Monday, November 23, 2020

The Flexibility and Significance of Today's Small Businesses


Greg Goetzman, 58, isn’t much of a gambler, but when COVID-19 sent people home in March, he placed his odds on a new small business model: assigning half his staff to work from home permanently.

With nearly 100 employees, this was a huge shift for the California-based financial consulting firm. Goetzman realized that success would hinge on his ability to carefully outfit employees with equipment and systems to seamlessly communicate. Team members appreciated the flexibility, and this large-scale investment is paying off:

“I haven’t seen a drop in work quality,” Goetzman said, “We are fortunate that our consultants are flexible and accustomed to working from different locations, therefore, they were prepared and there were no issues transitioning to working remotely.”

The novel coronavirus forced strategic business pivots and rapid innovation for many companies, but small businesses have certainly been forced to improvise. And that may be a good thing. Goetzman says that, while revenue is down slightly for the year, the overall workload is increasing. And the new business model will be tweaked as they go:

“We are changing the way we do business,” he said. “It’s going to be some blend of working from home and work from the office. We maybe had 20% of our employees working remotely before COVID. It’s closer to 100% now. I think we will end up somewhere in the middle of that.”

 

Four Remarkable Small Business Facts

While big business often dominates headlines, small businesses play a vital role in exporting products, creating jobs, and producing wealth for thousands of families.

Here are four remarkable facts about the big impact of small businesses:

1. Nearly all are small

Small businesses make up the vast majority of companies in America, comprising 99.9 percent of all firms.

Out of 32.5 million businesses, over 30 million are small!

2. Half are home-based

A home-based business may have activity outside of the home, but it is operated primarily from the home.

According to the SBA statistics, 50% of small businesses are home-based, including 60.1% of firms without paid employees. The most common type of these businesses is sole proprietorship.

3. Small Businesses are nimble

Small business stats show that most businesses in America have fewer than 500 employees.

Those businesses with fewer than 100 employees account for 98.2 percent, and those with fewer than 20 employees account for 89 percent of all businesses in the country.

This flexibility certainly helps the economy – according to the small business association, small companies create 1.5 million jobs annually and account for 64 percent of new jobs created each year.   

4. Many are greatly impacted by uncertainty

Small businesses are more vulnerable to change, especially when they are young.

Only 50% of small businesses last beyond five years, and during the pandemic, small firms have been hit particularly hard. Nearly 31% of small businesses in the U.S. are currently not operational, and 28 percent of small business owners say cash flow will be their biggest upcoming challenge.

 

Making People the Priority

This is a hard season to be an entrepreneur.

According to the National Association of Independent Business, more than half of small businesses could be in danger of failing if coronavirus-related restrictions continue, and more government aid isn’t forthcoming.

That’s one reason it is so important to prioritize individual connections and communication that takes place “off the screen.”

Goetzman says COVID-19 has prompted him to return to an old habit, writing appreciative letters to clients in longhand:

“It gets a personal message across in a way that an email or a phone call or a message may not,” he said. “It’s you taking the time to really give some deeper thought to the business relationship and what it means to you.”

Remember, we're here to help your small business succeed. Reach out to us today to get your personal message out to your audience through print.

 

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures   #PromotionalMerchandise  #FaceMasks   #BrandedApparel #ShopSmallBusiness

Monday, November 16, 2020

Chatter Matters: Use Talk Triggers to Spark Word of Mouth Marketing

 


When you choose a new book or movie, what influences your decision?

According to Nielsen, one of the most persuasive elements is a recommendation from your family and friends. Sixty-six percent of respondents said that, beyond the availability of a show or movie, the endorsement of others was the second biggest factor in their personal media selection.

Create Catalysts for Conversation

As social creatures, we trust the opinions of others. But did you know word-of-mouth marketing drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending and is estimated to account for 13% of consumer sales? That’s why word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM) is vital to your business success.

Traditionally, WOMM was spread from one person to another based on recommendations. But today, WOMM describes both targeted efforts and naturally occurring instances where users share their satisfaction with a brand. This means anything from print testimonials and oversized displays to live events and social media sharing can be used to get good gossip flowing.

But beyond great products and strong service, sometimes you need an extra catalyst to get people sharing. Unless a friend asks them for a recommendation, why would someone go out of their way to talk about your business? Because you made it so easy for them to do this! To be more intentional about sparking conversations, brainstorm how your brand can set up word-of-mouth “triggers.”

