oversaturation, which will backfire. Find the middle ground. 

Psychology is a powerful tool for persuasion. The above strategies will greatly help you increase your sales and the growth of your business!

10 Tips for a Memorable Business Card

You’re at a new business or a social event.

You look around in the sea of business people and wonder how to make the best first impression. Then you look down at your hand, holding your business card.

What do you feel next?

Are you excited to show off your business card and how it represents you? Or do you fear they will underestimate you based on your card?

Here are ten tips on creating a memorable business card that shouts, “Work with me!”

10 Tips for a Memorable Business Card

1. Make sure your design represents your business.

If you are a fun, quirky business that dabbles in creativity, make sure your business card reflects that mood. On the other hand, if you are a serious, no-nonsense business, make sure your business card is sleek, simple, and uncluttered.

2. Choose the right font and size.

Do not go smaller than 8 point type on your card. 

Try to enlarge the name of your business, so it is clear who you represent. If you have a website, try to match some fonts to create consistency.

3. Pick the right shape.

You don’t need to stick with the basic rectangle anymore.

Try a square or add rounded corners to make your card stand out in a pile of collected business cards. Not only will it stand out physically, but it will also create a mental note that you are up-and-coming and not the ordinary business.

4. Create the right images.

Use new printing techniques to make your logo or image pop off the page.

Try spot UV coating to make it shine or foil accents that add a touch of sophisticated shine. Or try embossed gloss to create a raised, glossy coating, giving your cards a hard-to-forget 3D feel.

5. Organize your information.

This sounds simple, but many people try to put too much information on their business cards.

Keep it simple.

Put your name prominently on the card. Then add your contact information in a place that’s easy to find: phone, email, and website.

6. Use the back of the card.

Go the extra mile and put something useful on the back of the card.

If you own a restaurant, add a drink mix on the back. If you take appointments, add an appointment reminder. If you offer many customized services, list them here. But try to direct them to your website if at all possible.

7. Be deliberate.

Use the same colors your other marketing materials and website use.

Be different by using the front of the business card to solely have your logo, with contact information on the back.

8. Make sure there is enough white space.

Don’t clutter your card with information. Just add the basics. They can contact you for the rest of the information.

9. Choose papers wisely.

Extra-thick paper adds an instant luxurious touch, and recycled kraft paper tends to have an organic feel. Think carefully about what you are trying to convey.

10. Include a call to action.

This isn’t a game-breaker if you have used up all your space. But if you have room, add a QR code or an invitation to contact you.

No matter what steps you take, rely on print communication experts to ensure that the finished product will be what you anticipated and something you can be proud of. 

How to Write an Effective Email

Communication is the key to running a business, and writing emails is one major way we communicate.

So it is worth saying that writing a good email is key to getting your initiatives out and in keeping customers happy.

Here are some tips to consider when writing an email.

Think of Your Audience

Who are you writing to?

Is it your coworker? Your boss? Your friend?

These all deserve a well-written email, but the tone of your letter will vary depending on whom you are writing to. Keep the tone similar throughout the email.

For example, if it’s for a friend, it’s okay to be light-hearted and funny. But if it’s your boss, and you’re inquiring about something for work, you probably want to keep the tone professional and more serious.

What do you want your audience to do? Make sure you keep your goal in mind while writing your email. This will help you not to wander and get off track.

Proofread Your Email

Don’t just send your email right after typing it.

Look it over again to make sure that nothing can get misinterpreted. Emails are hard to determine tone sometimes, so choose your words wisely. Read your email again, but think of it from an outsider’s perspective. Pretend you don’t know what your email is about, and read it with fresh eyes.

Use Spell-Check

For that matter, use grammar check if you need it, too.

You don’t want to look incompetent if there are misspelled words or grammatical mistakes. People will judge you on your wording, so be thoughtful.

Be Courteous

Use an opening and closing that is appropriate and kind. You want to build relationships through your writing.

The Email Basics

Here are the basic parts to a great email:

1. Subject line

Make sure your subject line matches the text of the letter so that your recipient can know right away what it’s about. Not only that, but when you are hunting for that email later, you will be able to find it quickly.

2. Greeting

Have a nice greeting and closing statement to set the tone.

3. Body

Keep it to a few sentences, rather than a novel. Keep it succinct and focused on what you want to communicate. Save the extra’s for later.

4. Closing

You will want to have a friendly closing, such as, “thank you,” “wishing you well,” “take care,” or other closings.

No matter what your message is, you will have a well-written email long as you follow these steps. After all, good communication is important no matter whom you are sending it to.

We welcome emails from all our customers, and we respond quickly to your questions and prospective jobs. Feel free to shoot us email today to get started on your next project.