Sales and Marketing Tools For Your Business – Finding The Right Ones

Tools are required for every business. Carpenters use hammers and saws. Doctors use diagnostic equipment. I don’t need to tell you what dentists use. The point is if you have a product or service, you need advertising, sales and marketing tools. These can be in whatever media you wish such as your website, your business card, flyers, brochures, postcards, catalogs and posters. They all work in different ways producing different results to a common end which is greater success.
If you are going to have a successful business, you need to have the right tools to build it. The tools you use are intended to make you money and the better the tools, the more money you will make. I recently bought a leather punch in a hardware store. There were 3 different sets with 3 different prices points. I only had a few holes to punch and the low price caught my eye. My thinking was why pay a higher price for it when it would probably only be used once. I went home thinking I solved the problem and saved some money. About halfway through the job the whole thing just came apart. I had to go back to the store and try to get my money back, lost the day I wanted to do the project and paid more in time, money and gas than I needed to. If I had approached the problem correctly from the start, this would not be the case. Lesson learned!! The interesting thing is two weeks later I had a need for a leather punch again and it work great on got the job done.
Everybody in business needs business cards. If you google cheap business cards, there are over 2 million choices. Most of us never get passed the first or second page. We look and compare a few sites and make a blind choice based only on intuition. There are some very good companies out there. Will you be lucky enough to pick the best one? Remember top position does not guarantee top quality or service. Did you pick the lowest price or the best value?
It’s always better to find the best value. Ask yourself- what am I getting for my money? What’s included in the price? If you think all printing and printers are the same, you are making a very big mistake. How do I know this? The answer is simple. I have learned from the experience I told you about as well as others that it is not price but quality that counts. That does not mean you have to pick the most expensive one either. The best value always includes price, quality and service. It’s generally fair to say “you get what you pay for”.
There are some very good indicators as to how to find the right printer – one who offers quality and service for the lowest price. First, give them a call or email them a question. What kind of response did you get? Was it in a reasonable amount of time? Was the person knowledge and friendly? Did they make you feel comfortable? Ask them what kind of equipment they will print your job on. Is it a 4, 5, or 6 color press? Older press can’t print as fine a line screen, therefore, less detail, than newer presses using state of the art printing technology. One way to tell if it is a newer full color press is to ask if it has coating towers that can apply earth friendly aqueous coating. Older press use solvent based varnish and these older 4 color presses cannot apply aqueous coating. Another factor is that most printers with older equipment don’t offer coatings.
Many printers are offering fast turnaround times because they are using smaller presses. It may be a good idea to ask your printer what size press your job will be printed on. For most 8.5 X 11 sheets and larger, you get better, smoother ink coverage on larger 20 X 26 or 38 X 40 inch sheet feed presses. The reason is the bigger the rollers on the press, the smoother the ink coverage. If you have large areas of heavy ink coverage, smaller older presses tend to streak.
Another thing to look for in a printing company is one that will check your files. It’s important for businesses to establish good communications with their printer. You want a company that will review your files and advise you of any problems that may occur. You want a company with a person on the other end that can answer questions and offer suggestions to help you create the best sales and marketing tools you can.
All these tools are important in helping you make the right choices and allowing you to achieve your final goal, success. Whether it is making holes in leather or producing sales and marketing tools that you can be proud of you must make sure you are getting value, not just the cheapest price. It would be best to add up all the reasons to choose provider over another by making sure you weighing in what you get for the price. Are there extra costs that are hidden in the order form that you don’t see up front or are they included in your price? Do they charge for overs? By asking questions and doing good due diligence, you are making sure the quality, service and value are the best you can find.
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POSTCARDS – A Cheap and Effective Marketing Tool

Postcards are one of the oldest direct marketing tools that are still effective today.In our high tech digital world low tech postcards are still the best, fastest working direct marketing tools ever. If you don’t believe me, check your mailbox. Don’t think the companies that stuff your mailbox are stupid. If they didn’t make big bucks, you wouldn’t get all that mail from the same companies over and over again.

