Tuesday, September 22, 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!


 

Friday, September 18, 2020

Share Your Brand Story to Create Distinct, Authentic Connections

In a noisy marketplace, businesses must work smarter to grab prospects and lock in loyalty.


But the desire for relationship is mutual. According to Cheetah Mobile marketing director Josh Ong, customers don’t just want to buy, they want to buy into something:


“Millennials are more likely than any other demographic to be brand loyal. But millennials don’t choose which brand to be loyal to at random, instead, they are highly attuned to the story that a brand tells, as well as the values that brand exhibits.”


No one can resist a good story! Need proof? Here’s a fun brand story from eyewear retailer Warby Parker:


Warby was founded as a rebellious upstart to tackle the problem of expensive eyewear because of a frustrating personal experience. During a backpacking trip, one of Warby’s founders lost his glasses. Since he was a broke grad student, he couldn’t afford to replace them, and he spent the rest of the semester squinting.


By circumventing traditional channels, designing glasses in-house, and engaging with customers directly, Warby now provides higher-quality, better-looking prescription eyewear at a fraction of the going price. The company believes buying glasses should be easy, fun, and should leave money in your pocket. Warby also believes everyone has a right to see, and they partner with nonprofits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.


Warby sums up its brand story in this simple phrase: good eyewear, good outcome.  


4 Traits of Captivating Brand Stories


A brand story is a valuable marketing asset.


It sharpens your values, shapes your message, and guides your sales. Here are common traits of brands with especially effective stories:


1. Start with Problems


From the beginning, successful brands have identified market needs or specific injustices.


Sharing their journey in confronting or solving these issues builds a very compelling narrative. The founder often retains an active role and holds a starring role in the company’s ever-evolving story.


2. Embrace Underdog Status


Everyone loves an underdog.


Brands that are (or were) on the outsider are considered disruptors. Their adventures in confronting the establishment make them easy to love and fun to listen to.


3. Foster Niche Lifestyle Communities


Brands that have a clear identity and purpose can to form more meaningful connections that result in truly devoted fans.


Make your brand integral to the lifestyle your prospects covet. When emotional attachments to brands are built, this connection often starts with a shared conviction or a particular life vision.


4. Stand for Something Specific


Most people aren’t particularly loyal to a company; instead, they are loyal to what that company stands for.


A recent study published by the Harvard Business Review showed that, of those consumers that had a strong relationship with a brand or business, 64 percent cited “shared values” as the primary reason. Companies that stand for more than just dollar signs will forge emotional connections with their customers.


Whether its fostering sustainability or giving back to specific communities, a commitment to social good can make your brand story more authentic and memorable.


Share Your Story Today


What is your brand story?


You may believe you don’t have a story to tell, but that’s just not true! Every firm can share a portrait of who they are and why they exist. This may include your mission, inspiration, or goals and it can be shared through direct mail, photography, banners, blogs, and any medium that authentically touches people.


Stories create something your clients want to be part of, building confidence and receptivity. People buy into what they trust, so find your story and share it today!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Snag Younger Customers: How to Build Connections with Generation Z

With the oldest of Generation Z graduating and entering the workforce, it’s time to set your sights on this powerful consumer demographic.


Who are these Gen Z individuals, and what is the most effective way to reach them? While many media companies have written them off as “screen addicts,” Gen Z is actually very nimble, engaged, and unique.


Here are a few facts to consider:



  • As of 2020, Gen Z makes up more than 40% of U.S. consumers.

  • Born after 1996, most members of this generation are not yet old enough to vote.

  • Generation Z represents the leading edge of the country’s changing racial and ethnic makeup. 52% are non-Hispanic white, 25% are Hispanic, 14% are black, 6% are Asian.

  • Gen Z logs on to social media for roughly two hours and 55 minutes each day. This is almost an hour longer than the average millennial.

Want to engage younger prospects? Here are five tips to consider:


1. Diverse images are extremely impactful


Gen Z has a natural awareness of how diversity is depicted (or overlooked) in your media.


Whether it’s custom photography or variety in your testimonials, it will seem strange (or even offensive) if your media is too homogenized.


2. Gen Z loves a good deal


Estimated at having $4 billion in discretionary spending, the buying power of Gen Z is significant.


But having grown up during the 2008 recession, Gen Z has an innate appreciation for a bargain. Gen Z will hunt for value in two ways: buying from inexpensive brands or purchasing expensive items with durability guarantees. Generous warranties and engaging in-store experiences are also a way to offer them more bang for their buck.