 

What is a Talk Trigger?

A talk trigger is a benefit, articulated with a story, that people will talk about when together. This means giving your customers something memorable, like an experience, thought, or feeling they rarely find elsewhere. Now people are almost forced to talk about you to others.

For the Cheesecake Factory, the talk trigger is its massive menu, which has hundreds of items and almost 6,000 words to describe them all. The menu didn’t just happen—it’s a strategic choice by the Cheesecake Factory that gets people talking. Marketing research shows that, due to the novelty of this product, 38% of Cheesecake Factory customers talked about the menu afterward being asked. The bizarre menu is a simple thing that encourages conversation and makes customers advocate for the brand.

Hosting an event? Don’t let opportunities for talk triggers pass you by! Perhaps you can host a “Meet the Speakers” reception, where featured guests also sign books, pose for selfies, and answer questions. Nothing is more “shareable” than an experience where guests are front-row participants.

Want to surprise and delight customers? When they register for an event or product, make the last question you ask something like, “what is your favorite kind of treat?” Give customers options like chocolate, flavored popcorn, or snack mixes and surprise them with a personalized, complimentary goodie when they come in for a service or an event.

 

Original, Unexpected, or Uniquely You

Every company can create a talk trigger – something remarkable, relevant to customers, and repeatable – so it can be offered consistently over time.

Need inspiration for creating your own talk triggers? Start by mapping the customer journey and identifying potential touchpoints or places for triggers. Then interview new customers and long-time loyalists to get their perspective on your brand. From here, have fun brainstorming! Create something original, unexpected, or uniquely you.

What can you do that your clients don’t see coming? That’s how you get them talking.

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.

#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #PromotionalMerchandise  #FaceMasks   #BrandedApparel

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Finish in Fine Form with Beautiful Varnish Coatings


 

Have you ever judged a book by its cover?

You’re not alone! First impressions are essential to how people judge a person, a product, or a business. And when you’re going for visual impact, research suggests visitors will form an impression in as little as 50 milliseconds!

Once you’ve invested all the hard work and planning into your print marketing materials, it is important to go the extra mile on quality.

Want a simple technique that beautifully enhances your impact and appeal? For a budget-friendly bonus, try adding a varnish!

 

Know Your Options

Just as varnish on a dresser or table protects the wood and gives it a nice finished look, the varnish used on printed pieces enhances their look and durability.

Adding a print varnish brings a transparent coating to your printed page. Varnish can add a unique, creative element to get that five-star appearance, so make sure you choose the one that best fits with the look and tone you’re trying to communicate.

 

Here are a few options to consider:

Dull

Also known as matte, this is very different from a varnish-like gloss.

A matte finish is best suited if your design contains a lot of text, as it will deflect light and glare. Using a dull varnish can be an excellent tool for improving readability on pages containing text. Although called dull, matte finishes scream sophistication. These varnish coatings are never overdone but carry a simple and stylish vibe.

 

Gloss

As its name indicates, this varnish is the diva of the bunch and gives a glossy type of appearance.

Gloss varnish makes colors look more saturated, and your design elements look crisper and sharper. It is perfect for printed pages containing items like photographs and graphics, adding a glare or shine to bring extra attention to the areas where it is applied. An overall gloss varnish will protect areas with heavy coverage from rubbing off and will keep your piece from scuffing.

 

Satin

Looking to strike a compromise?

Satin varnish is created by mixing gloss and matte varnishes and offers a moderate amount of shine. This option is ideal if you have a lot of photo and text combination pieces.

 

Spot Varnish

Want to highlight a certain section of your piece, so it leaps off the page?

Spot varnishes are a great way to maximize the contrast between matte and gloss surfaces. This technique allows you to apply varnish to an individual image or graphic on your printed piece (such as a logo or photo) while leaving the rest of the piece unvarnished.

 

Aqueous Coating

The most popular coating for printed material is aqueous coating.

Aqueous is a clear, water-based coating that is environmentally friendly. Since it is water-based, it is best used on papers with a text weight of 80# or heavier, so you do not end up with curling or wrinkles. Aqueous coating dries quicker than varnishes and makes it ideal for running inline on the press.

 

UV Varnish

A UV varnish is applied off-line and is cured with ultraviolet light.

