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The Power of Print

by: Neil Potter on

Business is done differently today because of the internet. But having a website presence alone will not automatically attract visitors and enquiries to your business.

So what can you do to engage with customers? Utilising tactile marketing like Print, creates a stronger bond with customers and prospects than digital outreach alone.

That’s maybe why the online component of a campaign pays back 62% more when there is print in the mix*.

Leaflets, Brochures, Mailers and Postcards provide a direct method to promote your business. They start conversations and deliver a return on your marketing investment.

That’s the Power of Print.
That's the Power of Print.

That’s the Power of Print.

You have 3 seconds to engage your audience - Use them wisely

by: Neil Potter on

It’s all about first impressions.

In three seconds, your potential customer will decide whether to commit to reading what you have to say or to spend their time doing something else entirely.

Increase your chances of engaging with your audience by using bold metallic foil decorations or eye catching glossy highlights. Catch their eye, draw them in, who knows what it might lead to…

That’s the Power of Print.

Work your Business cards harder

by: Neil Potter on

Don’t just plonk on a logo and contact details.
Think of your cards as a “micro brochure” and follow these tips…

1. Use the reverse -€“ it’s crying out for attention.

2. Pop a map and directions on the back.

3. Ask a direct question that only you can answer.

4. Add a QR code that link to your website.

5. Splash up a striking image of your products.

7. Leave them in restaurants.

8. Stick them up on noticeboards in stores.

9. Stick them inside magazines at the dentist.

10. Give two at a time -€“ one for them, and one for a friend.

Business Cards

Marketing Matchmaker

by: Neil Potter on

How do you choose between online and offline marketing activities when working out your marketing plan? The answer is simple: A combination of both will work better than one by itself.

Online and offline marketing activities both have their own individual benefits, but communicating with your customers in more than one way is the best option for getting the most return on your marketing investment.

Like all the best couples; ‘Wills & Kate’, ‘Brangelina’, ‘Kimye’, your marketing activities can have more impact when combined with a complementary partner.

Introducing the ‘Marketing Matchmaker’. A simple guide to help you determine which activities go hand in hand. This month, we have three online contenders all looking for their offline marketing match.

Eight deadly sins of digital marketing

by: Neil Potter on

1. Jumping on the latest fad just because it's more exciting than the other stuff.

This happens all the time. There will always be significant pressure from your peers and marketing publications to be the first on the new band wagon, to be more innovative, to push the envelope. It's your job to steer your colleagues to the right technology for your business. Don't waste money on things that look shiny but fail to deliver tangible business benefit - current and future employers will thank you. That's not to say you can't be adventurous, just make an informed decision.

2. Thinking digital is the cure for all your problems.

A technology solution isn't always the right solution. Think about people, process and any other P which springs to mind. Other options may be cheaper and more effective than turning straight to tech.

3. Underestimating the complexity of significant digital projects.

Everyone has a website, how hard can it be?! If you hear anyone say this, run while you have the chance. Building a decent business website from scratch, or performing a major update will be really tough, so don't expect otherwise. Ensuring senior management understand the need to take your project seriously and fund it adequately will be a major step in the right direction.

4. Not building measurement into everything you do.

One of the best things about digital is the ability to quickly learn what works for you, but you can only do this if you take measurement seriously. Budget for metrics and reporting with every campaign or you'll struggle to demonstrate your value.

5. Assuming things will take off naturally.

You see so many innovative ideas sit quietly gathering dust. Ensure your app, gizmo, video, widget, game is properly integrated into your communications strategy, otherwise nobody will find it and it won't get used. Word of mouth will only take you so far.

6. Relying on agencies or other third parties for all technical expertise.

They'll lead you up the garden path. Having a relationship based on trust is a beautiful thing, but you would be naive to believe your  agency has only your best interests at heart. Ensure your internal team have a decent grounding in the fundamental disciplines of digital, not just the snazzy front end bits. If not, you'll be convinced to invest in things you don't really need.

7. Creating social entities without long term commitment.

Social means people, and people, not technology are the bedrock of every social strategy. There's nothing worse than looking at a business Facebook page to find it hasn't been updated for months, or asking a question which is left unanswered. Once you move into social media, there's no going back, so ensure you have budgets and people in place to maintain the online conversation.

8. Prioritising data capture over conversion.

Everyone has targets to make, but prioritising a potential customer in a database over a conversion to an actual customer right now is a major sin. Create short forms, not long ones - you always can fill in the blanks later. Have a good chat to your database marketing team and ensure they have their heart in the right place.

Bonus sin - using animated page turning online brochures.

Don't do it, ever! There is no circumstance where this is ok. Put these in the bin next to music on websites. They're not premium, your customers won't find them amusing, they're not accessible, no good for printing or SEO, and difficult to translate. They rarely can be used without third party software or an internet connection. Don't pretend the web is another medium, it's pretty good as one already.