3. Gen Z was born social


Over 91% of Gen Z kids have a digital footprint, and Gen Z spends more time on mobile devices than Millennials.


Gen’s Z’s favorite sites are YouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat. Because they are so visual, whenever possible you should “show,” not just “tell.” Image-based advertising and short-videos are especially effective!


4. Real is best


Gen Z people seek uniqueness in all walks of life, and particularly through the brands they buy from.


Gen Z-ers prefer brands that are authentic: 82% said they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, and 72% said they're more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes. Product quality, positive reviews, and customer service are the top three characteristics that fortify their trust in a brand.


5. Give them a voice or a role


Given how socially aware this generation is, remember Gen Z-ers love opportunities to contribute, create, lead, and learn.


Whether you allow them to personalize your product or you prioritize ethical marketing (like partnering with nonprofits or standing for a cause), Gen Z appreciates buying from brands that give them a role in the journey.


Help Them Live in Person


Finally, remember that Gen Z longs to engage, and this doesn’t have to be online. 


A new A.T. Kearney study reports that 81% of Gen Z respondents prefer to purchase in stores, 73% like to discover new products in stores, and 58% browse in-store selections to disconnect from social media and live in the moment.


From gorgeous window banners to sharp point-of-purchase displays, sensory impact plays a principal role in creating the right mood for an impulse purchase.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Envelopes: The Humble Hero of Direct Mail

Who doesn’t love a good party? 


As we move toward year-end holiday gatherings, many of us look forward to gathering with friends and family. However, a party is only successful if people actually COME, and most people attend for one primary reason -- they were invited!


Attractive Envelopes Invite People to “Come on In” 


The same principle is true in business. 


A mailing is only as effective as its response rate, and an envelope serves as a great invitation to dig deeper. Custom envelopes are a simple tool that dramatically increases reader response. In a world of distraction, envelopes serve as a soft introduction, inviting people to “come on in” and experience more of what you have to offer. Thoughtful, creative envelopes will entice people to dial into (and not discard!) the message you have carefully crafted.


Do you want to expand your business by reaching new prospects? Current direct mail statistics are exciting! The 2018 Direct Mail Association Response Rate Report revealed household list response rates are around nine percent, significantly up from 2017, when it was 5.1%. The prospect list response rate was 4.9%, also showing a significant increase compared to the 2.9% the previous year.


What’s contributing to this spike? Technology. Thanks to technological advancements, mail marketers are gathering more data about consumer behavior. On average, response rates increase by 30% when direct mail is paired with digital targeting. 


When you send mail to people who actually look forward to it, you’ll prompt much greater interest! 


4 Keys to Getting Your Envelopes Opened


When you’re ready to create your custom envelope, here are a few things to keep in mind.


Oversized envelopes have the highest response rate


Larger envelopes prompt a reader response rate of around five percent, the highest of any direct mail format.


When you break from the norm, people will notice. Experiment with a wide variety of shapes and sizes, colors, and textures (linen, cockle, matte, coated, glossy, or metallic). Make your envelope stand out from the other envelopes people receive every day!


Follow the three-second rule


When designing your mailing, remember the envelope has about three seconds to engage readers.


Grab attention with enticing product photos or short teaser prompts (like, “your free gift is here!”). You pay for the whole envelope, so why not use it? Use every inch for impact by including your logo, taglines, or back-flap branding.


Experiment with the “extras”


There are so many ways to build curiosity with your envelope.


Have fun with options like these: 



  • Try a peek-through window featuring a color photograph of your product, a membership card, or contest entry form.

  • Embellish your envelopes with foil stamping or embossing to feature an anniversary or warranty seal. 

  • Drive engagement by using a zip-strip opener, a peel-off sticker, or a pull-off repositionable note to encourage reader retention and reaction. The longer your prospects engage with your envelope, the more likely they will be to open it. 

Put the reader First


When crafting a sales pitch, many marketers focus more on the product than its audience.


But readers are not primarily concerned with how slick your idea is, they are concerned with how great it will make their lives. Envelope taglines or images should concisely present a key benefit your product brings to consumers.


Packaging Matters


Great packaging can increase response rates and enhance emotional connections with your clients. 