This process gives the surface an exceptional gloss and rub resistance. A great example of the glossiness of UV Coating is sports trading cards. These have a UV coating on the photo side but no coating on the stat side. This coating is cured by passing under an ultraviolet light that quickly dries and hardens the coating, creating a high-level sheen but the greatest possible protection. UV coated elements in your piece will take center stage.

Want to add excitement and durability to your next print product? Give us a call to talk about varnish options today!

 

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures    #PromotionalMerchandise  #FaceMasks   #BrandedApparel

Monday, November 2, 2020

Leading in Stressful Situations



On January 15, 2009, US Airways flight 1549 ascended from LaGuardia Airport and had a chance encounter with an unexpected adversary.

Shortly after take-off, the Airbus struck a flock of Canadian geese. Flames exploded before an eerie silence, and an odor of fuel filled the cabin. Both engines had shut down, and Captain Chesley Sullenberger and his team tried unsuccessfully to restart them. After turning back toward LaGuardia, the pilots quickly realized their only option was an emergency water landing in the Hudson River.

As they passed less than 900 feet above the George Washington Bride, Sullenberger radioed the coast guard for assistance and barked “brace for impact!” Ninety seconds later, the plane crashed into the water with no bounce, followed by a gradual deceleration and a speedy deboarding. All 150 passengers were saved, and Sullenberger was the last to deplane after walking the cabin twice to ensure it was empty.

Later, the crew was presented with “keys to the city” by mayor Micheal Bloomberg, and the incident was dubbed “the miracle on the Hudson.”

 

Four Tips to Steady Your Nerve

Have you ever had a “falling-through-the-floor feeling” moment like this in your leadership?

Maybe it wasn’t a life or death experience, but most seasoned leaders regularly experience pressure. While these moments may tempt you to lash out in anger or duck and run, level-headed leaders make decisions that are rational, consistent, and upbeat.

Want to stay calm in the heat of the moment? Here are four steps to consider:

1. Conduct a Threat Assessment

When the alarm signals start to flash, it’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of “what if” statements: What if X? What if XYZ? 

Instead, step away from this panic-mode mentality and ask a simple question: “what kind of problem is this?” Here you can discern if something needs an immediate reaction, a team-based response, or a strategic, long-term plan.

2. Leverage Prior Experience

While you may not have faced this particular challenge before, you’ve probably been in a similar situation. 

Ask yourself, “When ____ happened before, how did we resolve it?” Even if you’ve only faced this scenario in training, tell yourself, “this is just a different version of a problem I’ve solved before.” Leveraging past experiences (and those of your close colleagues) can help you size up a challenge and rationally consider the threats at hand.

3. Focus on What You Can Control

When things get tough, it isn’t easy to stay positive. 

But an upbeat attitude is more than a rosy perspective; it’s actually a lifeline to breakthrough. One Navy-trained explosive specialist shared a story of a time he was defusing a mine underwater and got trapped, unable to move his hands or his feet. 

How did he move forward? With positive thinking: “I’m still breathing, so that’s good,” he told himself. “What else do I have that’s going for me?” 

The specialist realized that even if he could do one little thing to make something better, this was better than no control at all:

“If you can do another thing and then another thing, then you can have cascading positivity as opposed to spiraling negativity,” he said. “It’s really only an emergency if I can’t find a better solution.”

4. Plan Your Next Step

Even if you can’t see a way out, you can probably take one step forward. 

When you don’t have a solution, the secret to staying calm is to decide on a next step. This prevents an anxious gap from opening, where worry and speculation can flourish.  

Think in technical terms, ask for help, and take a baby step forward wherever possible. Focus on the process, not the outcome, and you’ll stay sharp in moments of crisis.

 

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Drive Exponential Growth Through Omnichannel Marketing

 


The more technology advances, the more it is integrated into our daily lives.

From customized print ads to apps that help you find the kitchen section in your favorite IKEA store, customers are no longer confined to a single channel or platform as they interact with a brand. And as entrepreneurs become increasingly responsive to individual customers' needs, the lines between what we do on- and offline will continue to blur.

 

Omnichannel Marketing in Action

An omnichannel experience is a multichannel approach to marketing, selling, and serving customers that unifies many mediums to work together.

Here your print marketing, onsite displays, mobile marketing, and testimonials all tell a consistent story while providing an integrated shopping experience. The focus is on building a stronger relationship between consumers and the brand by smoothing the customer experience, generating consistent content, and multiplying conversions.