Postcards Get Noticed

A well-designed inexpensive postcard campaign with strong call to action copy will keep your company at the top of the mind of customs.

Postcards Are Cheap

Postcards when compared to other marketing tools are the cheapest to print than they ever have been. Online printing companies make it easy to find the best value cheap postcards without spending a lot of research time. As a matter of fact, full color postcards are cheaper than two color cards were just a few years ago, so you get more bang for your buck. You can buy 5,000 4.25 X 6 high quality full color postcards for under $160

Postcards Are Read By Almost Everyone

It’s harder not to read an interesting postcard than to avoid reading it. An eye candy design and a compelling offer can catch your eye and it’s difficult not to read it. Nothing else in your mailbox can capture that much attention except a large check from the government. Most junk letters never get opened unless they looks official. People don’t have the time or care to read. Flyers can also have too much to read and they instantly get tossed. On the other hand, postcards are noticed and read because the message requires just a second to decide if you’re interested or not. They don’t have to be unfolded and they don’t waste time with a lot of words.

Postcard Campaigns Return a High ROI

If you plan on sending only one postcard, you may be wasting your money if you are trying to determine the results.You don’t have to have a huge mailing list to monitor your postcard stats. If you don’t have a lot of money to test the direct mail marketing waters- and what small business does-, you can print wholesale inexpensive postcards in short runs of 100, 250, 500 or 1,000. The trick is to send them every 4-6 weeks to the same list. Each time with a different offer. It’s not the quantity, but the frequency that keeps your brand in front of your customer.

Postcard Effectiveness Testing is Fast and Easy

Use short run postcards to try different ideas and see which ones have the best returns. Once you know what works slowly increase your mailings and keep on checking results. The best value for short run postcards is about $55 for 1,000. You can send as few as 100 cards at a time to spread your mailing cost. Just make sure you change lists.

Postcard Printing Tips:

1. When buying cheap postcards online, don’t buy the cheapest deal you can find. Cheap looks cheap, feels cheap and can represent your company as cheap. Considering the size of a postcards, the paper stock should be the issue unless you are printing hundreds of thousands. The minimal card stock weight should be a heavy 14 Pt or extra heavy 16 Pt.- either UV or matte coated card stock.

2. If you’re distributing the card through the mail, the address area should NOT be UV coated. UV coating is a liquid laminate that can’t be overprinted with a personalization or address for mailing. There are two solutions for this issue. Order your cards with UV coating one side matte coating one side or pay a little more have your cards printed with spot UV coating so you can decide what is to be glossy. Spot UV coating is an eye candy wow factor effect that will catch attention so your card has a better chance of standing out and getting noticed.

3. Bigger is better when it come to postcards and diamonds. Postcards are available in many sizes. Small 4 X 6 and 4.25 X 6 postcards can be sent at lower postcard postal rates. You’ll save money but lose impact. If you’re going to do it, do it right.

4. Print “SAVE THIS CARD,” you’ll be surprised at how many will then save it. If you say it, they will be it.

5. Be sure to put a time limit on your offer. Add a tracking code so you can identify the mailing you sent out. The offer should be redeemable only with that code. Customers like to receive codes because they are identified as being special.

It doesn’t matter if you have a small local pizza takeout or you’re selling tours to Europe nationally, the key is to make sure you have a “can’t refuse” offer and your card looks impressive. You don’t have to spend much money to get a postcard campaign going. Plan to send six different postcards in 6 months and you will make money fast and easy once you get your program started. Remember it takes money to make money and cheap but high quality postcard campaigns will make you money and a high return on what you have spent.

Presentation IS Everything!!

Want to stand out from the crowd? Want to be noticed? Want to be remembered long after you have handled out your advertising? Want the key to separating your sales & marketing literature from all the others? Then you need to add a Wow Factor to your printed materials because Presentation IS Everything!!!