Are your envelopes offering people your best? In a world of visual clutter, excellent envelopes are a vital component of every marketing mix. Be sure your envelopes carry a message that’s classy and confident, just like you. Interested in envelopes for your next project - https://www.printitincolor.com/printing/envelopes/ 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Why Direct Mail Postcards are Worth Every Penny

Although postcards are one of today’s beloved print pieces, they had a humble beginning.


The earliest postcard dates back to 1840 when an English man named Theodore Hook sent one to himself. By 1861, the US Congress allowed privately printed cards, weighing one ounce or under, to be sent through the mail. That year, John P. Charlton copyrighted the first postcard, and by 1901 postcards were a regular part of mailed communication.


Generate Huge Exposure with Just One Mailing


Fast forward a century. 


Postcards are now an essential marketing option for many businesses, and with good reason. These versatile tools represent a huge opportunity for companies that do it right.


And the results are compelling. One real estate agent makes $5,000 to $20,000 in commissions every time she runs a direct mail campaign. A Texas dentist added six figures in new revenue thanks to one mailing. And a financial services firm spent a few thousand dollars to net dozens of new clients with an average value of $1,500 each.


Why are postcards so effective?


According to UnitedMail, 79 percent of people act on direct mail immediately (while only 45 percent do so for email). More than two-thirds of consumers open all of their mail, even easily recognizable junk. And this is especially true for young people! According to the U.S. Postal Service, 36 percent of people under age 30 look forward to checking their mail, and 37 percent of the coveted 25- to 35-year-old demographic immediately read their mail.


Since postcards are so visually accessible, they are read frequently and generate huge exposure. When businesses target specific audiences and link to tailored landing pages on their website, they can spark considerable revenue with just one mailing.


Postcards generate fast results, and they work for any business. As long as you have a clear marketing strategy and great graphic design, postcards will work for you!


4 Keys for Designs that Deliver


When you are ready to launch your direct mail postcard, here are four keys for generating compelling, actionable designs:


1. Design with Your Audience in Mind


If there’s one mistake common to most marketers, it is this: assuming your audience knows the terminology of your industry.


Whether you’re a financial advisor or a chiropractor, frame your ideas in words that would make sense to anyone. 


2. Paint a Picture of the Problem You Can Solve


People won’t read every word you share, so don’t bury the lead.


Immediately communicate the problem your business can fix. Center your writing around how your product can make people’s lives easier or better.


3. Use Simple, Crisp Graphics


The image on your postcard should be instantly recognizable.


While it may be fun to try something clever, this often confuses the audience. Since you have mere seconds to communicate an idea, your image should reinforce the concept in a strong, obvious way.


4. Add Bulleted Lists and Distinct Next Steps


Readers won’t engage with longer text, so shoot for punchy subheadings or bulleted items that clarify value.


People want more than just a phone number or a web link. Be specific with CTAs like, “subscribe to ___ for ______” or “call today for your free consultation!” 


Let Our Team Mail for You


Ready to expand your reach with a focused direct mail campaign?


Save on stress and expense by consolidating your creative processes. Our full-service design specialists can provide the artwork, the printing, and even the mailing services. To get a quote, go to www.PrintitinColor.com or give us a call at 864-882-3609 today! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Generate Innovative Solutions with Strategic Design Thinking

Several years ago, a truck driver tried to pass under a low bridge.


Underestimating the truck height, the driver became firmly lodged under the bridge, unable to move his vehicle forward or backward. Emergency workers and city engineers gathered onsite, debating whether they should dismantle the truck or chip away parts of the bridge. Each proposed a solution most aligned with their area of expertise.


Just then, a boy walked by, observed the intense debate, and made a casual comment. “Why not just let the air out of the tires?”


When the solution was tested, the truck squeezed forward with ease, suffering only slight damage to his cab. The specialists were amazed at the solution and also by the fact that they were initially blind to an answer a child could easily recognize. 


A Human-Centric Way of Thinking


This story symbolizes the struggles we face when the most obvious solutions are hard to recognize.


That’s just one reason strategic design thinking has become so prevalent in business. Design thinking is a solution-based, human-centric approach to solving problems, one that embodies both a particular way of thinking and a collection of hands-on methods. In business, design thinking allows you to look at things through your customers’ eyes while devising meaningful, profitable solutions. 


Design thinking can be helpful because it pushes you to challenge existing assumptions, redefine problems, and uncover options. It is especially useful for creatively devising alternatives and prototypes with a team. While there can be three to seven phases in this process, many people find five modes to be particularly helpful. These stages do not have to follow any specific order and can occur in parallel or repeat iteratively.