10 ways your SME can get the most out of social media

by: Neil Potter on

Are you getting the results you want?
1. Create an editorial calendar. Make a plan of events to write about. Could you relate your SME to Euro 2016 or the Olympics to create extra buzz?
2. Try the 80/20 principle. Twitter says 80% of company posts should drive interaction like retweeting and shares. Only 20% of output should directly promote.

3. Use eye-catching images. According to Stone Temple, images can increase the number of retweets you get fourfold.

4. Choose the best times. Peak time to tweet is 12-1pm worldwide. Avoid, as your message will get bumped from feeds quicker.

5. Have a designated social media expert. Ensures a consistent tone of voice. Putting someone in charge of your online brand persona needs careful consideration.
6. Hold Q&As with followers. Have some answers prepared in advance and use a specific Q&A hashtag.

7. Test what’s working. Software like Google Analytics shows how text, images or links affect traffic.

8. Geo-locate new customers. Social networks enable you to physically locate existing and potential new customers.

9. Launch a competition. Buffer says 35% of people ‘like’ Facebook pages just to enter competitions.

10. Tell a story. A series of messages leading up to a big event is great drama – creating a beginning, middle and end to a campaign.

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The role of the marketing manager

by: Neil Potter on

For most businesses, there are several different organisational approaches to marketing. The duty may lie with a single member of the team, or it could be a group responsibility. The great thing about a small team is the ability to quickly instill a marketing led ethos which can become the operational soul of your business. Larger companies may require more work!

Depending on budget availability and the skills of the team, you may choose to outsource certain elements of the marketing process (such as market research) or decide to do these jobs in-house. Key responsibilities of the marketing manager / director vary according to the business but can include:

  • Instilling a marketing led ethos throughout the business
  • Researching and reporting on external opportunities
  • Understanding current and potential customers
  • Managing the customer journey (customer relationship management)
  • Developing the marketing strategy and plan
  • Management of the marketing mix
  • Managing agencies
  • Measuring success
  • Managing budgets
  • Ensuring timely delivery
  • Writing copy
  • Approving images
  • Developing guidelines
  • Making customer focused decisions

The marketing role can be diverse or focused but now we'll elaborate further on some key aspects which should be at the heart of the job.

Market research

Marketing managers need to have a good knowledge of the customer. This means building up an accurate picture using the resources that are available. It is important to take personal opinion out of as many decisions as possible – you probably don't think in the same way as a typical customer. Information can be gathered from questionnaires, focus groups, the internet, interviews, buying habits and many more sources, but it's important that the information is examined in a scientific way using proper statistical methods. Gut feel can only take your business so far.

Development of marketing strategy and plan

Marketing planning should be at the core to any business and is usually presented in the form of a written marketing plan. A consultant called Paul Smith first developed a process known as SOSTAC® which is a useful model used to structure a marketing plan. SOSTAC is an acronym for the following elements of the plan:

Situation Analysis – where are we now?
Objectives – what do you want to achieve?
Strategy – how are you going to get there? 
Tactics - what are the details of the strategy?
Actions – who is going to do what, and by when?
Controls – how are you going to measure success?

SOSTAC® is a registered trade mark of PR Smith

The marketing plan should provide direction for all relevant members of the organization and should be referred to and updated throughout the year. The main reason for the marketing plan is that it provides a structured approach that forces the marketing manager to consider all the relevant elements of the planning process which might be missed if a more rushed approach is adopted.

Management of the marketing mix

The marketing mix includes all tangible elements that allow you to market your product. This includes facilities, your employees, the product itself, the cost strategy, the process of selling, and how you promote and advertise. The extent to which the marketing manager gets involved in these elements depends on how marketing focused your business is. A product focused organization will probably start with an ides for a new product, then try and determine who is likely to buy it. A marketing focused business starts with the consumer and tried to figure out what they want to buy. Some product focused businesses are very successful but it is generally accepted that a marketing focus provides a greater chance of success.

Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer relationship management is the process of communicating with customers throughout the various stages of the purchasing process, and this includes people who have already bought from you. It is significantly easier to hold on to an existing customer than it is to find new ones, but doing this requires all elements of the marketing mix to be run well. For example, it's no use sending out a beautifully produced customer magazine if your customer service is dreadful or the product breaks easily.

Managing agencies

It is unlikely that a small business will have the skills in-house to develop all elements of the marketing mix. Websites, brochures, and other promotional items will usually involve some form of outsourced help such as graphic design or printing. Careful management of these agencies is essential to provide an integrated marketing approach to promotion. Agency management involves the development of detailed project briefs, signing off creative work and ensuring the work is delivered on time. Depending on the volume of work which is outsourced, you may feel it is worth developing some guidelines to ensure a consistent style across different media.

