Saturday, February 27, 2021

How to Double Your Sales with Successful Catalog Marketing


Do printed catalogs still work?

The Harvard Business Review (HBR) worked with a U.S. based specialty jewelry company to find out.

This e-commerce retailer (which had no physical store presence) typically generated an annual operating profit of $12 million, with a database of approximately 28,000 customers. This company partnered with HBR to study the impacts of bi-monthly print catalogs through field experiments involving 30% of its customers over a span of six months.

Of those customers, 5% received neither email nor catalogs, 55% received a weekly marketing email, and 40% received the new bi-monthly catalogs in addition to the weekly email marketing. Over 90% of photos and product descriptions were the same between emails and catalogs to control the content's effects.

The results were impressive. Compared to the Control group, the “Email + catalog” group experienced a 49% lift in sales and a 125% lift in inquiries. In comparison, the “Email-only” group only had a 28% increase in sales and a 77% lift in inquiries over the control group; the sales and inquiry lifts from catalogs almost doubled those generated by email marketing!

Furthermore, of those customers that received the catalogs and made inquiries, 90% said they had browsed through the catalogs and kept them for an average of seven days.


Using Hard Copy Catalogs in Your Omnichannel Marketing

Catalogs are here to stay, and companies like L.L. Bean, Ikea, J. Crew, and Athleta continue to dominate sales by distributing printed catalogs.

The simple fact of the matter is that buyers don’t want to connect with brands exclusively online. Yes, the stats show that the number of people researching and shopping online versus in-store continues to grow.

But many buyers purchase online because they’ve seen something marketed through a printed medium. According to BRAND United, around 86% of shoppers buy an item online after looking at it in a printed catalog first.


5 Ways to Keep Your Campaign on Track

If you are considering catalog marketing, here are some suggestions to get you started.


1. Conduct Market Research

Study your current customers and make a note of gender, geographic location, and the strategic personas you’d like to target.

Match the items you want to sell with the target audience you want to reach.


2. Create Campaign Goals

These goals should be measurable, clear, and realistic – like driving customers to a retail location, increasing “product of the month” sales online, or growing your subscription base.


3. Develop Your Story

Catalogs don’t share information; they sell stories!

Your piece should invite prospects into a story that helps them visualize their “ideal self.” And remember, when people are heavily invested in a bigger financial commitment, they need narratives that justify this expense (like, “you deserve something delectable”). Work hard to set their conscience at ease, and you will be rewarded with loyalty and sales.


4. Stay Focused

Continue to send your catalog to existing customers to reinforce the idea that you have the products they want.

In addition, mail your catalog to individuals who fit the description of your target customer.


5. Connect Timelines and Expectations

Create a schedule and execute the campaign.

By using a schedule, you can see if you are achieving the benchmarks you’ve articulated. You can measure the outcome by having customers refer to catalog codes, measuring the number of new accounts generated, or conducting surveys.


A One-Two Punch

Direct mail meets customers where they live, and catalogs are a long-standing customer favorite.

Want to explore catalog marketing options for your business? Give us a call today or hop online for a free estimate!

To contact Chuck Gherman, Theresa Kauser or Veronica Carter 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

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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Simply Irresistible: Best Practices for Writing Compelling Lead Magnets

Have you ever made an impulse buy at the grocery store? Or been drawn to an online store that you knew was probably fakey clickbait?

Sometimes, when the right offer hits you at just the right moment, it seems impossible to resist! And they don’t call this “magnetic” appeal for nothing.

In marketing, Magnets are an effective technique for gaining a prospect's contact information and/or drawing them into your sales funnel. Sometimes called lead generation, this process of stimulating and capturing interest (to develop a sales pipeline) allows you to nurture a lead until they are ready to buy. 