5 Stages to Shaping Nimble, Profitable Ideas


Here’s how to implement the five-stage process of design thinking with your team.


1. Observe with Empathy


The first step in design thinking is to empathize with your clients and partners, investing in conversations, and identifying hidden needs by living the customer experience


During the 2020 pandemic, one design-build storage company noticed a significant uptick in interest for luxury storage sheds (can you say “man cave?”). Before pumping out products, team leaders spent considerable time with prospects, architects, and manufacturers. By looking at things from the customers’ perspective, the storage specialists became intimately acquainted with changing markets and how demand should drive innovation.


2. Define the Problem


Once you genuinely live and understand your customers’ needs, you can redefine the problem and approach it from different angles.


Through conversations with many families, designers from the storage company realized that a post-pandemic need was not for increased storage but for alternate living spaces that were affordable, durable, and even portable.


3. Ideate with Your Team


The next step is to develop solutions by involving all internal and external team members.


The wider your base, the more imaginative you can be. Creative sessions led our Midwest storage specialists to develop prefabricated backyard offices, “granny” pods, and even elegant miniature lake cabins that could be delivered and assembled on site.


4. Prototype Rapidly


After quickly building and releasing designs, it is important to make your ideas as nimble and customizable as possible.


Whether you add a “Most Popular Items” section to your website or you give customers access to “build it yourself” 3D configurator software, speed and wide-ranging accessibility are key.


5. Test and Validate 


Design thinking is an adaptable process.


Results from prototype tests may show that you’ve misinterpreted customer behaviors and needs in steps one and two. That’s ok! From here, you can return to previous steps and tweak solutions so they are best tailored for current needs. View every blueprint as a living document, and keep working to capture the right opportunities in the right way. 


As you test solutions with your team, you will unleash people’s full creative energies, win their commitment, and radically improve the end product.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Why Carbonless Forms Make a Great Tech-Free Solution

When you “cc” someone on an email, do you ever think about what this abbreviation actually means?


In 1801, Pellegrino Turri invented carbon paper to provide ink for his mechanical typing machine, which was one of the first typewriters. Five years later, carbon paper was patented and released to the general public. Carbon paper soon became a primary method for rapidly reproducing documents or booklets, and today its legacy has remained in the header of emails. The “cc” abbreviation stands for “carbon copies,” or copies intended for recipients other than the principal addressee.


Since Turri’s day, carbonless forms have largely replaced their early ancestor. Carbonless copy paper has micro-encapsulated dye or ink on the back side of the top sheet, and a clay coating on the front side of the bottom sheet. When pressure is applied (from writing or impact printing), the dye capsules rupture and react with the clay to form a permanent mark duplicating the markings made to the top sheet. In the span of seconds, intermediary layers act as multipart stationery, adding flexibility and convenience to any business exchange.


Simplify and Save


In many industries, carbonless forms work better than electronic documents, and they may be a perfect fit for your business.


Carbonless forms offer a speedy solution that is ideal for capturing handwritten signatures or personal notes taken during an order or appointment. Want to ditch the unnecessary equipment or the headaches of expensive tech repairs? These forms are especially handy for team members who are frequently in the field, when you’re working face-to-face with clients, or when time and accuracy are essential.


Where can you put carbonless forms to work? The possibilities abound! Try these sensible custom pads for:



  • Invoices or inventory tracking

  • Design drafts or sales estimates

  • Onsite service calls

  • Patient intake forms

  • Inspections, permits, or delivery confirmations

  • As a customizable receipt for your small business

Carbonless forms are used in a wide range of industries, including mechanical, agriculture, funeral services, transportation, home improvement, auctions, and more. They are great for any situation where you want a simple business solution or a quick reproduction of up to four simultaneous copies.


And just because these forms are practical doesn’t mean they have to be boring! Experiment with bold graphics, two colors of ink, custom finishes, or three-hole drilling to allow for archiving in binders or booklets. Sequential numbering will enable you to easily track your transactions, or you can also send varying designs to print multiple for types in the same size and finish.


Get Your Forms ASAP


Ready to get started? Go carbonless with this convenient, budget-friendly option. Craft smart, rapid-return designs that will hold up for years.


Give us a call at Print It! for your free estimate at 864-882-3609 or browse to www.PrintitinColor.com!