Print-on-Demand for faster, less costly printing…
During the last five years of slow economic growth, many businesses moved away from using print because of the false perception that new “internet” technologies were cheaper and more effective. While some internet technologies may seem cheap, they are frequently not very effective. However, since businesses still need to operate on a budget, the more important question is: Can you use print more effectively for your business – to better control costs, manage your brand, and drive up sales? For instance, consider using a “Print-on-Demand” storefront, also referred to as “Web-to-Print”. This highly valuable printing tool does several things to alleviate many of the problems businesses believe they face when it comes to marketing and advertising.
What is Print-on-Demand?
This term refers to a print ordering system that allows businesses and entrepreneurs alike to order exactly what they need when they want it. Envision.com refers to it as an “online print store” where people can order branded print materials in an automated experience at a typically lower price point. Orders can be smaller and in exact quantities to avoid waste. Web-to-print storefronts allow businesses to allocate marketing collateral without the need for bulk buying, warehouse storage, and other costly overhead.
Eco-Friendliness has more Merit in Print than Digital Media…
Over the past several years more and more email messages conclude with a statement that says something like: “Think about the environment before you print this message.” This statement is based on two specific claims that some businesses are making for their own benefit, but not because they are true. One claim is about digital transmissions and their Eco-friendliness, and the other is that electronic media are easily accessed and preferred by all.
Eco-friendliness: Paper vs. Electronic
Everyone wants to believe that moving into a more advanced electronic age will help to decrease our carbon footprint on the planet, and many are falsely led to believe that this will happen when we choose electronic media over print.
Direct Mail Can Grab Attention the Digital Media Can’t…
It may seem funny to discuss a topic that encourages the use of non-digital marketing through a digital medium, but reaching customers is central to business. Reaching customers, driving sales, and ultimately gaining new clientele is what marketing is all about — no matter where you are placing your message. But who does not want their message to be the most noticeable? This is where direct mail is superior.
Many “new media” marketers will tell you that printing, direct mail, and other forms of “traditional” advertising are a waste of time, but the numbers tell a different story. Using direct mail can give you an advantage over those companies who think the internet is the only way to advertise. Your business can relay a message to potential customers in a less cluttered, more noticeable environment called…the mailbox!
What many businesses fail to notice is that more emails are being generated than their customers can handle. According to Fox Small Business Center, the average household receives more than 150 emails a day – whose message can cut through that chatter? Meanwhile that same average household now only sees about two pieces of direct mail per day. There is potential to make a connection with consumers on a level that others simply cannot reach on the crowded internet.
Using Wide-Format Printing for Signage can Grab Attention…
Posters, signs, banners, window graphics, back-lit signs, art reproductions, and even things like architectural drafts and sketches are all types of “wide-format printing”; all are produced using special digital equipment that prints across a wide roll of paper or other material. A typical wide-format printer can produce a piece ranging in size from 17 to 100 inches in width and an unlimited length, opening up a world of possibilities — limited only by the imagination — in what can be printed.
This type of print is all around us in places people visit on a daily basis – in stores, restaurants, banks, trade shows, movie theaters, on buses, outdoor advertisements, as internal company communications – any place your potential audiences might pass by at any moment. What makes wide-format products unique, compared to traditional print pieces, is the ability to display them indoors or outdoors – lighted and unlighted. Many machines can print on a wide selection of materials including paper, vinyl, and canvas. The display location of the final piece will determine the most appropriate material to use.
Paper is Not the Cause of Deforestation…
Environmental sustainability is increasingly important in a world of limited resources. Whether or not you agree that the world is getting warmer or that man is the primary cause of it getting warmer, considering the environmental impact of business operations is important to most companies, especially when it comes to permanent deforestation around the world. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths that printing on paper is “bad” for the environment while using digital media is “good”.
False Facts about Paper and Digital Media
Even though we, as a society, have been pushed to believe that paper is the leading source of deforestation in the world, there is little evidence to back these claims up. In fact, most of these so-called claims are nothing more than one-sided marketing promoting other communication solutions through the use of emotional, but not factual appeals.
According to an article posted by Greenbiz.com, “[These appeals] play on the primordial human affection for trees to make us feel guilty or hypocritical by suggesting that the use of paper-based media despoiling nature and killing trees. In effect, the forced choice they present is go paperless or feel like a guilty hypocrite who kills trees.” This article also goes on to address the issue that the onslaught of ill-proved “facts” are over looking issues like high demands for energy for things like cell phones, computers, data-centers, and other energy-consuming items or government land-use decisions (aka urban sprawl) can be linked to much more directly to any deforestation in the United States. In the rest of the world, population growth and food farming are the dominant sources of deforestation.
Using Web-to-Print Sites Can Make Re-orders Easier…
Web-to-Print, also referred to Print-on-Demand, resources are making it easier for small and large businesses alike to print with faster turn-around times than ever before. These online capabilities reduce costs because they create a streamline process that knock out the need for a middleman for most projects. Many printers have set up extensive digital workflows that allow for significant automatic processing so that once you upload your file, your print project flows directly into production for delivery back to you in a few days.
These web based access points make it easier for businesses to create stunning pieces of marketing collateral easily, quickly and affordable by utilizing a single hub. These hubs range from generalized site easily accessed by single users to protected login sites customized to keep corporate branding and expenses private and controlled.
Why Fugitive Glue May be the Better Choice…
Over the past few years the United States Postal Service (USPS) has implemented several changes to the regulations for direct mail, ranging from sizing specifications, postage rates, and closure requirements for folded mail pieces. Theses changes will affect many aspects of your direct mailing efforts and may impact your design efforts negatively, especially if your choose to use wafer seals in lieu of fugitive glue to close your mail.
Changes to closure methods, in particular, can distinctly interfere with your marketing efforts since the regulations have increased the amount of seals needed pass USPS inspection. There are two common types of closures: translucent wafer seals (hazy, round, sticky tabs) and fugitive glue (clear, removable glue adhesive). Both will hold your mail closed and are accepted by the USPS, but with recent regulation changes, wafer seals can definitely interfere with the look of your mail piece.
eCommerce Print Buying is Making It Easier and Faster to Order Printed Marketing Collateral and Direct Mail…
First, a printed piece starts the same way that most digital marketing starts — with a design created in one of dozens of computer applications. From simple brochures designed in Microsoft Word or Publisher to complex designs created in page layout applications like Adobe InDesign, it is simple to design your printed brochure or mail piece. Also, many printers have design capabilities, in-house, so a simple phone call or email message can get the whole process started.
Second, once the brochure is designed, the digital file can simply be emailed to your printing company or uploaded to their website or used through a Web-to-Print portal. Resources like this are making it easier for small and large businesses alike to print in a faster turn-around time than before. These online capabilities have also reduced costs because they create a streamline process that knock out the need for a middleman on certain projects
Social Media Advertising could be Driving Away Your Customers…
Social media has become a major hub for connecting people of all ages. Facebook now has 1 billion accounts and Twitter is expected to have 1 billion users by the end of 2013. These exploding user-bases obviously make social media a very appealing place to advertise. As a result, these hubs for social connections have already become oversaturated with invasive marketing efforts by aggressive companies trying to grab consumer attention.
Consumers who use social media to connect to the people in their lives are developing a sense of animosity toward such companies, even those they traditionally patronized. In an article published on inc.com, survey results by Insight Strategy Group shows the significant – and growing – disapproval consumers have about social media marketing. In this survey 64% of people reported that they actually “hated” companies who find them through their personal social profiles, and 58% thought it was invasive when advertisers intruded on spaces meant for socializing. In short, the majority of people don’t want to be solicited where they are socializing with friends.