What might this look like? The possibilities are as varied as your imagination! Here’s just one example from Coca-Cola:

According to the 2018 World Happiness Report, Romania ranks amongst the top 10 unhappiest countries in Europe.

To turn the Romanian’s attention to the country's overlooked positive news, Coca-Cola Romania launched an inspiring campaign with the hashtag #halffull and an innovative package.

The special bottle, full from the half up, displays positive news about Romania, and urges people to share their “half full story.” Two hundred bottles were sent to Romanian influencers, and the campaign appeared in contextual outdoor displays, social media videos, and websites.

Marketing manager Luliana Nedelcu said this:

“Optimism and positivity are the heart of the Coca-Cola brand, and what better way to launch a conversation about seeing the half full side than through Coca-Cola’s most iconic asset, the glass bottle? We believe this idea has the power to make a true impact, and the reactions and engagement with the campaign so far are a testament of its success.”

 

Customers on the Move

Why is omnichannel marketing so important?

Because today’s consumers are always on the move! For example:

  • 98% of Americans switch between devices on the same day
  • 71% of shoppers who use smartphones for research in-store say this has become an important part of their shopping experience
  • Today’s consumers average six touchpoints with a business before making a purchase, with nearly 50% regularly using more than four communication channels

The difference between multichannel and omnichannel marketing is small, but mastering omnichannel marketing can work wonders for your bottom line. 

Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates compared to businesses that don’t. And companies with robust omnichannel customer engagement see a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, combined with a 7.5% decrease in cost per contact.

 

Why Print Prompts Action

Weaving your print and digital marketing together is an integral part of the omnichannel approach.

Print continues as a catalyst to drive online research and buying practices, and it can spark interest at crucial points in your sales funnel. Data shows that 44 percent of customers visit a brand’s website after receiving direct mail marketing (10 percent more than people who visit landing pages after receiving an email). While under half of all consumers act on an email immediately, almost four out of every five customers will act on direct mail right away. And half of all consumers hold on to print marketing materials for future reference.

Ready to expand the role of print in your omnichannel marketing? We’re here to help you integrate the “moving parts” of your campaigns and point customers to their next best action!

 

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing   #publications #postcards #brochures  #PromotionalMerchandise   #BrandedApparel

Monday, October 12, 2020

Shout Your Brand Identity with Strategic, Clever Imagery

 

If a picture paints a thousand words, then brand imagery is one of the most dynamic means for communicating with your customers.

From stained-glass church windows to the world-renowned Nike swoosh, images add immediacy, power, and clarity to your ideas, with a transformative effect on a brand’s overall impact. Colors and graphic metaphors have surprising staying power, so it’s important to consider every element you include in your brand imagery.

 


 

Brand Identity vs. Brand Imagery

So, what is the difference between brand identity and brand imagery?

Brand identity is the image or character of your business as people relate to it. For example, the BMW image of elite luxury has grown naturally from customers’ repeated exposure to BMW’s ads, endorsements, and products.

Brand imagery is the aesthetic appearance of your brand’s core identity and messaging. This is a result of all the visuals that represent your brand’s identity. These visuals may include anything from billboards to print ads or website banners to product packaging. Great imagery goes beyond simple appearance; the idea is to connect the right messages with your target audience so that they will have strong feelings that prompt a response.

Choosing brand imagery isn’t rocket science, but it takes some careful planning. Before you start slapping images on the page, think about these foundational elements:

Consistent Photography

How do the best brands convey their identity? They use graphics consistent with their brand character.

Burt’s Bees, an international personal-care company, has focused its products on nature from day one. Whether it’s their infamous lip balms or their newer makeup line, Burt’s always sticks to this mantra: “Providing customers with the best nature has to offer.”

From their “Whoa, Natural” print ads to their “unfiltered” social media posts, every image they use has an element of nature. Sometimes it’s through an eye shadow pencil held against a background of trees, while in others, it’s a little bit of honey accompanying a facial scrub.

On-Brand Colors

While colors offer a great deal of flexibility, it helps to define larger color palettes that encompass your brand.

Since colors carry psychological weight, selecting color patterns in advance can help you convey the right emotions or moods. Start with identifying a base, accent, and neutral blend. Cohesive color schemes should be woven into your logo, store design, advertisements, and even uniforms, so choose carefully and have fun!