Sounds easy enough, right? But how do you build this curiosity or engagement with your target audience? According to Hubspot, about 63 percent of businesses believe their biggest marketing challenges relate to generating traffic and leads, and 60 percent of marketers say lead generation is a key pain point for their company. Leads typically hear from a business after they receive and respond to some type of content, and knowing where to build this bridge can be a challenge.

Looking for some ways to engage your next VIP customer? Here are five time-tested options to consider:

Provide a Free Onsite Course or Webinar

People love information.

And giving it away for free is bound to create a sense of reciprocity with your prospects because humans naturally want to respond when something has been given to them.

Look for a point of need in your prospective customers and offer them valuable information in a podcast, an in-person event, or a consultation, and people will jump right in!


Compile Case Studies and Reports

Insider information about a company’s sector is always valuable.

This may be a quarterly white paper (like a comprehensive guide on the latest technology or trends in your industry) or a case studying outlining the benefits of certain methods, products, etc. Trade this information for your prospects’ contact information, or send a flyer with the introduction but release the full content only if people sign up to receive it.


Offer a Demonstration or Free Trial

A good way to secure customers is to give them a way to try your service or product without cost; or receive a free quote from your team.

Mailed postcards or website promo codes are an effortless way to get this offer in front of them.


Promote Contests and Free Products

A no-fail way to generate leads is to make generosity fun.

You can offer a free product, a BOGO offer or bundle promotion, or even a monthly drawing for a goodie bag of some kind. The more creative the offer, the better!


The Road to Opportunity

No matter what magnet you use, your lead generator should:

  • Position you as the guide. (Share empathy and authority as one who can help solve their problem.)
  • Stake claim to your territory. (Differentiate yourself from competitors and share unique knowledge in key areas.)
  • Qualify your audience. (Speak to the specific audience you are trying to reach with a succinct, irresistible headline.)
  • Create trust by solving a problem. (Even though your product should be the ultimate solution to their problem, your lead generator should provide an immediate benefit too.)

When you implement a lead generation program, you increase brand awareness, build relationships, generate qualified leads, and ultimately close deals.

And the better your leads are, the more successful your sales will be!

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

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

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Tell a Beautiful Story with Five Design Principles

Did you know that 90% of the information processed by your brain is visual?

Design is powerful.

It takes only 13 milliseconds for the human brain to process an image, and 80% of people will remember the visuals they see. In today’s generation, audiences demand short, highly-visual content, and coordinating your design elements is the best way to tell a rich, compelling story.

Knowing this is one thing, but making it happen is another. As a design novice, watching a graphic artist work can be a mystifying experience. How do they know which colors to use? Why do those fonts look so good together? How are these images evoking such an emotional response?

While there are no right or wrong answers in design, basic principles can transform one person’s coloring page into another person’s masterpiece.

Check out principles like these to elevate your designs from good to GREAT.

1. Emphasis

The principle of emphasis demands you ask one question: what is the first piece of information I need people to know?

Like building without a blueprint, starting your publication without a clear idea of your message structure will bring a muddy result.


2. Proportion

Proportion helps you group your design in sections, like consolidating elements by size, amount, or numbers.

Whether it’s columns in a magazine, sidebars on a poster, or pull quotes in a newsletter, proportion communicates importance and helps the brain decode information.


3. Contrast

What do people mean when they say a design really “pops?”

Contrast refers to obvious differences on a page. Contrast attracts the eye, organizes information, and guides the reader. Contrast can be created with varying font pairings or line weights, extreme color differences, and graphics that display opposites. You can contrast a smooth texture with a rough texture, curves with sharp edges, a horizontal image with a vertical one, or widely spread lines with closely packed ones.

For contrast to be effective, it must be strong. Go big! (Think red sneakers with a black tuxedo.) If you are putting two elements on the page that are not the same, they should not be similar. If the items are not exactly the same, make them very different.


4. White Space

White space (or negative, empty space) is the only element that specifically deals with what you don’t add to a design.

Like one diamond set on a stone, white spaces give designs room to breathe and make mediocre images seem more luxurious.