With new state of the art printing technology, it is now possible to create “Wow Factor” effects without breaking the bank. What is the “Wow Factor” The “Wow Factor” is hard to define but you know it when you see it. It’s that something extra that grabs your eye and attention. Going beyond good design and copy, it can be extra heavy printing stock, a printing technique such as spot UV coating or using metallic ink that is not commonly used by everyone. By combining heavy card stock with spot UV or using metallic ink to make your design stand out, you can create a sales piece that identifies you or your company as being forward thinking and caring about detail and quality.

If you want to separate yourself and your image from your competition, you need to find a vendor that can offer you added value services. You need more than just plain old vanilla gang run printing. There are so many printers offering great prices, it may take a bit of searching to find a printer that can provide the “Wow Factor”.

I can’t stress enough that printed sales and marketing literature such as postcards, fliers and brochures are tools to create sales and recognition. Finding the cheapest price online is not the best way to find a printing service. You need to find the best value. Look for free paper upgrades. Free file check is also important. You can’t judge a printers’ quality and service by their page ranking. What I am saying is if page ranking and price are the only two factors you consider in your selection, you are throwing dice hoping for a good outcome.

“Wow Factor” techniques are new and not available from most online printers. If you want to separate yourself from the crowd, you should take advantage of this. The first impression is the most important one and you only get one chance. By using these new techniques, you can achieve your goal by raising the bar of your presentation with the “Wow Factor”. Don’t let anyone tell you presentation does not matter, the truth is “Presentation is Everything”!

High Definition Printing Is Here

Did you know that high definition printing is now available. It is all about the screens. Well, who cares about screens? If you buy offset color printing services, you should know the differences between the 2 different screen technologies used in commercial printing. It affects the quality of all your color printing. You may know some of this stuff but most people who buy printing don’t know what you will learn in this article. This is a little technical but stick with it because you may want to make some changes in the way your printing is printed. So let’s get started.

high definition offset printing

Compare the difference – convention printing vs high definition printing

Your files are made into screens for printing; it is the first step in the process. The screens are then transferred (offset) to 4 different metal plates. Each plate transfers the ink to a rubber blanket and the blanket offsets the ink onto the paper.

Most commercial printers use conventional AM (amplitude modulated) line screen dots that are arranged in a rosette pattern. That means each screens plate has to align perfectly at very high-speeds of rotations of the press cylinder to keep sharp registration. At a typical press run, speed alignment of the plates can be unstable. The way it works is some dots are large and some dots are small depending on their tonal value. The bigger the dots, the more ink they pick up.

The most commonly used line screen dots are 150 up to 300 dots per inch depending on the screens used by the printer. Printing companies choose a type of screen and use it for all their printing, so you can’t ask your printer to use high dot line screens. The problem is that conventional screens use a lot of ink that pools together so detail is reduced due to flooding the paper with too much ink. Color gamut is the range of color that can be printed. Too much ink inhibits subtle colors and tones are lost and the color gamut is reduced. Subtle colors cannot be printed and moiré patterns can occur in textured patterns. Another issue is banding in color gradations because it is difficult to print smooth transitions of color tones with AM screens.

The other screening method is known as FM (frequency modulated) stochastic (stuh-kas-tic) screens. There are different brands and they all have their own unique proprietary variations. These types of screens are different because FM screens are made with tiny specks similar to grain in photographs. As an example, I will use Kodak Staccato brand screens, which I am most familiar with.

FM screens use 20-micron irregular specs. 1 micron equals 0.000093701 of an inch or 1,000,000 to one yard. A 20-micron screen prints 1,270 specs per inch. These tiny microscopic specks are ideal for printing high definition details in photography, artwork, type and smooth color gradations.

Stochastic screens offer many advantages over conventional screens. They improve detail and definition. Reversed text prints cleaner and shadow and highlight detail are improved. There is also a wider color gamut. Use of these screens eliminates unwanted screen angle moiré, subject moiré and rosettes. The result is a photographic like continuous tone appearance with more color stability during the press run. When tonal and color instability occur using stochastic screens misregistration can occur but sharpness and quality are not affected. These are just some of the benefits of FM screens.