Measuring success

An important element of the marketing manager's role which is often neglected is the process of collecting and analysing data on success. This can take the form of website hits, sales figures, market share data, customer satisfaction or many other metrics and it's important to record and track these as a core part of the marketing process.

Final words

Marketing managers have a diverse and varied job, and promotion should just be one element of the scope. Championing a marketing focussed business structure will provide a greater chance of success in today's challenging business environment and will lead to a more sustainable future.

5 tips for perfect Embossed Business Cards

by: on

Embossing is a technique that creates a raised or indented pattern on your business card. We turn the text, pattern, shape or logo that you want embossing into a metal die that gets pushed into your card to leave an impression. Not all elements are suitable for embossing so here are our tips for getting the best from embossed business card printing.

  1. Embossing looks best when is is used as a separate design element. Don’t use embossing precisely positioned over printed elements such as logos, this may produce disappointing results as the embossed effect will not be particularly visible to the eye.
  2. Don’t go too thin. Patterns with shapes thicker than 1mm will always produce the best results, go finer than that and you may find your lines disappear in the card.
  3. Be bold. Make an impact with large text spelling out your company name or slogan. We don’t recommend embossing small text as it will be difficult for the reader to see. Avoid fonts with small fine serifs. Embossing can make text look smaller than usual so you may want to go a few sizes bigger.
  4. Don’t forget about the reverse. Anything you emboss on to the front of your business cards will be debossed on the reverse so be make sure that it doesn’t go over any fine text or important details. Where possible, try and encompass the debossed shape into the design.
  5. Create contrast with colour. Stick to one or two colours for the printed text on your embossed business cards to give them a modern and sophisticated look. Keep your colour scheme consistent throughout your marketing (stationery, leaflets, website) to develop a professional image of yourself.

7 Savvy Uses for Folding Business Cards

by: on

Your business card is your number 1 marketing tool and many peoples first introduction to your business. Make the most of the extra space on a folding business card and your customers will keep it in their wallet or purse and will always have your information at their fingertips. Here’s some ideas on how to utilise the space effectively.

Offers and Discounts
Folding business cards have plenty of space to include your contact details and a special offer or promotion €“ Free consultation, 25% off your first order or buy one get one free.

Price Lists
A handy pocket size list of your services and prices will ensure your customers keep them close to hand, give them out two at a time, one for them and one to give to a friend – ask for a referral.

Mini Portfolio
A picture speaks a thousand words €“ use the extra space to include enticing product shots, show off your artwork or display your staff’s beaming smiles. You could also add your best customer testimonials.

Show off your venue in full colour with smart photos that way they instantly recognise that they’re in the right place when they come to visit. Picture cards get attention and look great in high definition full colour.

Location Map
Just moved? Premises just off the beaten track? Make it easy for your customers to find you by adding a helpful map and directions. You could also include nearby bus routes, train stations or local landmarks.

Loyalty Card
Everybody loves getting something for free and your customers are no exception. Record with a stamp or pen on the business card after every purchase and reward your customers to keep them coming back.

Appointment Cards
Sick of clients missing their appointments? Use the inside of the card to fill in your client’s next appointment so they never miss a date, now they’ve got their appointment and your contact details at hand.

For more advice or design ideas, get in touch with your local printing.com full service studio.

Folding Business CardsFolding Business Cards

Give your marketing instant impact with Postcards

by: on

Postcards are perfect for Direct Mail

POSTCARDS are a proven direct marketing tool. The beautiful thing about postcards is that the recipient can’t avoid reading your message. Whether you’re mailing them, handing them out in the street or selling them, there’s nothing quite like a glossy postcard.

Follow these tips and join the thousands of different businesses who use postcards to great success…

Don’€™t waste time, folding, stuffing and licking envelopes. Postcard + address label + stamp = easy!

Whether mailing existing customers or new prospects, the quality of your list will determine the success. Your beautifully crafted message is useless if it arrives in the wrong in-box or lands on the wrong desk. Out of date data can also mean that you waste money sending information to people who have since moved on. Refine your data for a more targeted campaign.

Why are you contacting them? Think of a powerful, limited-time offer and make it hard for them to refuse.

Keep it brief. Write a clear, punchy headline which tells your message without confusing (we can help). You’ll get a better response if you make your Postcards look like a personal message rather than a sales promotion.

Use a strong image or headline and our high-impact, high-gloss lamination will add emphasis.

Even people screening their mail over a recycling bin can’t choose to ignore the message on your postcard.

Give them a call to action. What do you want them to do next. Phone? Email? Visit? Tell them! Really spell it out: €œcall this number€, €œfill out this form€ or €œscan this QR code€.

When is a Postcards not a postcard?
When you use them as…

• Comment Cards

• Refer-A-Friend Forms

• Mailers

• Surveys

• Feedback Forms

• Competition

• Price Lists

• Product Specs