5. Movement

Movement refers to the way an eye travels over a design.

Just like a musician reads notes on a staff, a reader should follow a visual journey through your design. For viewers to engage, they must have a path to follow, so try to tell a “visual story” with a beginning, middle, and end.

To move people through your piece, start with a focal point and then move eyes through the page with subheadings, text boxes, line patterns, etc. Use bright colors to grab attention, jagged lines to build excitement, curves to slow people down, or patterns to guide your viewers. 


First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

While there is no right or wrong design method, principles like these keep visuals stable and cohesive while allowing for movement, unity, and excitement.

Want your first impression to be your best impression? Through the planning, design, and review process, we’re here for you. Whether you’re creating a template or need start-to-finish graphic design, we’re ready to consult, create, and help you bring your best ideas to life in 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

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Thursday, February 11, 2021

5 Keys to Crafting a Dynamic Sales Appeal



Slack, one of the most popular business communication platforms, was originally born out of a web-based game called Glitch.

As Glitch developed, the company building the game realized communication was paramount to its success. The Glitch Team, tired of firing emails back and forth, built a more efficient communication tool based on channels. Though Glitch eventually failed, the mechanism behind the product soared.

Slack took form, and with it came one of the best sales appeals of all time: “Slack replaces email.”

Successful? Absolutely. Slack’s products and marketing have led this company to a $7.1 billion valuation achieved in just five years.


Crafting Your Key Sales Appeal

Slack proves that clarifying your message will help you make money.

Your product or company may have many features that impress buyers, but successful marketing focuses on one central sales appeal. Why? Because when you emphasize everything, you emphasize nothing. Today’s buyers are overwhelmed with options, so they need to understand what makes you different from your competitors quickly, or they’ll disengage altogether.

When you want to stand tall among competitors, a unique selling proposition (USP) sets you apart from others and clarifies the reason customers should buy from you and you alone. Why should customers choose you? What makes your product or company different?

It's your "competitive edge." It's the reason why customers buy from you, and you alone.

When you highlight one key point – your USP – and drive it home, again and again, it sticks in the reader’s mind. If you have any doubt, see if these USP slogans jog your memory:

  -- 15 minutes could save you 15% on car insurance

  -- Don’t just fly, fly better

  -- When you care enough to send the very best

  -- The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand.

  -- It’s the breakfast for champions


5 Criteria to Guide Your Creativity

To build your USP, you’ll need to zero in on a key sales appeal.

This is the benefit that is most important to your target audience. If they are primarily concerned with cost, your sales appeal should focus on saving money. If readers are more concerned with performance, your USP may be speed, durability, or reliability.

Once you’ve isolated a key sales feature, evaluate your USP using these criteria:

  1. The USP needs to be unique.

  2. The offer needs to be desirable.

  3. The sales appeal needs to be short enough to fit into a single sentence.

  4. The language needs to be clear and specific.

  5. The offer needs a little spice

Of course, your offer should be catchy, but dynamic USPs go a step above.

A USP has the spicy factor when it’s really memorable, when it makes you smile, or when it has emotional appeal and speaks directly to your own experience.


Test and Tweak Your Message

How do you know which USP is most important to your customers?

Through testing! This may include basic market research (like focus groups or marketing surveys), but you may prefer to perform sample A/B testing on various groups. For example, you could use two separate sales letters or post two different social media ads, each with a different USP. If one outperforms another, you have instant feedback to build upon.

Remember, you can always learn which sales appeal works best through a simple direct-mail test. Try a series of mailings, each piece highlighting a different USP, and take your results to the bank.

Make it loud and clear why your product is better than your competitors, and you’ll convert prospects into customers in short order.


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

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

Monday, February 1, 2021

3 Pandemic Customer Service Stories to Make You Smile


When you love a company, you go out of your way to recommend it to friends.