Like all print buyers you want your advertising, sales, marketing and branding promotions to be impressive and attract lots of attention at an affordable price. You may be surprised to learn that the cost and turn-around times using FM screening technology is probably no more and may be less money than what you are paying for conventional AM screen printing.

The next time you are ready to order color printing, ask your printing company what line screen they use and if they use stochastic screens. Don’t be surprised if they never heard of it. If they don’t, you can get higher quality printing by finding a company that uses high definition FM stochastic printing screen technology. When excellence is available, good is not enough.


About a year and a half ago a new Italian restaurant opened in my town. Almost everybody tried it and it was so crowed it was hard to get in. The food was good but the menu was nothing special. You could get the same dishes in other places in the area. In about two months, the crowd got smaller and it didn’t take long before the owner, Joey was hurting for lack of business. The problem was the newness had warn off and there was lots of competition from other local restaurants.

Joey was smart and changed his strategy with a new modern Mediterranean menu featuring seasonal local produce and he added specials like lamb, pork belly and more fish choices. The plan was to change the specials every month to attract old and new customers.

To get the word out, Joey decided to find a cheap color printing service online to print his custom postcards every month advertising the new items on the next month’s menu. He offered new special discounts with each postcard mailing. Joey looked at different ways to distribute the cards and decided to use Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM), a USPS cheap mail distribution service that costs a lot less than standard direct mail, for promoting his new marketing promotion. At the end of every month, everyone in my neighborhood including me was receiving custom printed postcards in their mailbox from Joey’s Little Italy Italian restaurant.

In three months, the postcard branding started to be recognized Now Joey’s business is thriving. He can even keep track of customers that use his take out and delivery service since he prints a special coupon with a discount code on all the postcards. As an ongoing promotion on your tenth order, he offers a free flat bread pizza. The postcard mailings also offer discount price fix dinners on weekdays. The restaurant has become so popular that on weekends it’s hard to get a reservation. Business is so good he is remodeling and expanding to take over the store next door. Joey is now able to sponsor local sports teams, which also strengthens his branding. His only complaint is he has no time to spend the money on himself but his wife and kids are very happy.

The value of printing cheap postcards online and distribute them using Every Door Direct Mail is that you can tightly target your mailing by mile radius, zip code or even individual carrier routes. Your local post office can provide you with area maps and you don’t need an expensive mailing list. Your custom printed postcards go to every house or house and business in the area you select. The best part is printing 1000 postcards is cheap and it only cost $.183 for mailing each card. That’s 1,000 custom printed targeted EDDM postcards mailed for only $175. Another advantage is you save money because direct mail postal permits are not needed. All you have to do is print “Local Postal Customer” and small indicia in the upper right corner of the postcards, select where you want them delivered and they are delivered in about 2 or 3 days which is much faster than ordinary bulk mail.

There are some easy rules that must be followed. There are 8 standard sizes for printing custom postcards, 4.5 X 12, 6 X 12, 6.5 X 12, 6.5 X 9, 8.5 X 11, 8.5 X 7, 9 X 11, 9 X 12 and 4.5 X 14 tri-fold menus or brochures. The maximum weight of each piece is a generous 3.3 ounces, which is more than any standard size postcard. You can mail as many as 5,000 custom postcards a day from any post office of your choosing. The cards must be bundled in quantities of 500 or 1,000.

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There are many other business that can benefit from printing affordable Every Door Direct Mail Retail postcards as an ongoing local marketing campaign. Some businesses that can benefit are real estate firms, attorneys, pharmacies, flower shops, dry cleaners, home improvement companies, dentists and health care professionals. Want to improve your business? Joey wasn’t lucky he was smart. Any local or small business can get a high ROI by printing custom postcards online and distributing them using EDDM.