Viewer Perspective

The GoPro technology company is all about taking their cameras everywhere you go, no matter the journey.

GoPro photos scream adventure, with deep, natural blues or stunning orange reflections. But beyond the colors, many brand photos are taken from the perspective of the camera operator. For example, perhaps a landscape with bike handlebars in the perimeter or a shot of a pair of feet on the high dive as a viewer gazes down into an Olympic pool.

When you want to generate intense emotions, set your viewers in the driver’s seat as you put them behind the lens of the delightful experience you’re offering.

Authentic Messaging

Finally, it’s essential to ask whether your images are truthful.

Can you deliver on the experience you promise in your advertising? Aesthetic is important, but it’s not enough to win over an audience on its own. Brand loyalists will only arise when they see your brand imagery as authentic to the experience your business can bring.

Compelling Images Create Community

Successful brand imagery can build an internal narrative and external community, prompting customers not just to “buy” your product but to “buy into” to your brand image.

Finding images that perfectly represents your brand is more than a strategy, it’s an essential part of your identity. Spark consumer confidence and generational loyalty as you mobilize fantastic images to shout your identity in unique, inspiring ways.

 

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.

#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures  #printpowersamerica  #PromotionalMerchandise  #FaceMasks   #BrandedApparel

 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Unique Fold Options for Your Marketing Masterpiece

 

Looking to add some finishing flair to your next marketing piece?

Unique, eye-catching folds offer so much room to flex your creativity! When creating your next masterpiece, here are some fun print folds to consider:

Sliding Message Sleeve Mailers

To fuel engagement with your prospects, try a die-cut envelope that peaks through to a sleeve mailer inside.

Upon first glance, readers see one message or image. But when they slip the inner card out of the envelope, a brilliant reveal appears from the back panel.  

Accordion Folds

Accordion folds are great because they fold down small but hold a great deal of information.

Accordion folds resemble the letter “Z” and zig-zag back and forth, dividing a page into thirds (or even sixths!). Use them for brochures, mini-booklets, or sticker-sealed mailers. The average accordion-folded sheet includes two folds and six panels of design space (front and back). Make the most of your real estate with this flexible, engaging design.

Poster Folds with a Zip Strip

Looking to send something large in a pocket-sized package?

Try a zip strip opener with an inner package that unfolds to a unique shape or size. Whether the folded section is wide and narrow or opens as an iron-cross brochure, this small package blooms bright for a big, memorable impact.

Roll Folds

Rolls folds consist of four or more panels that roll into each other.

Also known as a barrel fold, this option is perfect when you have a considerable amount of content but you need to keep the finished product as compact as possible. Roll folds also spark curiosity and depth as you reveal a new message or theme with each opening panel.

Exotic Folds

Like intricate origami, exotic folds are non-standard, completely unique folds created to a designer’s specifications.

Though they can be expensive, exotic folds allow you to stretch the limits in unforgettable ways. From a flower-petaled postcard to a custom-printed folding box, these highly tailored pieces will give your media a fancy, luxurious edge.

Pop-up Folds

When you want to add extra dimension to your booklet or brochure, go 3D with a die-cut and fold technique that creates a pop-up feature from within.

Pop-up pieces should instantly pique customer interest with a direct focus on the product or service you are promoting. Examples might include:

  • A performing arts invitation that reveals a pop-out “stage” once the card is unfolded
  • A fold-over mailer or brochure designed to look like a briefcase, which springs open to deliver your unforgettable offer
  • An architect’s brochure that brings to life a 3D city skyline, with revitalized storefronts in the center

 

A Shape That Tells Your Story

No matter what fold or design you choose, remember your story should play the starring role.

Choose a focused narrative and weave it through your imagery, tabs, pullouts, pop-up text, or brochure copy. From fun folds to creative exterior packaging, great designs will blend all these elements to share your clever, cohesive story. 

Want to go a cut above the competition? Leverage your printed piece’s shape to add character or dimension people just won’t forget!

 

To contact Chuck Gherman for more information about how Printing Arts Press powered by PROforma can help organizations with their Marketing and Human Resource needs through promotion and print communications please visit www.printingartspress.com.


#print #directmail #marketing #mail #banners #publications #postcards #brochures  #printpowersamerica  #PromotionalMerchandise   #BrandedApparel