You take pride in its products, and you hope others will love them as much as you do. And whether you’re willing to admit it, your emotions prompt you to purchase more freely and more frequently than you probably should.

It’s hard to love a business – but it’s easy to love the people behind the business. And that usually starts with rock-solid customer service.


When the Tough Gets Going . . .

Providing stellar service isn’t so hard – unless you’re overworked, dealing with a cranky client, or stressed by factors beyond your control.

When conditions are perfect, it’s easy to be awesome. But that’s not actually when it matters! When circumstances are challenging, and things get tough, that’s when those customer service STARS really start to shine.

As the world has faced several crisis moments in the last year, many companies and employees stepped up to deliver grand slam service. Here are just three examples of people who went above and beyond during COVID-19.

When libraries around the country closed due to COVID-19, book-lovers, especially children, were heartbroken.


Librarians to the Rescue

But librarians in Utah, including Lauren Tolman, found a way to brighten their customers’ days.

They carefully found and cleaned each book customers requested and then dressed up as famous characters, ranging from Harry Potter to Wonder Woman, to deliver books to customers’ cars, along with games and stickers to keep kids happy and busy. 


One All-Star Agent

As hotels closed and commercial flights were canceled worldwide, a family got stuck in the Dominican Republic.

They frantically called their travel agent at Virtuoso, who looked into every possibility of getting them home. The travel agent finally contacted a private jet company, which was able to pick up the family just seven hours after the hotel had notified the family of the shutdown. As a bonus, the travel agent event got the family a credit for the unused portion of their stay. 


The Selfless Medicine Man

Connecticut pharmacist Manan Dave has been working long hours during the pandemic, but that doesn’t stop him from reaching out to all his customers.

After clocking out at the pharmacy, he delivers medicine to customers who can’t leave their homes and brings hand sanitizer and other medical supplies to local nursing homes and assisted living communities. He takes his role seriously to help others get and stay healthy. 


Engaged Customers Keep Coming Back

Brands are more than the products they sell; they are an embodiment of ideas and values that connect real people.

While you may not be able to charter a private jet, what you can do is listen! Seventy percent of customers say they will continue to business with you if you resolve their complaint, and a whopping 95 percent will do so if you can resolve their problem immediately. And recent data shows that 81 percent of companies with excellent service records are outperforming their competition.

Training employees to spend more time with people may seem like a productivity killer, but it pays off in the long run. Emotional connections with a company are a strong predictor of whether someone will continue as a customer for years to come.

Regardless of price or convenience, engaged customers just keep coming back!

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

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Build a Positive Outlook with Non-Traditional Resolutions

Ready for some resolutions?

(Or are you still reeling from roadblocks that wrecked 2020’s good intentions?)

Don’t get discouraged! We all hit speed bumps from time to time. And honestly, that’s ok. That’s real life.

Even if 2020 derailed your best-laid plans, it’s important to look ahead with hope. You only have one life to live, and time slips away faster each year. Having goals is essential to living intentionally, and this is even more crucial when routines are disrupted, and life gets messy.

So why not give that drawing board another go?


Exchanging Materialism for Practicality

2021 is definitely not business as usual.

Seven in 10 Americans say they are tossing their materialistic goals for resolutions that focus more on life skills or practical habits.

A recent survey found that 62 percent of people plan to save money for the future, and 50 percent want to learn a new skill. The survey also revealed 68 percent wanted to focus more on experiences, like spending more time with their family and traveling more. Nearly 6 in 10 respondents also said their 2021 resolution is to have a more positive outlook on life.

But the road to destruction is paved with good intentions. And a resolution without a plan is just wishful thinking! So, as you vision and dream for the next 365 days, it’s important to attach questions like these to your ideas:

--Who does my goal involve?

--What am I trying to accomplish (and why)?

--What deadline or mini-milestones can I employ, and how will these be part of my calendar and weekly routines?

--Who will help hold me accountable? Who can I partner with to make this dream a reality?

