Monday, September 23, 2013

Connecting Your Brand With Your Customers

No business starts with the mission of becoming run of the mill and ordinary. But somewhere along the way, after the excitement wears off and the daily routines take over, some businesses seem to lose their way.

Running and managing a business isn't for the faint of heart.

But the reality is that the customers of today want more than just a product or service. They want an experience. Simple delivery of goods and services may bring a customer in, but it takes more effort to turn that buyer into a steady client who will come back often.

Businesses that provide a way for the customer to feel like they're part of something special (and maybe even a little extraordinary) attract the kind of clients who not only return themselves but also refer others to enjoy the same level of service they loved.

People have a way of flocking to businesses that give them this type of unexpected experience.

Who wants to go somewhere ordinary when they can experience a business that makes them feel wanted and special? Most people expect average, so when they find a business that goes above and beyond, they don't need prompting to refer others.

Being different and offering an experience in addition to products and services doesn't have to be difficult. It only requires that you stand apart from your competitors. Sometimes all that takes are some simple tweaks.

Going above and beyond might be as simple as the presentation you make when you deliver your products and services. The Apple iPhone is just a smartphone. However, from the product announcement down to the packaging, the stage is set that you're about to experience something extraordinary.

How can you package what you sell in a way that sets you apart?

When you give your customers the expectation that they're part of something special (a fun company that makes them feel exclusive), then you've gone from an ordinary company with a logo to a brand that connects with its clients.

Customers connect with brands that make them feel special. The revenue and profits flow naturally when you can achieve that level of branding.

Posted by Chuck Gherman

For more information about Printing Arts Press please visit

Monday, September 16, 2013

New Media and Print: Like Peanut Butter and Jelly?

Some self appointed experts proclaim there's a vast difference between the brave new digital world and more traditional media like print. Although there are obvious differences in the way messages are delivered, fundamentally there are more similarities than it may seem.

At the core, it all revolves around communication. We are still trying to communicate the same things:
  • Persuading recipients to open our communication
  • Encouraging people to read our relevant messages
  • Convincing our target market to believe the point we are trying to get across
  • Driving people to take action on our message

There's no denying that the Internet has changed how we communicate. However, it would be a mistake to believe that digital should completely replace message delivery methods like print. As studies have shown, most people trust print more than email and social media. Anyone can send out a tweet, blast an email, or publish a Facebook post, but only legitimate businesses will invest the time and necessary resources to create a print campaign.

According to a recent survey, conducted by consumer research service E-Poll Market Research, consumers trust traditional media brands exponentially more than social media brands as these sites are starting to wear thin with consumers.

It's interesting to note a recent trend with many online retailers and other Internet based businesses using print advertising to drive visitors and sales to their websites. Even Google uses direct mail. Online and print work well together when there's a solid strategy in place.

One of the unfortunate side effects of the digital age has been the exponential increase of spam and junk aimed at businesses and consumers. The low cost barrier to entry has encouraged irrelevant messages to fill in boxes and clog the Internet with useless information. It turns out there is a cost to free.

The other negative side effect of digital delivery and the Internet has been to give equal footing to the useless and the idiotic. This makes the job of having your messages stand out even more difficult.

Whether you're writing an email, a web page, or social media posts, it's a struggle to be seen and heard above the massive onslaught of junk and spam in the digital wasteland of today. Ironically, the new additional marketing mediums of today have made it much harder, not easier to get your message across.

A recent report from the Web service PageFair said that on average 22.7 percent of visitors to 220 Web sites were using ad blocking software, which automatically removes most ads from a Web page. Eyeo claims over 200 million downloads of the software since it started offering Adblock in 2011.

Despite the issues, digital is here to stay. But print is not going away either as Vogue Magazine had its second biggest September issue ever this year. And for the first half of 2013, print magazines remain strong but digital editions only account for a mere 3.3% average of the total circulation, according to Alliance for Audited Media. There are strengths for both mediums. Smart businesses and marketers know that for any campaign to work as well as it can, there must be a combination of print and digital. 

Using print and digital together is a lot like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Sure, you can have one without the other, but it tastes a lot better when you combine the two.

Posted by Chuck Gherman

For more information about how Printing Arts Press uses print and digital together please visit

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Boost Your Marketing With Postcards

You probably get at least a few postcards in your mail every day. Have you noticed that you always look at the front and usually flip them over, too? Postcards are incredibly hard to resist because there's something compelling about that small, stiff card stock.

Postcards are experiencing a revival as marketers are rediscovering the powerful impact postcards can deliver. What's so great about postcards? Postcards have several advantages over many other marketing channels.

  1. Postcards are less expensive to print.
  2. They don't require envelopes or other inserts.
  3. Postcards provide an instant visual connection with the recipient.
  4. The limited space for copy and graphics forces you to get to the point quickly.
  5. Recipients don't set them aside to read later, leading to instant reaction.
  6. Postage is often lower than with other forms of direct mail.
  7. Postcards are great for personalization (with variable data printing - VDP).
  8. Postcards work very well in driving website traffic.
  9. Postcards are fantastic to use in a series sent over time to educate, engage, and drive sales.
  10. Graphics and copy are easier to create.
  11. Postcards work well for both short-run and larger-volume orders.
  12. Postcards make great appointment reminders, thank you notes, and follow-up cards.

Think of postcards as mobile mini billboards. They get your message across and can travel at very economical rates.

Of course, postcards do have some limitations. They're obviously not great for any type of promotion or campaign that needs lots of space for copy due to the size limitation. It's also not easy to generate direct sales with a postcard campaign. However, postcards are fantastic for creating awareness and generating sales leads. In fact, it's hard to beat postcards for economical lead generation campaigns.

Postcard Creativity

Postcards can be created in traditional sizes, as well larger sheet sizes. They can be die-cut with custom-size shapes in order to stand out and create attention. Postcards can be made from very thick card stocks, laminated, and even made from plastic stock. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Using Postcards

Direct mail is only one way to use this powerful marketing tool. You can also include postcards as part of a media or brand identity kit; as a promotional handout at trade shows and networking events; and as part of a sales letter insert.

Parents prefer Print Advertising for back to School promotions

When more than 12,000 U.S study participants (all smartphone users with at last one child) were asked which ways they prefer to receive back to school promotions, 46.3% said “print ads,” followed by “direct mail” (41.3%)  far ahead of social media (21.2%).*

The Resilience of Print 

As stated by MediaPost, “the resilience of print, both in ads and in direct mail, strongly suggests the importance of cross platform marketing plans for retailers. It also reminds everyone to keep emerging platforms in perspective. Consumers are omnichannel shoppers now. True, about 2 in 5 back to school shoppers planned to use their smartphones to compare prices while in store, the survey says, but that activity is just part of a more subtle multi-screen and traditional consideration cycle.” *

Marketing Takeaway

The humble postcard is a powerful counter measure to digital marketing. As more people are turned off by spam emails and other digital waste, they're paying more attention to postcards. Postcards have a higher read rate than many other marketing mediums because they are easier to digest quickly.

Postcards have a place in your marketing campaigns. If you use eye-catching, powerful design in addition to strong, to the point copy, combined with a call to action, there's a great chance your target audience will respond the way you'd like when you use postcard marketing.

*Sources: Placed, Back to School Shopping: 2013 Trends, accessed Aug. 26, 2013 and MediaPost, Print Preferred: Back To School Shoppers Want Analog Ads, Too, Aug. 26, 2013.

Posted by Chuck Gherman

For more information about Printing Arts Press please visit