As you put pen to the page, brainstorm ways you would like to see progress in areas like:

  • Career and Business
  • Family and Relationships
  • Finances
  • Health and Fitness
  • Spiritual Well-being
  • Educational or Recreational
  • Travel and Adventure

Get Specific 

Goals that are measurable, timebound, and targeted are the most motivating, so build specifics into your ideas to transform possibilities into REALITY. Here are a few examples to get you started:

--Stretch my capabilities through joining a professional network

--Deposit $500 a month into my child’s college savings account

--Follow up with six leads per month and book four new subscribers per quarter

--Book a summer vacation with my brother by February 1

--Volunteer once a month at the Emergency Food Pantry

--Subscribe to a local food co-op to include more healthy sides in our diet

--Sign up for a 5K in March and a 10K in October

--Sign up to speak at our entrepreneurs’ network by June 1

--Write in a gratitude journal every Sunday


Know Your “Why”

Finally, if you want to remain motivated as you work towards your goals, it’s essential to think about the “why.”

Why do you want to achieve that goal?

Self-growth experts explain that having a concrete reason for working on a specific goal allows you to remain motivated despite challenges and setbacks.


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

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


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Color Outside the Margins with Gorgeous Full Bleed Printing


When you want your color print project to dazzle and delight, you may want to use a bleed technique in your printing.

Sound strange? Well, the result is beautiful! Here’s what you need to know about this option.


What is a Bleed?

A bleed is a printing technique where your design is printed bigger than the final product’s finished size and then cut down to size, eliminating any unwanted white space or borders around the edge of your design.

Typically, bleeds refer to the extra 1/8” (.125 in) of an image or background color that extends beyond the trim area you’d like to feature. A bleed project is printed on an oversized sheet that is then cut down to size, giving the impression that the image is “bleeding” off the paper’s edge.


When Can a Bleed be Used?

Bleeds work well if your design has a full-colored background and can be used for any project where you want your design to extend to the edge of the sheet.

Bleeds can improve the precision of any print project. Why? Because without a bleed, you'll see a tiny bit of white on even the most carefully arranged and cropped document. When you print “outside the margins” with a document bleed, then there’s no room for error. The final product will be perfectly cut with a crisp, immaculate appearance.

When you are printing a booklet or something that will be folded, you’ll probably want to use bleeds on the interior borders so it doesn’t look as though the project is unfinished. Work to have colors meet in the middle, so your design flows effortlessly from one page to the next.


Where or How Can I Add Bleeds to My Design?

Each design program addresses bleeds differently, but here are some basics to get you started:

InDesign: InDesign is best suited for print. You can set up both bleed and margins in the “Document Setup” box when creating a new document. Simply bring your bleeds and margins up to 0.125 inches for the top, bottom, inside, and outside. Your document will have visible lines for you upon creation.

Illustrator: In the initial “Document Setup” window, set your bleeds to 0.125 inches for both top, bottom, inside, and outside. You cannot set up margins in Illustrator, so you will have to use guides once your document is open.

Photoshop: This one is a bit complex. In Photoshop, you will have to add ¼ inch (.25) to your final document size to account for the bleed margin you need. For example, if your document is 8.5” x 11”, you will need to set the document up in Photoshop to be 8.75” x 11.25”. Extend all bleeding images and graphics to the edge of your page and then use the design rulers to create guides for your trim and safety margins.

Publisher: Publisher is similar to Photoshop. To set your document up to bleed, simply add .25” to your document size in the Page Setup window and use design rulers accordingly.

Word: Unfortunately, you cannot set up a full bleeding document in Word. 

Still feeling uncertain? There are many online helps (like this quick InDesign bleed tutorial) that can get you started. Or leave the heavy lifting to our creative design team! We’ve got you covered.

Whether you’re creating a template or need start-to-finish graphic design, we’re here to consult, create, and bring your best ideas to life. Give us a call!


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

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